We finally received the new shoes for Fall/Winter 2014!
The Mizuno Wave Hitogami has a new cool, blue colourway. The Hitogami has been super popular this season. It is a neutral lightweight trainer that offers a touch of support thanks to Mizuno’s proprietary Wave Plate in the outsole. Enough cushioning for runners to easily tackle distances up to 21km (or further), but with the responsiveness that you would want in a race day shoe.
Sorry ladies, the local distributor for Mizuno dropped the women’s Wave Hitogami this season. We’re still trying to get our hands on some, so fingers crossed!
The much anticipated Saucony Kinvara 5 also finally reaches our shores! Well, the men’s model at least. The ladies’ K5 is slated to be available in early October.
The K5 is latest iteration of Saucony’s beloved 4mm heel drop lightweight trainer. The K5 sees a change in the upper from the K4 (cue the cheers & applause). The K5 has a softer, breathable mesh that translates to a slightly wider fit in the toe box. The outsole has seen the introduction of a few more spots of high durability rubber in those high wear areas for improved durability. What might split the Kinvara lovers is the fact that the K5 seems a bit stiffer than the previous versions. While runner’s that gravitate to the Kinvara for it’s ‘natural’ feel might be slightly disappointed, I think the perceived increase in support will encourage more runners to pick up the K5 for it’s increased versatility.
Last but not least, the guys at Vamos have released another 3 models of their very eye-catching socks.
All products are available in store. See you soon!
We’ve got some new shoes to get the week started! Part 1 of our Saucony Fall-Winter 2013 shoes were just delivered today.
The women will get to run in the eagerly anticipated Kinvara 4 before the guys will this time. The Kinvara has been one of those rare shoes were each update actually makes the shoe better. This time the Kinvara 4 boasts an upgrade to Powergrid cushioning (it used to use ProGrid) as well as a redesigned Flexfilm upper for better fit and comfort. Retails for $159.
We missed out on these last season so we’re glad to have the Fastwitch 6 in store this time round. The Fastwitch 6 has a very lightweight and breathable FlexFilm upper. Coupled with drainage ports and a bit of support in the midsole, you’ve got a great lightweight option for triathlon and just about any other run up to the longer distances. Retails for $139.
The Grid Type A5 racer is in the house! With this really attractive colourway, the A5 scores lots of points in the looks as well as the comfort & performance categories. The FlexFilm upper securely locks down your foot and the SSL EVA midsole provides a surprising amount of cushioning in such a lightweight package. Start preparing for your next PB. Retails for $149.
We finally took delivery of the Saucony Grid Virrata this week so here’s a quick run down.
The Virrata is Saucony’s lightest and most flexible training shoe. It is part of Saucony’s running Strong mantra and the Virrata has been stripped down to the essentials. What is left is a shoe that provides an excellent amount of cushioning while allowing your feet to move as naturally as you would like.
The Virrata weighs in at 185g for a men’s US8. For a lot of runners that pull a pair of these on, this will likely be the lightest shoe they have in their cupboard save for their racing flats.
The real big deal about this shoe is not so much how light it is but the fact that the Virrata is a Zero Drop shoe. Zero whaaaaaat? This just means that your foot is flat when in the shoe as opposed to having your heel raised, as would be the case in most other shoes. Provided you’re into this sorta thing, having a zero drop shoe is supposed to place your foot in a more “natural” position that will promote the use of better biomechanics when running.
The Virrata is very flexible and your feet now have the ability to do all sorts of cool things that those traditionally structured shoes did not allow. Even with zero drop, the Virrata have a substantial amount of cushioning. However, having said that, this still is more of a training aid than a full on training shoe for most of us. Having zero drop does put an additional strain on the body, especially if you’re trying to move over to these from a regular daily trainer.
The upper is constructed from a breathable mono mesh and features an internal bootie construction that gives the shoe a sock-like feel, not unlike the older Nike Free. There is minimal stitching in the upper so going sockless in these shouldn’t be an issue. The Virrata runs true to size, provides a very close fit (a little like the Kinvara 3), so some runners with wider feet may have some issues. The shoe is not overly narrow, but will fit snugly.
Overall, I think many will be happy with the Saucony Grid Virrata. Saucony has produced a lightweight shoe that ticks all the boxes on flexibility, natural feel and cushioning. While a select few may use the Virrata for the bulk of their training, I can definitely see many of us having a pair of them to use for drills, functional training and those easy runs.
