Which Mizuno Is The Right Shoe For You?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on August 15, 2012
Let’s face it, selecting the right running shoe which fits and functions perfectly for you can seem like a daunting task. Especially if you are relatively new to running (or Mizuno), all the styles and models can be pretty confusing.
If you’re a newbie, you might even be amazed that there are so many footwear options, rather than just one great shoe which works for every runner. But it simply doesn’t work that way because every runner has different needs, fit requirements and many even have different foot types.
How do you sort through all the confusion? If you don’t know which Mizuno is the right one for you, the best advice we can possibly offer is to go to a reputable running store in your area. Your running friends can certainly recommend a store which has a knowledgeable, helpful sales staff and a complete selection of Mizuno running shoes or click here to find a store near you.
Once you get to the store, you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to the shoe wall where all the top shoes are displayed. Running stores vary how shoes are displayed. Some stores group all of a brand’s shoe together, but most good stores display its shoes by categories. Running shoes generally fall into one of six classifications: Control, stability, cushioned (or neutral), lightweight performance trainers, racing shoes and minimalist.
If you are a new runner and don’t know which shoe category you are best suited for, consult with the sales personnel who will watch you run, evaluate your gait and offer some advice to the shoe type that best meets your needs. Try on three or four different models. The two most important considerations are fit and feel. Try and take each for a short trial run. Most stores will allow you to take the shoes for a short spin without any obligation. Stores that have treadmills will probably prefer you test them out on the treadmill, rather than outside. Have the store associate watch you run. He/she is trained to notice whether the shoe fits you well and is the proper type of shoe for your style of running. Base your final decision on which shoe fits and feels the best.
If you can’t go to a store and want to order your shoes off the internet, these basics guidelines should help in making a more informed decision on which Mizuno is the proper shoe for you.
Cushioned (or neutral) shoes:
This type of shoe places emphasis on cushioning and de-emphasizes stability or support. This type of shoe usually has the highest level of cushioning (particularly in the rearfoot for good shock absorption upon heel strike). These are the least stable or supportive trainers, but are also the most flexible and responsive.
Best suited for: Runners who are biomechanically efficient (don’t overpronate) and often have a high or rigid arch. Also underpronators (don’t pronate enough) and fast, lean runners do well in these shoes.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Rider 15, Wave Creation 13, Wave Enigma 2 and Wave Prophecy.
The differences: The Wave Rider is Mizuno’s most popular model—and it’s one of the best, most established shoes in this category. Of Mizuno’s neutral line, the Rider is the lightest and most flexible. The Wave Creation has better cushioning and more support (particularly in the arch) and works especially well for a very high arched foot. The Wave Enigma also has exceptional cushioning and it’s lighter and more responsive than the Creation. The Prophecy is a completely unique shoe in running with a full mechanical midsole. This means it has a full Wave Plate (Mizuno’s trademark technology and doesn’t have traditional midsole foam which means three things: Great cushioning and durability and a propulsive-like effect that is unparalleled in running.
Stability and control are synonymous with support. The difference is the degree of support offered. Stability shoes offer external and internal devices that will reduce overpronation (the distinctive inward roll which is a leading cause of injuries). Stability shoes generally have added support devices, a supportive upper and a midfoot shank or reinforcement to add torsional stability.
Best suited for:Runners who overpronate and/or need some added medial support and stability. Runners with normal or flat arches. Runners who wear orthotics generally do well in stability shoes.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Inspire 8, Wave Nirvana 8, Wave Nexus 6 or Wave Elixir 7.
The differences:The important distinction between these shoes is level of support. The Nirvana is the most supportive and also has the best rearfoot cushioning. It is also tops for durability. The Inspire has a “moderate” level of support, but it’s lighter and a “quicker’ shoe than the Nirvana. The Nexus offers a similar support and cushioning package as the Inspire. The Elixir is the lightest, most responsive of the support shoes, but also the least supportive.
Designed primarily for severe overpronators and/or big, heavy runners, control shoes offer maximum support and stability—more so than stability shoes. Generally, control shoes have a broad base of support, a sturdy heel counter, a supportive upper and external support devices. These shoes are all about keeping the pronated foot in balance during the running gait.
Best suited for: Overpronators or big, heavy runners who need all the support they can get. Runners with low arches also do well in control shoes. Also good for orthotic wearers.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 and Wave Nirvana 8.
The differences: Both the Alchemy and Nirvanahave exceptional support, cushioning and durability. Both weigh approximately the same. The Nirvana is slightly more flexible and has full-length support (the Alchemy’s is mainly in the rearfoot). The Alchemy has very good forefoot cushioning and fits a wide foot.
Lightweight performance trainers:
As the name implies, these are lightweight shoes that are designed for runners who want to fly in training—or racing. These shoes have a performance fit and feel, are highly flexible, have breathable uppers and good toe spring. Performance trainers are generally about 2-3 ounces lighter than conventional training shoes but there is a tradeoff in cushioning, stability and durability. Some choose to use these shoes for daily training, although most runners usually wear lightweight performance trainers just for speed work or races.
Best suited for: Runners who train (or race) fast. Runners who don’t need a lot of stability or cushioning, but prefer an unencumbered, light, flexible ride.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Precision 13 and Wave Elixir 7.
The differences: Both shoes are relatively light and very flexible. The Elixir is slightly lighter than the Precision, its midsole is a tad firmer and offers a bit of support. The Precision is strictly for neutral runners without any support issues.
Racers (or road-racing flats) are the sports cars of the shoe wall. They are designed for only one thing: road-racing. Weighing between four and eight ounces, flats don’t offer much cushioning or stability and are not suitable for daily training (you’ll wear them out too quickly anyway). Flats have a low-profile midsole and a minimalist upper and outsole.
Best suited for: Serious racers who don’t want (or need) a shoe which will slow them down. Efficient, lightweight runners do best in flats.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Universe 4, Wave Musha 4, Wave Ronin 4.
The differences: The Wave Universe is the lightest (3.8 ounces for size 9) shoe on the running market. It has minimal cushioning but maximum quickness. The Wave Ronin (7 ounces for men size 9; 8 ounces for women, size 7) is also a quick shoe, but with a gripping outsole (good on wet pavement) and a smooth, fast ride for neutral racers. The Wave Musha has a broader base of support than the Ronin and is slightly heavier.
This type of shoe is characterized by lowered heel to toe ramps, minimal amount of cushioning and support. Runners who like minimal shoes prefer the less is more approach.
Best suited for: Biomechanically efficient runners (they don’t overpronate) who prefer a good road “feel” and don’t want (or need) traditional cushioning or heel heights.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Universe 4, Wave Ronin 4.
The differences: The Wave Universe is primarily a racing shoe, but it has become a very popular shoe with minimalist runners due to its extreme light, unrestricted ride. The Wave Ronin has also gained wider acceptance as a training shoe because of its light, smooth ride.