Shoe Week: Saucony Kinvara 5 v Saucony Jazz

I have heard a lot about the Saucony Kinvara. It’s pretty much a cult shoe. Adoring fans, worldwide, who just cannot get enough of the Kinvara. I know that a lot of Kinvara fans were disappointed with the Kinvara 4 update, and lots were waiting for the Kinvara 5 to drop to see whether it brought back all the wonderful Kinvara-ness that made runners go nuts.

Well, that Kinvara 5 update has now dropped, and I was one of the lucky few to get my mitts on a pair of limited edition London Marathon Kinvara 5s, a whole month before their general release date. As a running geek, this was Christmas come early, rolled in to my birthday and the Easter four day mega weekend of dreams.

Not only did Saucony very kindly gift me with these beauties, they also set me a challenge. In the spirit of their Neal Street pop-up, which showcased the history of Saucony running shoes right back to the very beginning, they also sent me a pair of Saucony Jazz Originals along with a challenge. Run in both and compare the two – how far have running shoes come since the Saucony Jazz was the shoe of choice for the discerning runner? This challenge was (obviously) accepted.

Old vs New

Old vs New

Shoe: Saucony Kinvara 5

Type: Road running shoe – lightweight, good for speed and racing.

Features: The Kinvara 5 has a new breathable mesh upper, which Saucony say is more flexible and durable than previous Kinvara models. It also has pro-lock technology fit, which provides enhanced fit and flexibility. Having not tried the previous Kinvara models I cannot draw a comparison, but I find them very comfortable and supportive while still being very lightweight.

Fit: I found these ever so ever so slightly on the snug side. I have them a half size up and would probably have preferred a whole size, but they have been giving with wear so I reckon they’ll settle in to the perfect size as we rack up more miles together. If you have wide feet like me you may find them a little narrow.

Looks: Not the usual style I’d go for but I actually really like these. I think they look great on and I love the special London Marathon design – especially the bright neon sole. They’re quite slim and sleek and I think they’re pretty stylish. I love the gold bits – anything gold is fine by me.

Price: These beauties are £95.

Best bits: I love how lightweight these are and feel super speedy when I go out running in them. The longest I’ve taken these out for is about 8 miles and I found them really comfortable, but I will have to see how the measure up to double digits!

Worst bits: A little narrow for me, otherwise I really can’t fault them. A wonderful shoe!

Overall verdict: A really great lightweight road running shoe.

1 of just 500 London Marathon special edition Kinvara 5s!

Shoe: Saucony Jazz Originals

Type: Old school runners. Now mainly worn by cool dudes in East London. And me – an uncool dude in East London.

Features: Thick rigid soles! And old school styling. And that’s about it.

Fit: About right.

Looks: Pretty cool if you’re in to retro runners.

Price: £50.

Best bits: Looks!

Worst bits: Wouldn’t recommend running in them.

Overall verdict: It felt pretty strange to run in these, especially compared to the brand spanking new Kinvara 5! The soles are very thick and inflexible and I definitely missed modern cushioning and support! All in all, I am pleased that Saucony have made such wonderful leaps and bounds in their running shoe technology. These look pretty cool with jeans though.