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Road • December 13, 2019

Saucony Kinvara 11 Performance Review

What You Need To Know

  • Perfectly fine 8.8 oz./251 g for a US M11.0
  • Features all-new PWRRUN midsole and PWRRUN+ topsole
  • Just a fantastic all-around shoe for tempo to easy day
  • Nigel Tufnel could do laps around Stonehenge in this baby

In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, lived an ancient race of people. The Saucony.

They stayed alive for centuries, nay, millenia… before bringing us a shoe. The Kinvara. It started with version 1, then went up to 10.

And that’s where the story could’ve ended.

Why not stop at 10?

Because this one goes to 11.

kinvara 11

The Good

THOMAS: The Saucony Kinvara 10 was a near-perfect shoe, so how could Saucony make it better? For the most part, by leaving it alone. Sure, there are some subtle updates to the upper like reinforced lacing near the top or a puffy jacket-styled heel counter. Other minor updates include smaller openings in the vamp’s mesh and mildly different welded overlays. Nothing wrong with any of these.

Even with the changes, the fit is true to size and identical to the Kinvara 10. The similarity is a good thing. The Kinvara 11 has a streamlined fit and just enough padding in the tongue and collar to add some low-fi comfort.

No doubt, 2020 is going to be a big year for Saucony. They finally have a midsole foam that is worthy of hype— light, responsive, and plush. You will see a version of it in legacy lines like the Ride, Guide, and Triumph as well as the highly anticipated Endorphin line.

The new material is called PWRRUN (power run), an upgraded EVA foam, although it’s remarkably similar to traditional EVERUN in my opinion. In the Kinvara 11, the PWRRUN makes up the midsole, while the topsole is made of PWRRUN+. It can be a bit confusing, but PWRRUN+ is 25% lighter than traditional EVA and 3x more durable (according to Saucony). Other models, like the Saucony Triumph 17, feature a full PWRRUN+ midsole and topsole.

The combo works together to give the runner a soft bounce on landing that doesn’t sap energy. The low stack 4 mm drop EVA is firm enough to keep the Kinvara 11 feeling fast. The formula gives the shoe a smooth feel through your stride’s transition.

For a shoe that can be used for regular training and racing, the Kinvara really can’t be beaten. With a size 11 weighing in at 8.85 oz./251 g, the K11 won’t bog you down. The weight is a hair heavier than the Kinvara 10, which weighs 8.40 oz./248 g, but I dare you to notice a difference.

MEAGHAN: Ah, the Saucony Kinvara 11. Every year I get excited about the latest model of the Kinvara. If you ran in the Kinvara 10 you will notice a lot of similarities. It’s still a light, cushioned trainer that’s great for easy days, but can also handle some faster paces.

The upper hasn’t changed much: you get a seamless engineered mesh with minimal overlays that keep the shoe light and breathable. There’s some serious padding on the tongue and collar which makes the shoes feel extra plush. They have a great step-in feel and a simple lacing system that secures the foot down. Overall, it’s just a really comfortable shoe.

The new PWRRUN midsole with PWRRUN+ topsole helps provide a smooth ride with a little more bounce than the K10. I like the underfoot feel quite a bit. The outsole rubber placement is minimal, but I haven’t had any issues with traction or durability.

The weight went up justttt a bit; my W8.0 came in at 6.8 oz.

Shop Saucony Kinvara – US Shop Saucony Kinvara – EU saucony kinvara 11

The Bad

THOMAS: Functionally, I have no complaints with the Kinvara 11. Some people may have issues with the exposed EVA and durability of the outsole, but it is a calculated decision to keep the shoe light and provide a silky-smooth ride. After 40 miles, my outsole looks good. I’d bet that the Kinvara 11 could easily hang with me for 300 miles. Depending on your foot strike and how rough you are on shoes, you may rack up fewer miles, but it’ll be worth it.

MEAGHAN: After 55 miles, I don’t have much to complain about. As Thomas mentioned, the exposed EVA may start to wear, but so far, so good. Even after 10 miles around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake Trail, the shoes look fresh (on the outsole anyway— the gravel/sand/dirt mixture turned all my uppers a beautiful tan color).

Shop Saucony Kinvara – US Shop Saucony Kinvara – EU kinvara 11

Saucony Kinvara 11 Conclusion

THOMAS: My love affair with the Kinvara line continues. We had a rough spot for a couple of years, but she is back to greatness. This is a shoe that can do it all and do it well, all for a reasonable price point of $110.

It checks all the boxes you want— daily runs, speed work, and race days of longer distances. This shoe is terrific, so turn the amp up to 11 and add the Kinvara 11 to your closet or pod. Perhaps they will come out with a ‘none more black” colorway.

MEAGHAN: The Saucony Kinvara 11 did not disappoint. It’s comfortable, it’s lightweight, and it works for all kinds of running. While I probably wouldn’t use this for my race day shoe, it’s a go-to for easy days, tempos and everything in between. The Kinvara has continued to hold my top spot from Saucony, but with the new Endorphin line coming out next year, it may just slip down a spot, or two… 

You can pick up the Kinvara 10 on sale, or pre-order the Saucony Kinvara 11  in January 2020 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the link below.

Shop Saucony Kinvara – US Shop Saucony Kinvara – EU saucony kinvara 11



Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. BRUNO BOUCHER says:

    You’ve got it wrong guys. The entire midsole is made of pwrrun which is an eva/tpu mix and is used in the new guide and the forthcoming ride and peregrine as well. The topsole is pwrrun+ which is tpu only and is found in the new triumph, freedom and forthcoming hurricane.

    1. Robbe Reddinger says:

      Yep, sorry, it’s been corrected! There was some confusion on early information that we got.

  2. Ben says:

    Why not use PWRRUN+ for the whole midsole like the Triumph 17?
    I thought its better than regular PWRRUN


  3. TK says:

    Picked up my first pair of Kinvaras last fall after reading this review and have absolutely loved them!

    Any recs for a trail shoe that would scratch a similar itch? It will see all sorts of trails but I specifically have a compact gravel race in mind. Peregrine seemed most obvious but I’ve seen reviews that say it’s a little on the firm side. Thanks!

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