Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers your Footwear Questions - August 2011
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on August 12, 2011
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running-shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you do, send your question to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. He’ll pick five questions a month to answer and if he picks your question, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno tech T-shirt.
GOOD LONG-RUN SHOE?
Q: Last year I ran the New York City Marathon in the Wave Elixir 5 and the shoe worked well for me in training and the race. I’m running NYC again, but I’d like to use a similar shoe to the Elixir, but one that has a little more cushioning and support for my long runs. What would you advise? Kevin, Old Saybrook, Connecticut
A: The Elixir is an exceptional racing and training shoe—I use it for all my races—but, like you, for longer runs I like a more substantial shoe. My go-to shoe for long runs is the Wave Inspire. It’s heavier than the Elixir, but has more substantial cushioning and support for the type of protection that comes in handy on those long, grueling marathon training runs. For shorter tempo runs, you should probably stick with the Elixir and definitely use it for the marathon again.
Q: After several years of being unable to run because of sore ankles, I discovered the original Wave Nirvana and found immediate relief. Those shoes were great and I went through several pair before switching to the Wave Nirvana 2 which also worked well. I bought six pair of the Nirvana 2 and have finally used them all. My problem is I can’t find the Nirvana 2 anymore. What should I do? Curt, Yakima, Washington
A: You probably won’t be able to find the Wave Nirvana 2 anywhere, but don’t despair. The Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7 is widely available and it is a much better shoe than the first two Nirvanas in just about every respect. The Nirvana 7 has better support and cushioning and yet it’s lighter and much more flexible. Plus, it’s just about the most durable shoe on the market. Trust me, you won’t lose anything moving to the Nirvana 7. In fact, just the opposite.
Q: I’ve heard so much about all the minimal shoes that I’m wondering whether I should make the switch too. I’ve had a chronic plantar fasciitis condition since high school and wearing the Wave Inspire has helped me with that condition. But I’m always fearful of the PF coming back. Do you think switching to a minimalist like the Wave Universe would be a better shoe for me than the Inspire? Janeen, Corvallis, Oregon
A: Nope. I think the support and cushioning of the Inspire has worked well for you and kept your plantar fasciitis at bay. Switching to the Universe would be contrary to what you need. It’s possible you could wear the Universe for short road races, but I would continue with the Inspire because it’s a shoe that you already know works well for you. My old high school baseball coach used to say, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” In other words, stick with what works.
RIDER TO ENIGMA?
Q: I have been wearing the Wave Rider for seven years and really like it. But I’m increasing my mileage to 75 miles per week this month and feel like I need a shoe with more cushioning. Do you have a good suggestion? Wayne, St. Louis, Missouri
A: You bet I do. In July, we came out with the Wave Enigma which could be the perfect shoe for you. It’s designed for the runner who wants exceptional cushioning, but still wants a smooth, flexible ride. The Enigma definitely has more plush cushioning than the Wave Rider, particularly in the forefoot, which many Rider fans who have transitioned into the Enigma, have welcomed. While the Enigma is heavier than the Rider, it has much better protection for those high-mileage weeks when you need all the cushioning you can get.
BEST SHOES FOR SHINSPLINTS?
Q: Hey MSG, I desperately need your advice. I am currently doing the run/walk thing five days a week in an old, broken-down pair of sneakers and I’m suffering from shin splints. I am loving this running thing, but the shin splints really hurt and I can’t seem to get rid of them. I know I need new shoes, but I have no idea what to do. Lanie, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
A: Lanie, the first thing you need to do is ditch the sneakers and get a pair of quality running shoes. Which one? I would strongly suggest a Mizuno support shoe. Go to a good running store in your area (I highly recommend the Finish Line in Emmaus, Pennsylvania which is near you) and once there, try on the Mizuno Wave Alchemy, Wave Nirvana or Wave Inspire). All are support shoes which should help with your shin splints. But even wearing the right shoe isn’t an instant cure. Treating shin splints is tricky, but the injury is most often the result of weak or inflexible lower leg muscles, running on a rock-hard surface (i.e., sidewalks) or on highly cambered roads. Or simply running or walking too many miles too fast.
Here’s what I suggest you do after getting a good pair of Mizuno support shoes: Go to your local gym and begin doing some light leg strengthening work for your quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors. Ask one of the trainers the best way to do this. Emphasize quadricep and hamstring strength because these are the primary stabilizing muscles of your lower legs. Learn how to stretch properly and spend 10-15 minutes every day stretching your hamstrings and calf muscles. Avoid sidewalks and highly cambered roads completely. Instead, go to a park with grass fields and/or dirt trails for your run/walks. This will minimize shock to your legs. Finally, after every run, ice your sore shins for 10-12 minutes to reduce the muscle inflammation that is causing the soreness. (To do this, freeze a paper cup with water. Peel the paper and use the ice to massage your shins.) Shin splints can be a problem for beginners, but it is an injury that can be treated and cured by doing a few things properly. It may take a few weeks to eliminate all shin soreness, but be patient and take things slowly.