I first learned about the Mezamashii Project of Mizuno thru the Running Shield blog of Patrick Concepcion. This blog I like to visit regularly and I got to know that Running Shield’s favorite shoe brands are Asics and Nike. Thus, it was a bit of a surprise for me to read him writing about Mizuno.
Must be something good or exciting about this Mezamashii Project. I dug deeper about it. So after visiting the website (http://www.mizunousa.com/mezamashiirunproject/) and viewing several of the youtube videos about it, I got hyped up about it and was all set to join online. Unfortunately, it turned out that this project was crafted by Mizuno USA and was only available to runners with US Zip Codes.
|The 15th edition of the Mizuno Wave Rider|
|As light as a Bicolano Penguin|
Normally, it would have been the end of it but the words from the youtube videos kept tempting me like sirens of yore. Words like the Mezamashii is for “passionate runner enthusiasts” and “the type of people who energize others.” It also talks about the quest for the “brilliant run”. I have an affinity for these words. I need to be one with Mezamashii.
I resolve to acquire for myself a pair of Mizuno running shoes. The Mizuno brand is not new to me. In mid-2009, I bought a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 12. I was a newbie runner then and I just joined a Mizuno running clinic at Bonifacio Global City. The running clinic was for free and although the participants were not required to be shod in Mizuno running shoes, I decided to buy a pair of Mizunos as a way of showing gratitude to the company for being generous in organizing a free running clinic.
|Wave Rider 12 & 15 comparison of outsoles|
|Wave Rider 12 & 15 inner side view|
|Wave 12 & 15 upper view|
I liked my Mizuno Wave Rider 12 and it was the shoes I used in training for my first half-marathon which I nailed at the 2010 Condura Race.
It was then rational for me to go for a Wave Rider in my quest to embody the Mezamashii. The question is - which one?
Definitely I wasn’t getting a Wave Rider 13. I am an old school kind of guy and I would not be caught wearing something that has to do with 13, even if it were given to me for free. There is some sense why there are no 13th floors in buildings.
How about Wave Rider 14? Unlike 13, the 14th edition of the Wave Rider has been receiving a lot of negative press in the running blogosphere. Shoe reviewer Ryan Heisler calls it “..disastrous... Mizuno lost a lot of business with this generation Wave Rider, particularly with men. This isn't surprising, given the trend of men towards the minimalism category. The Wave Rider had consistently provided a firmer shoe than its' competitors, and it gave that up.”
(http://mainerunningblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/shoe-review-mizuno-wave-rider-15_20.html). An Oregon blogger opined “ It appears that there was a lot of backlash about the uncomfortable fit and feel of the Mizuno Wave Rider 14's.” (http://blog.oregonlive.com/runoregon/2012/05/shoe_review_mizuno_wave_rider.html). Running shoe guru Tom Caughlan wrote “The Wave Rider 14 left many runners disappointed due to poor flexibility and a slightly different fit, and many were hoping for return to the feel of the Wave Rider 13.” (http://www.runningshoesguru.com/2011/11/mizuno-wave-rider-15-running-shoes-review/). I am not touching this hot potato.
Given this disaster with one of their flagship models, Mizuno was hell bent on winning back their loyal clientele. Much was expected from the Mizuno Wave Rider 15.
With eye-catching colors like Lime Punch and Chinese Red, Mizuno was sending a signal to its customers that it will not disappoint with the 15th edition of the Wave Rider.
The technology features of Mizuno Wave Rider 15 are as follow:
- Patented Mizuno Wave® Technology
- Smoothride Technology optimizes forefoot flex
- Dynamotion Fit follows the natural motion of your foot
- AP+ improves the quality of the running experience by offering increased rebound and a bouncier feeling run while maintaining the light weight performance you've come to expect from Mizuno
- DryLite™A series of high performance technical fabrics designed with special yarn, fabric structure, and dyeing process. DryLite™ transports perspiration vapor away from the body, cooling down body temperature. DryLite™ is comfortable, breathable, easy to care for, and durable.
|Wave Rider 15 closer view of the side|
To quote Heisler again, “With the Rider 15, Mizuno lowered the collar on the shoe, to not impinge on the ankle joint in the same way that the 14 did. They also changed the seaming on the shoe, to provide a closer-to-the-foot feel overall throughout the shoe.”
Given all these techie babble and promise of improvement, I was sold and I got me a new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 15.
What are my first impressions?
Out of the box, my Wave Rider 15 got my attention. The smell was just right but the color Lime Punch knocked me out. This color is perfect for running ultra marathons, even at night, as the shoes and its owner would be very much noticed a hundred meters away by drivers of oncoming vehicles on the road.
Putting it on, I like the snug fit. It feels just right. I must say that my NB 880 has a roomier toebox but what I did was to compensate with the Wave Rider by getting a size 9.5 as opposed to my size 9 with the 880.
Taking a step or 2 with it, the Wave Rider 15, at 11.1 oz, feels light although not as feathery light as my NB 880 at 10.9 oz. It is still lighter though than my Asics Cumulus 13. It is quite amazing that we are quibbling about this but such pint-sized differences get magnified when you consider the tens of thousand steps needed to finish an ultra marathon.
How does it feel on a run?
I decided to have my first run with my Wave Rider 15 in the verdant green surroundings of our backyard in San Agustin, Iriga City.
|My new pair of Wave Rider 15 in green surroundings|
|Running in our backyard|
|Close up view of the Wave Rider 15 in action|
I enjoyed running with it on the trail-like environ . With the Wave Rider 15, I get to appreciate more the Wave technology they are talking about which I quote liberally again from the aforementioned bloggers: “Mizuno differentiates itself based on the Wave plate in their shoes. The Wave plate is a hytrel (read: plastic) piece that extends from the heel to at least the midfoot in all of their shoes. On their upper-level options, such as the structured neutral Wave Enigma, it extends all the way to the forefoot. The Wave plate helps transfer impact energy, and move it into kinetic motion. The idea is that the less time that the foot is in contact with the ground, the less impact energy that will travel up into the body. This seems to follow the same logic used to conclude the Harvard and Hasegawa study's on running form.”
The Wave Rider 15 features Wave Technology which provides a very smooth transition from heel to toe. The Wave Rider 15′s cushioning feels soft on top with the firmer wave plates on the bottom creating a pleasantly firm yet responsive cushioning. Mizuno uses its AP+ EVA foam on top of the wave plates. The wave plate in the heel is reinforced with more cushioning courtesy of Mizuno’s VS-1 material.
As my mileage with the Wave Rider 15 increased as I used it in a 11-km easy run on the road to and from the city center of Iriga , I could feel that its cushioning was giving me wave-like experience. As my forefoot touched the ground and my heel is about to touchdown, the wave plate and the AP+ foam collaborated to push it up and continue with the next stride. It is akin to a swimmer wading towards the shore and the waves propel it faster towards dry land. This is my take on the wave technology and I have the Wave Rider 15 to thank for.
More and more, I am getting to like the latest edition of the Wave Rider. It is just right for a heavy runner like me looking to do lots of long and tempo runs in a variety of terrain.
It could be a brilliant shoes for the intrepid runner on a quest for the brilliant run.
Just the kind Bicolano Penguin needs for some mezamashii.