Performance Review: Mizuno Wave Enigma 6

During the test run for the Wave Enigma 6 last April 19 at the Mizuno store in SM Mall of Asia (READ article HERE), I had different impressions towards the shoe. It was understandable since it was entirely brand new and would require a break-in. I decided to hold my assessment and give the shoe further tests. 
At this point, my accumulated mileage input in the Wave Enigma 6 has already reached 47 kilometers. I believe that the shoe has already gone past its break-in period and adjusted well already to my foot.
PERFORMANCE REVIEW: 
At first, I struggled during the first few miles due to the concerns I had with the shoe. The first concern I had was the stack height. The pair I often use only has a 22m on the heel and 18mm on the forefoot.  On the other hand, the Wave Enigma 6’s measures 32 mm on the heel and 20mm on the forefoot.
(The rear view of the Mizuno Wave Enigma 6’s heel   PHOTO BY: The Road Titan)
That’s high. The higher the heel-to-toe drop, the more likely I’d land on my heel (which bugged me since I’m a natural midfoot striker).  The last thing I’d want is pain caused by unintended heel striking. Good news since nothing as such occurred and my appreciation for this shoe grew overtime.
The other concern I had was the underfoot. It felt a little stiff. It was soft but not as plushy as I’d hoped it to be considering the weight penalty it already had due to the midsole foams installed in it. On a positive note, it’s the right kind of stiffness I want in a shoe. Perhaps  the Parallel Wave plate inserted within caused this. I gave consideration to the Wave Enigma 6 since it is a neutral-support shoe. It’s meant to have a more structured functionality.
Heading to the cushioning and ride topic, a runner must remember that the degree of cushioning can affect the shoes’ overall ride. Most shoes nowadays are beefed-up with unique cushioning technologies that brag an all-new level of “comfort”. As a consequence, the ride of the shoe feels dull or sluggish. I once bought a shoe that was generally known for its marshmallow-like cushion. Unfortunately, I ended up disliking it since it eats up additional energy or effort in every stride. It made me feel slow and tired than usual afterwards.   
I believe this is where Mizuno’s Wave Enigma 6 comes in. It’s one of the few pairs in the world that found the sweet spot between support and responsiveness. It might not be too squishy but it maintained my ground feel without compromising too much comfort. For me, that is relatively important than running in a very cushioned shoe. 
The Wave Enigma 6 compensated a lot when it comes to responsiveness. In long runs, I liked how the shoe remained stable due to the heel-to-toe transition guided by the Wave plate inside the midsole. It was fun and impressive. The transition of each stride was fast since the forefoot helped my feet launch quickly.  Despite being a support shoe, it felt a bit snappy.
 However, my guts tells me that the Wave plate itself, despite its effectiveness to distribute the impact received by the foot, causes the rigid feeling I had underfoot. It didn’t significantly affect anything in my performance actually. I’m just a weenie when it comes to the midsole area.
(The Wave Enigma 6 after 15Km run)
After additional miles logged into the shoe, the ride became more forgiving and comfortable. The stiffness of the shoe will eventually wear off. Just give it more time.
The upper construction of the shoe allowed my feet to stretch freely and naturally inside while running on uneven roads. When it comes to grip or traction, the outsole of the Wave Enigma 6 is definitely a winner. There was a time when I decided to train outdoors after raining. To fully test the grip, I decided to run on the wet sidewalks since it was more slippery than asphalt roads. The traction of the outsole performed well despite the condition I set.   
VERDICT:
The Wave Enigma 6 is perfect for long distance runs and training sessions. It can take a serious beating in high mileage runs. The shoe was highly responsive and performed better than the other cushioned shoes I tested before. For neutral runners who tend to land on their heels, the Wave Enigma 6 can adequately provide the support you need. However, it needs a longer break in period to reduce the stiffness of the shoes.
I hope Mizuno will look into the possibility of reducing the weight of this trainer by making adjustments in its components and figuring out how to enhance the underfoot comfort. Aside from those, the shoe did a very fine job. Fine enough for me to consider it as my marathon trainer.

(I would like to thank our friends in Mizuno Philippines for providing us a sample of the Wave Enigma 6. It did not affect or had any bearing on the results of this review.)
  

