Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers Your Footwear Questions—January 2012
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on January 5, 2012
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. If we pick your question for the Mizuno Shoe Guy to answer, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno DryScience T-shirt.
Q: I have been reading your responses on the Runner’s World shoe discussion forum and thought I would venture an email as I am having trouble making a decision on my next pair of Mizunos. I love Mizuno shoes and would never consider wearing another brand, but I don’t know whether I switch to a different model. I am 19 years old and just started running a year ago. Even though I’m a woman, I always wear men’s shoe and I’m currently wearing the Wave Creation 11 and love them. I have had the same pair for nearly a full year and realize it’s about time I get new shoes as I’m training for my first half marathon in March and then a full marathon. I have a pretty normal pronation and tend to be a heel striker. Right now, I am trying to decide between the Wave Rider, Wave Elixir and Wave Musha. Do you have any advice which shoe would be best for me? Molly McKinley, Raleigh, North Carolina
A: Molly, I’m a firm believer in sticking with what works. The Wave Creation seems to fit and work well for you. Unless there’s a problem that you don’t mention, I would advise you to simply buy a new pair of the Wave Creation 13 which is lighter, has a more comfortable upper and a bit more cushioning than the Creation 11. If you still want to switch models, the Wave Rider 15 is similar to the Wave Creation in that it is a neutral cushioned shoe and that may work well for you. The Wave Elixir 7 could be another option, but it is more of a lightweight trainer-racer for most runners than a daily training shoe. The Wave Musha is strictly a road-racing shoe and is too light for you for daily training. Your best bet is to go with a proven winner for you: The Wave Creation 13.
Neutral runner needs support
Q: I am a 135-pound woman who runs about 30 miles a week. I am a neutral runner, but feel like I need a bit of stability. I don’t want a rigid shoe though. Which shoe would you recommend? Erin Davis, Los Altos, California
A: Most of our shoes have inherent stability because of the Wave design. Although the design of the Waves differ, each Wave cushions and stabilizes the foot. I would suggest two very different shoes—the Wave Enigma and the Wave Elixir 7. The Enigma is a neutral shoe—that is, it’s very well-cushioned and works well for runners with high arches—but it has surprising support. The Elixir 7 is a trainer-racer which is very light (but not as light as a road racing shoe) and highly flexible. Both are good options and I would suggest trying them both on for fit and feel. Go with the one which feels best on your feet.
Ready for the Universe?
Q: I have enjoyed wearing minimalist shoes and considering moving to the Wave Universe from the Wave Ronin. But I have heard that most of your Mizuno-sponsored professional runners use the Ronin for the marathon, rather than the Universe. Is this true? I have worn the Ronin and like it a lot, but I am wondering whether I should switch to the Universe for its lighter weight and lower heel drop? Hopefully, with fewer ounces on my feet in the Universe I’ll feel a little faster. Do you agree? Finally, in the past few years my feet have gotten longer and larger. Is that normal for a 41-year-old runner? Jorge Gana, Colts Neck, New Jersey
A: Hmm, lots of good questions. Let me take them in order: (1) I haven’t done a survey, but most Mizuno-sponsored runners do prefer the Wave Ronin (or the Wave Musha) over the Wave Universe for the marathon. The Universe is a terrific minimalist racing shoe, but over 26.2 miles most of our elite runners probably want a little more protection which they get from either the Ronin or Musha. (2) Switching to the Universe for you is certainly a possibility as clearly it is the lightest racing shoe on the market. Losing a few ounces of shoe weight might make you feel faster, but in the final analysis you might not be faster. The shoes won’t make you faster; that’s up to you. (3) Yes, our feet tend to flatten and lengthen over the years. That’s very common and something you just have to adjust to by buying bigger sizes.
Q: I have been wearing the Wave Renegade for several years. I’m a big guy and this has been the best, most durable shoe I have ever worn. But I can’t find it anymore. What’s up with that? Sterling Washington, Richmond, Virginia
A: Sorry Sterling, we stopped making the Wave Renegade two years ago. I doubt you’ll be able to find any more Renegades on the web, but you’re in luck. The Wave Nirvana 8 is—in my humble opinion—a better shoe than the Renegade. It’s certainly lighter, has better cushioning, is more flexible and is just as durable and supportive as the Renegade was. The Nirvana has incredible durability, just like the Renegade. I have a running friend with over 1400 miles on a pair of Nirvanas. Certainly, can’t guarantee that many miles but my guess is if you give the Nirvana a try, you’ll probably appreciate its cushioning and support just as much as the Renegade. Hopefully, more so.
Q: For many years, I have been running in the Wave Rider and last year switched to the Wave Prophecy. I like both shoes and haven’t had any issues at all, but I’m looking to change my running and go lighter. I recently bought the Wave Universe 4 and I’m ready to work those into my shoe rotation. My preferred race distance is the marathon and I will take the Universe as far as they go. Do you have a specific training regimen that you would recommend in switching to the Universe? Scott Diersing, Fairfield, Ohio
A: A specific training plan for switching to the Universe? No, I don’t. But I would suggest making a very gradual transition from a conventional trainer such as the Wave Rider or Wave Prophecy to the Wave Universe. The Universe is so light and has such a low heel height that it is a radically different shoe than what you’re used to. It will take some time getting used to the extreme lightness of Universe—especially since you’re used to the max cushioning and relative heaviness of the Prophecy. I know several runners who use the Universe as a training shoe several days a week and appreciate its supreme lightness and minimalist feel. Just don’t rush into using the Universe on a daily basis. At first, I would advise using the Universe on very short runs (possibly even on grass) of not longer than 20-30 minutes. Continue to use the Wave Rider on alternate days and gradually lengthen your runs in the Universe by five minutes. If you make the transition gradual enough, you should be able to do long runs in the Universe and eventually the marathon.