I tested the Saucony Kinvara 12. Below are my thoughts and opinions.
Known for its lightweight simplicity, versatility, and reliability, the Saucony Kinvara has made a name for itself as one of the greatest value shoe models of all time.
Saucony Kinvara 12 Review
The Kinvara 12 promises all the same usual principles, but with tweaks made to just about all parts from its predecessors. Although there are always some new things added and subtracted from this model, it has always seemed to provide great value as a “do-it-all” trainer.The PWRRUN midsole allowed for Saucony to reduce the overall stack height of the shoe, and the upper has been stripped back to be simpler and lighter weight for a more “race-ready” feeling.
- Stack Height: 28 mm (Heel), 24 mm (Forefoot)
- OFFSET: 4mm drop from heel to toe
- Weight: 7.5oz / 212g (US M9) and 6.5oz / 185g (US W8)
- FIT: True to size
- Category: Neutral
The Saucony Kinvara 12 comes with a clean and cool design. Does it? Let’s find out!
UPPER - Materials and Lockdown
To put it simply, the Engineered upper mesh material now feels ultra-lightweight and breathable in the toe box.
For such a stripped-back shoe I was surprised how much space I have for my toes to splay out, those with wider feet could probably get away with wearing those shoes as a lighter weight option.
The tongue is quite thin, but it sits over the up of my foot comfortably without swaying side to side. The lacing system did not jump out to me as extraordinary, but it was smooth enough and got the job done alright.
Overall lockdown feels really good. It took me a couple of runs to feel like I broke in the upper and I experienced some hot spots on the big toe in the beginning, but that soon went away after getting about 20 or so miles in on it.
The heel counter is sturdy for such a lightweight shoe, but it does not offer much in the way of extra stability. Which is similar to the Brooks Launch (one of their top competitors).
It did not cause any sort of heel or achilles irritation either, so that was a plus in my book.
POSITIVE: Amazing breathability
DRAWBACK: Caused hot spots on toes
MIDSOLE/OUTSOLE - Responsive...and race-ready?
Right off of the bat, I could tell that Saucony pivoted towards a more race-ready vibe with this iteration of the Kinvara. It has a lower stack height, a snappy toe-off, and it just highly encourages you to pick up the cadence of your run.
The PWRRUN midsole feels like it has some extra pop over other Saucony shoe models. I might almost venture to say that it generally felt like the Endorphin Speed, but with a lower stack height and no nylon plate. This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
I really enjoyed the Kinvara 12 on days that I wanted to pick up the pace and feel fast...even if I was just going slow!
The outsole rubber is scarce, placed only in strategic areas that are traditionally “high wear” places. There are plenty of grooves for flexibility in your stride, it really does allow your foot to move naturally through its gait-cycle.
POSITIVE: It is just plain fun to run in!
DRAWBACK: Can feel too firm at times
Shoe Similar to the Saucony Kinvara 12:
Durability Prediction - 400-500 Miles (645-805km)
For such a stripped-back, value-oriented daily trainer I think this shoe can go through the wringer of a training block. It has a firm enough midsole to feel like it won’t flatten out prematurely, and the outsole has just enough protection to get you the traction you need over the long haul.
I am pretty sure this is going to be the kind of shoe that you could train for and then race a marathon in. It’s about as simple as that!
Best Uses - Daily Training, Steady Runs, Long Runs, Workouts, Race
No question in my mind...you can do it all in this shoe. I am pretty confident that you will be able to lace up this shoe any day of the week and it could handle any type of running activity you throw at it.
It’ll feel like a more minimal daily trainer, but many people are into that. From there you can really enjoy your steady runs, long runs, workouts, and even some races in the Saucony Kinvara 12.
It has a great snap through the gait-cycle and almost harkens back to the pre-carbon plated racing shoe era when everyone wanted a lean, mean, running machine.
Saucony Kinvara 12 Review Wrap Up - The Get Up and Go Shoe!
By most points, the Saucony Kinvara 12 is a great overall running shoe. It bridges the gap between a daily trainer and a workout day shoe well and I am confident nearly anyone could find a use for it in their running shoe rotation.
If you would like something a little different, here are 5 alternatives.
With plenty of upsides and a favorable price point, it seems like one of the best shoes of the year.
Should You Get The Saucony Kinvara 12?
Simple answer: Yes, if you are in the market for a new running shoe then I highly encourage you to take a look at the Saucony Kinvara 12.
Slightly longer answer: The only reservations some might consider is the lower stack height, lower heel-to-toe drop (4mm), and slightly firmer midsole. If you like something with a higher stack, higher drop, and a softer midsole, then maybe look elsewhere for your next daily trainer.
Overall it is so versatile and fun, and if you enjoy a more simplistic and responsive ride with a lot to the ground contact feel then definitely consider picking up a pair of the Saucony Kinvara 12.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.
Last update on 2022-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API