 

 

Mizuno Wave Enigma 6: First Impressions


Mizuno Philippines had a test run for its latest release, the Mizuno Wave Enigma 6, at the SM Mall of Asia last April 19, 2017. 
The Wave Enigma 6 is specifically designed for runners with neutral pronation. Unlike its brother, the recently released Wave Rider 20, the Wave Enigma 6 boasts added cushion and support. Being a neutral runner myself, I was anticipating on how the shoe will deliver.
(Mr. Mickey Regala, Marketing Communications Supervisor of Mizuno Philippines, introduces the Wave Enigma 6)
Here are my initial impressions with the new Mizuno Wave Enigma 6:
1.)  WEIGHT
The shoe weighs 11.2 ounces. In my book, that means that the shoe is leaning on the “heavy” category.  When I first tried the shoes, I immediately noticed the tad difference between its weight and the pair I was wearing earlier. It was understandable since the Wave Enigma 6 is beefed up with 2 different cushioning systems and the outsole has a full X10 blown rubber coverage. One shouldn’t expect that trainers like this would be as light as other performance shoes. 
(The Wave Enigma 6 utilizes a full X10 hard rubber outsole coverage)
Here’s the good news: During the actual test run, the weight of the Wave Enigma 6 was barely noticeable. I felt it but it didn’t have any significant effect on my strides nor pace. I have yet to see how the shoes will fare in long slow distance runs and sprints.
2.)  FIT and UPPER
It was a perfect lockdown. 
My heel sat pretty well within the heel cup of the shoe.  The toebox of the Wave Enigma 6 gave my toes a spacious room to wiggle around. I didn’t have any issues with the midfoot since the mesh wrapped around my feet just fine. It wasn’t too snug (which I often dread in some brands). The plush feel of the tongue and ankle collar was superb as well.

(The tongue and ankle collar of the Wave Enigma 6)
(The upper mesh construction of the Wave Enigma 6)
The upper construction of the shoe, which is composed of a breathable stretch mesh, is the result of Mizuno’s Dynamotion Fit technology. Mizuno aims to build a pair that will adapt to the natural motion of the feet. The Wave Enigma 6, in response to this, actually allowed my feet to move naturally while running. When it comes to fit and upper construction, this pair will not disappoint.

3.) SOLE
This is the part in which I had mixed reactions. Right after I wore the shoes, there’s one striking observation that came right in my head. It was VERY FIRM. I had other pairs that were softer. This one seems to beg differently. 
(The Wave Enigma 6 features different technologies in its midsole)
The Wave Enigma 6 didn’t feel soft as I expected it would be. In some cases, that’s also a good thing. Other brands invest on comfort by adding some kind of additional “cush” on their products’ midsoles. The result? You have a shoe that eats up additional energy in every stride and erases ground feel. Having a shoe with excessive cushioning can be disadvantageous.   
Also, there’s a lot of going-on in its midsole. It gave me the impression that the shoe focuses on providing that balance between premium cushioning and responsiveness. 
I was right.
According to Mickey Regala, the Marketing Communications Supervisor of Mizuno Philippines, he explained that the shoe features 3 materials in its midsole: The Parallel Wave plate, U4ic and U4icX midsole foams.
The Parallel Wave plate is the plastic-like material in between the midsole foams. This patented technology of Mizuno aims to equally disperse the shock received by the foot during the impact phase. My guess is that this plate plays a huge role in the Wave Enigma 6’s overall firmness, responsiveness, and ride.  
(The Trifecta: The Parallel Wave Plate in between the U4ic and U4icX foams)

The wave plate was then compressed with different midsole foams. The U4ic (white) is placed on top while the U4icX (orange), the softest midsole foam of Mizuno, is located at the bottom. I was curious on how these 3 different materials will work out together in the test run.

Here’s the answer: The Wave Enigma 6 was equally responsive in all trials I did during the test run: drills, easy pace, race pace, and sprints. The overall ride was great and the cushioning was adequate. Despite the weight penalty, the shoe performed well.  Just a slight improvement on the sole comfort will be great. 
4. PRICE
The Wave Enigma 6 comes with a hefty price of Php 7, 495. It’s quite expensive. With different brands offering cheaper alternatives in the market, choosing this shoe will be a dilemma. 
5. PERFORMANCE      
This article will be fully updated after I log more mileage in the shoes. Stay tuned for the performance review.