The Saucony Grid Virrata is available at The Runner’s Gait and retails for $139. The women’s model will be in store soon!
We’ve got a few more models on the way, but as of this afternoon, we have 2 brand new shoes from Saucony to share with you.
First up is the ladies Fastwitch 5. This is a lightweight trainer that doubles as a race day option. It is designed for mild to moderate pronators shares the same drainage holes in the outsole of the shoe as the Type A5 Racer.
Next we have the men’s Kinvara 3! We did a write up on it a few weeks ago and you can read all about it here!
The respective men’s and women’s models of the above mentioned shoes will be coming in soon, along with the Type A5 Racer so stay tuned!
I’ve had the opportunity to try out a pair of the Saucony Grid Type A5 for the last 4-5 weeks and here’s the rundown (hurhur, get it? Run-down…?). Ok, bad wordplay aside, here’s the review!
We had the Grid Type A4 in our store last season and it was a big hit. Lightweight and responsive, Saucony had a very understated but very good racing flat on its hands. This season, the Grid Type A5 retains the outsole and midsole design from the A4, but with an upper that utilizes its new Flexfilm technology, has managed to cut even more weight off.
I usually wear a men’s US8 for all my running shoes, but I went up half a size for the A5. At 155g, the A5 is the same weight as my current racing flat, the Lunarspider R. But that’s sort of where the similarities end. In terms of fit, the A5 isn’t as snug as some other racing flats I’ve tried on. Having said that, that isn’t to say that my foot was sliding all over the place in them. On the contrary, the breathable mesh upper with new FlexFilm bonded overlays was extremely comfortable and held my foot in place firmly. The absence of stitching in the upper makes this shoe very triathlete-friendly. No socks? No problem!
The finger loops at the heel ensure ease of entry, especially for those athletes looking to get these shoes on in a hurry. Another thoughtful design feature carried over from the A4 is the drainage holes in the sole of the shoe. If you perspire like a waterfall, these prevent your shoes from resembling a fish tank by the end of your race and reduces the incidence of forehead slapping when you accidentally throw water on your shoes as you race through the aid stations. The tongue also has elastic straps on each side to keep it firmly in the centre, no matter how much running you do.
When you pull these shoes on, you just want to run fast. The A5 has a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, which is now standard for Saucony’s performance range. Add that to the close-go-ground feel of this low profile racing flat and what you get is a responsive, lightweight shoe ready to take you to the races!
If you are using a shoe with a larger heel drop, you may feel some tightness in your calves initially as your body adapts to the A5. Another thing to note is that while the upper of the A5 does lock the foot in place well, it’s minimal design does mean that your foot will not receive as much support, so be prepared! Once that is out of the way, the A5 is a real joy to run in. It isn’t going to be your first choice for long runs, but Saucony’s Grid cushioning does provide a very comfortable ride for such a lightweight pair of shoes. Runners will be surprised by the comfort of the A5. The toe box is somewhat roomier than other shoes in its class. However, none of this takes away from the performance of the shoe.
The Grid Type A5 is a great option for speed work and racing. It is built for speed, but doesn’t do this at the expense of comfort for the athlete. This shoe will be especially popular with the triathletes thanks to its transition-minded features and seamless upper. Don’t be intimidated by the A5’s categorisation as a “racer”, runners should definitely give this shoe a a try.
Thanks again to Ruth from Royal Sporting House for arranging for this shoe trial, I’ve really enjoyed using them.
The Grid Type A5 will be available at The Runner’s Gait in the 3rd quarter of this year in a new colour way. We can’t wait!
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to try out the new Saucony Kinvara 3. These shoes were launched on 1 May in the US, but will only reach our shores in Q3. The Kinvara 2 didn’t change too much as an update to the original Kinvara. The Kinvara 3 though, is a whole other kettle of fish, so even though the sample passed to me was a size too big (sample size is a US9, I almost always run in a US8), I gladly accepted!
Now this is a pretty good looking pair of shoes. They weigh about 220g for a US9 so its right up (or down, depending on how you look at it) there with the other lightweight trainers. The upper is constructed from a very breathable, open mesh. One of the things you’ll notice is that there are no seams whatsoever.
Saucony’s new FlexFilm overlays are welded to the upper and claim to improve the fit of the shoe. After slipping the Kinvara 3s on and lacing them up, I have to agree with them. The heel cup features a HydroMax collar that helps to secure the heel while helping to wick away moisture. The seamless interior of the upper is extremely comfortable and you should have no problems running sock-less in these.
