Why do I love them?
- They are light and flexible and for someone who ADORES road feel, they leave very little to the imagination. Post surgery, it's been difficult for me to re-learn how to drive through my foot and a minimal shoe helps me remember.
- They have good tread. True to Saucony form with the triangle tread, the Kinvara do a good job of hanging on in wet and ice, of which we've had plenty this winter.
- They seem (to me) to be a true minimal shoe. They took some getting used to and for the first few weeks, I could only do a few miles at a time in them before my feet started to feel worked. Now that I've built up foot strength, they've done a set of 16 through 20 milers with no problems.
- The major drawback for me is the ventilation. While this might be great in the summer, it's not something I want in a shoe in Vermont mid-winter. The only consolation? Easy in, easy out. Like my boat shoes, the Kinvara bails water/slush out as fast as it lets it in. My feet haven't been overly freezing on my runs, but they definitely get wet.
- Not sure how sturdy they are. I don't tend to be tough on shoes, but I've noticed some of the seams starting to split and salt has definitely corroded some of the "invisilight" mesh.
Who they will work for? For runners looking to try out a more minimal shoe, these are a natural transition. Very little difference between heel and forefront, and no posts, heel cups or other supports. For runners who need/like more shoe, I'd still recommend keeping a pair around for track work or short runs to build foot strength. While I rarely say never, I don't think they would work for a trail shoe, if only because the construction doesn't seem that sturdy, and I'd be afraid of a blow out hammering down a trail.