Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review

Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review

The Saucony Kinvara 12 is an update to one of the most popular Saucony shoes. It’s been around for a long time, but I’m just going to come out and say it. Previous versions were much more well-loved by Saucony fans. Now the Kinvara has migrated into an ok but not extraordinary shoe from Saucony. Sometimes I wonder if “this is the last year,” but it keeps coming back.

It’s not that the Saucony Kinvara 12 is a bad shoe, but it’s not special anymore. It needs a substantial update. If you liked previous versions of the Kinvara, you’ll probably like this one too.

Saucony Kinvara 12 Quick Facts:

Weight: 7 oz

Heel to Toe Drop: 4 mm

Cost: $110

Saucony Kinvara 12 Introduction:

Like mentioned, the Saucony Kinvara 12 doesn’t have any crazy update. It’s the same basic shoe as when it came out in 2010. At least Saucony has given it an array of fun colors to choose from. It’s a good shoe, but a basic shoe. If you’re someone who wants a lightweight trainer and knows the Nike free won’t “cut it”, the Saucony Kinvara 12 is one of the lightest out there.

Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review

Saucony Kinvara 12 Fit:

I appreciate the fit and how simple the upper of the Kinvara 12 is. I strongly believe that the best uppers of running shoes are those that disappear under your foot. This is no different, and the Kinvara has always been good at that.

The laces of the Saucony Kinvara 12 lay flat but are extremely long. In the Kinvara 11, many complained the laces were “too short,” so it feels as though Saucony went nuts with that. For a relatively inexpensive shoe, the tongue feels premium and soft.

As far as fit, the Saucony Kinvara 12 fits slightly bigger than years past. Usually, in running shoes, I wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide, but I’ve found the 10.5 to fit the best in the Saucony Kinvara 12.

Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review
much wider toe box

Saucony Kinvara 12 Ride:

This year the Saucony Kinvara 12 PWRRUN midsole kind of dovetails out. It resembles the Vaporfly or even Hoka Mach 4 slightly. Saucony claims this makes it more aerodynamic. It’s supposed to be a touch firmer than previous versions, but truthfully I don’t feel that much. I wonder how many shoes are going towards this style next?

Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review

Saucony still uses the “PWRRUN” foam in the Kinvara. The 12 hasn’t seen much of an update since the Saucony Kinvara 11 saw a fairly drastic update with 5.5 mm of midsole foam. It’s still lightweight and smooth.

Durability and Traction: A complaint I’ve always had about the Kinvara is the lack of durability. Usually, I get between 200-300 miles out of the Kinvara before it’s done. This is about the case. Saucony only has blown rubber on “strategic zones” on the outsole. This keeps it light but decreases durability. There is only blown rubber under the big toe and lateral heel. The rest is exposed rubber which wears out faster.

Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review

Before carbon-plated footwear, the Kinvara was a popular shoe for racing. That’s because the lightweight and soft foam made it a great option if you didn’t want a bulky trainer on your foot but didn’t want a racing flat either.

I’ve taken the Saucony Kinvara 12 for several runs, including easy runs, trails, and faster runs. For me, it fits best as either a race warmup shoe or a shoe I want to do a slightly faster than easy run. I want more cushion for recovery runs and a lighter-weight shoe for workouts.

Saucony Kinvara 12:

If you are looking for a tried and true trainer, the Kinvara 12 is a great option. It’s one of the lighter trainers out there and hasn’t gone through significant change. While I do think it’s a good shoe, I personally appreciate more cushion in my trainers. I do wish Saucony would add some spice to it or bring it back to its roots from the 2010-2012 era, but it is still a solid, higher-performing trainer or even racer. If you like that style of shoe, I highly suggest checking out Atreyu.

Saucony Kinvara 12 Shoe Review

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Brooks Aurora, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, New Balance 1080 v11Hoka Bondi 7, Brooks Levitate 5

Speed Work: 361 Flame, Nike Tempo Next%, New Balance Fuelcell TC Shoe ReviewReebok Float Ride Run fast Pro,

Long Runs: Saucony Kinvara 12, Hoka Clifton Edge,

Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2, Saucony Peregrine 11, North Face Flight VECTIV

Races: Asics Metaspeed Sky, Hoka One One Rocket X, adidas Adizero Pro, New Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin ProNew Balance fuelcell TCReebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes. 

Questions for you:

Have you tried the Saucony Kinvara 12?

What is your favorite running shoe? 


  1. Nice write-up. I have the Saucony Kinvara 10 and I really like them. But, I can see what you’re saying as each shoe that comes out seems to be almost the same shoe with slight adjustments.

    I was interested when I saw you tried these on trails. How did they fair and what kind of trails did you run on? The outsole on the Kinvara’s always give me pause in terms of their traction. They just look like they’d be slipping on even the slightest bit of slippery surfaces. What’s your point-of-view?

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. The outsole hasn’t changed much. I would never take them on a technical trail or one with a lot of rocks but smooth grass or sand trails are fine. I wish they would add more durability to them.

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