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saucony kilkenny xc3

As much as I loved my Saucony Bullets (I bought 2-3 pairs of them after all,) they just weren’t durable enough for any trail running. So I took a look at Saucony’s line up and found the Saucony Kilkenny XC3 Flat – a spikeless cross country racing flat.

It looked like a good minimalist shoe that would prove more durable than the Bullet, plus it had a decent tread pattern, making it suitable for off-road terrain! They happened to be on sale at Zappos for just $42.50 at the time, so I couldn’t resist!

I actually bought these back in March 2011, and after two years of use, they’re still in one piece! But let’s backtrack for a minute…

My first impressions:

These are so light! Super light! You look at one, and it looks like a shoe, but once you pick it up, it’s like a cotton ball! The listed weight was 6.0 oz; I didn’t verify it, but they’re definitely lighter than the Saucony Bullets I had been wearing. They’re quite possibly the lightest track shoe I’ve ever worn.

The fit is spot on! I wear size 11.5 in every Saucony shoe I’ve ever tried on, from the big motion control stability shoes to the super light track shoes and racing flats. No difference here. They’re nice and snug like a good XC racing shoe should be. With the light, flexible uppers, they wrap your foot up like a glove.

The color is unusual, but the shoe looks cool and flashy, which is what I wanted. I didn’t want something boring! (Note that the shoe looks black in some pictures online, but it’s clearly dark green in real life.)

Needless to say, I was happy with the purchase!

Going running:

My first run in these shoes (also my first run since October of the prior year,) was Saturday March 5, 2011. I did 4 miles on back roads (a dirt/gravel/pavement mix,) in the rain. It took about 44 minutes and yeah, I was sore after. My shins and calves got really sore and hurt for a few days, but I had no knee pain or anything serious.

When I go without any serious running for 3+ months, I’m always sore when I jump back in, no matter the shoe.

The good news is, the shoes were comfortable. I felt unimpeded by the shoe – they were barely there. There were no issues on that front.

The rest of the year, I used these for shorter runs (2-3 miles) on dirt trails and (more often) interval workouts on grass fields. These shoes were perfect for that!

saucony kilkenny xc3

Durability was stellar!

Though my runs were short, these shoes held up to two years of these short runs on dirt trails and muddy fields. Sticks and stones, and the occasional pile of bear crap, did not hurt these shoes!

Well, recently there was a rock that caused a slight tear on the side of my right shoe (pictured above,) but the damage is superficial. Only the outer mesh was torn, and the inner material is still intact. To me, that says these shoes can battle sharp rocks and win!

All in all, the uppers are still intact and look good. Nothing is peeling apart or completely ripped through. The soles are worn, but there’s still enough tread to get traction on dry ground, so I’m still wearing them!

*Note that all these pictures I took are of the shoes after being used for two years!

Is this a good shoe for minimalist runners?

Yes and no.

Yes, because they’re super light weight with a fairly thin sole (not a big cushioned heel.) No, because the shoe is tight and narrow, and the sole is pretty stiff.

Those attributes are what you get with any XC shoe (spiked or spikeless,) which make them good for short distance racing, but it doesn’t really fit the barefoot or minimalist ideals.

They worked fine for me because I just needed something for short runs that were mainly sprints and interval workouts on the soccer field.

The Saucony Kilkenny XC4 Flat

Considering the lengthy two year review period, you can no longer find the XC3 flat. But the XC4 flat is out now, at $55, and it looks sweet!

The yellow/green color would be perfect if you go to UVM! The red is flashy too, but there’s also a black/white color scheme if you’re more modest.

From what I can see, the tread pattern is just a tad different, but other than the new colors, the shoe seems mostly unchanged (which is probably a good thing.)

saucony kilkenny xc3

My final verdict is…

With a good price, good fit, good durability, and mindblowingly light weight, I’m a huge fan! I highly recommend these for any runner who needs a light-duty off-road shoe.

Try the Kilkenny XC7 (a newer model) and let me know what you think!

Official website: www.Saucony.com

Buy online: www.Zappos.com | www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Saucony
Product: Saucony Kilkenny XC3 Flat
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2013-03-23
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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