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Running shoes can come a cropper when they try to appeal to too many different people. Different runners want different things, whether that’s the amount of cushioning a shoe has, or its overall weight, or its offset – the difference in height between the heel and forefoot. A shoe that seeks the middle ground can result in a shoe that no-one especially wants.
Fortunately, this is not the case with the versatile Saucony Kinvara 8, which has always enjoyed a large fanbase. The neutral, low-offset (4mm) shoe is comfortable to wear for all kinds of running, with a plush tongue, heel padding and enough cushioning packed into a 224g frame (men’s size 9) that you can head out for longer runs without fear of putting your legs through undue stress.
I’ve never tended to use low-offset shoes but the Kinvara 8 was comfortable from the first run onwards. The ride was smooth, especially when I picked up the pace but also on long weekend plods. Despite its slightly bulky appearance, the Kinvara 8 is light, responsive and eminently suitable for fast training runs or races.
If you prefer a low-offset shoe, the Kinvara 8’s good chunk of cushioning makes it especially well-suited to races of half marathon distance and above. A common worry at these distances is choosing a shoe that’s not so weighty as to slow you down, but with enough cushioning that you can complete the distance in (relative) comfort. The Kinvara 8 should solve this problem for many runners.
The upper is thin and breathable, with Saucony’s internal strap system securing the midfoot in place. If you prefer a completely loose upper this might feel a bit tight, but I found the extra security comfortable.
With the Kinvara 8, Saucony has maintained the good name of the Kinvara line and produced a fine all-rounder that will fit the needs of almost any runner who prefers a low-offset shoe.
If you are keen to move to a low-offset shoe, the bounteous cushioning and smooth ride make the Kinvara 8 a great first option to start the transition.
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.