Me, personally, I went through a pair of Kinvara 1 and Kinvara 2's, and found them to be a good shoe when doing casual running, but experienced a little trouble getting them up to top speed.
|Kinvara TR (left) vs. Peregrine 2 (right)|
Looking for a trail version of the Kinvara, I tried out the Peregrine 1 and Peregrine 2. While the Peregrines fit my feet nearly perfectly, something about the lack of flexibility, combined with a thick midsole, really left me feeling like there was NO energy return in the Peregrine. I still run in them occasionally, but never fell in love with them.
So when the Kinvara TR was announced, I was very excited, could this be a great semi-minimalistic option for those of us who like lightweight shoes with a low-profile midsole?
The stats: Stack height 18 mm (heel) down to 15 mm (forefoot). My size 11 weigh just under 10oz (9.96oz), which is comparable to a pair of Rogue Racers.
|Flat and simple midsole with plenty of flex (Kinvara TR left and Peregrine 2 right)|
When I first put it on my foot, I was surprised by a couple feelings. First, they felt a touch firmer than I expected, which I attribute to a lower stack height than the actual Kinvara, as well as a fairly substantial outsole/rockplate. Overall, I liked the feeling, it makes them feel very racey, and you want to run fast. Second, they are a touch more narrow in the toe box than the Peregrine or Kinvara, in fact, they are almost pointy, more similar to my Adios 2s or Speedcross 3s. The tongue is gusseted, but only towards the bottom, and they use a different lacing design/system than the Peregrine 2. I bought a size 11, which is the same size I wear in the Peregrine 2 as well as the Kinvara 2. They use Saucony's flex film technology in the upper, which works, I guess, to me, it was nothing too unique or special.
|Kinvara TR (left) more narrow than Peregrine 2 (right)|
Running in them, I really notice the minimal heel to toe drop. More than I have noticed in other 4mm drop shoes like the Peregrine, MT110 and MT10s. Turns out the Kinvara TR are a 3mm drop, but does 1mm really make a big difference? Either way, it has taken a little bit of re-adjusting to let my calves and achilles stretch out.
Now that I am more or less used to them, I have really enjoyed running in the Kinvara TR. Total, since they arrived on July 23rd, I have a little over 200 miles on them (wow really?). I guess I must like them, as they have been my go to shoe for several 5 hour long runs, on the Mohican 100 mile course, and in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (more to come on that epic trip). They fit (and feel) more like a racing flat than the road Kinvara or Peregrines.
The lugging on the outsole is somewhat unique with multidirectional lugs facing both forwards and backwards. While the lugs look like something found on the Speedcross, they are very shallow, maybe 3mm in height at the most. Secondly, although they are described as "soft lugs" I found them to be a fairly hard rubber. So much so, that they make a clicking sound on wood bridges, rocks, and pavement. I do wish they were a touch softer, and it would make the ride of the shoe a little more forgiving, but with such shallow lugs, they would wear out very quickly. Maybe there will be a Kinvara Mud with a more aggressive outsole?? (Wishful thinking I suspect).
The outsole also has a few black numbs, that I assume are supposed to function as traction devices, although I doubt they provide much in the way of grip. Compared to the Peregrines outsole, it is a much lower profile, and does a great job shedding mud. Similar to the Peregrine, Saucony advertises a bedrock outsole on the Kinvara TR, which does a great job in providing protection, from what I have experienced thus far. To me, it also appears that there is an exposed rock plate in the forefoot, viewable as the red/yellow sections towards the middle of the above picture. Overall, the outsole provides decent traction and decent protection, perfectly acceptable for this catagory of shoe.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the Kinvara TR is the responsiveness and flexibility. To me, they feel very race ready. Wearing them, my cadence picks up, and I don't notice a bulky heel at all. They have a tightly fitting upper, which may bother some people with high volume feet. While my feet are wide, they are not very tall, so I am accommodated nicely in the Kinvara TR. Compared to the Peregrine, they are lighter, more flexible, and almost feel softer once broken in (I have always found the Peregrine to feel very firm underfoot), but are not quite as protective.
Despite the fact that I have read several less than stellar reviews of the Kinvara TR, I personally am a huge fan. I think I do like the upper from the Peregrine better than the Kinvara, but the midsole + ride easily won me over. Maybe Saucony can mate the upper/last from the Peregrine to this midsole/outsole and have a truely outstanding shoe.
I hope this review was helpful. I will keep updating as I continue to run in these. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.