Select BITR Apparel On Sale. Shop Now

Saucony Kinvara 5 Review

The Saucony Kinvara is a beloved shoe and it seems everyone has their favorite model. When the Kinvara came out it was a very unique shoe. It was even light enough to be considered minimal. Saucony lowered the heel to toe differential from the industry standard 12mm+ to a scant 4mm drop, and the shoe still offered enough cushioning for long runs. Durability was my issue with the first two models. I would tear through the lateral edge of the shoe which had no blown rubber on the outsole to protect it. Later models added the rubber and increased the miles I could get out of the Kinvara. The Kinvara isn’t as unique as it once was. We review a lot of shoes that look for the Kinvara niche. Where once you couldn’t find a light (7.7oz.) trainer, now almost every major and mid level running shoe company offers their own version of the Kinvara formula. I have always been a fan of the Kinvara line up and the latest version is no exception. The Kinvara 5 is a solid update to one of my favorite shoes.

The Good

The shoe looks dope. The fit has been improved with the addition of “PRO-LOCK® technology, a dynamic fit system that moves and flexes with the foot, making the shoe feel more like an extension of the body.” The pair of Kinvara I was provided were a size 11, I typically wear a size 10.5. I credit the PRO-LOCK®  for making the shoe fit well. Something about the midsole feels a hint softer and more flexible. I have been trying to figure out if it is in my head or not. I have slipped on my Kinvara 4, and think the feel of the midsole is slightly nicer in the Kinvara 5. The upper mesh of the Kinvara 5 has been updated as well. Saucony says it is more durable and has more stretch to it. They have kept the basic configuration of blown rubber on the outsole. There looks like there might be a little more rubber. My favorite thing about the Kinvara is still there, a great ride. All the way through my stride the kinvara just feel natural. The runs in the Kinvara 5 are fun. It makes me think My May Marathon could be run in a pair of these shoes.

The bad

uh. um. If I told you there was something I didn’t like about this shoe, it would be just to make you feel like I was being even handed. I like this shoe, the only thing I don’t like about it is that I think the 10.5 would fit me a little better. I will buy a pair.


I knocked the Kinvara 4 from the top shoes I was recommending, the Kinvara 5 goes back up to the top 3 I would recommend. If you liked the Kinvara 4 you will love the Kinvara 5. I am interested in what people who liked the Kinvara 1 & 2 think of the 5. Where the upper used to be a more minimal design, the K5 has a sophisticated upper with flex film, PRO-LOCK®, more blown rubber on the outsole. The shoe maintains the low weight 7.7 for men 6.7 for the women’s but it now looks more like a trainer than before. First question a lot of people asked me was if the toebox of the shoe was wider. The Kinvara 5 is built on the same last as the previous models, so short answer… no. However, Saucony says the new mesh on the upper is more flexible and should feel wider for those that need the room. I have Narrow feet and felt like there was a lot of room in the shoe. I am also reviewing a shoe 1/2 a size larger than I normally wear. Another issue some people have had in the past is the heel collar and blisters. Saucony has addressed the issue with “super soft new material called RunDry® that creates an amazing step-in feeling and helps guard against hot-spots and chafing during the run.” The Kinvara 5 gets a HIGH purchase recommend from me. I continue to love these shoes.



Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Bryan says:

    Thomas – great video on the shoe – you cover the key questions I have as a K4 owner. One request – can you turn the background music down on future videos? It’s good stuff, but too hard to hear you over.

    Thanks, and please keep up the awesome reviews!

    1. Thanks Bryan. The videos are a work in progress, I will turn down or get rid of the music all together. I appreciate the feedback. -T

  2. Luc says:

    Stll wearing my Kinvara 2 after 6 half marathons! Bought 2 identical pairs on sale a couple of years agoand I’m ready for the 5th generation.
    The local Saucony rep mentioned that the 5 will be in stores in May, which is too late for an Apr. marathon 🙁

    1. They are selling the Boston edition in April 😉

  3. Charles M says:

    I’ve had Kinvara 1, 2 and 4, as well as Fastwitch 5 — while I agree the ride was great in all the shoes, durability was horrible.

    The mesh in my Kinvara 1 and 2s tore and eventually shredded within the first month.

