by John Schrup
I don’t always run in trail shoes. But when I do, I run in the Kinvara TR.
No. No I don’t. Well, sort of. I mean, the only time I wear trail shoes any more is when I’m back in NM and it’s mud season. I left some original INOV-8′s at my father’s house, back in the day. Oh man, I miss those shoes.
You all know I’m a big fan of the Kinvara 3. And you all know that if it were a wee bit firmer, it would be the greatest shoe in the history of mankind, except for this pair of high top Chuck Taylors I had back in freshman year of high school that I wore to Black Flag at Circle A Ranch. I spilled some Bartles & Jaymes or something on ‘em, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. When I was a freshman in high school, I looked like a tall fetus. I was a late bloomer.
Anyway, the Kinvara is a good shoe for a broad spectrum of people, much like the Launch, much like the Adios. Each of these shoes could be improved, but don’t really need to be. They are about as good as they get. Different shoes, to be sure, but all legit. I wish more companies would make shoes like these–good shoes for everyone; not so niche–and then build their running lines around them. As it is, there are all these different shoes for this foot or that foot or whatever and the reality is that if they only made the, like, three or four shoes that were necessary, they wouldn’t make any money.
Saucony recognized a good thing and made the Kinvara TR. The Kinvara is such a popular shoe that it was pretty much a sure thing that the TR was coming.
Word of warning: You’ll want to wear it on the roads, but you probably shouldn’t. Remember what I said about the K3 and firmness? Yes’m. Here ’tis. The reason that it really won’t transfer well to roads is that you’ve got this tacky, lugged outsole that will just shear off when you put it to the asphalt. The firmness is brought to you by a rockguard, which also reduces the flexibility of the forefoot a bit, though you won’t care because the weight and fit of the thing are so good that you’d forgive almost anything. These bad girls are attached! Ok, the forefoot could be a bit leesssssss snug, but they can fix that next go ’round. Just like big sis/bro/whatever, the KTR has a low offset and fast feel. If you are still of the mindset that a trail shoe should be a light hiker with some color to it, this shoe could be the mind changer. The 3 was, for many, the introduction to “minimalism” whatever that means, and the TR could be the same deal here. Saucony is firing on all cylinders. They should change the name of the A5 to the Kinvara Racer, shouldn’t they?
So if you’ve not yet bought a pair of trail shoes because you haven’t yet run Pikes Peak, this is as good an introduction as any. And some of the colors are cool too, so they got that going for them. Which is nice.
Oh, please oh please, Saucony, combine the firmness of the TR with the rest of the 3. Pretty please. I’ll be your best friend. I’ll give you…favors. Please. But that probably won’t happen because it would add weight to the shoe and from what the fine folks over there at the Saucony tell me, they don’t want to mess with that. FTS! Mess with it. Add a half oz. Please!!!