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Considering how much I LOVED the Saucony Kinvara 2 (K2) and original Kinvara (K1), I was extremely nervous about all of the changes in the Kinvara 3 (K3). However I now think the K3 is even more perfect for me than the K2 (I didn’t think that was possible).
The K3 retains the features that made the K1 and K2 such popular options for runners looking for an all-purpose shoe in a more minimalist design. These include:
- 4mm heel to toe drop
- Lightweight – Only 7.7 oz
- Surprising amount of cushioning (ProGrid)
The new features I like best in the K3 include:
- Single layer upper: The upper in the K1 and K2 was made up of 3 distinct layers including the top material, structural overlays, and an inner mesh (with fairly large holes). While this upper was comfortable, my big toe in both shoes would always catch on the inner mesh, slowly creating a big hole. The upper in the K3 is a single layer mesh (smaller holes), with structure being provided by new flexfilm overlays that are welded directly onto this layer. Not only does this eliminate the troublesome inner mesh, but it is also ridiculously comfortable. It creates an almost sock-like feel throughout the shoe.
- Larger toe-box: I mentioned above about my big toe catching in the mesh on the K1 and K2. Part of this was due to a fairly narrow toe box. While I like a running shoe to fit fairly snug from the heel through the midfoot, I generally prefer to have lots of room in the toe-box. The K3 is an improvement over the K1 and K2, because they have made the toe-box slightly larger, further adding to the overall comfort.
- Improved fit through the arch: In both the K1 and K2, I always felt a little bit of a bump in the outer arch that could be annoying. That bump is completely gone in the K3, and the fit is fantastic.
- Rounded heel: While I am certainly trying to be more of a midfoot/forefoot runner, I unfortunately still heel-strike more often than I would like. However, the new rounded heel in the K3 lessens the impact when heel striking, and makes the transition to toe-off a lot smoother.
Another improvement is supposed to be in the durability of the K3’s outsole. At this point I have not put enough miles on the K3 to make a determination, however I never really had a lot of issue with durability in the K1 or K2. I’ll post an update when I have a few more miles in these babies.
My only complaint is that they did away with the loop based speed lacing system of the K2 and replaced it with traditional eyelet lacing. The reason for this change was to spread out the lacing area (and reduce pressure), but it results in a little puckering of the upper when cinching the laces. Not a big deal.
Overall, Saucony has taken what was already an awesome shoe and made it even better. Find Your Strong!
I generally love the colors of the Saucony Kinvara 3 that came out earlier this year, but was a bit disappointed that the original choices did not include one with a predominately red upper (My favorite color). Well, in November there will be 3 new options each for Men and Women, and one of those for Men will be RED (Picture Above)!
Even more motivation to get my mileage back up, because I NEED these! 🙂
New Colors Men:
New Colors Women:
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Now that I’ve had a few weeks to tryout the new Saucony Hattori LC I wanted to share some of my initial impressions. The LC is a 4.4 oz, zero-drop shoe, and is the successor to the original Hattori that came out in mid-2011. I was a huge fan of the original, and initially started running in the Hattori as a means to improve my bio-mechanics and strengthen my feet.
It has been said on my blog many times that since adding these Hattori runs to my schedule one or two days a week, I have been able to get rid of all my orthotics and also make the lightweight Saucony Kinvara my full-time training and racing shoe. I really only had two criticisms of the original…
(1) The heaviest wear on the outsole seemed to be just inse the small ovals of rubber under the big-toe. It seems like a slight modification to the positioning of the rubber sections could greatly improve the durability without adding weight to the shoe. However, even with this I was able to get approximately 250-miles out of my initial pair, which is WAY more than I expected.
(2) The material in the upper is so thin that my big toe in each shoe eventually wore a hole through the top. This was partially exacerbated by the fact that the size I selected was very snug on me. I’m actually right in between a 10 and a 10.5, and decided to go with the 10 in the original. This put a little more pressure on the material over the toe than was intended.
The new Hattori LC made two significant changes to the original, though the outsole remains unchanged…
(1) The upper now contains laces to provide a more secure fit, rather than the velcro strap on the original. I know this was a frequent complaint on the original, though the velcro strop seemed sufficient for me.
(2) The material over the toe has been reinforced to provide extra durablity.
I was initially skeptical about the laces, since the fit of the upper worked really well for me in the original. However, I ultimately decided to give them a shot instead of simply re-ordering another pair of the original. For the new LC, I went with the size 10.5 to see if that would also help with the “big toe” problem in the upper.
While this has nothing to do with performance, the LC is a much better looking shoe than the original. I loved the original Hattori, but it does look a bit more like a water shoe than a running shoe. The new LC definitely looks more like a running shoe. With that being said, it is a bit disappointing that Saucony only offers this shoe in one color for men and one color for women. The original Hattori was available in a plethora of color options.
Like the original, the upper is made of a very thin, stretchy material with flexifilm overlays to provide a little more strength and structure. This material hugs the foot like a glove, and is very comfortable while running. This shoe can be worn sockless, though I generally prefer running with socks. The new re-enforced material over the toe is a bit disappointing, because it is really more in front of the toes than over the toes. However, moving up to a size 10.5 has taken a lot of the pressure off the upper material in the toe box, so this may end up being a moot point anyway.
As for the new laces, during my first run in the LC one of the shoes came untied about 2-miles into the run. This was a bit frustrating since I had not dealt with this in the original. However, now that I’ve completed several runs in the LC, I really appreciate the laces. The fit is a lot more customized to my preference, and it is actually a lot more comfortable than the original.
The outsole is made of EVA+ foam with strategically place rubber under the heel and big toe for added durability. As I mentioned early, it is unchanged from the original. This is good and bad. It is good because it retains exactly the same feel. It is bad because it does not attempt to improve the durability of the outsole based on overall wear patterns from the original.
All-in-all, the Hattori LC is a solid update, and a great option for those wanting to slowly introduce more minimalist or barefoot type running into their training. As with the original, this is a shoe that forces a forefoot or mid-foot strike, and should be incorporated gradually to prevent injury. The laces in the LC are a great addition to what was already a well designed, zero-drop shoe.
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