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Saucony Kinvara 14 Review: Big Changes to the Legacy Lightweight Trainer
By Senior Contributor Andrea Myers and Chief Editor Matthew Klein

With over 14 years of life,  the Kinvara series has maintained its place as one of the (if not the most) popular lightweight running shoes on the market. Debuted back during the minimalist era as a transitional shoe between super minimal shoes and normal trainers, it has continued to provide contrast even with the rise of super maximal training and racing shoes. Throughout this time, it has provided a haven for those who still wanted a light and simple shoe for daily training, workouts, and even races. True to its recent focus on performance, Saucony took on the task of updating the Kinvara to fit within today's footwear trends while maintaining its place as a lighter, transitional shoe. Amazingly, while version 14 has experienced an expected increase in stack height, it is the lightest this shoe has ever been. While still staying true to its roots, the newest version makes some changes that make this shoe double down on performance. 

Price: $119.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7 oz, 200 g (men's size 9), 6.2 oz, 117 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 31mm / 27 mm
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer/Workout Shoe/Plateless Racer


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara 14 returns as a new-age Kinvara, maintaining its super light weight while increasing the stack height. A new 31mm/27mm midsole combined with a PWRRUN+ insole makes for a flexible, cushioned and fast ride that rolls quite well at a variety of paces. A new snug upper sits up top, providing a secure but mildly stretchy fit. These new features, combined with the lightest weight of any Kinvara, make this a performance-driven lightweight trainer/racer for those that want a fast shoe that can handle short to moderate-distance training, workouts and even some races.

Andrea: Fans of the Saucony Kinvara love the shoe for its low drop, flexible sole, excellent ground feel, and natural ride. The stack height of the Kinvara has gradually increased from its original 23mm/19mm in 2010 to 28.5mm/24.5mm in last year's Kinvara 13. The 13 still felt much like a classic Kinvara, just with a little more midsole underfoot. The 31mm/27mm stack height Kinvara 14 fits like a Kinvara, but has a different ride thanks to the thicker midsole and less flexible forefoot. Despite its thicker midsole, it remains one of the lightest trainers on the market and will be a great option for runners without stability needs.

SIMILAR SHOES: Brooks Hyperion Tempo, ASICS Evoride 3, New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara 14 fits me true to size length-wise in my normal men's US size 10. The width is snug throughout the length of the shoe, particularly in the toe box. The upper mesh is light and does stretch, so over 15-20 miles it has begun to conform to my foot. The fit is snug overall, making it better for those who want that or with narrow feet. The midfoot is also snug and features a gusseted tongue. This further wraps around the foot, creating a secure hold. I did not have to lace lock this shoe at all, but did lock down the laces, which interact well with the upper. The heel fits snug with a moderately flexible heel counter and mild heel collar cushioning. The counter did not bother me, but those with sensitivities should approach with caution.

The mesh upper is dual layer that interacts with the gusset of the tongue. The inner wrap is quite comfortable against bare skin and I was able to run sockless without major issues. There are some seams at the transition between the heel and midfoot that did rub a bit with longer miles, so if that is an area you are sensitive, you may want to wear socks. The fit overall is on the snug and performance side of things, but the upper does have some stretch that will accommodate those with narrow to normal width feet.  

Andrea: The Saucony Kinvara fits mostly true to size, although narrow in the forefoot, in my regular women's 9.5. The heel and midfoot feel normal in width to me, but the relatively sharp taper of the toe box puts pressure on my toes and causes a burning sensation in the ball of my foot after 3-4 miles. I am normally able to reduce pressure on the ball of my foot by loosening the laces at that area, but the new lacing system (no traditional eyelets, just loops attached directly to the upper) of the Kinvara 14 made it almost impossible for me to loosen just one part of the laces. If I wanted the shoe to be tight enough to prevent heel slippage, the lacing in the forefoot tightened as well. Those with narrow feet may do well with the Kinvara 14, but those who prefer a more squared off toe box like I do may be uncomfortable in the Kinvara. I found the fit of the toe box of the 13 to be more accommodating for my foot shape than the 14.

