Mizuno Wave Sonic - Reviewed
Heel to toe differential (drop) - 4mm. Stack height (depth of cushion) - 21mm/17mm. Midsole - U4iCX. Outsole - X10 Rubber. Wave Plate - ESS Wave (mid foot). Weight - 220g (Men's), 190g (Ladies'). USP - ESS Wave, Racing Tongue for perfect fit.
Straight from the box, the Wave Sonic was a welcome sight. Sleek design, with smooth lines and a fast look about it. The bright green providing something fresh and exciting without overkill. The weight seemed fair when handling a shoe with this profile. It was obvious the Sonic wasn't an attempt to out-do the feather-light slippers of the past. This appeared to be a shoe for faster feet, but with some structure.
Once on, BOOM! I realised that the Alchemists from Mizuno had managed a minor miracle. A fitted, lightweight shoe that feels every bit like you could really start to shift, but with a strong sense of robustness, so far missing in the many flats I've worn recently.
I had high hopes.
I'll run in other racing flats and feel beaten up by the time I'm finished.
But I do like a racing feel. I like the 4mm heel to toe off-set more than any other. I really like to feel freedom of movement in my footwear.
So when the Wave Sonic appeared, I was attracted to it immediately.
4mm drop - check. Racing design, with sleek lines and a low profile - check. Colourful, but not too sickly - check.
So I tried them on and was blown away by the amount of structure and stiffnes these shoes provided, even with that low slung, lightweight feel.
The U4iCX midsole has all the cushion you'd wish for, but without any of what I wopuld call 'wallow'. They ping. I can push and move without feeling that my efforts are being wasted.
What's more - when I wish to go fast, I can go fast. Like I used to as a kid, in brand new shoes. The excitement is back.
Okay, so a good year of solid conditioning and discipline will see me reach great form and ability to maintain it in a slipper of a racing shoe, but there's no harm in feeling something close to all that, straight from the box!
And while I know I can't expect the shoes to provide me with the stamina/strength endurance for speed over distance, I already know that when running over my most familiar routes, I maintain form a lot more easily thanks to the little bit of extra structure that the wave Sonic affords me.
That structure comes in the form of a slightly denser, slightly deeper midsole than I've been used to.
Not only does that mean a more stable shoe, but one which will take a higher mileage before finally losing its bounce.
Higher milage, longer life expectancy and I'm running better for longer as a result. What's not to like?
How is this so comfy, when I'm running in a shoe, almost twice the weight of my Saucony Type A?
It's a lot to do with that extra depth, but also as ever, Mizuno provide a Wave Plate within the shoe. This one, the ESS Wave, is located under the midfoot. Handling the midfoot landing, transferring the impact into the forefoot ready for a strong, effective push off.
I'll be honest, I know it's there, but I don't feel it. I've had many Mizuno shoes on and almost always felt as if I was standing on a piece of Lego, but not here. The Wave Sonic feels as if it's a simple, flat(ish) slab of comfortable shoe under you.
As if the ground was comfortable - everywhere.
And so it goes, that if the shoe feels easier to run in, just as fast, if not faster*, then all you'd want, is for that situation to last for as long as possible. And I believe that the Wave Sonic, with its superior build, structure and stability, without intrusion on movement, might long outlive the other shoes on my shoe rack.
Underneath the shoe, the X10 rubber outsole, with diamond shaped studs a plenty. Grippy over tarmac and concrete thanks to the amount of contact across the entire surface of the shoe. Yet, because of the many sections, with grooves galore, the water can escape when things turn wet, so there's no loss of traction in pushing like you mean it.
While I wouldn't risk anything too soft or steep in them (hardly what they're designed for), I'd have no issue taking them off-road for a spot of light trail on dry days in the peak.
The Wave Plate creates such stiffness, that they'd likely handle uneven ground rather well and smooth out some of the lumps and bumps, but I doubt I could bring myself to get them dirty at the moment, as I'm still enjoying something of a 'honeymoon period' in them.
I've only run short distances so far, but that's not to say I can't tell what to expect when I finally up my mileage.
I've previously completed 50 mile races in road shoes and ended up horribly uncomfortable thanks to the structure of the shoe altering the behaviour of my foot, while undermining my ability to push and move.
Having sampled the benefits of the U4iCX midsole, with it's resilience and robustness - while running tired and out of shape, I feel positive about getting out for more and more training and nailing my form over twice the distance, then more.
While slightly heavier than shoes I've become accustomed to, the sonic allows a better form for the entirety of my run. I feel stronger just for removing the 'do or die' from the experience every time I leave the house.
The feeling in the shoe is absolute comfort. Freedom of movement is there in spades. There's a limit to how much my foot can travel if I were to lose strength midrun, which helps enormously. They don't require as much effort to remain on top of the shoe. A giant advantage.
They feel solid, protective even - and lighter than expected. And I can maintain fast feet, with good form, for a lot longer than in the more stripped down slippers I've been using recently.
The build, depth of cushion, efficiency afforded and comfort when worn, all suggest that as I build my mileage, the Wave Sonic will effortlessly transition with me, from short sharp racing flat, to a comfortable all day ultra shoe.
They certainly breathe well. The Airmesh upper invites circulation of fresh air, while making sure your feet can't over heat. They will therefore shed water, though fortunately for now, I haven't been soaked while wearing them...
Though tightly constructed, with a racing tongue (that wraps around the foot from above and traps the foot to the shoe without discomfort) they feel extremely comfy to move in and allow plenty of freedom without ever feeling as if they're hard work.
Happy days ahead then, in what's fast becoming my favourite shoe for quite some time.
I'm excited to run in the Wave Sonic and feel stronger when I do. I've been more confident in turning out bursts of speed, but far more satisfying has been the response, post run, when I finally feel as if I could easily do the same again - instead of looking forward to a day off, or chance to swap into a more comfortable pair. It's such a versatile shoe, fast or slow.
For the majority of runners, I'd suggest that Wave Sonic's niche will be between 10K and Full Marathon, with tempo runs and drills also making great use of its strength and structure. There are lighter, more delicate shoes available, but the Sonic is equipped for longer life, higher milage and resilience that will benefit people when attempting to run when fatigue sets in.
I think this shoe might provide a number of runners with a great many improvements in the months to come, whether it be strength & endurance, speed or a reduction in injury or fatigue. It's already made a big difference to my running, that's for sure.
Chris Hough - Team Accelerate.
Tuesday 22nd of August 2017