Of all the shoes I ran in, this one had me scratching my head the most. It is what you might call a traditional running shoe. High heel (31mm) with a 13mm drop to 18mm under the forefoot. Obviously not my standard fare, but having had good experiences with some “traditional” shoes before, I decided to give this one a roll.
Mizuno uses a “wave plate” under the heel and rear-midfoot, apparently for springiness & cushioning. The Waverider 17 also has a brochure’s worth of technologies, like “SR Touch”, “Smooth Ride”, “U4ic” & an “Extended Wave Plate”.
Look, I realize that shoe companies love marketing, but all of this stuff reminds me of the bad old days when shoe companies went around promising to fix all manner of foot, stride and knee issue with gadgets and doodads. And the thing that bothers me most is that this was supposed to be a neutral shoe. Explain again to me why you need “increased torsional rigidity between the heel and forefoot” again?
I got out on the trail and the shoe immediately made its prescence known. I could actually feel the wave plate underneath my mid foot. I guess the best way to describe it would be if someone built a mechanical suspension system and put it into a shoe. I guess if you’re looking for cushioning, this might sound pretty cool. Unfortunately, the reality when running with any form of stride other than a heavy heel strike was that the shoe felt clunky.
When I went to a heavy heel strike (which, obviously, is not my scene) the shoe did begin to disappear underneath me. However, I could feel it attempting to correct my stride underneath me. If this is Mizuno’s version of a “neutral” shoe, I’d hate to see a stability or motion control shoe.
Other than the weird running, the shoe was fairly well built, ventilated and fairly comfortable, though I felt like I moved around a bit in the forefoot.
Bottom line, if you’re a very heavy heel striker with a fairly wide forefoot you might like this shoe.
Score: 4/10 RAWRS (Odd to run in, too many buzzwords, over wide forefoot)
High: Fairly lightweight, well ventilated upper, heavy heel strikers might like it
Low: Clunky, weirdly mechanical sole mechanism, sloppy forefoot
Check out reviews of the other shoes I tried out over at my event post of The Big Shoe Off!