Mizuno 2013: Finding The Right Shoe For Me?

February 21, 2013 Posted By: Bob "Wish" Wischnia

Finding the right shoe for you (hopefully, a Mizuno) isn’t always easy. And then just when you have found the perfect Mizuno shoe, the calendar flips over to a new year and voila, all the running shoes—including your favorite—have been replaced. Sound familiar?

Let’s face it, finding that shoe which fits and functions flawlessly is tough. There’s so much to choose from that the array of Mizuno’s 2013 styles and models can be bewildering, especially when you just want your old favorite shoe again.

And that favorite may be gone from the shoe wall at your running store. But don’t despair.

Even though Mizuno updates all its shoes on an annual basis, you are on familiar ground if you stick with the same model shoe you have worn in the past. Another words, a Mizuno Wave Rider—our most popular and enduring shoe—undergoes periodic improvements. For example, if you have worn and liked the Wave Rider 13 (last made in 2010), the newest model—the Wave Rider 16—maintains the fit and feel of this classic but with upgraded materials, fit and feel.

That’s what we do with all of our shoes. We’re constantly trying to improve our line and yet maintain the consistent fit and performance factors that our customers enjoy.

For 2013, the Mizuno line introduces three new shoes as well as a new category of shoe. The rest of the shoes have not undergone major revisions, but most of the improvements are in the area of lightness and enhanced ride and comfort than ever before without a loss of cushioning or durability.

To give you an overview of which shoes are for you and the changes for 2013, we have broken each shoe into one of six classifications: Control, stability, cushioned (or neutral), lightweight performance trainers, racing shoes and midfoot.

Cushioned (or neutral) shoes:

This type of training shoe places an 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). These shoes are the least stable or supportive of conventional training shoes, 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 16, Wave Creation 14, Wave Enigma 2 and Wave Prophecy 2.

Improvements for 2013: The Wave Rider 16 has a lighter, better fitting mesh upper than the WR 15 and the shoe is a half ounce lighter. Mizuno’s most popular model, the WR 16 is the lightest, most flexible Rider ever. The Wave Creation 14 has improved cushioning, comfort and fit. The 14 is also a half ounce lighter than Creation 13 with a snugger fitting upper. The ’13 Wave Enigma 2 is a color update. The Wave Prophecy 2, a unique shoe withafull mechanical Wave midsole,also is significantly lighter and has a smoother, more dynamic ride than the first version.

Stability shoes:

Stability and control shoes 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 9, or Wave Elixir 8.

Improvements for 2013: The Wave Inspire 9 has a “moderate” level of support, but it’s lighter and “quicker” than most other support shoes. The Elixir is the lightest, most responsive support shoe in running, but is less supportive than the Inspire. Both the Wave Inspire 9 and Wave Elixir 8 were lightened by a half ounce each without a loss of cushioning or support.

Control shoes:

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.

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 Option: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12. Unchanged for 2013.

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 less cushioning, stability and durability. Some choose to use these shoes for daily training, although most runners usually wear lightweight performance trainers mostly 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 8.

Improvements for 2013: The Precision 13 is unchanged. The Elixir 8 is lighter than the Elixir 7 and lighter than the Precision.

Midfoot:

A new category of shoes for 2013, the Evo midfoot shoes are characterized by Mizuno’s “less is more” approach. That is, there is just enough shoe to provide a safe ride without any extraneous cushioning or traditional outsole to slow you down. Midfoot shoes are designed for the runner who is either a midfoot “striker” or toe runner and prefers low (or flat) heel heights.

Best suited for: Midfoot or forefoot runners. Also for runners transitioning to more of a minimalist approach.

Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Evo Levitas, Mizuno Wave Evo Cursoris.

Improvements for 2013: The Evo Levitas and Evo Cursoris are new shoes for ’13. Most prominently, both have zero drop. That is, the heel heights are the same height as the forefoot, meaning there is zero drop. The Levitas is the lighter of the two shoes and has a narrower base. The Cursoris, an ounce heavier than the Levitas, has thicker midsole cushioning in the heel and a wider forefoot for a stable, midfoot stance.

Minimalist:

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 5.

Improvements for 2013: The Wave Universe is primarily a racing shoe, but it has become a 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.

Road-racing shoes:

Racers (or road-racing flats) are the sports cars of running. They are designed for only one thing: road-racing. Weighing between four and eight ounces, flats don’t offer as much cushioning or stability as trainers and are generally not suitable for daily training (you’ll wear them out too quickly anyway). Flats have a low-profile midsole and a light upper.

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 Ekiden, Wave Musha 5, Wave Ronin 5.

Improvements for 2013: The Wave Universe is the lightest (3.8 ounces for size 9) shoe on the running market. It has minimal cushioning for maximum quickness. The Wave Ekiden (4.6 ounces) is a new shoe for U.S. It is lighter than the Ronin and Musha, but heavier and (and better cushioned) than the Universe. Wave Ronin 5 is lighter than the Ronin 4 (6.9 ounces for men size 9; 5.8 ounces for women, size 7) and is an even quicker shoe with a gripping outsole (good on wet pavement) and a smooth, fast ride for neutral racers. The Wave Musha 5 has a broader base of support than the Ronin and Ekiden but is slightly heavier (7.4 ounces for men; 6.3 for women) than the other racing shoes.

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