Saucony Kinvara Pro Review

Saucony’s max-cushioned carbon plate shoe is a niche option with an off-putting price

Saucony Kinvara Pro running shoes
(Image: © Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Our Verdict

Even after several runs in it, it’s difficult to say what the Saucony Kinvara Pro is for, since the shoe doesn’t excel at any kind of run. It’s comfortable and plated, and can be used for easy runs, yet it lacks the propulsive feel of many plated trainers. It’s also expensive for a cushioned shoe.


  • Comfortable
  • Stable
  • Fairly versatile


  • Heavy
  • Don’t really feel the plate
  • Expensive for what it is

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The Saucony Kinvara Pro is a confusing shoe, and after my testing I remain unsure what it’s best for. I thought it could be a versatile cushioned plated shoe for daily training in the style of the Hoka Mach X, or a more accessible super-shoe for those who don’t get on with the best carbon plate running shoes, which can be unstable. But I’m not convinced it can play either role as well as other shoes.

The Kinvara Pro is also expensive, for what amounts to a plated cushioned shoe that does a variety of runs quite well but nothing exceptionally well. If you want an all-rounder I’d look at lighter, more propulsive plated options, like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, and if you’re looking for an easy day cruiser, you can take your pick of the best cushioned shoes, all of which are cheaper than the Kinvara Pro.

Saucony Kinvara Pro Review: Price And Availability

The Saucony Kinvara Pro will be available to buy from 1st August. It costs $180 in the US and £200 in the UK, which is more expensive than Saucony’s popular plated all-rounder, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, which is $170/£165.

How I Tested This Shoe

Saucony Kinvara Pro running shoes

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

I’ve run 30 miles (about 50km) in the Kinvara Pro across four runs, including a couple of easy plods, a short progression run and a harder 11-mile session including a 45-minute progression from around 6min/mile to 5min 40sec/mile pace.

Design And Fit

There is a lot going on in the Kinvara Pro, which bears little resemblance to the classic Kinvara line from Saucony, a line known for being minimalist, low-drop and lightweight.

By contrast, the Kinvara Pro is a beast: It is 42mm tall at the heel and 34mm at the forefoot for an 8mm drop. It weighs 10.7oz/303g in my US 10/UK 9, which puts it in the cushioned shoe weight bracket, rather than the plated super-trainer one.

There are three foams underfoot, with the PWRRUN+ insole on top of a dual-density midsole. The top layer is PWRRUN PB, the bouncy, lightweight foam used in the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 and Speed 3. Underneath that is a larger layer of PWRRUN, which is a firmer, more durable foam. 

Saucony Kinvara Pro running shoe outsole

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Instead of using a rubber outsole, Saucony has molded the bottom of the PWRRUN foam to create grip, since it is a hardy enough material to hit the pavement without breaking down too rapidly. In between the two midsole foams is a ¾-length carbon plate that adds pop to your toe-off without being as stiff and harsh underfoot as a full-length plate. The shoe has Saucony’s Speedroll rocker geometry to create a smooth ride.

The mesh upper has thin rubbery overlays that add structure and is well padded at the heel, with a substantial internal heel counter to help with stability. I found that the shoe fitted well in my normal running shoe size.

Running Performance

I’ve long been a fan of the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, which I consider the best all-rounder running shoe thanks to its mix of comfort and speed. The Kinvara Pro has similarities to the Speed in the rockered, plated design, and also uses PWRRUN PB foam for the top layer of its midsole, but it has a different feel underfoot.

The rocker rolls you along smoothly, especially at easy paces, but I didn’t feel the bounce from the midsole that I get from the Speed 3, and the Kinvara Pro is just too big and heavy to feel enjoyable at faster paces.

I undertook a couple of runs with faster sections and ran 7.67 miles (12.34km) during the 45-minute progression I did during my longest run in the shoe. It can move at speed, but feels awkward, especially when you’re not running in a straight line on flat ground. I didn’t feel the plate even when pushing hard in the shoe.

It’s stable, though, and comfortable on easy runs even if I still prefer something smaller on my foot for those. It may bring more joy to heavy runners who put more into the foam, and so get more back, but for me the bounce of the PWRRUN PB foam was negated by the firmer PWRRUN material beneath it.

Saucony Kinvara Pro

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The only role it could play in my rotation would be as an Endorphin Max substitute—an easy day cruiser to partner with the faster Endorphin Speed 3. However, the Speed 3 feels great for me at easy paces and has more versatility, at a lower price.

I was worried about the grip and durability of the outsole, but so far these fears have proven unfounded. The grip has been good even when running in torrential rain on flooded footpaths, and the exposed foam hasn’t shown undue wear yet. 

However, I have avoided taking it on gravelly trails for fear of roughing up the outsole, and this is something I like to do for easy runs. Given that the Kinvara Pro is not built to be lightweight anyway, adding a little rubber to the outsole would be worthwhile in my opinion.

Is The Saucony Kinvara Pro Worth It?

I’m not the kind of runner who would pick up the Saucony Kinvara Pro. For me, the Endorphin Speed 3 does every kind of run better than its maxed-out sibling, and is cheaper. If you find the Endorphin Speed 3 and other lighter and lower plated shoes unstable or lacking in cushion, then the Kinvara Pro may be your shoe as a bulkier all-rounder option.

However, it’s expensive, and I don’t believe it does a great job as an all-rounder. A traditional plateless cushioned shoe like the Saucony Triumph or Brooks Glycerin 20 might be just as good an option and, if you want a plated shoe with more stability and comfort than something like the Speed 3, I rate the Hoka Mach X higher than the Kinvara Pro.

If price isn’t your main concern and you like training in plated shoes then the Kinvara Pro could fit well in a running-shoe rotation alongside a faster option like the Speed 3. However, for that role I’d be just as happy in a traditional cushioned shoe without a plate, or happier, since I’d save money and get a shoe with a rubber outsole to boost durability and grip.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.