    My Kinvara 4s started wearing through the forefoot of both shoes, again within the first month — thank you to RRS for replacing the shoes (Saucony’s customer service is lame).

    I look at the new Kinvara 5s and the forefoot mesh looks like it was made to disintegrate — I hope I’m wrong.

    I moved to Nike Free 3.0 V5 — good cushioning, comfortable fit, and fantastic durability.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully the updates addressing the K5 will help.

  4. Kate Looney says:

    Huge Kinvara fan since making the switch to a lightweight trainer a few years ago. Just ordered a pair of 3s and 4s (on liquidation) mainly for the price break. Looking forward to trying the 5s after reading this!

    1. You will love the 5s.

  5. Jim Mullahy says:

    I received one of the early releases of the Kinvara 5 Boston editions. Unfortunately, I this feels like a different shoe from prior versions, and not in a good way. The upper is wider; feels like more material on the upper to make it wider from prior versions — likely to alleviate complaints of the upper being too tight in prior versions resulting in the upper ripping easily. The widening though, took away from the midfoot wrap that gave the prior versions a racing shoe like fit. These are too loose through the midfoot, causing bunching of the upper. I’ve run in them a few times and my forefoot just slips all over the place in them. The 5s also have heel counter that is thicker, higher and harder than prior versions. Although the 4 uppers were slightly tight and would rip around 150-200 miles, I’m staying with those. Those with wider feet may love the shoe, but for me, I’ll need to switch to a different line when the 4s are gone. Sorry Saucony, but you ruin a great shoe.

  6. Chad M says:

    Kinvara 5 out of the box are the most comfortable version I’ve tried on. (Have been wearing Kinvara’s since V2) Just got the Boston Ed. What a sick shoe!

    Saucony really addressed the narrowness of V4. So much, I could probably go a 1/2 size down in V5. However, the new Pro-Lock system really locks down the shoe to fit quite comfortably.

    Addition of more blown rubber on both the medial & lateral sides looks to hit in all the right places.

    Haven’t weighed them yet, but in a feel comparison between K5 and Skechers GOrun 3 & GOmeb Speed 2, the K5’s feel as light if not lighter.

    Really liking them. Gonna give them a test on Sunday during Frederick 1/2.

  7. Patrick says:

    I am a new runner so all these different types of shoes is all confusing to me. I currently run in nike zoom structure 15 and they feel great. I really like the look of this new Kinvara 5. I’m guessing it is not a support shoe? All the coolest looking shoes are not for us pronators.

    1. Patrick, I think you would like the K5, I am not a big believer in the pronation/motion control approach to running shoes. Studies show if you pronate, your foot still does it inside shoes that are there to prevent it. With that said you need to run in what works for you. If you can get the Kinvara and mix it in with your current shoe you can see for yourself.

  8. Chad M says:

    Now that Kinvara 5 has hit, I’m curious if anyone else thinks they are running at least a 1/2 bigger than v1-4? I have a pair of Boston Ed. size 12 and they are huge compared to v4 and v3.

    I like the new wider toebox, but overall, the shoe is really big.

  9. Michelle says:

    I’m interested to see how the change in the heel is. I had a pair of version 1, and while they were usually fine on runs, I definitely had some chafing issues on my achilles whenever I walked in them.

  10. Kristine says:

    “I am interested in what people who liked the Kinvara 1 & 2 think of the 5.”

    I was a huge fan of the 2s and couldn’t get comfortable in the 3s or 4s — I’ve brought my 2s out of retirement while I try to shop around for new long run-worthy shoes. I tried on and bought a pair of 5s today. They fit a lot like the 2s I think; the sole/arch is much more flexible than the 4s and the cushioning around the ankle is much softer than in the 3s. Just as my 2s were starting to really wear down, the release of the Kinvara 5 is a life saver!

    Great review!

  11. tim says:

    Is Kinvara 5 fit more roomy (bigger) than Kinvara 4? Is Kinvara 5 fit similar than Mirage 4?

    1. The upper material has more stretch so people with wider feet are finding the K5 more accommodating.

  12. Steve E says:

    I have about 30 miles into my K5s and have been disappointed. They are lightweight and soft, but there is bunched-up material on the upper when I try to make the forefoot snug enough, making the upper uncomfortable. If the upper is not tightened, my forefoot slides around, causing hotspots on both feet. Where are my K2s again….?

