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Saucony Kinvara Pro: Similar in Name Only
By Nathan Brown, Andrea Myers and Matthew Klein

The Kinvara series carries an interesting story and lineage. While many may think of this as a transitional, more minimal or faster shoe, the original Kinvara was meant to combine the minimalist designs with the traditional cushioning found in the majority of shoes the time. It was a shoe meant to marry concepts rather than creating a divisive, extreme product. That same story and idea has continued with Kinvara Pro. Meant to marry the designs of super shoes with training shoes, it features a 3/4th carbon plate, a top sole of PWRRUN PB, a bottom layer of PWRRUN and a secure/snug upper reminiscent of the Kinvara series. The Kinvara Pro is NOT meant as a Kinvara replacement (although rumor is that it will replace the Shift) but rather the next combination building a bridge between concepts.

Saucony Kinvara Pro
Price: $180 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.5oz, 269g (men's size 9), 8.5oz, 240g  women's size 8)
Stack Height: 42mm / 34mm
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Performance/Uptempo Trainer


Matt: The Kinvara Pro is a performance/uptempo/super trainer meant for those seeking a combination of super shoes and training shoes. Featuring an extremely tall stack height of 42mm/34mm with dual layers of PWRRUN PB and PWRRUN, a soft and protective ride sits underfoot. A 3/4 length carbon plate adds moderate rigidity to the sole while Saucony's rockered ride provides a smooth transition forward. A snug and secure upper sits up top providing a performance fit. The Kinvara Pro is a racing shoe for those not wanting the most aggressive super shoe and instead wanting a shoe that is better tuned for easy, long runs and uptempo paces. A solid cruiser, the Kinvara Pro may match the needs of a far greater number of runners than the aggressive pro level shoes on the market. 

Nathan: On paper, the Kinvara Pro couldn't be any different from the Kinvara itself. It is maximally stacked, operates on a stiff rocker, and has three different foams and a carbon-fiber plate that comprise the midsole. Despite the name "Pro", it was not designed for maximal efforts but rather for easy paces and steady state miles. It does not have an aggressive feel, but rather very controlled transitions from heel to forefoot. The Kinvara Pro is for the runner wanting a ton of foam underfoot without feeling mushy and a rolling rocker experience on a stiff forefoot platform.

As a fan of the original Kinvara, I have followed its evolution with curiosity (and sometimes disappointment) over the past several years. I knew the Kinvara Pro would be very different than the original that I loved, but I was interested to see what direction Saucony would take the shoe. The Kinvara Pro fits like a Kinvara, with a narrower and lower volume upper, but the stiff, rockered ride is nothing like the regular version. For me, the shoe feels heavier than its advertised weight, although not quite as heavy as the 9.3oz New Balance SC Trainer, which is my go to for very easy recovery runs. This shoe will be a good option for runners with narrower feet who want a high stack daily trainer that provides plenty of underfoot protection with a firm, rockered ride. 

: New Balance SC Trainer, Adidas Boston 12, ASICS Superblast

Podcast: Catch our convo with Saucony about the
making of the Kinvara Pro and Endorphin Elit
Listen here: Apple | Spotify


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara Pro fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is snug throughout the length of the shoe. The toe box was initially snug and tapered but the upper material stretched with time. It continues to provide a performance fit but does adapt to the foot with time. The thin mesh material does provide decent structure and breathability. The midfoot features a slightly snug fit with a well gusseted tongue that locks the foot down well. I did not have to lace lock this shoe or excessively tighten the laces to get a great fit. The tongue is moderately thick and obviously well secured. The heel is slightly snug with a mildly flexible heel counter. There is some heel collar padding and mild cushioning between the heel and counter. The rounded counter did not bother me but those with sensitivities there may have trouble. I have not worn this shoe sockless due to scratchiness from the mild overlays and the heel collar padding. I also have not had any issues while using socks and found that once you get running, this performance upper disappears and lets you focus on the run. 

