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!