More and more companies are recognizing that consumers are increasingly looking for sneakers that are ideal for an active lifestyle without the technical offerings found in running shoes.
These consumers simply want a shoe for daily wear, a modern aesthetic, the occasional use at the gym for a light workout or a simple ride, for their daily walk, or even during low-mileage runs that need extra support.
The Saucony Kineta Relay Review
However, the primary purpose of these shoes is to support an active lifestyle.
To fulfill this need, Saucony brand introduced the Saucony Kineta Relay as a lightweight cushioned shoe for those looking for a versatile sneaker for everyday wear but still with good performance technologies for an occasional gym workout.
- Sleek, low profile that makes it versatile in a number of different environments.
- Extremely lightweight and breathable.
- Modern aesthetic.
- FORM2U is comfortable immediately and disperses pressure evenly.
- Low heel-to-toe offset giving the wearer a decent amount of ground feel given the use of memory foam cushioning material.
- Inconsistent sizing.
- Cannot remove the insole and for high-intensity workouts such as running, the FORM2U cushioning does not provide the desired level of support.
- Outsole lacks rubber layer or traction pattern for use during high-mileage or challenging runs. It also may reduce the longevity of the shoe.
The Saucony Kineta Relay is a sleek, low profile shoe that works well in a variety of different scenarios.
Saucony maintains its unique flowing creek logo along the side of the shoe and features minimal branding on the tongue of the product.
The Saucony Kineta Relay design is extremely minimalist in its appearance without overcomplicating the look with technical details. It does not feature pull tabs or a synthetic midfoot cage to complicate the look.
Instead, built very much in the mold of the athleisure running style, the Saucony Kineta Relay is comprised mainly of synthetic breathable mesh with minimal structural overlays to maintain a smooth silhouette design.
As a result, we found that many users commented on how the Saucony Kineta Relay’s profile made it easy to double as a gym shoe or an everyday wearer lifestyle.
The lack of overly technical details in the product also made it versatile enough to wear in certain work environments without being obnoxious.
We found that the “look” of the Saucony Kineta Relay was consistently one of the most highly praised aspects of the shoe.
Many users commented on how the Saucony Kineta Relay was extremely stylish and tastefully understated. However, we also found that some users desired more vibrant color options outside of the core black, gray, and white choices.
- Score: 8/10 – Low profile silhouette design makes it versatile in a number of different lifestyle environments. Some users wanted more color options that “popped.”
The Saucony Kineta Relay features a synthetic breathable mesh upper with structural overlays primarily within the midfoot for added stability and support.
The synthetic mesh upper allows the Saucony Kineta Relay to be extremely breathable without sacrificing comfort during colder climates with appropriately worn socks or during a light workout like short running.
The Saucony Kineta Relay also features flat laces within a traditional lacing system that keeps the wearer locked into the shoe comfortably. Due to the lightweight mesh upper, the shoe was able to lock the wearer’s foot securely without feeling constricted.
The Saucony Kineta Relay is also extremely lightweight product, weighing in just below 7 ounces in men and roughly 5 ounces in women.
We found that many users commented on how the lightweight and breathable mesh upper made it extremely comfortable for all-day wear or even moderate athletic activity such as gym workouts.
The Saucony Kineta Relay also features a flexible heel that allows the wearer to easily slip the shoe on and off.
We found that many users enjoyed this ability on the product despite not having a traditional heel tab clustering the look.
However, despite the ease of pulling the shoe on and off, we found no evidence that users were not able to stay in the shoe during daily wear.
However, many users commented on how the Saucony Kineta Relay was narrow out of the box requiring some users to either size-up or endure a break-in period.
We found that that the breathable mesh upper will stretch to a certain point along with depression in the memory foam footbed to allow for a more comfortable fit.
However, for those requiring a comfortable fit out of the box may need to explore sizing up.
For those with wider-feet, we also recommend that the user tries on the shoe first as many wide-foot users complained about the narrow fit and size of the Saucony Kineta Relay.
