In this review, I will be talking about the Saucony Kinvara 9 running shoe. As some people know, I really liked the Kinvara 8. It took me a couple of runs to get used to the lower drop and snug fit but eventually it became one of my most used shoes. So when the Kinvara 9's were coming out, I definitely wanted to try them out. As always with new models, we all hope whatever changes are made will be to our liking but that's not always the case. With the latest version, personally I am happy and kind of like it more though I don't feel too much of a difference.
This shoe weighs 7.5 ounces which is slightly lighter than the 8. You wouldn't think that a half an ounce to an ounce would feel different but everyone I've talked to has agreed that it feels lighter. This is a 4mm drop/offset shoe for neutral runners. Runners that like shoes like the Brooks Pure Flow or Brooks Pure Cadence tend to like this shoe when trying it out. The cushion feels softer to me than the 8 but not to the point where it's getting away from that minimal cushioned feel that Kinvara fans are used to. You still get the light cushioned feel of the road but now it's a little softer which I like for the longer runs. Despite the extra cushion, I still feel like I can push off just as good as I did in the 8. At times when I've been running in it my thoughts have been that it feels like it's a cushioned racing flat.
The upper materiel is very light, roomy and breathable. I really like the toe box space in this shoe. I feel like the upper material isn't as snug as it was in the 8. I remember getting blisters on the outer toes the first couple of runs until the shoe stretched out a little but with this model, I've had no issues with this at all. As I always mention, the wider the toe box, the happier I am. The shoe has that nice balance of a roomy and snug. The midfoot and heel feel pretty snug and secure which is great. As they've continued to do successfully since coming out with it, this shoe contains their EVERUN cushion throughout the entire shoe.
The only concern I have with this model that I've seen others mention is the tread. In the 8's there were more rubber pods in the high wear areas but it looks like they removed some of them in this model. As I look at the wear pattern in my 8's, I'm concerned that I may wear through this model a lot faster because some of the spots they removed are where I wore the older model out pretty good. I've already run a half marathon and a few other 4-8 mile runs in these at difference speeds and they feel great no matter the distance and pace. When I jokingly run on my forefoot I can definitely see why forefoot strikers love this shoe even more than a heel striker like myself.
The price of the shoe is $110. This is a shoe for neutral gaits so if you typically wear a supportive shoe you may need an insert to wear this. I highly recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a good versatile running shoe for all types of runs, fast, slow, short, long, training, racing; whatever! Again, if you like a minimal cushioned shoe where you feel more of the road, this is a shoe to add to your collection!