One of the only complaints that I have heard about the previous iterations of the Kinvara was its durability. There were some cases of tearing in the upper near the side of the last toe, but the bigger issue seemed to be with the life of the outsole. Saucony has removed blown rubber from the unnecessary areas and put them where they were needed most, i.e. the area on the outside of the midfoot.
With its 4mm heel drop (differential between the height of the forefoot and the heel), this shoe is targeted at the forefoot/midfoot strikers. However, the combination of a de-coupled heel and the ProGrid cushioning in the heel make sure that heel strikers are not punished. The Kinvara 3 provides a fair amount of support for a neutral shoe and will appeal to mild pronators.
So far, I’ve used the Kinvara 3 for a couple of runs ranging from 5-12km and I’ve enjoyed each one of them. This is by no means a ‘barefoot’ shoe. It is however, super comfortable and well fitting in the upper, responsive underfoot with a minimal heel drop (4mm). Depending on your preference for cushioning, the Kinvara 3 is a great option as anything from a race day option to a lightweight trainer for the track to a long run shoe to get the miles done in.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve tested these a size too big, but have not experienced any blistering, hot spots or slippage. I like that the cushioning is substantial yet firm, lending itself to a smooth, snappy transition at foot strike. We’ll have to wait and see if the durability has truly been improved, but for now, I think the Kinvara 3 is a great update to an already popular shoe and I will definitely be keen on getting one in the right size when Q3 rolls around.
I’ll be back with a durability update in a few weeks!
Big thanks to Ruth from Royal Sporting House for arranging for me to try these shoes out.
With the buzzwords like “minimalist”, “barefoot running” and “midfoot” flying around these days, it is easy to get caught up in the hype. As the Runner’s World ‘Best Debut’ for 2010, the Saucony Progrid Kinvara may just be the right shoe at the right time.
At only 210g for a men’s US8, the Kinvara is likely to be one of the lightest shoes in your cupboard. But don’t be mistaken, this is not a racer. The Kinvara is positioned as a lightweight trainer that can be used for your daily training as well as those quicker race days.
So what really makes the Kinvara different from every other trainer, besides the fact that it went on a diet? To answer that, all we have to do is take a look at the sole of the shoe. The most significant feature would be the minimal heel-to-forefoot height differential. Having a smaller differential between the heel and forefoot promotes midfoot striking which will definitely appeal to many of the runners who are attempting to make changes to their running style (away from heel striking). The Kinvara’s heel-to-forefoot differential is 4mm, while shoes like the Asics DS Trainer’s is closer to 10mm.
Even though the Kinvara is lightweight, cushioning has not been sacrificed. There is a progrid (Saucony’s trademark cushionig system) unit in the heel to absorb the shock when the foot strikes the ground and a full length EVA foam midsole. Youw ill also notice that the Kinvara uses unique triangular lugs of carbon rubber on the outsole which provides traction while reducing weight.
The seamless mesh upper is extremely comfortable and the synthetic overlays at the midfoot help to provide runners with a snug, socklike fit. The heel cup is very secure and uses a hydrator collar lining to maximise wicking of moisture.
Technical mambo-jambo aside, I really like the Kinvara’s. While designed for neutral runners, the shoes provide a surprising amount of stability while retaining a very responsive ride. I have fairly low arches and did not think that the lightweight, mesh upper combined with its overall minimalist design would work well for me. But I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort and support I felt when I used them. I was further impressed when I did a video motion analysis and saw how these neutral shoes were able to reduce the severity of my pronation! The Kinvara provides a feel that is similar to that of the Nike Free Run+, but with the benefits of added support and cushioning. While the Nike Free Run+ is a great training tool for runners seeking to improve their technique and get that ‘barefoot’ feeling, the Kinvara does one better by being able to be used as a daily trainer.
The Saucony Progrid Kinvara is a lightweight, responsive shoe designed for neutral runners but provides a surprising amount of support and cushioning. This is a versatile shoe that is as comfortable on long runs as it is on those high tempo work outs. If you are looking for a new shoe for training and/or racing to spice up your collection, this could be the shoe for you!
Plus you can be sure that no one will ever miss you in shoes as bright as these! Orange for the men and pink for the ladies, the Saucony Progrid Kinvara is available at The Runner’s Gait.