Mizuno 2015: Which is the right type of shoe for me

February 23, 2015 Posted By: Bob "Wish" Wischnia

By Mizuno Shoe Guy


One of the greatest challenges facing today’s runners should be the very simplest: Finding that absolutely perfect shoe for you. We sincerely hope that ideal shoe for you is a Mizuno, but sorting through all the various styles and brands to find that flawless shoe can be confusing at best and at worst, completely baffling; especially for a new runner who may not know what to look for in running shoes.


Admittedly, shoe companies don’t make it any easier with all the technical mumbo jumbo thrown around to describe shoes. We’re here for you to sift through the details and direct you on a clear path to the right Mizuno for you in 2015.


Even if you’re a seasoned runner, that path to the proper new Mizuno might not always be clear. Many runners who have worn Mizuno’s in the past just want to get their old favorite again, but are often dismayed to discover it’s vanished from the shoe wall at the local running store. That concern is certainly understandable, but before you panic please understand that Mizuno updates (hopefully, improves) all of its shoes on an annual basis. You will be on familiar turf if you choose the newest version of the same model you have liked and worn in the past. The number on the shoe might be different, but the guts of the shoe remains the same.


For example, the Mizuno Wave Rider—our most popular and enduring shoe—undergoes annual improvements. If you have worn and liked the Wave Rider in the past, the newest Rider—the Wave Rider 18—has greatly improved fit, comfort and ride along with better durability.


That’s what we do with all of our shoes. We’re competitive people who are constantly trying to improve our line and yet maintain the consistent fit and performance features that our customers have come to expect.


To give you an overview of which Mizuno’s are for you and the improvements for 2015, we have broken each shoe into one of five classifications: Support, cushioned (or neutral), trail, lightweight performance and racing shoes. All Mizuno shoes are offered in men’s and women’s models. Three shoes—the Wave Rider, Wave Inspire and Wave Paradox—are offered in multiple width options.



Cushioned (or neutral) shoes:


This type of training shoe places an emphasis on unrestricted cushioning. Typically, a neutral shoe has the highest level of cushioning and flexibility, but the least amount of support.


Best suited for: Runners who don’t need additional medial support. Usually, this means runners who are biomechanically efficient (don’t overpronate) and typically have a high or rigid arch. Also, underpronators (those who don’t pronate enough) and fast, lean runners do well in these shoes.


Mizuno maximum neutral: Wave Creation 16, Wave Enigma 4 and Wave Prophecy 4. Moderate neutral: Wave Rider 18.


Improvements for 2015: The Wave Rider 18 is a vast improvement on the 17 in terms of fit and ride, recapturing the Rider magic which made it the lightest, most flexible neutral trainer on the market. Although the Rider 18 weighs the same as the 17 did, the 18′s midsole is firmer to provide a better platform for a smoother, more efficient toeoff. The 18 also fits snugger through the arch area than the 17 did and the toe spring is much better. The 18 is also more durable than the 17. The Wave Creation 16 also has substantially improved cushioning, comfort and has a more secure fit. A sleeker upper allows the shoe to move better with the foot. The Wave Enigma 4, available only in running specialty stores, also has a more secure fitting upper. The Wave Prophecy 4, a unique shoe with a mechanical, full-length Infinity Wave midsole, has increased flexibility and much better forefoot spring.  The upper is softer, more breathable and offers better comfort. The Prophecy, Enigma and the Creation have the best cushioning, while the Rider is the lightest and most flexible of the neutral, cushioned shoes.


Support shoes:


Are designed to reduce the harmful effects of overpronation. (Overpronation is the distinctive inward roll of the arch which—if unchecked—can lead to injuries.) Mizuno support shoes use Fan Wave technology to stabilize the foot from heel strike to toeoff. Mizuno support shoes also utilize a supportive upper, forefoot sculpting and lightweight cushioning which won’t slow you down.


Best suited for: Runners who overpronate and/or need some added medial (inner) support. Runners with normal or flat arches. Runners who wear orthotics generally do well in support shoes.


Mizuno moderate support: Wave Inspire 11. Maximum support: Wave Paradox.


