Kiprun KS900 review: 1000km for 120€ with a fine ride
The Kiprun KS900 is Kiprun’s new highly cushioned shoe releasing mid-May in Europe. If you never heard of Kiprun, it is Decathlon’s running oriented brand. Kiprun stands for “keep on running” and has nothing to do with Eliud Kipchoge’s family name. We wrote an article about the upcoming KD900x plated racer so go check it out if you haven’t yet. But let’s refocus on today’s shoe, which was designed by Kiprun with a mattress in mind!
At 287g (10.1oz) in my size US 11 (sizing tip: Kiprun does not have their US and EU charts aligned like most brands and therefore make sure you pick your US size), the Kiprun KS900 is rather on the lighter side of things for daily trainers. However when you take into account the rather low 29/21 stack (8mm drop), the weight is not that impressive anymore. The rubber outsole adds a lot of weight but also helps to claim a great durability – see below.
The platform is very wide – it is the second widest platform I have measured right between the Nike ZoomX Invincible and the New Balance More v3. That wide platform creates some solid inherent stability but also contributes to an on-foot sensation that feels a little clunky (especially in the heel).
For specific values, please check the Shoe Comparator in which you can compare the width for the forefoot, midfoot and heel against other shoes.
Upper: a heterogeneous mix of good and bad things
Of course on a shoe which claims a fantastic durability and a very cushioned ride – for a competitive price point – you cannot expect all the rest to be perfect. And that upper isn’t perfect by any means.
What works: the fit is good (true to size, that is US size for EU folks reading – charts are misaligned at Kiprun) and the lockdown is solid especially in the midfoot. Toebox offers enough volume but I wouldn’t recommend this shoe to people with wide feet.
What does not work: laces! They’re too thin and they do not provide with a nice lacing experience. I will replace them with thicker ones on my pair. The tongue isn’t outstanding either with the padding concentrated at the top. That plushness should be spread over the whole surface – and ideally tuned down a bit. Finally the heel counter is really low profile. While it offers a nice lockdown, I don’t see it working for everyone – I’m still on the fence to be honest.
Midsole & ride: low stack EVA can still be a winner
The midsole of the Kiprun KS900 offers a rather low stack (for today’s standards at least) 29mm heel and 8mm drop. That leaves 21mm of stack height in the forefoot and plenty ground feel when running. This is not meant to sound like something bad. I actually love some ground feel. But I know some runners will bite into the high cushion claim without realizing the stack height isn’t crazy and the midsole compound is “only” good old EVA.
What struck me most when testing this shoe is how disproportionate the heel feels compared to the forefoot. I mean it’s probably the crazy wide platform and not the stack height, but still I felt like having two different experiences in each stride.
That is however a good thing. Because the Kiprun KS900 offers a versatile ride and one that will nicely evolve with the paces. The MFoam cushion midsole compound isn’t just plain and dull EVA. It has a nice kick to it and its geometry is relatively flat (little rocker if any).
The ride produced is very dynamic and playful. The forefoot requires more feet muscles to push off but the heel to toe transition is certainly not shabby (the many grooves in the outsole design do help a ton for that). It’s not a common ride these days and it’s one that I wouldn’t mind getting once in a while – not more that once in a while because this foam isn’t leg saving at all.
Kiprun KS900 outsole and 1,000kms durability
How do you take a shoe to 1,000kms? Well you just run in it for 1,000kms no? Technically that’s the secret but nowadays all shoes can’t do it (even a few years ago I wasn’t retiring my shoe with so many kms). So how does Kiprun achieve this? Two things.
First the EVA midsole. While selling cushion (and there is some) and a mattress sensation, Kiprun is also using a not so compressible EVA compound (ranking at 38/100 on the durometer scale – so rather on the firmer side) that won’t loose all its properties after 500kms.
And second the outsole. It’s a thick (4/5mm) piece of rubber and there’s plenty of it. I don’t see that rubber wearing very fast and on top of that if should also work nicely on light trails.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Kiprun KS900. There are even some pretty good things about it. My favorites parts are certainly the good geometry and the responsiveness across paces. I do like the ground feel it offers in the forefoot. But there are also some things that could be improved.
So is it worth the €120 price tag? Short answer is yes. Long answer is yes but it is still a little pricey for what it offers. That durability claim is good but not super good and the tradeoff is a not-so exciting nor cushioned ride. But this shoe has a market to conquer and it will most likely please many runners in search of a versatile and durable go-to daily trainer (in a 1 or 2-shoe rotation for instance).
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