KIPRUN KD900 Light Review: Low, Light and Long

KIPRUN's new lineup has something for every runner. The KD900X LD for race day, the KS900.2 for daily distance and now the KD900 Light which is their slimmed down speed shoe.

KIPRUN KD900 Light: KIPRUN’s Missing Link

Earlier this year KIPRUN decided to expand the KD900 family with the KD900 Light, a shoe designed to be ultra light and tailored for speed. Much like the Takumi Sen from adidas and Nike’s ill-fated Streakfly, it is light, low and built for speed. With the “5 – 10k” specialist shoe market becoming ever more saturated, can this budget contender hold its own with more premium models? Also, with Kiprun’s new line up, where does the KD900 Light fit in with the rest of their shoes?  That’s the question we will try to answer through this multi-tester review

KIPRUN KD900 Light-9
KIPRUN KD900 Light-6

Specs: 

Product details from KIPRUN

Weight: 196g | 6.9oz (men’s US9)

Stack height: 32mm

Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm

Price: €110 | £100

KIPRUN KD900 Light-7
KIPRUN KD900 Light-1

KIPRUN KD900 Light Upper: A Much Improved Lockdown

Tim: My feelings about the KD900 Light upper are mixed. KIPRUN alternates between the good and the not so good. On the plus side, light doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable. In the heel area, KIPRUN added the needed amount of padding to firstly secure the foot well and secondly make the ride pleasant. It’s a success as it doesn’t move while running and it’s comfy from a heel point of view. 

 

Overall lockdown is also good (when laces remain tightened) and I never experienced any worrying slips or slides of my feet in the shoe. On the negative side, the shape of the upper is a bit weird for me. Like other recent KIPRUN shoes (e.g. KD900X LD and KS900.2), I found the shoe slightly narrow but also slightly long. But, I guess it comes from the last used by the French brand that doesn’t match my feet’s anatomy. As it’s narrow I would not recommend going ½ size down. I would really recommend trying and testing the KD900 Light in store before buying as it can be too long to be worn. 

 

Moving to the upper material itself, like the KD900X LD it’s a bit abrasive and not really pleasant to wear. Moreover, to add a bit more structure, and to protect the forefoot section, KIPRUN added a band of more rigid mesh of 1.5cm width to the inside of the shoe. As it is added from the inside, it creates a small gap between overall mesh and this specific band. Unluckily for me, my right pinky toe touches the border of the mesh and sits exactly where this added section starts. Hence it rubs against the abrasive mesh but also against the added part and leads to unpleasant chafing and blisters. 

 

Finally, I encountered lace issues twice while running. Honestly I’m a bit surprised about it as the laces look pretty good, but the facts showed that some improvement in this section can also be made. Overall the experience with the upper and the fit is a bit disappointing and it will probably be the section of the shoe where I would recommend KIPRUN to work for the next iteration.

Silke: Even though I am a customer of Decathlon who owns several pairs of socks and some running gear I have only tested a trail shoe model, the EVADICT MT Cushion. The KD900 Light is my first road shoe from the brand.  As a middle of the pack runner, I try to avoid carbon plated shoes in my training. However, I like my shoes to be lightweight and lively. 

 

From the outset, I really like the design of the shoe. The colours are well chosen and, Also, as Tim pointed out, this shoe runs long and narrow. It is KIPRUN’s special sizing. I usually go with a womens US 8.5 and in European sizing it converts to a 40. The KD900 is a size 40 but at the same time it is US 9! Personally, if I would use the shoe just for short races I would have gone ½ size down keeping in mind that it would feel very snug. 

 

A few quick thoughts of mine about the upper: the material is not very soft and forgiving. On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like it lacks structure. Overall, the padding seems a bit understated on the KD900 light. There is no padding on the stiff tongue, but at the same time it works. Also, there is a minimalistic padding on the collar and the heel cup and it is flexible. That being said, If you are a fan of plush uppers, don’t try it. However, I like it.