Nathan: The Kinvara Pro fits true to size both length and width-wise. At first, the toe box was slightly snug, but it loosened over the testing period. The upper is a moderately thin mesh with a number of thin overlays that help maintain some structure. The upper was thin enough for breathability in the warmer summer weather. Because of the stiffer platform, getting a good lockdown was important so that the heel would not slip, which would make the shoe feel sluggish. Thankfully it was easy for me to get a quality lockdown, though I did notice that the upper loosened over the first number of miles and I needed to re-secure the lacing to prevent slippage. Once the stretching stopped (after 5 or so miles) the lock-down was easy and consistent for me. The heel has a moderately padded, semi-rigid heel counter. The heel counter only comes up halfway, which helps avoid irritation to the Achilles region. The tongue is also moderately padded and gusseted, so I had no issues with top-of-foot irritation or movement of the tongue. Durability-wise, the upper is holding up great, and do not expect any issues that that front. 

Andrea: The Kinvara Pro fits true to size, and very similarly to almost every regular Kinvara I have tested. If you like the fit of the regular Kinvara (including the Kinvara 14), you will like the fit of the Kinvara Pro. For me, the toe box is borderline too narrow, which keeps me from using the shoe on runs longer than an hour due to pressure on my 5th MTP. I would probably do better in the men's version, which is D width. The midfoot and rearfoot fit securely and comfortably, without any pressure points from the upper or the heel collar. The upper is relatively thin and breathable, even when running in 80F and 90% humidity over the past couple of weeks. The tongue is about the same thickness as the upper and has enough padding that I did not experience any irritation from the laces. The tongue is fully gusseted and stays securely in place when running. The upper half of the heel counter is very flexible and the lower half is mildly flexible. The heel collar is mildly padded and I had no issues with security or heel irritation in this shoe.

Like Nathan, I also found that the upper stretched as I put more miles on the shoe, requiring me to further tighten the laces. The upper did not stretch enough to reduce the pressure I felt on my lateral forefoot, however. With the exception of the slightly narrow toe box, I am pleased with the construction of the upper and the overall fit of the shoe.


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara Pro is completely different from any prior Kinvara but remains an uptempo/performance trainer. A top layer of PWRRUN PB, a PWRRUN+ insole and a exposed PWRRUN bottom layer and outsole make for a compliant and softer ride throughout the length of the shoe. The high stack height and cushioning underfoot is noticeable but it is not unstable.  It does not feel extremely bouncy due to the PWRRUN but has plenty of smooth roll to it thanks to the plate and well rockered sole. The heel features a large bevel that is slightly lateral. The forefoot has a solid forefoot rocker but minimal toe spring. The 3/4 carbon plate does add stiffness but not to an irritating degree. Instead, it helps facilitate the roll.

The ride is not super bouncy but is compliant. This makes it best for long runs, uptempo runs and daily training. Faster runners may find this an excellent daily trainer/long run shoe while those in the middle of the pack may find this a great, safer alternative for race day and workouts. I have used my pair almost exclusively for long and easy runs but have several fartleks and one tempo on my pair. The tempo run was not fast but it was easy to keep a consistent pace. The fartleks felt like I was in a training shoe but the midsole responded. This further confirms to me that this is an excellent racing option for newer runners or those not ready for aggressive full on super shoes while staying a great option for those who love some but not too much superfoam and a plated ride. 

I managed to get 82 miles out of my pair before I created enough of a medial wedge that I almost can't handle running in them (but am determined to get to 100 miles). The exposed outsole is not durable for those who scuff outsoles like me or those interested in taking shoes on trail. I have a worn through the lugs in my normal stop and far into the outsole/midsole at 82 miles. Those who are light on their feet and wanting to stay on road will do best with this shoe. 

