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Elemental Footwear: 2013 Running Trend

January 25th, 2013

Today, running footwear goes well beyond traditional, cushioned daily trainers. The minimalist footwear movement came on with a vengeance in 2010-11, and some minimalist runners continue to swear by stripped-down, bare bones shoes that give them an über close to the ground feel.

For runners who want something a little more streamlined than a traditional trainer without going “barefoot,” elemental footwear is where it’s at for 2013. But what exactly is an elemental shoe? Think lower weight, lower offsets, and a platform that sits closer to the ground compared to a traditional running shoe. Some examples are the Brooks PureFlow 2 (View Men’s / View Women’s) and Saucony Kinvara (View Men’s / View Women’s). These shoes have low heel-to-toe offsets, but still offer a decent amount of cushioning.

This year we expect further growth in the elemental shoe category, along with the introduction of a few new models like the Saucony Virrata (View Men’s / View Women’s). The Virrata is part of the “zero drop with cushion” story that we’re seeing from several manufacturers.

Are you ridin’ in elemental shoes? What do you think of this trend?

Alice Running Shoes, Running Sport , , , ,

Introducing Saucony Natural Series

June 1st, 2012

Saucony Natural Series (Virrata, Kinvara 3 and Mirage 3 Shown)

Saucony recently unveiled the Saucony Natural Series, a three-shoe collection of lightweight performance running footwear inspired by the company’s award-winning Kinvara. The Natural Series will introduce the revolutionary and much anticipated Virrata, the lightest training shoe that Saucony has ever built. It also comprises the third and most advanced versions of the brand’s Kinvara and Mirage. Hallmarks of the Natural Series include weight reduction, increased flexibility and greater underfoot cushioning.

Virrata: Zero Drop, Light Weight

The all-new Virrata is a featherweight, natural motion running shoe that weighs in at just 6.5 ounces ─ over an ounce lighter than the Kinvara 3. By combining a 0mm heel-to-forefoot offset with an 18mm midsole of high abrasion EVA+ foam, the Virrata will be one of the most cushioned shoes for its weight on the market. Twenty-four ultra-springy pods on the outsole along with accentuated flex groves in the forefoot allow the runner’s foot to move naturally.

Kinvara 3: A Top Choice for Light and Low

At only 7.7 ounces, the Kinvara 3 (shop Men’s Kinvara 3 and Women’s Kinvara 3) is a performance training shoe that strikes a winning balance between weight and durability. Its 4mm heel-to-toe offset appeals to many runners, and its precision-engineered upper is lighter and more flexible thanks to FlexFilm technology, which secures and stabilizes the foot while reducing overlays. Saucony’s high abrasion EVA+ exposed foam sole allows for lightweight protection underfoot. The reengineered outsole includes a beveled heel to better facilitate a natural rolling movement from heel to toe.

Mirage 3: A Touch of Pronation Support

With a 4mm offset, the next generation Mirage will be almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor. The Mirage is a good choice for runners who want the benefits of a natural motion experience in a responsive ride with a touch of guidance. A supportive TPU arc below the arch of the foot provides nominal pronation support while the beveled, decoupled heel allows for a smooth, efficient transition. A reengineered forefoot with deeper, more substantial flex grooves promotes a smooth and nimble ride. FlexFilm technology welded onto the breathable seamless mesh upper secures and stabilizes the foot, simultaneously reducing layers to the shoe while increasing flexibility.

Natural Series Availability

The Kinvara 3 is available now at Running Warehouse, with new colors on the way in November. The Virrata and Mirage 3 launch in February 2013. All three shoes in the Natural Series come in Men’s sizes 7-13 and 14 and Women’s sizes 5-12.

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

Saucony Kinvara 3 – Our Take

May 29th, 2012

Saucony Kinvara 3 Men's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

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

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

Saucony Kinvara 3 Sneak Peek

January 24th, 2012

Saucony Kinvara 3 Women's Running Shoes (May '12 Colors)

You’re forgiven if you couldn’t tell much a difference between your original pair of Kinvaras and your latest pair of Kinvara 2′s. And Saucony is forgiven for making minimal changes to their most popular minimal shoe last time around – the shoe rocked it, right out of the gate. But to stay on top, it was time for a closer look at the Kinvara, and Saucony gave the Kinvara 3 a top-to-bottom refresh.

Get ready for a whole new look and improved technology in the Kinvara 3, which releases in May 2012. At the initial launch, there will be four Women’s colors (the two shown above, along with a Blue/White color and Grey/Purple color) and four Men’s colors (the three colors shown below, along with a Grey/Red color). Two more Men’s colors and two more Women’s colors will be available in July.

What to Watch For

  • More Durable Sole: Saucony heard the feedback about the durability of prior Kinvara models and responded by adding XT-900 rubber where it counts. Added rubber on the lateral midfoot and forefoot means you can expect more mileage out of your Kinvara 3′s compared to previous pairs.
  • Same Heel-to-Toe Drop: Though many other Saucony models are lowering their offsets, 4mm is still the name of the game for the Kinvara. You know it, you love it, and Saucony didn’t mess with it.
  • Smoother Transition: Already known for its flexible, light, and comfortable midsole, the Kinvara series is now designed to move with your foot even better thanks to a de-coupled and beveled heel, along with added flex grooves in the heel. While the Kinvara remains geared toward a midfoot strike, these updates make the shoe a little more welcoming for heel strikers as well.
  • Still Lightweight: Official weights from Saucony are 7.7 oz (Men’s size 9) and 6.7 oz (Women’s size 8). That’s a few tenths of an ounce heavier than our measurements for the Kinvara 2, but identical to the official weights for the Kinvara 2, so we’ll have to wait to see whether or not the shoe has really bulked up at all.
  • 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.
  • Pricing Uptick: All these innovations come at a price, specifically: ten bucks. MSRP on the Kinvara 3 rises to $100.00. We still think that the Kinvara is a tremendous value, especially since we expect increased durability in the latest iteration.

Men’s Colors

Women’s Colors

Saucony Kinvara 3 Men's Running Shoes (May '12 Colors)

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

It’s Sneak Peek Season

December 22nd, 2011

Today may be the first day of winter on the calendar, but it’s already Fall 2012 at Running Warehouse. Well, kinda. Now’s the season for manufacturers to stop by with their Fall 2012 shoe and apparel introductions, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for plenty of new product sneak peaks from us, including the Saucony Kinvara 3 and Kinvara TR, the expanded Nike Free line, and the Asics Gel Lyte33 and Gel Blur33 2.0.

But before we get to the Fall 2012 introductions, we have a few more Spring 2012 shoes to roll out. We’ll be kicking things off with a first look at the New Balance MT110 and WT110, a much-anticipated update to the very popular MT101/WT101 trail runner. We’re expecting big buzz in the month ahead as the design and feature updates to this trail shoe get more “traction” (sorry, we couldn’t resist).

We’re celebrating this shortest day of the year by kicking off a long string of product intros and launches in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!

Matt Running Shoes , , , ,