The tongue is fully gusseted and feels like it has a little too much material, as it folds underneath the laces. This did not cause any discomfort on the dorsum of my foot, but I think the tongue and laces could be improved. The semi-rigid heel counter is only present in the lower half of the rearfoot and there is moderate padding internally. I found the fit of the heel to be secure and comfortable. The upper material is a breathable mesh that looks and feels similar to the mesh of the Endorphin Pro 3. There are medial and lateral overlays that run from the rearfoot to the ball of the foot,  but the overlays only provide mild additional structure to the upper. 

Kinvara 13 (left) compared with Kinvara 14 (right)


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara 14 is an extremely light, moderately high stack height lightweight trainer. The new 31mm/27mm provides notably more cushion underfoot with the PWRRUN+ insole providing a little bounce upon impact. Despite this increase in stack height, the new Kinvara 14 comes in at an incredibly lightweight of 7 oz (men's size 9). This is noticeable, feeling sleek and fast on foot. The cushioning is a little softer than previous, but is not mushy. The midsole foam responds quite well to pace changes which, with the lighter weight, makes it easy to push into faster efforts like intervals and tempo efforts.

Despite the increase in stack height, there is still a moderate amount of flexibility thanks to flex grooves throughout the front half of the shoe. The increased midsole does make the shoe a little stiffer than the high flexibility of prior models. This is compensated well for with a larger heel bevel and forefoot rocker. This combined with the flexibility makes for a smooth transition and toe-off. This made this shoe an excellent choice during faster track workouts and shorter tempo runs. I prefer a little more flexibility for extremely fast efforts and found this to be an excellent non-plated choice during 200m-400m intervals. I have used this shoe for a tempo run and if you like extremely light simple shoes, this may be an excellent choice for a variety of race distances (up to 10k for most people and the half/full marathon for those with more experience in less shoe). The increased stack height made this an easy shoe to train in for moderate distances. I have run up to 7 miles in this shoe and felt I could keep going if not for the narrow upper. Longer than 8-10 may be challenging for some, but the Kinvara 14 will do fine as a lightweight trainer for those that want a light-cushioned shoe.

The outsole is mostly exposed midsole but I have had no issues with durability after 25 miles. There are specific sections of reinforced rubber at the posterior lateral heel that I only see a tiny bit of wear at. I still only expect an average to below-average number of miles for lightweight trainer given the exposed outsole. The traction is decent on road and track. The flex grooves seem to grip on most surfaces, but wet road and track are problematic with the exposed midsole. This shoe can handle well-groomed trails, but I would not take it on rocky or aggressive surfaces with its outsole design.

Andrea: The length of my runs in the Kinvara 14 were limited by the discomfort it caused in my forefoot. The longest run I did in the shoe was 6 miles and I was ready to take the shoe off at that point. It is possible that I would feel differently about the shoe if I had tested the men's version in my size, which should be wider in the toe box. Despite the discomfort, I really liked the ride of the shoe and wish I had a wider toe box version to test. It is incredibly light on foot and the upper disappears when running. The shoe has more ground feel than what you might expect from a shoe with a 31mm/27mm stack height and the more pronounced rocker geometry combined with the 4mm drop make midfoot landings feel particularly natural.

While past Kinvaras have had a mild forefoot rocker and flexible forefoot, which gave them a natural feeling ride where you really used you own mechanics for push off, the more aggressive forefoot rocker and stiffer forefoot of the Kinvara 14 makes push off feel a little more guided. It doesn't feel forced or overly aggressive, but it is different from previous versions of the shoe. Due to the discomfort I experienced in the shoe, I did not test it for any workouts out of concern the burning would get worse as the workout went on. Like past Kinvaras, I think it will perform well at any pace and its light weight could make it a nice racing option for those who prefer a non-plated shoe. I have done many races in previous versions of the Kinvara and feel that the ride of the 14 is similar enough that those who liked the 13 will like the ride of the 14 (as long as you have a narrow forefoot). Traction in the shoe is sufficient on dry roads, but the lack of rubber coverage does result in some slippage on wet roads. The lack of rubber coverage will also likely reduce the overall durability of the shoe. I have 35 miles on my pair and there is already some mild wear on the lateral midfoot.