 [I would like to thank our friends in Mizuno Philippines for providing us a pair of the Wave Enigma 6. This did not affect the results of the initial and performance review]

 

 

Shoe Review: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 18 "The Cloud Runner"

The Gel-Nimbus 18 is ASICS’ newest iteration to their world-renowned shoe that has spanned for 18 years.  Honestly, ASICS is doing a pretty good job in maintaining and updating the quality of the Nimbus-line; considering the fact that there are only a handful of shoe models that lasted for more than a decade. It’s like watching your favorite TV series in its 18thseason.
Last year, a lot of runners had their personal take about the Nimbus 17. Many are curious about the updates done to their favorite neutral shoe after the Nimbus 18’s release date was announced several months ago.

I went to a local ASICS concept store and purchased the Gel-Nimbus 18 right after spotting it on the racks. Here are some of my impressions after having the Nimbus 18:
1.) WEIGHT

Weight has been one of my top qualifications when it comes to picking a shoe. I used to run in my Saucony Kinvara 5 & 6 while I train using the Adidas Supernova Glide Boost. These models are under the lightweight to semi-lightweight category. I never had a pair which is way heavier than them. The Nimbus 18 weighs 11oz at least, compared to my Kinvara 6 which only weighs a little less than 8 oz (via runningwarehouse). Logic tells me that I’m looking at a shoe which will add 3 ounces to each stride.That’s just how I see it.
However, the significance of weight when it comes to running efficiency or speed is a subjective issue among runners. Some would say it will slow them down while others tell that it’s not noticeable during a run.  I tried jogging inside the store to get the slightest feel of its ride. To my surprise, the weight wasn’t really that much of an issue. (This is just my first impression).   
One must understand that ASICS has always been producing premium high-mileage trainers. Compared to other brands, the Nimbus-line can take a very long beating (proven). It’s made to be highly durable and top quality materials. As a consequence, the shoe will definitely become heavier. If you are a minimalist runner or someone who prefers lightweight shoes, you may have doubts in getting this pair. 
2.) FIT &UPPER
I love these shoes! The fit is just PERFECT. The toe box is spacious enough to give my toes enough room to move. My feet were secured well, thanks to the supportive heel counter and plush ankle collar at the rear, and a non-restrictive fit of the upper (Fluidfit). ASICS retained the engineered mesh used on the Nimbus 17 for lightweight breathability.  
3.) SOLE
I featured the Nimbus 18 last March as one of my most anticipated Neutral running shoes for 2016. I highlighted the modified placement of the ASICS Gel at the rear foot region of the shoes. I was curious what would it feel like if there was Gel inserted closely below my heel. The answer was noticeable.
The heel felt remarkably “bouncy” or “cushy”. This catered my special fondness for a shoe that has a soft heel cushioning. Compared to my Glide Boost, the Nimbus 18 felt a tad softer in the heel area. It corresponds to the purpose of the ASICS Gel to increase support by absorbing and reducing ground impact during strides.  This is a great update for those who are hauling long-miles during training or actual runs.
I almost forgot about the weight issue after walking around while wearing the Nimbus 18. They are just so comfortable to wear!  I have both Adidas Energy Boost ESM and Glide Boost in my rotation. I believe that the Boost technology of Adidas has become synonymous to the word “COMFORT”. In this particular matter, I can attest that the Nimbus 18 is a very competitive rival when it comes to that category. The “Cloud Runner” truly lives up to its name.  
4.) PRICE
The suggested retail price of the Gel-Nimbus is PHP 8000. Compared to other brands that retail Php 4000- 6000 worth of running shoes, this pair is considered to be a very expensive (Trivia: The ASICS Metarun has a 5-digit price tag to it). The price could possibly explain the quality of the materials fused into the shoe. 
In a way or another, buying an ASICS pair is like purchasing a mobile phone that has a long-lasting battery life.  I know some runners whose ASICS beaters have outlived two running shoes. For a Php 8000 worth of pair, I think that’s worth every buck. 
You may get your pair from local ASICS concept stores near you. 
5.) PERFORMANCE 
[UPDATE: 04/24/16]- After testing the performance of the Gel-Nimbus 18, here are some of things I observed:
PROS:
The Gel-Nimbus 18 truly deserves to be called “The Cloud Runner”. The level of cushion provided by this shoe is luxurious. It’s one of the plushiest pairs I have reviewed so far.  If I am going to associate it using the materials of other brands, it felt like I was running on Adidas Boost and Skechers Memory foam combined. I put premium on comfort, and I’m happy to announce that the Nimbus 18 got a 10/10 in that aspect.
To fully test the performance of the shoe, I decided to run the Nimbus 18 on both flat and uneven road surfaces for 35 kilometers (accumulated). Whenever I tried to shift my foot motion to avoid bumps and rocks, the upper of the shoe (particularly the mesh) had no problem adjusting the stretch it needed to support my feet.  My feet remained perfectly locked in place while being allowed it to move naturally inside the shoe.I coursed through the uneven roads comfortably, thanks to the gel unit that absorbed/reduced the ground impact. Traction won’t be necessary issue since there is plenty of rubber coverage on its outsole. 
As I reached asphalt roads, the steady ride of the Nimbus 18 became more noticeable.  I could barely feel the solidity of the road because of the gel units inserted below the heel and forefoot areas of the shoes (same case while I was running in trail). My toes felt like they were sinking deeply into the forefoot cushioning pads. It felt unnatural at first, but it never became a huge problem throughout the entire testing phase.
CONS:
My strides were slower than usual. It took my feet a bit longer to achieve toe-off because of the cushioning granted by the shoe and its stiff flexibility. It wasn’t much of a big deal for me. However, some runners find it a bit difficult to run on shoes that are “too cushioned”. Excess midsole cushioning systems may cut the responsiveness of the shoe or reduce ground feel. This often leads to a sluggish pace while running. The shoe’s weight could play a significant factor as well. If you are the type of runner who prefers a “snappier” ride, you may opt for lighter and less cushioned neutral shoes.   
VERDICT:

