Saucony Kinvara 11 - Women's Review
Cons: Less durable, less padded
Our Analysis and Test Results
Are you in the mood to PR? Yeah, us too! The Kinvara 11 is plush in all the areas where it counts without being burdensome or heavy. Prepare to shave seconds off your mile time in these babes. The PWRRUN+ base is shock-absorbing but feels lighter and more agile than traditional running shoes. The FormFit sole only enhances this shoe's responsiveness making it perfect for runs when you really need to drop the hammer.
Responsiveness and levity work together harmoniously to help your runs feel more effortless. The soft and flexible sole of the Kinvara 11 melds together and culminates in a superiorly responsive shoe. The foam sole allows the legs to bound weightlessly from one stride into the next. Each step propels you forward, and THAT is why these shoes scored so highly in this metric.
The 'Varas, as we are affectionately calling them, continue to be our first choice for tempo runs and middle-distance race days. Our Herculean-effort speeds can be attributed to these sleek and nimble showstoppers — once you slide your feet into these bad boys, we expect you'll be raring to go just as much as we were.
The Kinvara is one of our favorite pairs of shoes, ever. Our most successful runs have been on days when our legs were well-rested, and our feet were in this shoe. It's far from a plush ride, though. Runners looking for a goose-down pillow landing base might find these to be a little too minimalist for their tastes.
The base is springier than it is soft, constructed of PWRRUN+ sole and light-as-a-feather rubber to dampen the impact with each footfall. Runners who land heavily might not be as successful as we were in these shoes. Heavy steppers typically need a bit of underfoot cushion to protect their joints. The Kinvara offers a more lightweight style landing, so be sure to keep that in mind.
This is our A-plus, top shelf, weightless killer. Employ the Kinvara when you are ready to break some tape. These are the lightest shoes we tested — the wizardry that went into constructing them is almost otherworldly.
For runs at breakneck speeds, these shoes deliver. They weigh in at less than 7 ounces per shoe (women's size 7), which is on par with barefoot running style faves. Even as we worked our way into double-digit mileage and higher, these kicks never weighed us down.
The Kinvara didn't impress us as aggressively in this department. Because they are flexible and less rigid, they don't score as high in the durability metric. They outperform other shoes in our test, but their lightweight, foam sole degrades faster than we'd like.
These shoes lack longevity because of their soft rubber soles — the exact thing that makes them so responsive and light. Their soft sole makes them an impractical cross-over choice. These will not be your trail cross-over shoes. Not only is the foam vulnerable to abrasions from the environment, but they also do not offer much in the way of protection, We shudder to think about stubbing a toe in these shoes, so be mindful when wearing this featherweight kick.
Yet another reason we love the fancy-schmancy Kinvara is because of their upper comfort. The heel and collar are spacious but don't slip when in motion; the laces stay tied tight no matter how many hours you spend pounding the pavement, and the tongue is perfectly padded and protects feet from a potentially uncomfortable lace bed.
These shoes bend and adapt to their wearer's foot, and we stand behind the design wholeheartedly. The tongue and collar are the only two truly cushioned elements of the shoe, which makes the upper incredibly comfortable. Even post-run errands are enjoyable because sweaty and swollen feet have ample real estate to flex and move. Grueling workouts have nothing on the Kinvara. Don't be intimated though — while this shoe talks a big game, it is totally appropriate for walks around town too. Due to its low profile and sleek demeanor, this is a great choice for experienced road warriors and beginners alike.
When considering how tightly the FormFit mesh is wound, the fact that these shoes scored as well as they did for breathability is impressive. They seem borderline water-resistant, so we found them to be the perfect beach running shoes. Coupled with their sand-resistant tread, the Kinvara was our top choice for all coastline courses.
For all the shoes in our review, we tested them with cotton socks as well as moisture-wicking socks. The Kinvara 11 performed well with both types of socks, in both inclement weather and on sunny days. Is there anything these shoes can't do?
The value to delivery ratio here is killer. We love that these shoes came in below average in the price category while also providing a stellar performance. Snagging a pair of these puppies will seriously feel like a bargain as you glide into them day after day. The amount of life that you get out of the Kinvaras matches up nicely to their lower-than-average price point. These shoes will be your long term faves for speed days, long runs, and of course, everyday errands and walks.
Lightweight does not a stellar running shoe make. Though, in the case of the Saucony Kinvara 11, it actually does! The just-right underfoot cushion and impeccable stabilizing structures come together to create a really exceptional racing shoe. The support is soft without being imposing, which helped us improve our speed. This is our preferential tempo run shoe, making track days and beach days pass quickly and somewhat painlessly thanks to excellent responsiveness. The Kinvara ranked high in our metrics, responded to imposed demands, and made us feel like we could fly. This, coupled with a friendly price point, made for an easy Best Buy Winner. Our past PRs don't stand a chance now that we have these shoes in our corner.
— Ally Meller