Try Before You Buy
Last month, I performed an informal wear test of the Mizuno Wave Creation and Mizuno Wave Prophecy in Kelowna, BC. Nearly 20 participants came to test out these shoes, give their opinions, and go home with a new pair kicks. This study was special because it investigated what slower runners thought of shoes engineered especially for them. And yes, participants poked a bit of fun at me and pretended to be insulted when I labeled them as ‘slow,’ but hey, I gave them a free pair of shoes, so they forgave me pretty quickly and accepted their status!
With many runners gravitating to lightweight, minimalist, zero-drop products, a large part of the running shoe market – those who are thought to benefit from using maximum protection shoes – is being overlooked. As larger runners continue to take up running for fitness, it can be debated what shoe features are most important for the best fit.
Runners who are moving more slowly tend to spend more time in contact with the ground and are striking with their foot out in front of the body. Mizuno has maximum protection shoes in their line that cater to runners who are thought to be in need of extra protection and cushioning from running impact. Mizuno’s Infinity Wave technology is designed to benefit individuals who seek cushioning, comfort and protection during this type of running pattern. Furthermore, the idea behind Mizuno’s SmoothRide Engineering Technology is to minimize the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the foot through the transition of ground contact to take off.
When the participants of the study tested these shoes, they were a little intimidated by their flashy, high-tech appearance and explained that they probably would not have tried them on unless a knowledgeable salesperson would have suggested it. Like most runners, when they go shoe shopping the extent of their testing consists of try the shoe on, then walking and hopping around in the store. None of them had previously had the option of running in the shoe before purchasing. This proved to be a key component of the test session – trying the shoe running. Each participant ran at their self-selected ‘easy’ and ‘race’ paces and found that they much preferred the shoe after running in it – both in comparison to their initial try-on and in comparison to their previous shoes. After the wear test, they indicated that they would likely purchase this shoe based on its comfort while running
So, moral of the story is to not judge a book by it’s cover and see if you can take the shoes for a spin around the block before you purchase. Most specialty running stores will let you dart across the parking lot a couple times on a nice, dry day.
Wave Prophecy 2
Wave Creation 14
Nikki Reiter is a Mizuno Running Brand Ambassador from Kelowna, BC. She holds a master’s degree in biomechanics, coaches Cross Country at UBC Okanagan and is the founder of Run Right Gait Analysis Service (run-right.ca).