Well, it’s been a a little quiet on shoe front these few months. There haven’t been a lot of new releases, but with Fall/Winter, hopefully your feet will be in for a treat.
This afternoon, we received the new Saucony Kinvara 5 (K5)! As you know, we’ve always been rather fond of the Kinvara series so it will be interesting to see how this new model stacks up against its predecessors.
Once you slip your foot into the K5, you can tell straight away that it is a comfortable shoe. Though it is built on the same last as the K4, the K5 uses a more flexible mesh in the upper. As a result, the toe box feels wider and much less restrictive. The K5 sports a re-designed Flexfilm overlay and the new Pro Lock System that is supposed to help lock down your midfoot even more. I don’t lace my shoes up that tight while running so admittedly, I didn’t feel the full benefit of the Pro Lock System. I did experiment with the lacing after and if you did you laces up tight, the Pro Lock definitely holds your midfoot in place. The heel counter has been redesigned and while it is reportedly a tad higher, the softer material around the collar felt super plush and I don’t see it being an issue in the long run.
The K5 has the same profile as the K4 but it does look slightly more built up than before, though the weight remains unchanged. High wear areas have received a bit more attention but the grooves throughout the outsole don’t look as deep as before. After a short gander on the treadmill, my initial feeling is that the K5 feels less flexible than the K4. It’s not uncomfortable, but it does seem like a bit of a departure from the previous iterations. While the runners that took to the Kinvara for it’s more minimalist appeal might be disappointed, I think this opens up the Kinvara to a much larger group of runners. Slightly firmer but still smooth on transition, more runners will be tempted to slowly introduce the K5 as an alternative for their long runs.
Overall, the K5 looks to have widened it’s appeal to the masses. The more generous toe box, improved durability, cushier upper and perceived increase in stability make this an easy shoe for runners to transition to from their traditional daily trainers. The blend of a low heel drop (for the midfoot strikers) with ample cushioning in a lightweight package is still very sought after. There might be other competitors in this category nowadays, but with the Kinvara 5, Saucony continues to secure their position at the front of the pack.
The Saucony Kinvara 5 (men’s) is available now and retails for $159. It is available in the above two colours.