Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kinvara 3 vs Kinvara 4: Part 2

(Part 1 of the Kinvara 3 / Kinvara 4 show-down)

Greetings from San Francisco, where it's been basically 65° around the clock for the last week & a half. I understand that the rest of you are melting and / or evaporating and / or ionizing into a plasma state, and have had to resort to such sadnesses as treadmills and running in the dead of night in order to get your workouts in. I used to live in north Texas, and then in northern Ohio after that, so I feel for you. This is pretty much why you should move to San Francisco. We can run together if you want. :)

On Saturday I had a great (if demanding) three mile run, which was a post M2BM distance record. That night I was already plotting how I would knock out another three miles the next day, excellent posterior chain mechanics & all.

But then Sunday morning happened. I didn't get up until 11:30, felt a bit sore in the hips from Saturday evening's 40-minute Lacrosse ball session, sat on my ass eating breakfast and reading the internet for another, oh, three hours or so, then spent another hour leisurely meandering to get my usual Sunday mocha & pain au jambon, and finally to the park across the street to listen to the SF Symphony for a few minutes.

Yes...That is my actual coffee. #sanfrancisco

These things are like crack.

By 4:00 I'd barely done anything all day & was exhausted from it. In contrast to my feelings driving through Golden Gate Park almost exactly a week ago, the absolute LAST thing I wanted to do was go run. (Yes, even after seven weeks of moaning & complaining about not being able to.) I definitely didn't want to run through my neighborhood again and deal with pedestrians & traffic lights & dogs & what have you when it's taking every spare brain cell I have to focus on my form. So, even though I knew it would only end up being 2-3 miles, I made the 10 minute drive to Golden Gate Park & just got it over with.

My glutes and hamstrings felt a little sore, which I took as a good sign that I'd been using them correctly the day before. So correctly, in fact, that I'd apparently worn them out. Getting the muscles to fire in the same way they had yesterday required speed work levels of effort, so my run ended up being more like 2 x 800m + 6 x 400m than an actual 2.5 miles. I'm not kidding that toward the end I was panting after a quarter mile at ~8:30 pace. Form fixes are WORK!

* * *

Back in June I acquired a brand new pair of Saucony Kinvara 3's as well as a pair of the recent update, the Kinvara 4. I wasn't able to really run at that point, so most of that first post comparing the two focused on how they felt on my feet, construction, weight, etc. I did promise that I would post an update once I was able to really run again, and since that day has come, I've been doing my recent 2-3 milers wearing one K3 and one K4 (alternating sides, of course, so that they wear evenly).

I mentioned in the earlier post that in terms of feel, the two shoes felt just nearly identical, and now having run a few miles in them, I stand by that statement 98%. The differences I have noticed are minute enough that it's taken me several runs to even feel certain they're there:

  • The K4 does feel just a touch wider inside in the forefoot (but distinctly not in the heel). This was surprising because you can line up the outsoles lug-for-lug and they're perfectly identical in width, but inside the inner part of my forefoot & my big toe felt like they had just a touch more room to splay. The K3s have never felt particularly narrow to me before, but I'm still enjoying the extra bit of room.
  • Either I can feel that 1mm closer to the ground in the K4, or I have convinced myself that I can. Not really sure. (Update: I am pretty sure I can feel it.)
  • I mentioned in the first post that the heel counter on the K3 is slightly higher than the K4. I've been running in the 3's for ten months now and never had a problem with its heel counter, but the first time I ran with this particular brand-new K3 on my right foot, it rubbed uncomfortably against my heel & gave me a huge blister. Not sure what that's about since it didn't happen with the left shoe & has never happened to me with Kinvaras before.

The ride still feels completely identical to me. I literally cannot tell the difference. I'm still not sure what's up with the fact that the front of the K4 curves up so dramatically as compared to the 3 & hoped running in them would solve this mystery, but it hasn't.

Anyone have a Saucony connection? This is becoming the sort of mystery I can't let go.


  1. I have a pair of the 4's that I run in and like them a lot. I have had friends who ran in the 3's and mentioned that they tend to wear out rather quickly. I have also ran in the Saucony Viratta, which I really like. Very light! I ran the Umstead 100 miler in the Viratta the whole way and did not have a mark on my feet after! Right now I am rotating between the 4's and a pair of Mizuno Wave Sayonara for my road runs, so I will see what the wear time is on the 4's as compared to the 3's. Love the blog! Keep up the good work!

    1. Interesting! I've had my old pair of 3's for about ten months, but I've only been running in them maybe once a week on average, so they don't have tons and tons of miles on them yet. It'll be interesting to see how long they last given that the soles are mostly the softer rubber.

      I haven't heard of the Viratta - will have to look into it!

  2. Two things:

    1) I am jealous you live across the street from a park that hosts the SF symphony.
    2) I don't understand how barristas do that.

    Also, running in two different shoes: that's dedication!

    I was sent here by RoseRunner and am a new/big fan. I'm a sucker for proper grammar!

    1. Hi Jeano! Welcome! :)

      Yeah, our park is pretty sweet. In the summer they show movies there on the weekend, & we get symphony maybe 3-4 times a year.

      Most of the time I feel like I can compare shoes reasonably well by memory, but these two were so similar I felt like that was the only way I'd be able to pick up on the differences. It's definitely been kind of a neat experiment!

  3. Your coffee looked amazing! I need to start hitting up more specialty shops in Spokane. I just wished that they were placed as conveniently as Sbux.
    No Saucony connection for me, but if you hear anything keep us posted.

    1. I don't know exactly where you are in Spokane, but you should check out Revel 77 if it's near you! (It's on 7th, between Freya & Regal.) Don & I started going there when we are his parents' for the holidays & they're really tasty. :)

  4. LOVE your new header too! It looks great :-)

  5. This was really helpful - I tried running in the Kinvara 2 or 3 and found that the toebox was too tiny on my right pinky toe. So I had to return them. But I loved those shoes - so light, and they felt perfect. Suffice to say my favorite shoe that I've ever tried on. Maybe I'll give the Kinvara 4 a whirl.

    For your stand up desk, what kind of boxes have you tried to use to set it up? I've pondered using printer paper boxes, and then using painters tape to tape down the boxes to the desk, so that the boxes don't move around. Any ideas on this? I have a desktop, and only problem with my job is that at my job I have to handle actual paper files while I work, so I almost need to raise my entire workspace with boxes too. I'll try to figure something out - since I see how much standing can help your body over time.

    1. Yay! Glad you're enjoying them.

      I've been using printer paper boxes filled with old files to keep them weighed down, & then a tilted laptop stand on top of that. But, I do have a laptop, so you might have to do some additional work to situation a keyboard.

      I use actual paper files & for the most part haven't had many problems handling those on my actual desk surface at normal height (I have my printer box with computer stand kind of angled off to the side so that the middle of my desk is clear), though occasionally I do sit down for a few minutes if standing doesn't really work for that. I think this is probably okay. :)

  6. Oh, and my PT basically said that I need to base my ability to run on how I feel during and afterwards. I hate that kind of guidance, but in the end that is how it needs to be done. I've only done some run/walking so far - mixed results. Some pain on the inside of my left knee where it used to hurt - after icing the pain goes down a lot. Today I feel zero pain simply walking around - I did 40 min run 2.5 min/walk 2 min yesterday (appox 5.5 mph speed while running). Somewhat encouraging. I relish the day that I can actually run and have zero pain during and after.

  7. Thanks for posting this...3's worn out and deciding to try 4's after your review.