The Nimbus 18 is a great all-around shoe for training and actual runs. It worked well with me. Aside from its sluggishly cushioned ride, Neutral runners may expect a very comfortable running experience as they run short or long distances. The Nimbus 18 comes with a hefty price (Php 8000) and heavier weight compared to other shoe models in its category.  However, the durability/life span and performance of this shoe is definitely unquestionable. In comparison, it may not have the competitiveness of a racing car but it has the quality and comfort of a luxury car.     

Shoes of the Week: Boston Marathon Edition 2016

       The Boston Marathon is considered as a premiere running event in the world. It is suffice to say that running during “Patriot’s day” in Massachusetts has become one the most coveted privileges of all running enthusiasts since its initial launch decades ago. The Boston Marathon served as a birthplace of legends and a symbol for triumph and dedication to the sport.
        As an annual tribute to this 119-year old tradition, several giant sport brands  redesign some of their top shoe models in honor of the Boston Marathon.  
Here are some of the latest releases:
1.) Saucony Triumph ISO 2
2.) Skechers GoRun Forza


3.) New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2

4.) Newton Running Fate 2



5.) Saucony Kinvara 7


6.) Nike LunarEpic FlyKnit


7.) Brooks Adrenaline GTS


8.) Skechers GoMeb Speed 3

9.)New Balance Fresh Foam 1080


10.) Adidas Adizero Adios Boost




Shoe of the Week: Brooks Ravenna 7

Brooks has officially released one of their best shoes under the Stability category; the all-new Brooks Ravenna 7!
Since its initial release, the Brooks Ravenna became one of the favorite road shoes of overpronators when it comes to logging long miles during training or running in long distance categories. Durable, supportive, and well-cushioned, the Ravenna 7 is a sweet promise not only for Brooks fans, but also to runners who crave for a top performing stability running pair.
So what are the key characteristics that we can expect from the Brooks Ravenna 7? Check these out!
1.) A seamless design on the Upper:
                The seamless mesh upper of the Brooks Ravenna 7 provides more breathability and support thanks to its welded overlays. The reinforced saddle helps the upper to secure perfectly around your foot and provide more stability during you run.  The well-padded tongue and collar of the Ravenna 7 offers a plushier and comfortable fit for this structured shoe. 
2.) A newly developed Midfoot and Forefoot Zones:
                Brooks made a splendid combination of efficiency and support by updating the Midfoot and Forefoot areas of the Ravenna 7. This pair has a firm Midfoot Transition zone that promotes a faster heel-to-toe transition for each stride. The Forefoot Energy zone or “Forefoot Pods” of the Ravenna 7 enables the runner to have an energy return which leads to a “bouncy” ride. The blown rubber outsole was integrated to provide durability for long runs.  
3.) A BioMoGo DNA foam.
                     The BioMoGo DNA foam offers an adaptive and soft cushioning material. This durable EVA midsole material boasts a softer and more flexibility as it adjusts to your foot in every step, maintaining natural gait efficiency.
INSIGHTS FROM THE AUTHOR:

The BioMoGo midsole is a big treat for Overpronators. The cushioning and responsiveness of the Ravenna 7 is well-balanced. It sticks with your natural gait and provides comfort as you go the distance. This shoe is a good alternative for traditional and heavy stability running shoes in the market.
The Brooks Ravenna 7 BASIC INFO:
Type: Road Shoes
Manufacturer: Brooks
Weight: 10.7 oz.
Heel: 26 mm
Forefoot: 16 mm
Drop from heel to forefoot: 9-10 mm

Release Date: March 2016 

Shoe of the Week: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2


Since its official release in 2014, the critically-acclaimed New Balance Fresh Foam Zante made its way to become one of the top road running shoes around the world. Runners enjoyed the responsiveness and smoothness of ride delivered by the brand’s signature Fresh Foam midsole.  
 Often described as a “Goldilocks’ shoe”, this daily lightweight trainer excelled in providing balance between comfort and performance during tempo workouts or long distance runs.  
Pioneering the tagline “Always in Beta”, New Balance proceeded to its campaign for shoe innovation and evolution as it unleashed the Zante’s latest iteration: The Fresh Foam Zante v2. 
So, how did New Balance transform an already “GREAT” shoe into a much “GREATER” version?  Check this out:

1.) Modified FRESH FOAM midsole
The hexagon geometry of the Fresh Foam midsole from the forefoot area down to the medial was redesigned into convex hexagons. These patterns help the runner achieve a responsive or snappier ride during tempo runs or speed workouts. The density of the midsole of V1 was retained in V2 so runners may continue to enjoy a bouncy cushioning underfoot as they pick up the pace.
2.) Updated rubber outsole 
The Fresh Foam Zante v2 bears the same lightweight rubber outsole coverage like its predecessor. The hexagonal pattern engineered on the outsole of the V2 provides a better traction, durability, and a more efficient transition for Neutral runners.   
3.) Redesigned Shoe Upper
The upper mesh design of the V2 was improved be more supple and breathable. The Fresh Foam Zante v2 features strategically placed synthetic overlays that wraps around the foot for a more secure and glove-like fit. 
INSIGHTS OF THE AUTHOR:
The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 is a very good choice for Neutral runners who want a responsive and sufficiently cushioned running shoes during fast workouts or runs. If you loved the version 1 of the Zante, you will definitely fall in love once again with its newest iteration. Try the The Fresh Foam Zante v2 now!
The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 18 BASIC INFO:
Type: Road Shoes
Manufacturer: New Balance
Weight: 12.1 oz.
Heel: 23 mm
Forefoot: 17 mm
Drop from heel to forefoot: 6 mm
Release Date: March 2016 (on local running stores nationwide)

 

Shoe Retirement 101: When Should You Retire Your Running Shoes?


It is an accepted fact that all shoes will eventually reach their so-called “retirement” after a long (or short) period of  usage. Although the life span of each pair lasts differently, all of them present signs of wear over time. Runners should take notice of these signs to prevent possible problems and injuries in the future. 
To better explain things, I will use my own running shoe as an example in this article. I bought a NIKE Lunar Forever 2 way back in 2013.  It was the only running pair I had in that year. As a consequence, it became my training and performance shoes in all my runs. The LF2 was my all-around shoe until I had an enough number of other running shoes for my rotation. The Lf2 lasted for almost 3 years (not bad) as I declared its retirement a week ago.  So…
What are the factors that a runner must consider before retiring his/her pair?
FACTOR #1: ACCUMULATED MILEAGE
 I used the Lunar Forever 2 in all of these 21km runs in 2013 (The LF2 reached 105 kilometers already within 5 events only). The distances I covered during training and preparation isn’t included yet.
The lifespan of a shoe is directly linked to its mileage. As the runner increases his/her distance during training and races, the quality of the materials that make up the shoe lowers at the same time. Most lightweight shoes last for 300-400 miles while premium trainers last over 500 miles. The durability of the shoe also recedes faster based on the frequency and intensity of use. 
Using a GPS-watch as a mileage recorder
If your weekly mileage is over 100kms per week, you might need to change your shoes every 3-4 months (The type and durability of the materials used in the shoe will play a significant factor here). 
  