Andy: For me, I have not a great deal to add to the description of the upper. Tim and Silke have covered most of the bases. I find it fits like an adidas shoe, long and narrow. As has been said, the upper is stiff and abrasive, however, that means that lockdown is easy to achieve. Furthermore, the narrow heel section holds the foot firm at all paces. 

 

Whilst the laces feel terrible to the touch, I have not experienced Tim’s loosening issues. Double knotting the laces has always done the trick. Only on longer runs have I ever felt any irritation in the same area as Tim on my toes. As Silke says, if you are looking for a plush upper, try something else.

KIPRUN KD900 Light-11

Midsole: Built for Speed

Tim: KD900 Light doesn’t have a plate and is fully made of KIPRUN’s VFOAM. The same foam you can find in the KD900 or the KD900X. It’s a PEBAX-EVA blend but that feels more like EVA than PEBAX. Even without a plate, the midsole is on the stiffer side, especially if you compare with other models made for the same purpose like the HOKA Cielo Road, or adidas Adios 8. The good point of those stiff midsoles is that you don’t have the feeling that the midsole is soaking up your energy while giving you nothing back. Here it’s the other way around, it doesn’t absorb a lot, which is not a bad thing for an uptempo shoe, but also returns what it takes. Nevertheless, I should mention that the absorption is way better than in the KD800 where shock absorption is close to none. 

 

Talking about geometry, the shoe has an average rocker, when compared to competitors in this genre. However, it works well while increasing the speed for my gait cycle. If I had to guess the stack height, I wouldn’t have given it anything over 28mm as you really have the feeling of being close to the ground, and yet it’s 32mm. 

 

Finally, the ride is really stable even if there is no plate thanks to the density of foam. I always like to compare shoes and find the one that looks the most like the shoe I’m reviewing. In the case of the KD900 Light, I would say it’s the NB FuelCell Impulse (a quite old shoe that I really enjoyed at that time). Overall, you have all the ingredients for a nice uptempo shoe which fits my taste. Light, with ground feel but with a decent amount of foam to reduce the shock. You get  a stiff but reactive midsole and a geometry that helps you move forward.

Silke: In 2024, every running shoe seems to get softer and softer. However, the KD900 Light does not feel soft. Even if I am pushing very hard there is just this feeling of propulsion. And that is okay by me! The first run I did was an 18k tempo run, then some threshold runs of around 10-12k. Even a half marathon with 250 hm of elevation with some variation in tempo up to sprints! 

 

On the whole, I found the KD900 Light to be a very good training partner even though my quads felt tired after that half marathon. In the KD900 Light, I really like to push on the uphill and the direct response of the foam helps me to improve my running form. Furthermore, I appreciate that it doesn’t have a plate but at the same time feels stiffer than other lightweight daily trainers. When I think about it, the Saucony Endorphin Speed doesn’t feel that stiff even though it has a nylon plate. 

 

One funny thing to add: I also liked the FuelCell Impulse so much that I bought two pairs. It was a very firm but snappy ride. However, the outsole of the Impulse was much, much better than that of the KD900 Light.

Andy: Whilst I have never tried the HOKA Cielo Road, I do fully agree with Tim about the Adios comparison. This is a stripped back midsole which is designed to go fast. Do not expect the mushy feel of a Streakfly or the mechanically aided propulsion of the Takumi Sen. The KD900 Light gives propulsion from its firm platform, energy is not lost in compression and it offers a sensation of pinging off the road. 

 

I have used the KD900 Light for around 16 km in a single run. That is definitely enough for me. For short blasts and some track reps, it’s great. However, I must not have the superhuman legs or feet of Silke. Overall, the KD900 Light is a good, affordable counterpoint to the softer shoes on the market. Furthermore, it has worked well while I have suffered from a little PF in my left foot. During my testing time so far, I have mainly used the shoe to annoy my running buddies by using it to run our morning run too fast. Whilst it won’t be my main race choice, it has a good versatility to it and really wants to go faster.