  13. Damien says:

    Hi, does anyone know if the K5 will be available in 2E?

    1. We don’t have that information, currently it does not show a 2e option on I am guessing you already checked there. When I speak to the Saucony rep I will ask.

  14. Niklas says:

    Any updates on if there will be a 2E version?

    1. I am not sure on that one Niklas. If I here anything I will let you know.

  15. Stu Mossman says:

    I’m also searching for the 2E. It’s hard enough finding good shoes in a wide fitting but Saucony has been my rock in recent years!!

  16. Ran says:

    Just got some K5’s – been running in K1/K2/K3’s for years. skipped the K4’s due to the narrowing of the toebox.

    For all previous iterations – I wore a size 12, but the toebox is so much bigger in the K5’s that, after fitting the size 12, I decided they felt too roomy, so moved down half a size to 11.5 – will see how that works…

    1. Good luck, hope you love the shoe.

  17. Mario says:

    Great review.
    I have several pairs of the K2.
    Just bought two pairs of the K5 which feel as if there is way more room in the toe box even though as you mentioned it is built on the same last, which by looking at the two shoes side by side you would never think. I used the K3 for about a month before going back to the K2s just something about the forefoot that I was not comfortable with. I’m excited to run in the K5s right out of the box I noticed there are less hot spots compared to the 2s when not wearing socks.

    1. Good luck with the 5s I hope you like them.

  18. Romel says:

    Hi at all,

    I want to share my experience with the Kinvara 5.

    Yesterday the parcel with the Kinvara 5 was delivered and I was curious about the first run.
    I have a Kinvara 4 as well and I wanted to compare it with its successor.

    My first impression after comparing both shoes is that the Kinvara 5 is a bit smaller than the K’4. Both are in size US 9.5, but I felt that it could be little bit too small.
    Overmore, the K’5 seems a little stiff with the new FlexFilm cover.

    So after the small first comparison, I went for a run and what I recognized after around 3km is that the shoes need more muscle power. They strain the culfs more than the K’4, which isn’t a disadvantage, its just a different stress of muscles.

    The main problem for me is, that after running it for around 12km, I knew that it is definitely a little bit to small. I got blister on the front of my toes.

    So for anyone, who had the K’4 and thinks about a K’5, better take the next bigger size, to feel comfortable.

    As a conclusion: I felt in love with the K’4 from the very first slip in and run. But for the K’5 I couldn’t say same, and thats not only because of the size. The new FlexFilm is too stiff which makes you feel it, when you lean the foot to a side.

    Think I will sell the K’5 and get another pair of K’4s.


  19. George Clark says:

    This update is going to force me to switch from Kinvaras although I have been running marathons in them since K1. In about 150 miles the mesh above my toes has holes in it so I actually wrap tape around the shoe prior to running. I have actually switched back to some old 3’s that had a bit of life and will be buying up the old versions on ebay. The prior versions had a film layer/pattern that held them together. Even my 1’s which I still have since they set my PR split in the sides but are still runnable while these ones are done.

  20. Moshe S. says:

    I have the 4 and 5 and I love them. The only thing I noticed is something sticks out a bit behind my left small toe on the 5’s, but it doesn’t cause any blisters or any discomfort while running and I have run anywhere from 3 mile up to 12 mile long runs in them. maybe it has to do with the Pro-Lock frame but I don’t notice it on the right foot.

  21. Amanda says:

    My first Kinvara was the 3, and I love it -fits like a glove! So when I needed a new running shoe, thinking I wanted a diff style with more cushion, I couldn’t have been more wrong; I ended up back with the Kinvara. I just got the 6 and found my usual running size 7 was way to small/tight, so I got a 7.5. And because I love the Kinvara so much I got the 5, BUT I found it fit more like my beloved 3 and got it in my usual 7.
    I’m a happy runner as long as I’m in my Kinvaras! 🙂

    1. Keep thos miles coming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post
Next Post
Previous Post
Read Article
February 24, 2014

Puma FAAS 300 v3 Review

Next Post
Read Article