First Run – in My Saucony Kinvaras 2

I have had way too may “first runs” lately, but this one felt different than the other shoes I have tried out lately. As I discussed in my Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over post I chose the Saucony Kinvara 2. Even though they were on my top 5 list, I had been hesitant to try them because of what had happened to my previous Saucony shoes (heel wear and blister problems). However, nothing else was working and I really do love the fit and feel of Saucony shoes, so I decided to look very closely at the Kinvaras.

I am glad that I did, the heel is designed differently than other Saucony shoes that I have run in and hopefully this design change, fixes the issues I have had with them in the past.

When I tried them on, there was no doubt that they were going to come home with me.

They did and here they are:

Enough of the pictures already, how did they do on my feet during the run?

How were they

FANTASTIC – this is a PG-13 site, so I can’t write what I really said-but the sailor did come out and play for a while. 🙂

They were comfortable, I easily maintained my form for most of 3.1 miles (except when I was screwing around with my iPhone’s arm band, which I eventually threw in my pocket). I knew the calf strain was there and had to back off my lean when I was going faster, but at more reasonable speeds, it was hardly noticeable – big freaking difference!!!!

The shoes are light and fast – and yes I like them a lot so far.

The only thing I noticed at all was that they were a little tight on my right forefoot, not uncomfortably tight, just more snug than the left, so that is something that I will watch to see if it loosens up a bit, after I wear them for a while.


Here are my splits for the run today:

The first mile in a new pair of shoes is always slower, as you get used to how they feel, plus I was messing around with how I was carrying my iPhone for the GPS program. That is my next project finding a great way to carry it once the weather turns warmer and I don’t have pockets to carry it in or else find a GPS watch that I have on my wrist – who know maybe I will win one of the contests going on.

I am definitely very happy with my mile 2 & 3 splits for a first run and my cadence was very close to my goal of 90.

The reality is that

Now I wish I had gotten my Saucony Kinvaras earlier and not done the run-a-round routine, if these work as good as I think they will, next time I will know to start with the Saucony, instead of waiting like I did this time.

The Kinvaras have had the best start of all of my shoes in a long time! Now let’s see how they do from here.

Next report at 50 miles.

Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over

Sometimes you just have to say I was wrong and start over. That is basically what I am doing with my running shoe choices over the past couple of weeks. The ones that I have purchased have not performed as I expected and instead of attempting to make do, I have decided to return them both and start this process over.

New Balance Minimus Trail 20

The New Balance Minimus Trail 20s shoes are not going to work for me. I have tried to transition to them, but when I run in them for any distance since the second day – they are continuing to re-aggravate my left calf strain, so it is time to move on.

Could I eventually run in these shoes – I really don’t know if I can or not, all I know is that running in them now is not happening. So I will find out about running in the next step down or two down the minimalist ladder later – not now. Now it is more important to keep developing my base than it is to experiment, so I decided to return MT20s.

I called New Balance Customer Service and talked with them about what had happened and how I couldn’t run in the shoes. The Customer Service Rep was fantastic and I had an email from New Balance authorizing return of the MT20s before I got  off the phone with them.  It is a pain to have to mail them back and then wait for a credit from the New Balance Store, but it is the right thing for me to do. When I do get the credit, I will probably get the MT110’s which have the 4MM drop and are trail shoes.

Asics Blur 33

The Asics Blur 33 just are not working for me. During my runs in them over the last 2 days, I have had to fight to keep my form or maintain a good pace. I haven’t ever had a pair of shoes that I have had to fight so hard to run comfortably in. They are well-built and fast shoes, but they want me to run one way (heel first) and I want to run a different way (mid-foot strike). Yesterday, towards the end of my 4.0 mile run my feet started to feel uncomfortable in the forefoot.  So last night I did some modifications, changing out the insoles to thinner ones and longer shoelaces (to replace the too short Asics laces), to make Blurs more comfortable for me.

I walked in them this morning to see if they were any more comfortable and they just did not feel right, ankles were now rubbing wrong, since they were deeper in the shoe (it is amazing the difference a few MM make, but it does make a difference.  During the walk I realized, that I was trying to make these shoes fit and feel more like my Saucony Peregrines.  When I realized this, I decided that I was going to return the Blur 33s. If I have to make a lot of changes to a shoe to run it, then there is a problem between how the shoe works for me and my needs.

I called Dick’s Sporting Goods to make sure that I could return the shoes to the Augusta store, even though I had bought them at the Topsham store. I told no problem, as long as I had the receipt – which I did.  I got there this afternoon and everything went like clock-work. There were no hassles with the exchange. I looked around a bit, but pretty much knew that I needed to try on the Saucony Kinvara. It was on my top 5 list and the only reason I had avoided them was because of the problems with the left heel wear I have experience with their shoes lately.

Saucony Kinvara

When I tried the Kinvara on, I knew that I didn’t have to look any further. They just fit me right. The way that I want and expect a shoe to fit me.

This is one of the things that I love about Saucony shoes is the way that they fit me. I looked very carefully at the Kinvara’s heel design and it is much different design than the Peregrine or other Saucony shoes I have run in, so hopefully this design difference will be the solution to my issue with Saucony shoes.

I walked around in the Kinvara for a minute, looked briefly at the Adidas Adi-Zero and Nike Free shoes again –  then walked back over, took them off, put the Kinvara in the box, told the salesperson thank you and walked up front, to finish the exchange process. It didn’t hurt that they were on clearance and I had a $10 off coupon for the shoes either. The staff at Dick’s were extremely helpful, I was very pleased with the customer service and appreciated the ease I was able to return something.

The reality is that

1. I wish that Augusta area had a better selection of running shoes to pick from or a running specialty shop in the area. Oh well, we don’t so that is why so many people in the area rely on ordering their shoes online, taking what is available is or traveling to Portland or beyond to find their running shoes.

2. I should have looked at the Saucony Kinvara the first time I went shoe shopping. They are a different shoe than the Peregrine (even though people have made them out to be sister shoes – yes they are from the same family but are definitely different – far beyond just being road or trail shoes).

I originally didn’t give them the chance, because I thought only difference was that the sole was designed for the road. Instead they are a different design, that share a 4MM drop and are in the minimalist shoe category – big difference. I made a mistake and I am owning up to it now. Lesson learned try on and look at the shoes, don’t go by what other people have written.

3. However, if I hadn’t gone through all of this searching, trying and buying, I wouldn’t have had the experience with a more minimalist shoe or how it would feel to run in a “regular” running shoe after running in the Peregrines since November. It was a good learning experience, that I will put to good use when I am buying my next pair of running shoes in 6-8 months (hopefully).

4. I won’t go back to running in high-heeled running shoes.

5. I found out that I am not ready for the more minimalist shoes at this time.

I have heard many on the Internet say that the zero to 4MM drop shoes do not make a lot of difference in how you run. That might be – but all I know is that it is easier for me to keep good form in minimalist shoes, than others I have run in.

I like something in the zero to 4MM drop running shoe with a stack height under 25MM, with some cushioning to help me when my new form deteriorates, when I get tired.  This is probably where I will be on the minimalist ladder for a while and you know it is isn’t such a bad place to be.

Let’s see how my new Saucony Kinvara running shoes do – I just have a feeling that they will do just fine 🙂

Here is my first run report about the Saucony Kinvara’s