Saucony Kinvara 13 Review Analysis (2022)
Last update: July 2022
The Saucony Kinvara 13 is a lightweight, fast road running shoe for daily sessions and uptempo work.
The Saucony Kinvara 13 is a lightweight, fast, low drop (4 mm) neutral shoe for daily runs, tempos, and fast, short runs.
Runners unanimously agree that the Kinvara 13’s strongest feature is the new engineered mesh upper. Variations in weave density allow the shoe to be ultra-breathable and supportive. Saucony has provided more room for the toes in the front of the shoe, an extra comfort that most runners welcome.
The PWRRUN midsole features the brand’s signature EVA/TPU blend. Whether you’re a fan of the Kinvara or not, you may enjoy the slightly firm, energetic cushioning, and close-to-the-ground feel it delivers. On the other hand, we may regret that this 2022 update did not evolve into a more technical midsole foam with more responsiveness.
However, the ride remains smooth with fluid transitions from heel to toe and snappy toe-off—a very natural feeling shoe!
In summary, the Saucony Kinvara 13 remains a running shoe with classic and effective cushioning for performance on fast runs. No more, no less.
Please read our full review of the Saucony Kinvara 13 for more information.
- A super light upper with impeccable lockdown, with 100% recycled mesh
- Incredible lightness for a classic shoe
- A natural and smooth ride with a good ground feeling
- Versatile shoe
- A sole that lacks panache and energy
- Too deep grooves that trap gravel under the sole
Saucony Kinvara 13 Complete Review Analysis
And 13! What a lot of asphalt roads we have covered since 2010, the year of the release of the first Saucony Kinvara!
The runners of the time certainly remember the small revolution caused in the world of running by this lightweight shoe out of nowhere, with firm and (almost) minimalist cushioning. At the time, runners had the choice between running with models weighing more than 300 g/10.6 oz on each foot or going for the ultra minimalism of the Vibram Five Fingers. We can understand their relief when this shoe arrived: finally, a light model with firm yet protective cushioning, allowing grounded running without the pain of bare feet.
Over the years, the Kinvara has moved away from its original intentions, gaining weight, firmness, and stability, to return to its first love in the last two iterations.
Kinvara 13 is now in a separate market, facing high, well cushioned, and technology-packed competitors. In this context, why release the 13th version today? Will this number bring it luck? To what extent can we remain traditional without becoming has-been ultimately?
We will try to answer some philosophical questions in this analysis.
Nothing new on this side. The midsole of the Kinvara 13 is classically composed of the PWRRUN foam used on many models of Saucony running shoes. The TPU/EVA blend provides a soft cushioning with some response, but somewhat of the ordinary kind, without more sparkle.
The sole thickness remains unchanged at 28.5 mm heel stack height and 24.5 mm forefoot. The resulting low heel-to-toe drop of 4 mm allows for a natural ride in the original minimalist shoe spirit of the Kinvara. The moderate thickness does not prevent good shock absorption.
Saucony has slightly revised the sole design, more beveled with a simplified contour. Runners note a positive effect on transitions and responsiveness, combined with the outsole’s simple construction and flex grooves.
This midsole remains a (too?) classic that causes some debate among runners. Some praise its simplicity and appreciate that they can feel the ground under their feet. Others criticize its lack of flamboyance compared to today’s carbon-plated soles or other supercritical foams (like Fuel Cell and Puma Nitro). They agree that this sole gets the job done for a reasonable price.
Foot lockdown (upper)
This is the Saucony Kinvara 13’s strong point that distinguishes the shoe the most from its predecessor.
The engineered mono mesh upper concentrates everything runners need for their road sessions. Its varying weave densities and subtle overlays provide support and ventilation in strategic areas. For example, it’s denser in the front and sides, offering durable foot lockdown. Elsewhere, the lower density provides incredible breathability as well as flexibility.
The little extra that will please runners sensitive to environmental protection: the upper is vegan and made of 100% recycled upper materials.
Who says breathable upper says airy shoe. Version 13 is the lightest Kinvara that Saucony has produced to date (only 204 g/7.2 oz men’s version / 168 g/5.9 oz women’s version).
On the tongue side, it’s a party. The gusseted tongue is sufficiently padded to avoid pressure points from the collar and flat laces. It’s reinforced with a durable tongue with a reflective silver logo, which helps prevent lace bites. Finally, a heel tab makes it easy to put the shoe on.