KIPRUN KD900 Light-12
KIPRUN KD900 Light-8

KIPRUN KD900 Light Outsole: Durable but Slippery

Tim: Like for the upper it’s a mixed feeling. On the positive side, durability! Don’t be fooled by the thin layer of rubber. After more than 40km, where most of the shoes I wear are already showing signs of wear and tear,  it seems untouched. Therefore, I’m pretty confident that, again, KIPRUN provides you with a shoe that will last for tons of KM (thousands). 

 

On the other hand, the grip is a real issue with this shoe. On dry concrete or track it’s okay but as soon as it starts to rain or the floor is wet, it’s another story. For this reason I would not recommend you to not use the shoe outside unless it’s dry.

 

Silke: The grip is okay. Dust and sand on the pavement  is not the KD900 Light’s best friend. Turning corners on wet pavement, be careful!  But also at nearly 90k it holds up really well even the exposed areas don’t show  signs of wear. 

 

Andy: Again, I have nothing any more insightful to add. In the dry, the rubber bites the pavement. When it gets wet or muddy, leave it at home, it just doesn’t work for those conditions. As Tim and Silke have both said, durability won’t be an issue. Given a scrub, I could probably sell mine as unused after the 60 km I have in them so far.

KIPRUN KD900 Light-5

KIPRUN KD900 Light Conclusion: a solid contender with room for improvement

Tim: It’s funny, because at the end of the day I quite like the KD900 Light but not for the reason put forward by KIPRUN. I don’t find the grip good, and I would not use the word soft while talking about the midsole. Nevertheless, the KD900 Light is a very decent shoe without plate for every session where you need to increase the pace as long as you don’t plan to run more than 15km (uptempo, intervals, track sessions etc.). 

 

As always, KIPRUN sells it at a very decent price (€110 / £100) and overall for a good value for money (I see it easily exceeding 800km). Definitely an improvement if you compare it to the KD800. Also,  a valuable option without a plate if you compare it to KD900X or KD900. The only issue for me, and it’s not a small one, is the upper and how its geometry is not totally adapted to my feet and especially my pinky toes. For this reason I will not wear the shoe again and it’s a shame because I quite liked the rest of it.

Silke: There are thousands of running shoes on the market. Some get you love at first run. The KD900 Light is one of them. Yes, the upper isn’t the most comfortable. The tongue feels a bit stiff and the outsole does not provide the best grip. But, I like running in this shoe. 

When I put them on my feet, I instantly want to run fast. I like the weight and I also like that KIPRUN didn’t design it with a wide platform for a stable ride. Furthemore, I love that it doesn’t have a plate but at the same time the ride feels like there could be one. That being said, I am not sure if I want to take it for another 18-21k run. Despite what everyone wants us to believe, a softer shoe is not always better. Finally, I have to say, once again, I like this shoe!

Andy: I agree with the above. KIPRUN have created a fun little short distance speed shoe which does offer versatility. It is comfortable enough for a daily run especially if you prefer shoes on the firmer side. However, it can also turn up the pace on road and track with a more “traditional” racing flat feel. I think I fall somewhere between my two colleagues when it comes to the KD900 Light. I am not as ready to declare my undying love for it as Silke. However, I am not going to declare the affair over as Tim has. For me, the KD900 Light will live in my rotation for days when my feet need a break from my usual taste for super soft shoes and those fun fartlek runs. The kind of days when you want to run fast but don’t fancy a structured workout.

Responsive, light and very affordable, my only qualm about buying it would be the ready availability of shoes like the Adios range from adidas which offers a very similar package but with a slightly more premium feel at a comparable (or cheaper) price. I am fully in agreement with Tim that KIPRUN could make a vast difference to the next iteration with a better upper and softer laces.

Tim

Tim

30 years old

169cm (5’5″) – 57kg (125lbs)

Heel/Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Moderate pronator

@timtim_ab

Silke 

49 years old

167cm (5’4″) – 55kg (121lbs)

Midfoot strike 

 

@schlossstadtlaeuferin

Andy

Andy

45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner

@discobob

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