The Lunar Forever 2 is a lightweight Neutral trainer I used in most of my long distance runs. Most of my personal bests were ran using the LF2. Based on my estimation and running record, the LF2 has accumulated more than 600kms already. That is more than half of the least expected life span for a lightweight shoe.
It is important to be aware of the distance covered by your running shoes so you can assess whether the pair is nearing its maximum term of use and should be replaced. This could be done by tracking a the number of races you have attended and measuring the mileage you achieved for each week.

FACTOR#2:  PHYSICAL SIGNS OF WEAR
Here are some of things you should observe while using your shoes: 

            A.) OUTSOLE: 
Most of the outsole patterns in the forefoot and heel area have faded after hundreds of kilometers.
            One of the fundamental purposes of the outsole is to provide traction. As time goes by, the patterns or treads of the outsole fade because of the constant contact it has with the ground. Shoes lose traction and become slick when used in roads, especially on wet grounds. This might cause injuries or affect your performance. Most of the faded parts of the outsole can be seen at the forefoot region and heel area of the shoes. 
            The traction of the LF2 (present) isn’t as reliable when it was at its prime. You can see on the pictures the faded treads of the LF2’s outsole.  
            B.) MIDSOLE: 
The midsole shows signs of wear
          The midsole is the cushioning that reduces the impact received by your feet during landing phase (except in extreme minimalist shoes). The midsole compresses every time it receives impact. It will continue to compress (and decompress when at rest) until it can no longer give you that “comfy” or bouncy feel over time.    
You may use your thumb and forefinger to squish the midsole and see how much it would compress. A worn-out shoe will compress easily. It means that the shock absorption of the midsole has deteriorated.   
Most of the running lines of NIKE  utilizes the Lunarlon Foam. The amount of cushioning of the LF2’s midsole has decreased significantly in 3 years because of the constant mileage beating it received during runs. I can still recall how the cushioning of the midsole felt before. It was buttery smooth. Unlike now, I feel the solidity of the ground below me.
C.) TORSION:
 Shoes become more flexible every time it is used. Remember that the flexibility of the shoes may vary depending on its type and the amount of support the original had. Too much flexing may lead to minor or major foot injuries including how your biomechanics and pronation works. To test the current flexibility of your shoe, hold both toe and heel of the shoe and try to fold it. . This will test how much give the shoe has. If you can almost fold it in half, it means that the shoe has become too much flexible. It means that it might have exceeded the advised flexibility for your feet.
FACTOR#3: YOUR PERSONAL JUDGMENT
This is a picture taken after I halted my training after 5.47 kms. My left knee started to feel sore.

                Runners know their shoes more than anyone else. You don’t need to be a seasoned runner just to know when your pair has already tapped out. You may be having the same observations like the following; 1. The level of comfort or bounciness of the shoe has lost. You can almost feel the ground underfoot. 2.) You’re starting to get knee pains, shin splints, muscle soreness, or your old injuries have returned after each run. This may become more noticeable if you weren’t experiencing these problems before. 3.)  Several parts of your shoe are showing signs of deterioration or damage, and 4.) It looks really worn out.



                Runners are advised, if they can afford, to have at least 3 pairs for running. This will give an ample time for the cushioning (midsole) of the shoe to decompress while you are using another pair. 
               There are some cases wherein runners are “forced” to retire their pair early. This might be caused by the mismatch between the built of shoes and their natural pronation or biomechs. It is only logical to STOP using the shoe if it is causing pain or injury to your body. Also, this can be avoided by understanding first the must-have qualities of a shoe that would complement with your body.  Nobody wants to purchase a pair only to retire it earlier than expected. 


CONCLUSION:

As the saying goes: “The only permanent thing in this world is CHANGE”.  Running shoes will be replaced sooner or later, depending on how we use them. Runners should be aware of the current status of their shoes for them to perform and enjoy the sport without problems or injuries. Early retirement of shoes can be avoided by knowing the right shoes that would best fit your body. Remember, running should always be a HAPPY experience!

 
 

SAUCONY KINVARA 6 REVIEW: “Seek and you shall FLY!”


