Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 2
Charlie Bell, February 21, 2012
The increasingly popular idea that we should run using an ever more minimalist design of running shoe questions the ability of the designer to come up with a slender yet durable product. The minimalist and barefoot trend had become prolific over the last year and it’s with this theme in mind that I went to check out the ProGrid Kinvara 2 during training for the long distance Outlaw triathlon in Nottingham, UK.
The Saucony website claims that the ProGrid Kinvara 2 are designed to give you precisely what you need in shoe; something which is evident when you first pick them up weighing in at only 218g (size 9).
As for the construction of the shoe, the upper part of the shoe is made from a mono-filament mesh which, although appearing very flimsy, remained undamaged when put through the test on numerous muddy runs on the moors of Scotland and on the tarmac of London. Despite first impressions, the material is relentless enough to prevent stray stones, pebbles and mud from getting into the shoe. The sole is made from an ultra-light durable foam and its shape creates a lower heel to toe ratio which sways toward the barefoot genre of running.
One of the beautiful considerations with this shoe is that they take virtually no ‘running in’ time and were comfortable as soon as I put them on. A major contributor to this instant comfort is the foam heel collar which creates a snug fit around the foot. When running, the lightweight feel of the shoe is immediately noticeable but comfort is never compromised by this. Having put the shoe through long, hilly, off-road runs as well as short tarmac sprints I never lost that initial comfort. However, if you are used to a higher heel to toe ratio it may take a small amount of time for your muscles to adjust to this different angle. To put them to the extreme comfort test I ran without socks in wet and muddy conditions and after 6 miles was only aware of a very minor rubbing sensation on the ankles; something easily eliminated with the use of socks. Also, expecting there to be a stench after running in these specific conditions, the shoes remained odourless.
Style is of course always an important factor. The mesh upper layer of the shoe provides a very chic look and with a number of different colour schemes, you’re bound to find something that suits you. Having run over 200 miles in my pair I’m certain of their durability and shall look forward to seeing how they whether in my second season during this Olympic year.