Nathan: There is a lot going on in the Kinvara Pro. You have a dual-density midsole with PWRRUN on the bottom and PWRRUN PB on top. Between those foams, you have a 3/4-length carbon plate that spans from the midfoot forward. Then on top of that, you have a thick, PWRRUN+ sock liner. In essence, you get everything Saucony has to offer in one shoe (outside of HG). Having so many ingredients could be either unnecessary or lead to something really enjoyable. In this case, each component seems to serve a noticeable purpose. The lower layer of PWRRUN (EVA) is a firmer and less responsive foam that stabilizes the platform and supplies the outsole material. The PWRRUN PB gives a bit of a bounce both at easy paces and when picking up the pace for some harder efforts. The 3/4 length carbon plate helps the shoe operate purely off of the forefoot rocker and provides more structure to the mid and forefoot. The overall result is a rolling rocker sensation with a touch of softness and bounce. There is an 8mm drop, but feels a bit lower given the compliance of the foam and the rocker geometry. Finally, I have gotten a bit of wear on the outsole on the posterolateral heel, more than I typically get in a shoe at this timeframe. I will be putting more miles on this shoe over this year to determine if that wear continues or stops at a certain point. So that is my one concern so far -- but Matt will probably help us know the outsole durability most.

I currently have over 60 miles on my pair. I have taken it for shorter easy runs, a 2-hour and 20-minute easy long run (16.4 miles), a three-mile tempo, and some fartlek work. By far my favorite run in this shoe was the easy long run. There was plenty of cushioning, the rocker matches my mechanics well, and it felt effortless. In fact, I did that run yesterday and I haven't had any soreness despite that being my longest run since my marathon in 2021. The shoe performed pretty well for the tempo run and I hit some nice splits, but I did start to notice that the shoe felt bottom-heavy. This shoe is best tuned for daily mileage paces, long runs, and mild uptempo or steady-state work. It can (and did) work fine for sprinkling in some speed work, but it almost feels too stiff and bottom-heavy to really throw down a harder effort. This is currently my long-run and recovery-run go-to. When I'm feeling beat up, this is the shoe I've been wanting on my foot. 

Andrea: While the fit of the Kinvara Pro is very similar to the regular Kinvara, the ride couldn't be more different. While the regular Kinvara is known for its flexible forefoot, lower stack, and mild forefoot rocker, the Kinvara Pro has a 3/4 length plate, high longitudinal bending stiffness, high stack, and has Saucony's Speedroll technology, which is its highly rockered rearfoot and forefoot geometry. This is not to say that people who like the Kinvara will not like the Kinvara Pro, just that they are two very different shoes for different purposes. My first run in the Kinvara Pro was on the treadmill, with a great deal of marathon training-related fatigue in my legs. I had to take the shoe off after two miles because the front half of the shoe felt heavy and like it was making my anterior tibialis work overtime. All of my subsequent runs have been post-marathon, on much fresher legs. I have not experienced the same feeling of overuse of the anterior tibialis, but the shoe continues to feel heavy in the forefoot, like the balance of weight in the shoe does not match up with my foot. This could be due to a combination of factors, including the 8mm drop, my midfoot strike pattern, the stiffness from the carbon plate, and the early forefoot rocker. I did notice that the heel of the shoe feels like it gets in the way at initial contact, which could result in me landing in more dorsiflexion that I normally would. The large amount of medial and lateral sole flare in the rearfoot may also contribute to this experience.

I have since done a number of 4-7 mile easy runs in the Kinvara Pro, and I have found that the midsole has softened up slightly, but overall the ride remains stiff and rockered. I have not tested the shoe at faster paces because I am still in recovery mode from the marathon, but I also would not choose to use it for faster runs due to its weight and the clunkiness of the rearfoot for me. If the toe box were a little wider, I could see this shoe being one of my go-to recovery runs shoes, but for me, the SC Trainer provides a better fit and more comfortable ride, despite its higher weight.

The outsole has been surprisingly durable considering there is no outsole rubber coverage. I have 30 miles on my pair and there is minimal wear in the lateral midfoot. The lack of rubber coverage does reduce the shoe's traction in wet conditions. A few of my runs have been on wet roads and I definitely noticed some slipping, particularly when turning. 


