Saucony Kinvara 12 Review

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Choosing the right running shoes is highly important for your training. Not only that it will give you the best performance, it will also keep your feet and joints healthy as you move forward. In this Saucony Kinvara 12 review, we will find out whether the 12th iteration of the Kinvara lineup is a good running shoe.

Saucony Kinvara 12 Running Shoe

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The Kinvara lineup is one of the most respected go-fast training shoes for almost 10 years now. It is known for its lightweight, high-speed performance that provides a good cushion and great durability.

Like its predecessors, the Kinvara 12 maintains its simple design and high-speed performance that have captured the hearts of runners since it was first released in 2010.

Off the bat, you’ll notice the new dovetail PWRRUN midsole popularized by Nike’s Vaporfly that supposedly improves aerodynamics. That upgrade should make you a little bit faster on the run.

It has a little bit more ground contact that makes the ride smoother.

It’s a bit lighter and more flexible than all its predecessors but it feels a little bit firmer.

Priced around $110, this shoe offers a good budget alternative to Saucony’s top of the line Endorphin lineage.

Saucony Promotional Video


  • Support level: Neutral
  • Running feel: Firm
  • Stack height: (28.5mm/24.4mm)
  • Heel-toe drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 7.5oz (213g)
  • Surface: Road

Who are These Shoes For?

The Kinvara 12 is ideal for beginners looking for a shoe to get their first miles on. It’s good for quick, daily runs no more than 20k. Plus, its minimal heel-to-toe drop helps strengthen your feet.

For long-distance runners covering more miles per week, there’s some better option out there that could give you more cushion and a softer overall feel that is recommended for a training shoe. However, this works fairly well as a race shoe for 5-10k races if you can’t afford Saucony’s Endorphin lineage.

It is in the category of neutral shoe which is recommended for neutral and supinated runners.

What’s Included?

The package comes with a pair of Saucony Kinvara 12.

Overview of Saucony Kinvara 12 Features

Strategic Placement of the Outsole

If you noticed, the outsole does not cover the entirety of the shoe. It’s strategically placed in areas where ground contact usually happens. That helps in drastically reducing the overall weight of the shoe.

PWRRUN Midsole

The PWRRUN midsole is an upgrade from the previous mix of EVA and polymers midsole to increase boost. It makes the shoe firmer and more responsive than its previous models.


The FORMFIT technology hugs your foot all around which gives you a more snug feel throughout your foot. Although it feels a little bit roomy on the toebox, which is a good thing for me.

Breathable Mesh Upper

The airy, breathable mesh gives you comfort and cools your feet while running.

Gusseted Tongue

If you’re not familiar with shoes, a gusseted tongue simply means that the tongue of the shoes is connected with its upper. This makes the shoes feel whole and as one. Plus, it provides a little bit more overall snugness. It’s becoming more common for modern athletic shoes nowadays.


  • Consistent cushion provides even distribution of impact
  • More rebound when running
  • More natural/barefoot feel in the feet (depending on your preference, this may be a con)
  • Great, mildly padded gusseted tongue offers more comfort
  • Very light


  • Not the most comfortable on landing, feels a little bit firm than I’m used to
  • Not a fan of the overall look, it does not feel like I can use it casually


How long does Saucony Kinvara last?

In terms of duration, we can’t give you an exact number. But considering how its predecessors lasted I will say it will last around 400-500 miles depending on a variety of factors such as the surface you’re running on and your running gait.

Is Saucony Kinvara a Minimalist Shoe?

Yes. It has a low heel-to-toe drop and it feels close to running barefoot.

The Verdict

Personally, I like the Kinvara 11 more simply because it’s a bit softer on the landing. But despite its firmer landing feel, the Saucony Kinvara 12 is still a good option for short-distance racers looking for a fast and light shoe who can’t afford an Endorphin lineup shoe. It’s speedy and comfy but just lacks a little bit more cushion.
I’m pretty sure that you’ll have a great time in this shoe if you use it for short interval runs, speed works, and short races ranging from 5-20k. Anything more than that makes it a little bit too much for your joints.

Best Saucony Kinvara 12 Alternative

Saucony Men’s Endorphin Speed

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If you’re looking for a fast and lightweight shoe that provides more cushion and a softer feel for your races, you can’t go wrong with Saucony’s new speed baby, the Endorphin Speed. It’s a bit more expensive than a Kinvara but it definitely gives more boost and comfort.

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