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In 1898, four young businessmen – William A Donmoyer, Thomas S Levan, Walter CC Snyder and Benjamin F Reider – decided to open a footwear factory in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The entrepreneurs adopted the name of the local river, Saucony Creek, for their new business, the Saucony Shoe Manufacturing Company, and began making children’s footwear.

It wasn’t long until the two-storey factory was manufacturing 800 pairs of shoes per day and the company moved into the production of  athletic footwear.

Timing for Saucony could not have been better; the turn of the 20th century saw a massive increase in interest and participation in sport. suddenly, working people had some free time, and many used this as an opportunity to indulge in physical activities.

Of course, with the increase in participation, came increased demand for sporting goods, apparel and footwear… which companies such as Saucony, were well positioned to supply.

Suddenly the race to develop new footwear technology was on. And Saucony was firmly at the forefront of that, not least with its 7446 spike, designed for track athletes during the late 1950s.

Fast forward to today, and it can sometimes feel that we live in an extremely complex world. Technology brings huge value into our lives yet at the same time, it can create constant demands on our time and attention. Many jobs feature so many moving parts that it is hard to know where to start. The world seems to get smaller and busier by the day.

But in many ways, running has always been – and remains to this day – an inherently simple activity. It is often said that all you need to run is a good pair of shoes and something to protect your modesty. Which is perhaps why one Saucony shoe in particular – the Kinvara – has been a perpetual favourite of dedicated runners since its launch in 2009.

“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity” – Sir Isaac Newton

Athletes know that the theory of improving performance is actually fairly simple. Consistency in training, and a focus on incremental gains are perhaps its most important elements. Of course, it is human nature to desire a quick fix or a silver bullet. But as runners we know that there is rarely – if ever – a way to bypass the hard work that training entails. If you look at any athlete who has improved his or her performance, you’re certain to find they have been putting in the work behind the scenes, week after week, month after month, year after year.

This work takes many forms: the runs that we do on our own, when the weather is bad, when we’re tired or there’s something else we’d really rather be doing. It is the hill reps or the track workouts that have our legs and lungs burning. It is the early-morning alarm calls that force us out of bed to get a long run done while the rest of the world seems to be slumbering.

These are the efforts we make that take us a step closer to achieving our goals, whatever they are.

And when we are doing the work, we turn to our trusted kit. This is when we rely on the shorts and T-shirt that we know fit perfectly. The socks that never give us blisters. The cap that keeps the sun, the rain or the sweat out of our eyes. And the workhorse shoes in our rotation.

This is where the Kinvara comes into its own.

Ready for anything

Because the Kinvara is a shoe that runners rely on time and time again. Whether you have a long run to grind out or are going to grind tick off a tempo session, this shoe features just the right amount of cushioning to keep your legs feeling fresh yet is lightweight enough to feel the speed. The Kinvara is perfectly balanced for those everyday runs – the 45 minutes at lunchtime or the sunrise outing you squeeze in while the rest of the world is still under its duvet. And the Kinvara is equally ready to race.

Bringing the Kinvara right up to date is the latest version of the shoe: the Kinvara 12. So what are the elements makes this version the best Kinvara yet?

According to Ted Fitzpatrick, Senior Product Management Director at Saucony, “The intent for the Kinvara 12 was to return to the original form and brief for from 2009. Light, Fast, Flexible and uncomplicated.

“In recent years we saw the Kinvara adding small bits of weight, extra overlays, thicker collar and tongue foam” explains Ted “We knew that Kinvara loyalists love the shoe’s versatility to handle a hard tempo or road race alongside an everyday training run, but first and foremost they asked for lightweight simplicity. The build of our Endorphin Pro & Speed provided a bit of inspiration as great examples of how a shoe can be light, fast, simple, but also inclusive in regard to fit, feel, use.”

Of course, simplifying a running shoe whilst retaining all the benefits runners love is a huge challenge. So how did the design team tackle that problem?

“We definitely put a weight target out there “ says Ted “we wanted to hit 7.5 oz in keeping with the original Kinvara. Everything that went into the shoe served a purpose. So extraneous layers and materials in the upper that did not provide a functional benefit, but added weight were removed. So in the end we got a lighter shoe with a clean fast aesthetic.”

As is always the case, the details make all the difference. For example under the foot, Saucony’s PWRRUN cushioning delivers lightweight responsiveness that makes this shoe ideal for daily training or longer races.

Then the shape of the sole creates more ground contact, which adds power to the flexible ride. The result is a faster transition from landing to take-off. And holding the foot in place, the upper is simplicity itself – a breathable, adaptable mesh upper that is printed in a way that adds enough structure to feel secure.

In essence, the Kinvara 12 is all about simplicity – it has everything you need and nothing that you don’t. Which brings us back to our initial thoughts about running – at its core, it is a simple activity and sport. And no matter how fast or far you run, you are part of a great community that understand that often less is more. So here’s to reaching for the kit we know we can trust, lacing up our shoes and heading out the door.

Simple, really.

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Find out more about the Saucony Kinvara 12 at www.saucony.com

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