Matt: The Saucon Kinvara Pro is a borderline stable neutral shoe. The large sidewalls and wider sole provide some inherent guidance in the rearfoot and forefoot. The midfoot does taper a tiny bit but the medial midfoot is filled in more than the lateral side. The plate does add some torsional rigidity which combined with the well rockered sole adds additional guidance forward. The sole is quite soft due to the lack of an outsole, which mildly reduces some of the guidance methods. The use of slightly softer PWRRUN PB for the sidewalls also does not provide as much guidance but it still is enough to provide some. I have had no major problems taking this shoe on longer distances but do start to fatigue toward the end. Thus, this shoe is borderline stable neutral but those with significant stability needs may have to look elsewhere.

Nathan: The Kinvara Pro is a maximally-stacked neutral shoe. The PWRRUN bottom portion of the midsole, carbon plate, sole flaring, and side walls help keep the shoe structured and centered while avoiding being unstable. Given the compliant PWRRUN PB, overall high stack height, and lack of ground feel, this is not a stable neutral shoe in my opinion. 

Andrea: The Kinvara Pro has more stability elements than the regular Kinvara, but remains a neutral shoe. The wide platform, extensive sole flaring in the rearfoot and forefoot, carbon plate, and rocker geometry help center the foot and smooth transitions. The high stack height greatly reduces ground feel and makes the shoe a little less stable overall. I agree with Nathan that this is not a stable neutral shoe, and that runners who have more significant stability needs may need to look at something else.

Thoughts as a DPT: Tailors Bunions in Runners
By Andrea Myers

Most people have heard of bunions, which affect the 1st MTP joint, which is the joint at the base of the big toe. Fewer people have heard of tailor's bunions, which affect the 5th MTP joint, at the base of the little toe. I have mild tailor's bunions on both feet, which makes me sensitive to shoes that are too narrow in the toe box (like the Kinvara Pro). A tailor's bunion can be problematic for runners in similar ways to regular bunions, particularly with shoes that are too narrow. The condition got its name in the 19th century because tailors, who tended to sit crossed legged while working, would put excessive pressure on the outsides of their feet for hours at a time, and develop a callous on the outside of the 5th MTP joint.

In modern times, tailor's bunions are seen most commonly in teenagers and adults, occurring much more frequently in women as compared to men. The causes of tailor's bunions, just like regular bunions, are multi-factorial, and include genetics relating to foot structure, shoes that are too narrow in the toe box, and specific activities/foot positioning (such as sitting cross legged for extended periods of time). For runners, shoes that are too narrow in the toe box and landing or pushing off too far laterally can cause symptoms from a tailor's bunion. The highly repetitive nature of running can cause not only pain, but the development of a callus and/or swelling at the 5th MTP joint. If you have this condition, the most important things you can do for your foot health and your running are to make sure that all of your footwear (not just running shoes) are wide enough in the toe box and to avoid high heels. When you are walking or running in a shoe, you should not feel pressure on your 5th MTP or little toe. You can also check the width of the shoe by removing the sock liner and standing on it. If your forefoot is wider than the sock liner, the shoe is going to be too narrow for you. Outside of running, you should avoid wearing high heels or any shoes that are pointy or tapered in the toe box. Fortunately, there are a number of brands of dress and casual shoes that look nice, but still have plenty of room in the toe box, including two of my favorites, Naot and Dansko. Tailor's bunions typically do not require surgery, but if you are experiencing pain from a tailor's bunion and changing your footwear has not helped, you might consider seeing a health care practitioner who specializes in the foot and ankle for assessment and treatment. Non-surgical treatment may include callus shaving, use of a metatarsal pad or bar, injections, or orthotics designed to off-load the 5th MTP joint.


Ajis, A., Koti, M., & Maffulli, N. (2005). Tailor's bunion: a review. The Journal of foot and ankle surgery : official publication of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, 44(3), 236–245.

