I have anticipated the release of the Kinvara 10 for several months, so when I received the limited-edition black box, I opened it with excitement and some trepidation.
I have been running in Kinvaras since version 4 and have developed a long-term affection for the shoe despite the ups-and-downs of various updates over the years.
Fortunately, any anxiety over major changes to the shoe were relieved within the first mile as I relished in the responsiveness of a fresh pair of Kinvaras.
The first thing I noticed was that the Pro-Lock lacing system is finally gone. I was thrilled to see that change, since the feature was constrictive and uncomfortable.
This model is a bit more stiff than previous versions, but still offers plenty of cushion for a comfortable and crisp ride. One of the more notable additions to the shoe are two padded cushions on the interior of the heel counter.
Initially, I was concerned these would cause blisters or place uncomfortable pressure on the Achilles, but this was not the case. They took a little getting used-to, but after a few miles I did not notice them.
Saucony Kinvara 10 General Info
The Kinvara 10 is a light and responsive neutral daily trainer. It is ideal for the road, treadmill, and well-groomed natural surface paths.
This update maintains a 4mm drop, runs true to size and provides a comfortable toe-box. The ride is firmer than Kinvara 7, 8, or 9 which makes it perfect for tempos, thresholds, and long intervals.
The Kinvara has achieved cult-status among runners for good reason and the shoe’s die-hard fan base should be pleased with this year’s update.
Saucony Kinvara 10 Sole Unit
Saucony has once again rearranged the blown-rubber pattern on the Kinvara outsole. This year also sees a further reduction in the amount of rubber utilized in the outsole.
A firm layer of blown rubber is strategically placed in only two locations: under the big toe and the lateral part of the heel.
The vast majority of the outsole leaves the proprietary EVA+ foam exposed in order to minimize the weight of the shoe (6.7oz W; 7.8oz M). The exposed foam is denser and more durable than the Kinvara 9.
The only downside to the outsole update is the lack of blown rubber across the forefoot which results in poor traction in wet conditions.
Saucony continues to employ a chevron pattern in the outsole, now in a tighter configuration for optimal forward momentum and energy return.
Guidance lines extend through the center of the outsole from heel to toe, encouraging a straight and smooth transition from landing to toe-off. (See the evolution of the Kinvara outsole from v8 to v 10 in the photos.)
The EVA+ midsole is a bit firmer in this year’s Kinvara, but paired with the EVERUN topsole, it continues to provide a luxurious ride with incredible response stride after stride.
This shoe wants to go fast and it feels great during workouts and long-distance races. A new Formfit contoured footbed further enhances the comfort of the shoe.
The arch design of the Kinvara 10 traces its roots to the original, but I didn’t notice any difference in the ride or feel of the shoe as a result of this “update.”
Saucony Kinvara 10 Upper Info
The Kinvara 10 upper is constructed of an engineered woven mesh that harkens back to the shoe’s original material, but it leaves behind the durability issues of the first Kinvara upper.
Flexfilm is used sparingly in this update and as a result, the shoe seems to move a bit more naturally with the foot.
The seamless upper is soft and comfortably hugs the foot. To celebrate a decade of the Kinvara, Saucony is offering a limited-edition release in the original colorways.
I am very pleased to report that the Pro-Lock lacing system is finally gone! Intended to firmly hold the foot in place, this feature did nothing but suffocate the midfoot causing discomfort until I substantially loosed the midfoot laces.
The discontinuation of the Pro-lock is a big improvement to the shoe, which never needed it in the first place. Thanks, Saucony!
The thin tongue of the Kinvara 9 is beefed up in version 10, similar to the Kinvara 8. The tongue is stitched into the upper so it never slides around, but rests comfortably on top of the foot.
A noticeable addition to the Kinvara 10 upper are the two cushioned pods that sit inside the heel counter and rest against the Achilles. These “pillows” are intended to provide extra comfort to this very powerful and sensitive tendon.
The cushions felt a little weird on my first couple of runs in the K10 and I was definitely aware of the light pressure against my Achilles. Eventually, I stopped noticing them and have had no issues.
All in all, they seem to be a non-factor: neither enhancing nor harming the fit and performance of the shoe.
Perhaps in removing the Pro-Lock feature, Saucony felt that it needed to offer a replacement technical component and so this is what we got.
Saucony Kinvara 10 Conclusions
The Kinvara is Saucony’s most celebrated contribution to the running shoe industry for good reason, and the 10th incarnation of the shoe continues to provide the lightweight, high-performing comfort that runners have come to expect.
Kinvara 10 combines the best elements of the original model with advancements in midsole technologies to create a shoe that can handle any distance while offering the smoothest ride on the market.
Like a good wine, Kinvara seems to have gotten better with age. I have no doubt this will be my shoe of choice for the Boston Marathon this April.
We purchased a pair of Saucony Kinvara 10 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.