The Right Mizunos to Train in for Spring Races
by The Mizuno Shoe Guy
Although large parts of the country remain firmly locked into another brutal winter, most runners have already started thinking about training for spring and summer races. Spring marathoners certainly have. Most have already turned their attention to logging long runs for such spring classics as Napa, Big Sur, Flying Pig (Cincinnati), Country Music (Nashville) and, of course, Boston.
Clearly, which shoes you train in are nearly as important as how you train. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or a newbie; you still the need the very best shoe to meet your individual gait and fit needs.
If there is any doubt which shoe or a question about how its fit, the best possible solution is to go to a specialty running store which carries the complete Mizuno line and try the shoe in question on for yourself. There is no substitute. (For a complete list, go to “Find a Store”)
Getting the right fit is absolutely crucial. Mizunos tend to fit a normal or narrow foot well, but three models—the Wave Rider, Wave Inspire and Wave Paradox—are also offered in additional wider widths for men and women. All three shoes are also available in a narrow (AA) width for women.
Nevertheless, if you have worn Mizuno shoes in the past you may be concerned that a favorite shoe is no longer available. Relax. Mizuno improves its line on an annual basis and you should be on familiar turf with the newest updates. If you haven’t worn Mizuno shoes, here’s a brief primer on the 2015 lineup and which one is the right shoe for you:
Durable, cushioned shoes for marathon training:
– Wave Rider 18. This mainstay of the Mizuno line is a lightweight, neutral cushioned shoe suitable for runners with high arches and efficient gaits. It’s ideal for every aspect of training from long runs to tempo runs and it’s even light enough as a race day shoe. The Rider 18 is a substantial improvement on its predecessor. The fit is snugger and more glove-like than the 17 was, but the greatest upgrade is with its ride. If you wore the Wave Rider 13 or 16, the 18′s ride—smooth, balanced and flexible—is reminiscent of the earlier model.
– Wave Inspire 11. Many runners like a light, flexible ride, but need greater support than the Rider provides. If that’s you, the Inspire 11 is your shoe. Although the Inspire is inherently supportive due to its Fan Wave plate, it isn’t overly structured or heavy as some support shoes are. If you wear orthotics, the Inspire accommodates them well as it provides a solid platform, firm midsole and deep heel. An ideal long run shoe for runners with a flat or normal arch who appreciate a stable ride.
– Wave Enigma 4. For some neutral runners, cushioning is all that matters. The Enigma has plenty of high-end, plush cushioning, but without all the typical weight and bulk typically found in this category. With a soft, flexible upper and a full-length Wave Plate, the Enigma provides the maximum amount of shock absorption with minimal weight. Runners describe the Enigma “as disappearing on my feet” during a run which is exactly what you want on long marathon training runs.
– Wave Creation 16. One of the enduring classics, the Wave Creation is a neutral cushioned shoe (like the Wave Rider), but it has a higher level of cushioning with even greater arch support than the Rider. With a full-length Infinity Wave plate, the Creation supports the foot from heel strike to toe off. It’s slightly heavier than the Wave Rider, but the Creation is even more durable and its cushioning system has no problem lasting the length of your long runs.
– Wave Prophecy 4. A unique shoe with a fully mechanical midsole, the Wave Prophecy has the maximum amount of cushioning and shock absorption available in any running shoe. The entire midsole is comprised of the Infinity Wave which means the cushioning won’t be compromised and it will last much longer than a conventional foam-based running shoe. Also, the Prophecy’s midsole has a propulsive-like effect and returns energy to the foot. But, the beauty of the Prophecy is its unparalleled fit and comfort.
– Wave Paradox. Some runners lack stability in their gaits and need the maximum amount of support and cushioning. If that sounds like you, rest assured the Paradox delivers uncompromised support and great cushioning. But, unlike most shoes in this support category, the Paradox is substantially lighter, more flexible and has a smoother ride, characteristic of a much lighter shoe. Pick up a Paradox in your hands and despite its hefty look, you’ll be amazed how light it feels. But make no mistake the Paradox is a rugged daily trainer which supports the foot from heel to toe. Works exceptionally well for bigger runners and those who wear orthotics.
Lightweight trainer for tempo runs and/or race day
– Wave Sayonara 2. If you place a premium on lightness and speed, the Sayonara delivers. Versatile enough for training at any distance or speed, the Sayonara is also an ideal racing shoe due to its flexibility and lightness. The second version of the Sayonara is similar to the first with one notable exception: The superfluous overlays in the forefoot have been removed for greater comfort. The lightest training shoe in the Mizuno line, the Sayonara also has a slightly lowered heel for runners who like a fast, responsive shoe with a low-to-the-ground feel.
– Wave Hitogami 2. Sleek, fast, responsive, the Hitogami is the ideal lightweight trainer or race day shoe. It’s better cushioned and more durable than most road racing flats so it won’t feel “flat” (i.e., loss of cushioning) in the final miles of a long run or marathon. The Hitogami has the same Parallel Wave plate and midsole as the Sayonara (and weighs the same), but the Hitogami has a slightly lower heel.
Off-road shoes for training or racing
– Wave Kazan. Soft, dirt trails entail an entirely different shoe for running than your normal road shoes. The Kazan is that perfect shoe which combines the cushioning, comfort and support of a road shoe with the enhanced traction and gripping power necessary for trails. Unlike most trail shoes, the Kazan is as light as a road shoe, but with the protection and fit off-road runners demand.
– Wave Hayate. Clearly, trail runners need exceptional traction, but some trail runners also place a premium on lightness. The Hayate has all the same great features as the Kazan, but it’s even lighter (ideal for racing) and has a lower heel drop to bring the foot closer to the ground for going up or down steep inclines.