Improvements for 2015:  The Wave Inspire 11 has been modified and revamped, while still retaining its unmatched level of lightweight support. The toe spring is much springier and the transition from heel to forefoot is quicker and more efficient. The Inspire 11′s midsole cushioning and outsole are the same as the 10, but the 11 has a sleeker design and internal midfoot and forefoot straps to secure the foot much better. With a “moderate” level of support, the Inspire 11 is lighter and more flexible than our competitors’ support shoes. If you liked the Inspire 9 but weren’t wild about the 10, the Inspire 11 is a return to that snappier, quicker feel that so many runners love. The Wave Paradox is much more supportive than the Inspire and extremely well-cushioned, yet it’s relatively light for such a durable support shoe.  An ideal shoe for heavier runners who need maximum support.



Lightweight performance trainers:


As the name implies, these are lighter 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. Some runners choose to use these shoes for daily training, although most runners usually wear lightweight performance shoes for speed work and/or races.


Best suited for: Runners who train (or race) fast and prefer a neutral, light, flexible ride and still want conventional cushioning.


Mizuno performance neutral: Wave Sayonara 2 and Wave Hitogami 2.


Both of these shoes virtually disappear on your feet, especially at top speeds. Mizuno has always had exceptional performance trainers and the Sayonara and Hitogami carry on that tradition. The Sayonara 2 is exceptionally light for a shoe which is primarily a trainer, yet it’s well-cushioned and has a touch of support that won’t slow you down. Its heel-to-toe ramp is 10mm which means the heel is slightly lower than conventional training shoes. The Hitogami 2 is the second version of a light racer-trainer (same weight as the Sayonara) which is more geared to the racing spectrum than the Sayonara. Featuring a responsive, smooth ride, the Hitogami also has some inherent support due to its Parallel Wave construction. Its heel-to-toe ramp is slightly lower than the Sayonara. Both shoes are suitable for racing distances through the marathon.





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: Runners who prefer extremely light shoes and don’t want the conventional midsole cushioning or heel heights. Biomechanically efficient runners (i.e., they don’t overpronate) who like to train in racing shoes and prefer a good road “feel” and exceptional flexibility.


Mizuno performance neutral: Wave Universe 5, Wave Ekiden 9.


Improvements for 2015: The Wave Universe is the lightest shoe on the market, weighing in at an incredible 2.8 ounces for men and 2.2 for women. Although it’s principally a racing shoe, the Universe has a following among minimalist runners who like it’s extremely light, unrestricted ride and sock-like fit. The Universe, which has a heel-to-toe ramp of 3mm, is barefoot running at its best. The Wave Ekiden is also geared for racing, but has also gained wider acceptance as a training shoe because of its light, smooth ride. Its heel-to-toe ramp is 5 mm. Both shoes are best suited for sub-marathon distances.


Road-racing shoes:


Racing shoes (or road-racing flats) are designed for the fast turnover of road-racing. Mizuno’s ultra-light racing shoes are the lightest, most flexible shoes with a low-profile midsole and outsole.


Best suited for: Road racers who don’t want (or need) a shoe which will slow them down. Experienced, highly competitive racers do best in flats.


Mizuno performance neutral racing shoes: Wave Universe 5, Wave Ekiden 9 and Wave Hitogami 2.


Trail, off-road shoes:


Off-road shoes have trail-specific designs and added traction for gripping on soft dirt surfaces, rocky trails or snow-covered roads.


Best suited for: Off-road or trail runners who need superior traction, a lightweight ride and good cushioning.


Mizuno performance trail shoes: Wave Kazan, Wave Hayate.


Unlike most trail shoes, the Wave Kazan and Wave Hayate are light and flexible and yet still have the level of cushioning road runners like. Both shoes have outstanding traction (especially in the forefoot to grip steep trails when ascending) and the Wave design provides protection from rocks and trail scree. The Kazan is the most supportive and cushioned of the two, while the Hayate is lighter and has a lower heel height for more performance-oriented trail runners or racers.


Still not sure what type of shoe you need? Use our Precision Fit tool (link) to help you select the right running shoe to match your unique biomechanics.

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