Runners mostly appreciate the roomier toe box and padded heel counter, allowing wide feet to be comfortable while being supported.
This upper meets runners’ expectations overall in terms of comfort and fit.
Grip and durability
There’s not much to say about the outsole. Its minimal coverage consists of 2 XT-900 rubber patches strategically placed at the heel and forefoot. This leaves the midsole globally exposed.
These two rubber pieces are enough to provide adequate grip on dry roads or in light rain. However, they do what they can to prevent slipping in heavier downpours and wet asphalt, which is not much!
The flexible grooves ensure smooth transitions during intense efforts or repetitions. That’s for the positive. The depth of the grooves is the negative point noted by most runners. Pebbles and other road debris get stuck in them, which can be annoying while running.
Finally, some testers with sensitive ears highlighted an important point: the silence of the sole!
Finally, the outsole of the Saucony Kinvara 13 fades away to let the midsole fully express itself and ensure both a flexible ride and a responsive response. Its durability over time remains to be (e)proven.
And how does this Saucony Kinvara 13th of the name fare on the feet?
All the runners recognize it as a natural, smooth, energetic ride and no-frills. Transitions are smooth and natural. In this sense, the Kinvara 13 remains true to its origins, a natural feeling and lightweight daily trainer intended for speed.
In terms of distance, this shoe is an excellent option for performance on fast, short runs, but also everyday runs. According to runners, the superior lockdown of the upper provides great stability in turns. This makes them ideal for daily training sessions, such as tempos or fartleks.
Kinvara runners liked the feel of the ground under their feet thanks to the thin stack height and the soft, bouncy cushioning characteristic of the model – simple and effective.
Others criticize it for lacking a wow factor underfoot and for missing out on the modern train.
The Saucony Kinvara 13 is a road shoe that does not leave indifferent.
It remains an excellent option for the series aficionados, a little sensitive to the new technologies that have invaded the market in recent years. They will undoubtedly find something to enjoy on the trails with this classic shoe, light and fast, especially with the extra comfort and lockdown provided by the revisited upper.
For others, the Kinvara 13 is a retro shoe that lacks a bit of glitz against its new competitors equipped with supercritical foams or carbon plates. And the bright yellow color of the upper is not enough to give it the expected panache!
Overall, it remains an excellent update of the Kinvara series.
|Heel stack height||29 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||25 mm|
|Weight (men)||204 g/7.2 oz|
|Weight (women)||168 g/5.9 oz|
|Softness (1-5)||2 – Firm|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Distance||Short, mid, 5k, 10k, half marathon|
Comparisons – Saucony Kinvara 13 vs.:
Saucony Kinvara 12
In 2021, Saucony challenged itself to shake up the formula of its Kinvara by releasing a more responsive and faster shoe while keeping the elements that had made its success until then (low drop, lightness, firm cushioning, flexible shoe). Successful bet! Kinvara 12 sounded like a small revolution in the world of model aficionados.
One year later, what about its successor? Given the first tests by athletes, we can say that the Kinvara 13 remains in the same line better and that the game of differences between the two shoes is complicated.
Physically, only the color allows us to distinguish them. The Kinvara 12 gave in the stylish retro fluo 90s. The Kinvara 13 has bet on a farting yellow variously appreciated. It’s a matter of taste!
The 2 points of improvement are the revisiting of the upper and the weight loss. The shoe combines a great fit with a wider forefoot space that does not affect the lockdown (even for runners with narrow feet). It’s easy to see why the Kinvara has won over runners with wide feet! Optimizing the upper has also resulted in a nice weight reduction of about 15 g/0.5 oz.
For the rest, the constants remain the same:
- Moderate stack height (28.5 mm/24.5 mm)
- A low heel-to-toe drop of 4 mm
- PWRRUN midsole with firm, medium responsive cushioning
- Outsole construction with some rubber patches
If you liked the Kinvara 12, you’d like the Kinvara 13 – and even more, if you enjoyed all the previous versions!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The K13 runs true to size and is a bit looser than the previous iterations.
Its relatively thick sole makes it appropriate for the marathon. However, its firm cushioning may not be comfortable for everyone for the long distance. So it depends on your preferences.
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.