Saucony Kinvara 8 Review



I own two (2) pairs of Saucony Kinvara 6 - white and orange. 2016 was the year of Saucony Kinvara 6 for me. I wore Saucony Kinvara 6 to complete five (5) full marathons, one (1) half Ironman triathlon, and a 30 km race. 

As for this year, it is going to be the year of Saucony Kinvara for me too, with the addition of my first pair of red hot Saucony Kinvara 8, third pair of Saucony Kinvara family in my collection. In fact, I already wore Saucony Kinvara 8 to run the latest back-to-back full marathons: Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2017 and Hatyai International Marathon 2017.
Before I give my humble shoe review of Saucony Kinvara 8 based on my own running experience, here it to share the overview and specs provided by official Saucony website:


Overview

  • Successor to the Saucony Kinvara 7
  • Newly added full length EVERUN Topsole construction for enhanced energy return and continuous cushioning throughout the run
  • Internal strap system embraces the midfoot where it's needed most
  • Stripped down, lightweight FLEXFILM overlays provide structure and support
  • Highly flexible outsole for greater ground contact and freedom of movement

Specifications

  • Shoe category : neutral
  • Pronation : neutral
  • Cushion : responsive
  • Construction type : natural motion
  • Surface : road, track
  • Arch : high, normal (mid)
  • Water resistant : no
  • Waterproof : no
  • Offset : 4mm
  • Heel stack height : 19mm
  • Weight : 7.9 oz (224 g)

Running experience with Saucony Kinvara 8

I was so tempted to buy Saucony Kinvara 7 when it was launched last year. It comes with new EVERUN technology which isn't available in Saucony Kinvara 6. But I bought my second pair of Saucony Kinvara 6 during sale instead to save some money. But I'm glad that I skipped Saucony Kinvara 7. Now I can have the full-length EVERUN topsole construction with Saucony Kinvara 8.

So, what's EVERUN? 

It claims to provide a lively, resilient ride while providing continuous cushioning throughout the run. It's also highly durable and with enhanced energy return properties.  It also promises an energized running experience with every stride.

What I love most about Saucony Kinvara 8 is its EVERUN's energy return properties and continuous cushioning. According to Saucony website, the energy return is 83%! That's wonderfully high!

1. Continuous cushioning

I used to train and run full marathons with Skechers GoRun and GoMeb running shoes to correct my running form from heel landing to midfoot landing. They are neutral running shoes with barefoot running feel. I am pretty much used to the feel of the ground when landing with its minimal cushioning. It makes me more aware of my strides as to where I land my feet for injury free running.

My earlier switch to Saucony Kinvara 7 with its cushioning took me a while to get used to. Initially I wasn't comfortable with the bulkier design, harder outsole and the cushioning. But its lightweight and how my other running friends achieved sub 4 hour full marathons in them have convinced me to give Saucony Kinvara 7 a try. I ended up having 2 pairs. That shows how comfortable I'm with Saucony Kinvara. haha!

Now with Saucony Kinvara 8, I can feel the cushioning even more throughout the whole outsole with its EVERUN technology. In exchange for the more cushioning feel, I lost the barefoot feel even more.  

Is that good or bad? There is no good or bad. I believe it depends on what kind of running shoes you prefer: barefoot feel, neutral, minimum cushioning or maximum cushioning. It has got to do with your running style too.

As for me, I'm getting used to wearing lightweight neutral running shoe with minimal cushioning now. After some minor adjustment to the cushioning of Saucony Kinvara 8, I am totally bought over!

2. 83% energy return

As a full marathon road runner, efficient running is very crucial to me. I have been trying to improve my running technique as much as possible including increased cadence so that I can run more efficiently and effortlessly.

Compared to my 6th generation Saucony Kinvara, this 8th generation of Saucony Kinvara seems to me a more bouncy feeling. I believe this is due to its EVERUN technology as well.

83% energy return? Is it true? If it's stated on Saucony website, it'd better be true. :) And that energy return is simply awesome!

As I ran my latest two full marathons in Saucony Kinvara 8, I didn't feel much pain at my foot bed as compared to previous races wearing Saucony Kinvara 6 and Skechers. I was hoping so much to achieve my personal best times thinking that the energy return would make me run faster! But it didn't happen though. Well, I guess there are many factors affecting finish time. I was injured with ITB band, tired and burnout then. Perhaps when I'm in tip top condition one day, Saucony Kinvara 8's energy return can help me to a better finish time. lol!!







3. More flexible softer upper

The FLEXFILM is a lightweight yet strong material that allows for fewer layers in the upper for a seamless, flexible feel. Compared to Saucony Kinvara 6, Saucony Kinvara 8 has a stripped down FLEXFILM. No wonder I could feel a much more flexible, softer upper that flows smoothly with my stride movements. I really love this improvement tremendously! The "hard" feel in Saucony Kinvara 6 is gone!! Now a more "human" feel instead. 

4. Less tight PRO LOCK lacing system

The tight PRO LOCK lacing system is designed to provide a locked-in midfoot fit for a better overall fit. I didn't quite like the tight PRO LoCK lacing system in Saucony Kinvara 6 as I found it to be too tight. 

But for Saucony Kinvara 8, the tightness is just perfect and nice! The latest PRO LOCK lacing system is less tight and yet it still provides a locked-in midfoot fit. 

5. Spacious toe box area

This is another reason why I love Saucony Kinvara: a spacious forefoot area or "toe box" that gives you room for your toes to spread out especially after running for a long distance.

There aren't many brands of running shoes out there that can fit my unusually wide forefoot. I'm happy that Saucony caters for runners like me. 

So far, I have not had any bruised or black toes wearing Saucony Kinvara 8 to run. My toes and toe nails were perfect after finishing the last two full marathons.

Area for improvement

If there is one thing I wish for improvement in future generation of Saucony Kinvara, it definitely has to be the shoe lace. The shoe laces of Saucony Kinvara are extremely short compared to other brands - be it Saucony Kinvara 6 or Saucony Kinvara 8. I usually have a hard time tightening my shoe laces into two layers. I really hope the upcoming generation can help to have this small little problem fixed. 

Final verdict

Saucony Kinvara 8 is a great improvement from its predecessor Saucony Kinvara 7, especially with its full length EVERUN topsole construction and stripped down, lightweight FLEXFILM overlays. I love wearing it for my races. 

Until I find another brand of running shoe that suits my wide forefoot, neutral running with minimum cushioning, 4mm drop and lightweight, I will continue to stick to Saucony Kinvara. 

I guess without a doubt 2017 is going to be my second consecutive year racing in Saucony Kinvara. As both pairs of my Saucony Kinvara 6 wear out and are only suitable for training use, that leaves me with my one and only racing shoe: Saucony Kinvara 8.



Written by Vincent Khor on August 9, 2017.

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