Thomas, J. L., Blitch, E. L., Chaney, D. M., Dinucci, K. A., Eickmeier, K., Rubin, L. G., Stapp, M. D., & Vanore, J. V. (2009). Diagnosis and treatment of forefoot disorders. Section 4. Tailor’s bunion. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 48(2), 257–263. 


Matt: I have really enjoyed the Kinvara Pro and was sad that the exposed outsole did not last me longer. It has been an excellent long run, daily trainer and uptempo shoe for me. My first major shoe recommendation is to add slabs of outsole rubber similar to the Kinvara. A little piece in the posterior lateral section would make this shoe last so much longer for someone like me. I would like to see a little more room in the forefoot, especially since this is a longer effort type shoe. Like Nathan and Andrea, I also would like to see a little more PWRRUN PB in this shoe both for a tiny bit more pop as well a little lighter weight. 9.4 oz is fairly heavy for "slower racer", although it is almost exactly the same weight as similar shoe from other brands including the Adidas Boston 12 and Hoka Mach X.

Outside of some durability concerns, it has been a fun shoe to run in. Saucony was careful not to overlap with the Endorphin Speed series and has done a decent job with their first iteration of this series. I do understand why it is called the Kinvara Pro (listen to our podcast with the Saucony team), but consumers may not know this and may walk away confused. I would highly suggest getting this story out as much as possible as it will not only explain the history of this product but also what and who it will work best for.

There is a lot to play around with on this shoe, and I don't know how much the Saucony team has played around with it already. However, I'd love to experience different ratios of PWRRUN PB to PWRRUN and see if there are ways to shave off some of that bottom-heavy feel. I also think it would be worth considering a touch of outsole like is used in the original Kinvara (which wouldn't help the bottom-heaviness, but may help with durability). Based on the preliminary data from Saucony's lab (which you can hear in our podcast episode), I think a shoe like this should be used to help accurately describe the ideas of "fatigue-resistance" or "running economy at lighter efforts". Those are easily-misunderstood terms, and having a nuanced and scientific look at the benefits of the shoe like this would be helpful (outside of any marketing). I also think, in that realm, that the name can be confusing if you don't understand the intent behind the name (again, you can listen to this in our podcast episode). Kinvara makes you think "minimal" and "pro" makes you think fast. The Kinvara Pro is not really either of those things. Some rebranding may be helpful to capture the realm in which this shoe truly shines and what sort of tool it is.

Andrea: The two features of the Kinvara Pro that did not work for me are the narrow toe box and the weight distribution of the midsole. I think I would have been more comfortable in the men's version of the shoe, which would likely be wide enough that I would not experience pressure at my 5th MTP. That is more of a personal preference, although runners with a wide forefoot might proceed with caution.

I think the total weight and overall distribution of weight in the midsole could be refined to improve the ride of the Kinvara Pro. As a midfoot striker, the large amount of sole flare in the heel, combined with the stiff midsole and 8mm drop, made the shoe feel clunky for my mechanics. Heel strikers may have a different experience in the shoe entirely.

Saucony could also do better with the name of this shoe. When I hear "Kinvara Pro" I think of a lower stack, PEBA midsole, 5k/10k racing shoe, which is exactly what the Saucony Sinister is. This shoe would be a more appropriate update to the Endorphin Shift.


Matt: The Saucony Kinvara Pro was designed as a middle pack racing shoe and long run shoe. A melding of super shoes and training shoes, it is a worthy successor to the Saucony Endorphin Shift (still not confirmed). It continues as a high stack option that many will be able to race in without the same aggressiveness of a super shoe that can be problematic for some people. The shoe is pace tuned to excel at slower to moderate paces, making it a more accessible option for many especially at its price point.

As Nathan mentions below, it will still work for those with toe extension issues looking for a plated shoe with minimal toe spring. It is not the same high level stable neutral shoe as the Shift but fortunately Saucony is doing stable neutral extremely well in other shoes like the Ride 16 and Echelon 9. The snug upper does make this more of a performance oriented shoe or one that will work better for those with normal to narrow feet.

