Friday, May 14, 2010

The Saucony Kinvaras make a great first impression

Saucony Kinvaras ready for their first run
Today's run (Central Park): 3.2 miles at 8:47/mile

My shipment from Saucony arrived yesterday and I'm very excited to put these two pairs of lightweight trainers to the test. Lightweight is the word, the Kinvaras practically floated out of the box when I opened it. The pictures promised a different looking shoe and the Saucony Kinvara is certainly different. The outer layer on the upper is translucent and it looks like it was air brushed. My kids thought they looked amazing and my daughter asked me if they came in kid sizes. But looks are one thing, fit and feel are another and I put them to the test today at noon in Central Park.

The Kinvara is a minimalist shoe that can be used for racing. It's more flexible on the forefoot than the other running shoes that I own with an extremely small drop off from heel to toe that encourages mid foot landing. When I put them on I had the same reaction that I had when I tried on a pair of Nike Frees - it felt more like a slipper than a running shoe. Once I began to walk in them and got a sense of how they worked with the foot I realized they were nicely responsive. I started my run at the bottom of the lower loop and was happy to note that the ride was no harder than the Brooks Adrenalin's although the feel was different. I moved along well and passed some runners, even on the hills. The sun was out and it was very humid so the run was already feeling like hard work by mile 2. However, I maintained a decent pace throughout the entire distance and was pleased to average 8:47 per mile. I have to give credit to the shoes for helping me attain that pace since I can't think of another factor that would explain it.

Over this weekend I hope to test the other pair of shoes I got from Saucony, the ProGrid Tangent 4's. Like the Kinvaras, these shoes are extremely light and have some stability control for those, like me, who pronate. The fit, like every Saucony I've ever put on my foot, feels natural and correct. As much as I'm excited about the Kinvaras I'm thinking that the Tangents may be competition for the Brooks as a daily trainer. I'll be testing both pairs in the coming weeks. I'm still not sure whether I'll race on Sunday but if I do I plan to wear the Kinvaras. Since it's just a 5K on Sunday I'm not too concerned about racing with new shoes. Today's running experience seems to validate that decision.

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