review of the Saucony Kinvara here on Runblogger. Check it out here: http://www.runblogger.com/2010/08/running-shoe-review-saucony-kinvara.html
The idea that humans should be running with a more midfoot/forefoot strike seems to have taken firm hold in certain segments of the running community. Although the question of whether midfoot/forefoot striking is actually a more efficient running style, or less likely to result in injury than heel striking, remains open (in my opinion the science hasn't fully answered this yet), the major running manufacturers are racing to put out more "minimalist" shoes that claim to facilitate this type of footstrike.
One of the newest "midfoot-forefoot" shoes is the Saucony Kinvara. I haven't seen the Kinvara in person, but Saucony has engineered the shoe to have a relatively small heel-to-toe drop (the difference in midsole height between the heel and forefoot) - the drop has been reported
Interestingly, the preview on the Running Warehouse Blog suggests that the Kinvara may be Saucony's answer to the Brooks Launch, which is currently one of my all-time favorite shoes (you can read my Brooks Launch review here). I'd be hard pressed to call the Launch a minimalist or midfoot/forefoot shoe, or even a direct competitor to the Kinvara - it weighs in under 10oz, but it still has an 11mm heel-to-toe drop (22mm heel/11mm forefoot according to Brooks) and is probably the least minimalist shoe that I run in regularly (but that doesn't diminish my highly favorable opinion of it - the Launch did carry me to a marathon PR in Disney!). That being said, if the Kinvara performs as well as the Launch does for me (the Kinvara is lighter and has a lower heel-toe ratio, the Launch has a thinner forefoot at 11mm), then Saucony fans are in for a treat. As I mentioned above, my initial take is that this shoe is more like a cheaper alternative to Newtons - it would be interesting to try them out and see how they feel in comparison (I have a pair of Newton Sir Isaac's that I use sparingly - couldn't get a good feel for them). I've run in Saucony shoes in the past with favorable impressions (I ran my half marathon PR in a pair of now well-worn, out-of-rotation Saucony Fastwitch 2 racers), and it will be interesting to see how it performs once the reviews start coming in (here's one for starters by two friends of mine- Running Shoe Review: Saucony Kinvara vs. Newton Gravitas).
Update 8/29/2010: I have now posted a full, much more thorough review of the Saucony Kinvara here on Runblogger. Check it out here: http://www.runblogger.com/2010/08/running-shoe-review-saucony-kinvara.html
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Update 5/5/2010: For another interesting take on the Saucony Kinvara, check out this post by Donald at the Running and Rambling blog.
Update 6/1/2010: I just edited a review post by two dailymile running friends who compared their initial experience running in the Saucony Kinvara to running in the Newton Gravitas (= Gravity). You can check out their post here on the dailymile Community Blog - Running Shoe Review: Saucony Kinvara vs. Newton Gravitas
Below is a video from Saucony about the design of the Kinvara - based on the number of times they say the word "minimal," it's pretty clear that regardless of whether you agree that this is a minimalist shoe, this is the audience they're targeting:
Saucony ProGrid Kinvara from Saucony on Vimeo.
The Kinvara, Saucony's new lightweight minimal running shoe, has been getting quite a bit of attention. To quench some of your curiosity, we made this video explaining the concepts, inspirations and technologies behind the 7.7oz Saucony ProGrid Kinvara.
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