There are now a few shoes on the market like the Kinvara Pro that combine stiffening agents, super foams, traditional foams (kinda), maximal stack heights and unique geometries. The Hoka Mach X, Adidas Boston 12 are some of the few coming to market as faster training/performance shoes. This opens up the options for those wanting a faster shoe without spending as much on a full shoe shoe. This is the moderation category that still wants to move quick and is another example of the industry attempting to fill the needs of those wanting a balance between crazy aggressive super shoes and daily trainers. These would have been called marathon racers back in the day if not for the high amounts of cushioning found in the super light but maximal racers now. I think more of the average population needs to be racing and training in these until they have more speed and experience, making these a gateway shoe similar to the original Kinvara (but in a different direction).

The Saucony Kinvara Pro is a maximally stacked shoe with a stiff rocker designed for lower and moderate-effort runs. It comes in at $180, which is, in my opinion, really good value and where the price should be. When you consider other shoes in this category, it sits at a similar price (NB SC Trainer) or below (ASICS Superblast) comparable models. Similar to the Saucony Endorphin Shift, this stiff forefoot rocker can be a great option for those with great toe extension issues. This is also aided by the fact that this shoe has minimal toe spring. Given the stiff rocker and very high stack, I do think this is a shoe better suited for a shoe rotation versus the only shoe you wear. I would recommend pairing this with a more traditional trainer or shoe with some more flex in the forefoot. The two shoes that came to mind are the Puma Velocity and ASICS Tri-Noosa (or Evoride). Those shoes would give you a more flexible forefoot but give somewhat of a similar foam experience, despite the two foams being different between those two models.

The Saucony Kinvara Pro is a stiff, high stack, and low compliance daily trainer. It fits like a regular Kinvara, but that is where the similarities between the two shoes end. I do think there is a place for shoes like the Kinvara Pro, because they make excellent recovery shoes when your legs and feet are tired. For me as a midfoot striker, the Kinvara Pro does not work as well with my mechanics as the New Balance SC Trainer. At $180 for a shoe with PWRRUN PB and a 3/4 length carbon plate, I think the shoe is a good value, particularly if the outsole holds up better than its lack of rubber coverage would lead you to believe.


Fit: B+/A- (Performance fit. Snug toe box at first that opens. Highly secure upper. Counter stiffer than it needs to be.)
A- (Excellent ride at slower, moderate and uptempo efforts. Not for extremely fast efforts, working best for long consistent runs and longer uptempo efforts)
Stability: B+/A- [Borderline Stable Neutral] (Solid sidewalls and sole width but soft ride mildly reduces this)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Solid pace tuned shoe and race option for middle pack runners and long run shoe for others. Could use a tiny bit more guidance and outsole rubber for durability as well as balancing the softer ride)
Personal: B+ (I have really enjoyed this shoe but the outsole durability limited my time in the shoe. Exposed outsoles and I generally do not get along, so would like to see even some mild outsole rubber to help people like me get more miles out of these)
Overall: B+/A- 


Fit: A- (Overall good, a little tight at first and required some adjustments)
A-/A (Some early wear in the posterolateral heel, but will monitor. Bottom heavy at faster paces. Very smooth rocker and quiet ride)
Stability: B+ (Not a lot of ground feel, but sole flaring, side walls, plate, and dual density help)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (This was a complicated recipe that works)
Personal: A (My go-to for long runs and recovery runs)
Fit: B+ (overall comfortable and secure, except toe box a little narrow, causing pressure on 5th MTP)
Performance: B 
(Shoe feels bottom heavy and heel gets in the way of midfoot landings. Narrow toe box limits run duration to < 1 hour.)
Stability: B (a neutral shoe, although wide platform and high longitudinal bending stiffness help center the ride)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (midsole geometry could be improved for midfoot strikers)
Personal: B (narrow toe box and clunky heel limit comfort and performance for me)
Overall: B


Saucony Kinvara Pro
Price: $179.95 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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