Immediately upon slipping on the shoe for the first time, I noticed the added width to the toe-box. This is a welcome improvement from the pointy-toed Kinvara 7.
The structural integrity of the shoe is unchanged from the previous version and provides Kinvara’s signature simplicity and style that have solidified the shoe as a fan-favorite over the past eight years.
The ride is noticeably softer than preceding iterations of the Kinvara, yet remains responsive providing an expert balance of comfort and performance.
The Kinvara 8 requires absolutely no break-in. Use it for speed work, easy runs, long runs, and everything in between.
Saucony Kinvara 8 General Info
The Kinvara 8 is true to size and provides a snug midfoot fit. This shoe gives runners the benefit of a wider toe-box and 4mm heel-to-toe offset. The shoe was road and natural-surface tested, performing well on both.
The shallow ridges in the outsole did not pick up road debris or rocks. The Kinvara 8 provides a soft but snappy ride that is ideal for long runs and longer tempos.
The shoe’s die-hard fan base will be pleased to discover that this version stays true to the no-fuss run-ready spirit of the Kinvara.
Saucony Kinvara 8 Sole Unit
Both the midsole and outsole of the Kinvara 8 retain the substantial changes that were made in version 7. Injection blown rubber in strategic locations on the sole provide optimal durability and protection on contact zones while keeping the shoe lightweight.
The calculated placement of injection blown rubber under the forefoot and lateral arch in an a flexible chevron-configuration maximizes traction while distributing shock more evenly across the sole.
Injection blown rubber is absent along the lateral forefoot of the outsole, leaving the foam midsole exposed to ground contact. Despite being a neutral runner, I noticed visible wear in this location after only 50 miles.
I expect that runners who supinate even slightly will experience significant and accelerated wear in this location, decreasing the lifespan of the shoe.
In a departure from the firm midfoot of the Kinvara 7, the light and luxurious ride of earlier models returns in this update due to the extension of the EverRun topsole through the full length of the shoe.
The resilient EverRun SSL midsole is dense yet surprisingly soft. EverRun is engineered to maintain its integrity longer than standard EVA foam.
Saucony Kinvara 8 Upper Info
The two predominant technical features of the Kinvara upper are carried over into version 8: FlexFilm and the Pro-Lock lacing system.
FlexFilm overlays melded to the upper all but eliminate seams and provide a flexible fit that moves harmoniously with the foot.
In this model, the Flexfilm is limited to the laces and the area where the upper meets the midsole rather than covering the entire toe as with previous versions. The result is improved flexibilty and breathability.
I was disappointed once again to see the internal strap system, previously referred to by Saucony as the Pro-Lock lacing system.
I find this strap system unnecessary and restrictive to the natural movement of the midfoot that occurs while running.
Despite the narrowness of my foot, I had to substantially loosen the laces and strap elements in order to run comfortably.
A well-constructed shoe, such as the Kinvara, should not require additional technology to brace the midfoot. This feature could cause significant discomfort for runners with a lower arch or wider foot.
Another disappointing feature of the Kinvara 8 is the laces. They are thin, flimsy, and require slightly more effort to tie especially in chilly temperatures with cold hands.
Buyers are definitely not getting their $110 worth when it comes to the laces. I’m perplexed as to why Saucony felt the need to change the laces in the first place.
The shoe’s heel counter is forgiving and soft against the Achilles. I did not experience any rubbing or blisters from the Kinvara 8.
Saucony Kinvara 8 Conclusions
The Kinvara has long been Saucony’s flagship shoe for good reason. The Kinvara 8 is true to form and continues to provide lightweight, high-performing comfort for neutral runners of all types.
Version 8 boasts a wider toe-box and the softness of earlier-model Kinvaras.
These improved features are why the Kinvara 8 will be my go-to shoe for summer and fall marathon training.
We thank the nice people at Saucony for sending us a pair of Kinvara 8 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.