- SCORE: 7/10 – Breathable and lightweight. Comfortable for all day wear and occasional workout. Sizing tends to be inconsistent and may require a risky break-in period.
Saucony utilizes a hybrid between a high-abrasion EVA foam outsole combined with their FORM2U memory foam cushioning system. The outsole is standard and lightweight, but the true highlight is the FORM2U footbed.
FORM2U is essentially a memory foam insole similar to the technology Skecher’s employs in many of their products or Fila’s Memory Speedstride. We found that the FORM2U is extremely soft and comfortable from the first step.
Unlike other cushioning systems, the FORM2U does not require any break-in time and the wearer will find them to be immediately comfortable.
We found that the FORM2U does an excellent job of dispersing pressure evenly across the foot. Noticeably, we found that high-impact areas such as the heel and forefoot were equally comfortable due to the individualized compressive and rebounding effects of memory foam.
We also found adequate arch and heel support during walks or long periods of standing.
However, the downside to the FORM2U is similar to the downside of other offerings that utilize memory foam as their primary cushioning vehicle. Most notably, the Saucony Kineta Relay does an excellent job of trapping and maintaining heat.
The mesh upper aids in providing some breathability, but in humid and hot environments where the wearer will be outside most of the day, the Saucony Kineta Relay may provide some discomfort.
Additionally, while we found the FORM2U to provide adequate stability and cushioning for walking and standing, we did not find them to be ideal for runners.
While they may work for some runners, the over-compressive property that makes memory foam comfortable may also make them unstable for high-impact activities.
It is also important to note that the Saucony Kineta Relay is a neutral runner and we found that some with “flat-feet” or tend to over-pronate complained about moderate foot pain after prolonged wear during runs.
Additionally, with any foam-based insole, but particularly with memory foam, we find that users typically lose some of the expressive rebounding properties of memory foam after a couple months. Therefore, the wearer may find that the Saucony Kineta Relay not as comfortable after long-term wear.
This is complicated by the inability to remove the insole easily without damaging the integrity of the shoe and replacing it with an after-market insole. We also found users complained about having to constantly replace the Saucony Kineta Relay based mainly on the compressed memory foam insole.
- SCORE: 5/10 – FORM2U memory foam is comfortable out of the box, but can retain heat and depress over time. Great for walking or standing, but not ideal for running due to minimal stability or arch support. Cannot remove the insole.
The sole of the Saucony Kineta Relay is noticeably minimalist. The Saucony Kineta Relay features a high-abrasion EVA foam outsole in what seems to be a seamless single construction.
It features triangular lugs positioned around the shoe to provide traction. The sole is also adequately flexible due to the foam compound, but not as much as a Nike Free, which utilizes strategic grooves.
In fact, we found that in terms of “sole feel,” the Saucony Kineta Relay most closely resembled the Nike Free’s lightweight sole from years past. The obvious difference being that the Saucony Kineta Relay does not reinforce the sole with strategic pieces of rubber or added grooves to aid in flexibility.
Unlike other shoes that may feature a rubber layer over a foam compound to outfit the outsole, the Saucony Kineta Relay features a, again seemingly, one-piece foam outsole.
The Saucony Kineta Relay is remarkably lightweight that weighs in at roughly 6.8oz. We found that this lightweight translates to a comfortable wear-experience as well.
Combined with a mesh upper, the Saucony Kineta Relay was one of the lightest shoes we reviewed.
The foam outsole also allows the Saucony Kineta Relay to lean toward minimalist properties. The Saucony Kineta Relay features a 4mm heel-to-toe offset.
We found this be one of the most attractive parts of the shoe as it provided a uniquely cushioned experience through the memory foam insole along with a decently responsive feel.
However, the foam outsole limits the Saucony Kineta Relay’s versatility as an everyday shoe.
We imagine that despite the high-abrasion foam compound Saucony employed, continued exposure to asphalt, concrete, or even rocky paths will quickly wear down the Saucony Kineta Relay. This is particularly true given a missing rubber layer.
