Shoe Review: Kinvara 6

The Shoe that Started the Low-Drop Revolution gets a Sexy Update. 

By Chris MacLeod

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Sleeker, lighter, prettier – the Kinvara 6 is a solid update to a go-to, lightweight shoe.

We’re going to go ahead and guess that 90% of you have already heard something about the Saucony Kinvara. After all, version 1 came out back in 2010, not long after the release of Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run (the book that more or less lit the fuse on the minimalist running dynamite).

Now it’s 2015, and the whole barefoot craze has pretty much come and gone. But a few things remain: Wider toe-boxes that actually allow us to use our whole foot to balance and push off. Shoes in a variety of heel-to-toe “drops”. And,of course, the Kinvara.

Now on version 6, the original “not quite minimal” minimal shoe is still going strong. Kinvara 6 retains that über-light weight and 4mm drop of the original, along with that trademark Saucony “rigid but not too rigid” midsole. (More on which to come.)

Since the last Kinvara update (v4 to v5) was a pretty massive one, Saucony decided to take things a bit easier with the 6. According to the company, all changes were limited to the upper. Most notably, they fixed that bagginess we all loved to hate in the 5! To do so, Saucony moved the FLEXFILM overlays so they actually track the shape of a human foot and enhanced the PRO-LOCK lacing system so you can pretty much cut off your circulation if you want to. Industry jargon and proprietary mumbo-jumbo aside, the shoe has a better fit and you can lace it tighter, if you wanna. The results is a better feeling, “disappear from the foot” feel.

Side-note: Saucony sure loves TO USE ALL CAPS. We suppose they can’t help YELLING ABOUT HOW AWESOME their shoes are!

So what about that midsole? Well, here’s the funny thing – Saucony straight up says they didn’t change anything from the 5’s POWERGRID-enhanced design. It’s untouched.

One problem: Every Rogue staffer who’s tried it on swears it feels softer underfoot. Like totally way better step-in feel than the Kinvara 5. So, either Saucony did overhaul the whole shoe and for some reason doesn’t want to tell us, or we Rogues are all suffering a collective delusion.

We’ll let you ponder which is more likely…

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Side-by-side Kinvara 5 (left) and 6 (right). A definite improvement in fit and feel!

Either way, the Kinvara 6 is solid! Saucony kept it light (.2 oz lighter, actually!), retained the added durability from the 5, and essentially cemented the shoe’s place as the low-drop shoe for distance runners.

Our only gripe – Like the 5 before it, Kinvara 6 fits small! Expect to go up at least a half size from your usual running shoe fit.

Summary: If you’re a Kinvara fan, you’re sure to be pleased with this update! If you’re not already a Kinvara fan, or are living in fear of “minimalism”, we promise, the Kinvara is one of the least-intimidating ways to dip your toes in the world of low-drop shoes!

Weight: 7.7oz (M) / 6.5oz (W)
Drop: 4mm
Price: $100

If interested, come see us at either of our Austin stores to try on or purchase. If you don’t live in Austin and can’t come see us in person, then we recommend shopping with our online retail partner with a generous return policy: Road Runner Sports.


582061_10100718274654857_1607430571_nChris MacLeod is a retail manager at Rogue Running Cedar Park, a [running and book] nerd and is inexplicably always cold despite hailing from Chicago. She has a love affair with the Windy-City Marathon and stokes that affair training with The Morning Show. You can find her and her expert opinions on shoes, gu’s and all things retail in the shop or at her blog, runningfiesta.com.

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5 thoughts on “Shoe Review: Kinvara 6

  1. Would you recommend buying the same size as the 5? I have done well with my standard 8.5 in the 5’s and wondered if you wear the same size in both.
    Thanks.

    • We recommend you stick with the same size. The 6th version feels just a smidge shorter than the 5th, but not enough so to go up a full half size. Thanks!

  2. I’ve been running in these shoes for about a year and the ones I bought last month (would have been later 2015 model) are causing me to have extreme lower back pain, so they changed something about the design. I never get injured and I’m, well, definitely injured. It was slow, like first my calves hurt, then my hamstrings and then one day I had a full on back spasm. Will not be buying these shoes again, which sucks because I’ve been wearing saucony’s since 2006.

    • You might want to check out the new 7s. They are very different from the 5 and 6, most notably in the use of Everrun instead of the Powergrid system. Big difference. I have 5,6, and 7 and have compared, even wearing different shoes on my feet at the same time to really feel the difference.

  3. You’re comment about your staffers swearing that the sole of the 6 is squishier than the 5 made me smile. I felt that, too, even though Saucony says the 5 and 6 are identical. I have both versions and walked around with a 5 and 6 on each foot at the same time. I even swapped left and right shoes just for kicks. I have to say, the 6 IS softer and bouncier, not by a ton, but it IS noticeable. Thank you for confirming that I’m not imagining things! Oh, and one other difference I noticed is that the 6 has more lace-up holes than the 5. I think it makes the fit snugger.

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