Saucony, a multi-awarded American shoe brand, has officially released one of the running community’s most awaited units; the Saucony Kinvara 6. Since its release in 2010, the Kinvara line has undergone several updates which caught the attention of runners across the globe. Now on its 6th iteration, the Kinvara 6 boasts new updates that rival its award-winning predecessor, the Kinvara 5. 

CONTENT:


1. Fit

2. Upper

3. Sole

4. Aesthetics

5. Conclusion

________________________________________________________________________________

1. FIT:

Toebox of the Saucony Kinvara 6

I’m size 9.5 with a considerable wide foot. One of the things that I liked about the Kinvara 5 was its spacious toe box. I was curious to find out if the Kinvara 6 offers the same comfort and did not disappoint. My toes had enough room to wiggle inside the toe box of Kinvara 6. Although it had a snug fit, it wasn’t too tight or narrow. It gave me a satisfying secure fit. 
 
Irritation caused by an unknown material within this area

A minor issue I encountered concerned a material inside the shoe, which seemed to irritate the base of my right outermost toe. I went online to confirm if other Kinvara 6 users experienced the same issue. On a post on Runblogger.com, Peter Larson shared that there was something digging on his foot: a material just right under the Saucony logo, making him swap the soles as a last ditch effort. The first time I ran using this pair, I was only able to last 4.63 kilometers due to the uncomfortable feeling I had on my toes. The following day, I used it for walking while wearing thicker socks. My theory is that it needs an adequate break-in period since it was a new pair. 


The good news is that the irritation I felt during the early trials receded quickly. I suggest a longer break-in period for Kinvara 6 in case you encounter the same problem. 

2. UPPER:


Aside from the FlexFilm that added a more natural foot movement, Saucony provided a more sturdy yet still breathable mesh material on the Kinvara 6. The upper mesh of Kinvara 6 has more structured overlays in its FlexFilm than its 4thand 5th version
The Pro-Lock system is still present in this pair to provide a secure mid-foot fit. Some runners dislike this portion of the shoe because of the constriction they felt during runs. I did not encounter this problem during my runs, however and the Pro-Lock system supported my mid-foot well with every stride.

3. SOLE:

The IBR + EVA foam combined with PowerGrid

According to Saucony, the Kinvara 6 utilized Injection Blown Rubber (IBR +), a newly developed EVA foam material that lasts longer than standard EVAs. This technology makes the Kinvara 6 a lightweight shoe, weighing only at 7.8 oz on size 9. The sole employs great response during speedy runs and comfort during long runs. The PowerGrid midsole helps in absorbing the impact of each strike and evenly distributes the pressure to the entire foot. 
It may not be as soft as the Boost material used by Adidas, but enough to give you a snappy ride without compromising comfort—It’s another definition of soft! Based on experience, only a few brands were able to combine performance and comfort in the lightweight category, and the Kinvara line is one of those that rise on top.
Heel to Toe offset of Kinvara 6
The Kinvara 6 remained at 4mm offset with a 22mm heel and 18 forefoot stack height. A factor that you should consider before purchasing the Kinvara is its outsoles’ rubber content. 
The durability issue of this pair will always be put into question since it’s stripped off its flesh and exposed the bone to keep it lightweight and fast. Reducing the rubber content of the outsole also reduces the weight of the shoe. 

Most of the rubber materials were put strategically on the outsole instead, following the common wear patterns of neutral runners. 

My hypothesis is that the sole will endure 300-400 kms if you’re not a high-mileage runner who trains regularly. 

With this in mind, I have already considered the Kinvara 6 as one of my front liners for long distance runs.

4. AESTHETICS:

The Kinvara 6 looks fast. Most runners prefer to stand out with pairs infused with bright colors. Saucony did a great job in designing the shoe with color ways that could expand its market base. On the other hand, I have come to a realization that I have an unbreakable fetish-like fondness with a B/W colorway.  Regardless of your chosen unit, this is really a good looking shoe with a credible track record.

5. CONCLUSION:

Aside from the minor setback I encountered with the upper of the Kinvara 6, new iteration of the Kinvara line is a solid shoe. The Kinvara 6 is highly recommended for runners with Neutral pronation who seek a consistent balance between performance and comfort. The Saucony Kinvara 6 retail price is PHP 4995 in local stores nationwide. 
(Review Date: 07/01/2015)