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara 14 is a neutral shoe but has had some guidance elements added. The most prominent is the addition of medial and lateral sidewalls in the midfoot. Additional elements include a far more rockered sole. The heel bevel is larger and centered. The forefoot starts farther back and combined with the decent flexibility provides a smooth forward roll. Outside of the elements, this is a moderately flexible neutral shoe with some mild guidance along each part of the foot. 

The Kinvara is a classic neutral shoe, but version 14 has some enhanced guidance elements as compared to the 13. The medial midfoot sidewall feels higher as compared to a much more minimal lateral sidewall. The midfoot sidewalls do give some structure to an otherwise very flexible upper. The sole flare in the rearfoot and forefoot is wider than in previous models, but they do not feel biased in a particular direction. The enhanced rocker geometry also provides more guidance than past Kinvaras. The Kinvara remains a purely neutral shoe, but these elements do help center the foot and provide a smooth ride.

Thoughts as a DPT: A Real World Example of the Preferred Movement Pathway
By Andrea Myers

The original Kinvara was instrumental in helping me get back to running nearly 13 years ago. I have been running since age 4, but as a child and teenager I never thought about the shoes I was running in - I just went to the running store with my parents and got the latest version of whatever Asics neutral trainer was available (and later whatever XC and track spikes fit me best). After taking a break from running for several years in my 20s due to persistent patellofemoral pain and subsequently taking up cycling, I decided to try running in the cycling off season as a way to get through the New England winter. I bought a pair of Asics Cumulus and started gradually building up mileage. I immediately noticed how stiff and clunky the shoe felt and how the heel felt like it got in the way at initial contact. The more I ran in the shoe, the more I thought about how I wanted a more flexible, lower drop, lighter weight shoe. I read about this new shoe that Saucony had come out with called the Kinvara and thought that it might be what I was looking for. I got a pair and immediately felt like it allowed me to run the way my body naturally wanted to - landing on my midfoot and having a sole flexible enough for the hilly terrain here in Connecticut.

I write about this personal experience as a real world example of Dr. Benno Nigg's concept of the Preferred Movement Pathway (Hoitz et al 2020). This concept holds that each individual has their own preferred running gait pattern, and that it may be best to find a shoe that supports an individual in their particular pattern. An individual's muscle activation patterns may play a role in an their preferred movement path; therefore, a running shoe design that reduces muscular activity without forcing the runner to alter their preferred movement path may be useful in improving running economy or reducing injury risk. For me, I had learned a lot about listening to my body in the years that I took off from running, both as a professional cyclist and as a physical therapist accumulating more experiencing in treating patients and thinking about my own biomechanics. I wonder if my preferred movement pathway changed in that time period as a result of taking time off running, developing different muscle recruitment patterns as a cyclist, and improved overall strength and stability as a result of a more comprehensive strengthening program. Do I run the same now as I did when I was 17? I don't know, because iPhones weren't around back then, so I don't have any video footage to analyze and compare my running gait now compared to back then. I suspect that my biomechanics have changed and that is why the type of shoe that used to work for me as a teenager no longer does. Shoes are tools, and the right tool for a given person may not be the right tool five years from now as that person's body changes.

As my friend and recent podcast guest Megan Searfoss says, "listen to your foot brain" when picking out running shoes, because your feet (and the rest of your body) will tell you what the right shoe is based on comfort and how well it works with your preferred movement pathway.


Hoitz, F., Vienneau, J., & Nigg, B. M. (2020). Influence of running shoes on muscle activity. 
PloS one15(10), e0239852.

