Saucony didn’t take long to revamp their popular Kinvara shoe (released in 2010) and I found the changes a big improvement. I bought of pair of Kinvara’s last summer and used them primarily as a racing shoe (with some training runs thrown in) because I was concerned about the durability of the sole. What I found was that the sole was much more durable than I had expected – definitely a good thing. The only thing I had trouble with on the pair of kinvara’s i first bought was the narrow toe box – it was causing toe rub and blisters on my baby toes.
Given these issues, I was extremely happy this spring when I tried on a pair of Kinvara 2’s and found a much roomier toe area. I bought a pair of Kinvara 2’s and have used them for a signficant portion of training, and all my racing this year. I find the fit of these better, while all the great qualities of the original Kinvara have been maintained. The soles have been well designed with a minimal amount of rubber in the places that need it so they will hold up to signficant abuse. The small heel to toe drop (4mm) promotes a more efficient strike compared to other saucony shoes I have used (Ride 2 and 3), and I have never had any issues with reduced cushioning material. They are also very breathable, which is great for summer running (though less great as we head into winter!)
If you are looking for a neutral shoe that is a great mix of light weight and durability, I would highly recommend the Kinvara.
April 2012 update: just an update on the durability of these shoes. I now have 500 km on my first pair of Kinvara 2’s and have been quite happy with how they have held up. I am approaching 300 km on my other K2’s and they’re going strong. Looking forward to a pair of K3’s!