The Saucony Kineta Relay’s sole also does not provide tremendous traction as the triangular lugs offer some support, but we found many users complained about noticeable slippage during wet conditions and even during some dry, yet uneven surfaces.
As a result, we caution consumers that the Saucony Kineta Relay may not be the absolute best choice for daily runs, particularly in damp conditions.
We found that the Saucony Kineta Relay will be fine for most conditions as an everyday comfort shoe.
We found many casual wearers chose the Saucony Kineta Relay for the comfortable footbed in a lightweight package.
Additionally, for active audiences, the Saucony Kineta Relay will serve most general purposes adequately.
For instance, we found that many preferred the Saucony Kineta Relay for some gym activities because of its comfort and lightweight.
We also found the Saucony Kineta Relay to be an ideal trainer for those involved in elliptical or treadmill based cardio activities.
However, for those involved in more high-intensity/ high-impact workouts, we recommend evaluating other options to ensure maximum protection and grip.
- SCORE: 5/10 – Extremely lightweight and foam compound is very comfortable. The lack of a defined traction limits the shoe as a runner or high-impact trainer. Users also commented on potential slipping issues in damp conditions.
However, given the durability of the memory foam insole, we still feel that 45 may be a tad too high for a shoe that we found wearers complained had to be replaced every 3-6 months.
At retail, we would instead recommend that consumers shop around for similar lightweight offerings with a memory foam footbed such as the Skechers Equalizer 2.0 which also features a knit upper.
- SCORE: 5/10 –Due to the questionable durability of the lightweight outsole, the Saucony Kineta Relay may be a tad too expensive even at sale prices. At a minimum, consumers should shop around and compare similar offerings at this price point.
The Saucony Kineta Relay is ideal for those looking for a comfortable everyday wearer at a relatively affordable price. We also anticipate this being perfect for those not expecting long-term durability.
Memory foam shoes are also popular among people whose jobs require long standing hours. Nurses, teachers, postmen etc. all rank high on the list.
Memory foam also helps alleviate the stress of the feet and prevents some types of pain.
The Saucony Kineta Relay is also ideal for those seeking a shoe for low-impact activity such as walking or stationary gym activities such as weight-lifting.
The lightweight makes it barely noticeable while the FORM2U footbed makes it adequately comfortable.
We also believe that the Saucony Kineta Relay is ideal for those looking for a minimal, yet amply cushioned daily wearer. We loved the combination of a 4mm offset with generous cushioning which tends to be mutually exclusive luxuries.
However, for those looking for a long-term durable shoe that can handle high-mileage runs in addition to serving as a commuting or casual shoe, we feel that the Saucony Kineta Relay may offer limited utility.
For those activities, we recommend consumers compare the Saucony Kineta Relay to offerings from Skechers which also offer a memory foam footbed in addition to a rubber outsole layer.
- SCORE: 7/10 –Extremely versatile and perfect for those on their feet a lot throughout the day in office environments. Not ideal for long runs or wet, slippery conditions.
Should You Buy It?
The Saucony Kineta Relay offers much in terms of everyday comfort from its light weight to the FORM2U memory foam insole.
We found that users loved the versatility of being able to wear the shoe as a daily wearer and to the gym.
The Saucony Kineta Relay is also amazingly well-designed aesthetically and perfect for the stylishly-inclined.
However, given the price along with questions regarding its durability and traction, we recommend that consumers at least consider other offerings before purchasing the Saucony Kineta Relay.
Total score: 37/60
Saucony Kineta Relay Alternatives
So what are the best alternatives? Here are some better picks in our view:
- Nike Flyknit Lunar: You can read our full review or find them on Amazon here.
- New Balance Fresh Foam Zante: You can read our full review or find them Amazon here.
- Asics Gel Kayano: You can read out full review or check prices on Amazon here.
While the casual workout and running profile might appeal to some, we found the Saucony Kineta Relay to be disappointing overall as a true running shoe, especially for the price.