Kinvara 1 vs. Kinvara 13 (right)


Matt: I have really enjoyed running in the Kinvara. It brought back memories of the beauty of simplicity in a lightweight running shoe. It has been fun to run fast workouts in a shoe without a super foam or plate and still believe that my legs have a little speed left in them. The increase in stack height provides plenty of protection but the shoe maintains its lightweight, sleek feel. The only challenge I had was with the snug/narrow toe box. This would not normally be a major issue with the mild/moderately stretchy upper, but I am still recovering from an (unrelated to this shoe) toe fracture that is incredibly sensitive to narrow or low-volume toe boxes. For those with foot sensitivities, this one may be challenging. The older versions where not narrow or wide, but had just enough room up front. I realize that something has to give when you drop a 31mm/27mm shoe down to 7 oz. If it is possible, I would love to see Saucony open the toe box back up while maintaining what they have done. While this could happen from opening up the midsole, a simple solution would be to add a little bit more volume up front to allow the upper to stretch more. The foot is already secured well in the midfoot by the tongue wrap, so this simple change may allow a bit more room. 

Andrea: I think I would really love this Kinvara if the toe box was wider, or if the laces allowed me to open up the forefoot while still locking down the rest of the laces. I would recommend using similar eyelets to what is used on the Endorphin Pro 3, considering the upper material is nearly the same. I would also recommend refining the tongue so that the material does not fold over when the laces are tightened.

The Kinvara 14 is a different shoe as compared to the original Kinvara due to its increased stack height and more aggressive rocker geometry. Saucony might consider making a separately named shoe that is more like the original Kinvara that is less rockered and has a more flexible forefoot. Many runners prefer the Kinvara of 2010 and there are fewer and fewer options for those of us who like a more natural feeling shoe. While the Type A9 is a nice racing flat, it is not as protective as the Kinvara and is not a great option for longer training runs or races. 


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara 14 has the most drastic changes of any prior model. The stack height has increased, the insole upgraded, the weight is lighter, the fit is snugger and the ride is more performance-oriented. It feels faster on foot, yet more cushioned. The snug fit up top further contributes to the faster feel and those with narrow feet will especially enjoy the new upper design. The Saucony Kinvara 14 is for those who want a moderately flexible, snug-fitting, extremely lightweight trainer/racer that can handle a variety of short to moderate-distance efforts. While this new version may be polarizing for prior Kinvara users, the updates are in line with Saucony's continued performance push forward. 

Andrea: The Saucony Kinvara 14 is a lightweight, neutral performance trainer that will work best for runners without stability needs and a narrow forefoot. It has a moderately rockered ride that works well for midfoot strikers and provides more guidance through push off as compared to previous versions of the shoe. Runners who prefer shoes with a wider toe box may be uncomfortable in the Kinvara due to the inability to fine tune the tightness of the laces and a more severe taper in the forefoot of the shoe. For those with a narrower forefoot, the Kinvara could be a great option for runs at every pace and even racing.


Fit: B/B+ (Snug fit especially in the forefoot. A little more room in the midfoot with a snug heel. Light mesh that eventually breaks in and conforms to the foot)
Performance: A- 
(Super light for fast workouts and enough cushioning for short to moderate daily mileage)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (High sidewalls and slightly more rockered ride makes this a borderline stable neutral shoe that is offset by the narrow sole)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Great redesign that melds the Kinvara with new-age concepts while still making it the lightest one ever. )
Personal: B+/A- (I have enjoyed everything about this shoe except the narrow toebox. It is a great fast shoe for those that want a super light but non-plated and non-super foam shoe. Just too snug up front for me. )
Overall: A-/B+

Fit: B- (Narrow toe box combined with inability to loosen laces at forefoot resulted in burning pain in forefoot. Otherwise, upper is very comfortable and disappears when running, midfoot sidewalls and secure heel provide excellent lockdown.)
B+ (Increased forefoot rocker and stiffer forefoot result in a more guided/less natural push off than previous versions. Performance for me most limited by forefoot discomfort.)
Stability: B- (A very neutral shoe, but midfoot sidewalls and rocker geometry provide some guidance)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Comfort filter concept originally led me away from traditional stiff, clunky performance trainers)
Personal: B (I want to love this shoe, but toe box fit makes it too uncomfortable to continue using)
Overall: (This is a different shoe compared to every previous Kinvara. Some people will like it better than previous versions, but fans of the original may find it too rockered and stiff for their liking.)


Saucony Kinvara 14
Price: $119.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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