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Shoe Review: Saucony Kinvara 11

Two runners wearing the Saucony Kinvara 11 running shoes while standing on a road

Entering its second decade, the Saucony Kinvara 11 serves fresh updates to the lightweight roadster without changing its speedy soul.

Saucony tweaked the upper and swapped out the cushioning for a new PWRRUN midsole, but the shoe’s quick turnover and minimal construction live on. With Saucony’s FORMFIT technology and improved durability, the Kinvara 11 is primed for speed.

Fleet Feet testers put the Saucony Kinvara 11 through the paces to see how the new edition compares to generations past. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

Saucony Kinvara 11

Weight

6.9 oz (women), 7.8 oz (men)

Drop

4 mm

Category

Neutral

Use

Everyday training, racing

Surface

Road, track

Saucony Kinvara 11 Fit and Materials

Two runners wearing the Saucony Kinvara 11 running shoe

The Kinvara 11 is both well-cushioned and lightweight, thanks to a minimal upper and PWRRUN midsole.

A single piece of mesh forms the upper around the forefoot and midfoot, which gives the Kinvara a smooth feel inside and out, and thin, minimal overlays taped to the upper lend a touch of structure without much additional weight.

The Kinvara’s sleek build and tidy aesthetic feel driven by purpose more than anything else.

“There’s nothing distracting here,” one tester says. “Saucony builds this shoe to be light and fast, and it feels that way right when you step in.”

A padded tongue offers a plush step-in feel, and an elastic strap on each side stretches and hugs your foot for a secure, bootie-like sensation in the midfoot. The heel collar and heel cup mold nicely to your heel without being overly structured or cumbersome.

The forefoot has plenty of room to wiggle your toes, and the laces aren’t anchored by any overlays or reinforcements, which one tester appreciated.

A group of runners standing around while wearing the Saucony Kinvara 11 running shoe

“The forefoot feels really soft and pliable,” he says. “It flexes naturally, and I don’t feel any weird pinching at the ball of my foot. It’s really comfortable.”

Saucony says it designed the PWRRUN foam to be more durable, so designers left parts of the foam exposed instead of coating the shoe with rubber. Instead, they strategically placed rubber in high-wear areas—heel and toe—to increase the shoe’s life.

Another tester who wore several generations of the Kinvara in the past says the improved durability makes this Kinvara her favorite yet.

"Kinvara 11 feels more responsive and substantial out of the box than previous models,” she says. “After a month of testing, it still feels fresh, and it’s been my go-to choice for speed workouts."

Saucony Kinvara 11 Ride and Performance

A woman wearing the Saucony Kinvara 11 while running

The Kinvara has long straddled the line between racing flat and everyday trainer, and the newest version stays true to that legacy.

The first thing you notice about the Kinvara is how light it is. Saucony lists the Kinvara at 6.9 oz for a women’s size 8 and 7.8 oz for a men’s size 9.

Even with the feathery weight, though, the bouncy PWRRUN midsole gives the shoe plenty of cushion. According to Saucony, the stack height measures 28.5 mm in the heel and 24.5 mm in the forefoot. Fleet Feet testers say there is plenty of cushioning, and it’s very snappy.

“It's super snappy and responsive on the run,” one tester says. “I wore these recently for a speed workout in the rain, and it felt light, fast and perfectly cushioned.”

While the Kinvara 11 comes with enough cushion to rack up some serious miles, it really shines on faster days. Its scant weight doesn’t burden you with superfluous ounces, and its streamlined fit doesn’t distract from the task at hand.

The 4 mm drop, though, is a big difference from the typical 10-12 mm drops in many everyday running shoes. Like track spikes that are built to put a sprinter on her toes, the Kinvara encourages a forefoot strike and quick turnover.

The smaller drop also recruits your calf muscles and Achilles to do more work than a higher drop shoe, so if you’re not used to a 4 mm drop, ease into the Kinvara slowly (consider only using it a couple of days per week at first), and be sure to foam roll your calves post run.

Saucony Kinvara 10 vs. Saucony Kinvara 11

Two runners wearing the Saucony Kinvara 11 running shoes

There are many similarities between the outgoing Kinvara and the incoming model, but comparing the Kinvara 10 and Kinvara 11 side by side reveals a few differences.

The Kinvara 11 maintains the same low-profile silhouette and a similar upper design as the previous version. Saucony changed the perforations slightly and removed a few of the overlays, but the uppers are largely the same.

The tongue is nearly identical, too. Saucony kept the padded tongue and sewed it onto elastic straps inside the shoe to keep it from migrating during a workout.

This year, Saucony added thicker reinforcements over the top three lace holes—the Kinvara 10 didn’t have any reinforcement there.

The big difference this time around, though, is the use of a PWRRUN midsole. The Kinvara 10 employed a full-length EVA+ midsole with an EVERUN topsole, while the Kinvara 11 swaps out the old cushioning for a PWRRUN midsole. PWRRUN, Saucony says, is springier and more durable than its predecessors.

Plus, without adding weight, Saucony put more foam beneath the Kinvara 11 than in its previous version. The Kinvara 11 packs about 5.5 mm more foam across the shoe than the Kinvara 10.

Tech comparison

Saucony Kinvara 10

Saucony Kinvara 11

Weight

6.7 oz (W), 7.8 oz (M)

6.9 oz (W), 7.8 oz (M)

Drop

4 mm

4 mm

Stack height (heel/toe)

23 mm / 19 mm

28.5 mm / 24.5 mm

Cushioning

EVA+, EVERUN

PWRRUN

Fit technology

FORMFIT

FORMFIT

Upper material

Engineered mesh

Engineered mesh

Conclusion

The Saucony Kinvara 11 has everything you need for speed, and nothing you don’t.

Fleet Feet testers say the Kinvara feels just as fast as it always has, but the upgrade to PWRRUN foam creates a more durable feel than last year’s model.

With a low heel-to-toe drop, minimal upper and lightweight construction, we think the Saucony Kinvara 11 is perfect for days on the track or any up-tempo miles on your schedule.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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