Saucony Kinvara 3 – Our Take

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Saucony Kinvara 3 Men's Running Shoe

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With a familiar fit and feel for Kinvara fans, the Saucony Kinvara 3 sports a fantastic new look and smoother ride.
(View Men’s Kinvara 3 and Women’s Kinvara 3)

Big Updates

  • More Durable Sole: Based on wear testing feedback on prior Kinvaras, Saucony added XT-900 rubber on the lateral midfoot and forefoot areas of the outsole.
  • Smoother Transition: The Kinvara 3 remains geared toward a midfoot strike, but is now more welcoming for heel strikers thanks to a decoupled, beveled heel and added flex grooves in the heel.
  • Redesigned Upper: Look for a streamlined upper with improved fit thanks to the use of FlexFilm™, a thin material bonded to the upper to secure your foot to the sole a little better throughout your gait.
  • Widths Now Available: For those of you with a wider foot, Saucony is producing 2E widths in the Men’s version and D widths in the Women’s version.

Road Test

So how does one of the most buzz-worthy shoes of 2012 measure up on the road? Our testers say that the Kinvara 3’s updates make for an even more intuitive, natural-feeling ride. And that’s saying something, given how many runners felt right at home in prior versions of this light and fast shoe.

We compared the Kinvara 3 with the Kinvara 2 side-by-side (or left foot vs. right foot). Our testers often struggled to remember which shoe was on which foot, without looking down at their feet. Many testers noted an even more responsive, springy feel in the forefoot compared to the Kinvara 2.

The platform feels remarkably similar, but the consensus is that it has been firmed up ever so slightly. Right out of the box, don’t be surprised to note a firmer ride, but in our experience it softens up after a few runs.

We found a lot to like in the new upper. For starters, it just plain looks great, with many testers giving high marks to the “fade out” color schemes in particular. The FlexFilm overlays help the Kinvara 3 hug your foot and provide more structure than in prior designs. Breathability is great and testers reported no hotspots. Flexibility in the forefoot is impressive and the material reacts better to foot flex with less crinkling.

Testers were split on how they liked the lacing design on the latest Kinvara. It’s nothing fancy – just a traditional eyelet design – but it replaces gillies that were on the first two versions. The gillies prevented puckering of the shoe at the base of the tongue, which can happen with the new design when the laces are cinched tight. On the other hand, most testers felt more situated in the midfoot and better able to control the fit with the latest lacing system. It also puts less pressure on the top of the foot because there are more crossing points across the tongue.

The Kinvara 3 looks and feels like a very well-built shoe. Material quality is high as is the build quality. You can tell that Saucony put some serious effort into the research and design of this shoe, creating a package that should remain popular with fans of the Kinvara series and expand the fan base as well.

Runners Say

“The ride feels just a bit firmer to me than in version 2, but softness and smoothness are still dominant.” – Jonathan

“The Kinvara 3 makes me feel like I’m getting the most out of every step. The energy return is amazing.” – Lindsay

“The latest Kinvara is more accommodating than past models when I heel strike. But really, it still feels best for mid and forefoot strike patterns.” – Matt

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