Back in the summer, Jeff from Detroit Runner was generous enough to provide me with an invite to Mizuno’s Mezamashii Run Project. The Mezamashii Run Project is a cool initiative that Mizuno undertook to help runners experience brilliant runs. I’m very grateful to Jeff for inviting me to the project, as I was able to choose a free pair of Mizuno shoes to wear in search of more brilliant runs. I love seeing running shoe manufacturers and other running-related companies take bold steps to expand their customer base and promote the great sport of running. This may have been a big risk by Mizuno, providing many runners with free shoes without a guaranteed return on investment, but I have seen a lot of buzz about the project and hope that Mizuno has found it to be an unqualified success.
I hadn’t worn Mizunos since early 2011 when I was training for my first half marathon. I was happy to try a new pair of Mizunos and chose the Wave Precision 12, a neutral performance trainer. I first started using neutral performance trainers in the summer of 2011 due to their combination of being fairly lightweight yet cushioned enough to hold up for long runs on a variety of surfaces. Becki from The Middle Miles has an excellent review of the Wave Precision 12 on her blog (as well as thorough reviews of a wide variety of other shoes and running gear). Becki’s review has a lot of great details about the Wave Precision 12 and was a big influence on my decision to choose that model for the Mezamashii Run Project. I wanted to put a lot of miles on the shoes and wear them in a variety of running settings before reviewing them. Unfortunately, that ended up taking a little longer than I would have liked with my reduced mileage over the last several months of 2012.
I had been using the Brooks Launch, also a neutral performance trainer, for about a year before I got the Wave Precision 12. Brooks had announced that the Launch would be discontinued in 2013, so I was looking forward to trying a potential replacement for them in my shoe lineup. (Side note – Brooks recently announced that the Launch will not be discontinued due to overwhelming runner feedback.)
I ordered the Wave Precision in my normal size, and they felt a little big in both length and width (especially the width). This surprised me a little bit because I normally need a wide toebox and usually have the problem of shoes being too narrow in that area rather than too wide. After a very short time, I realized this would be a problem because I developed blisters on the outside of both big toes every time I wore these shoes. Fortunately, Mizuno has excellent customer service and quickly agreed to swap them out for a pair a half size smaller. The smaller shoes fit much better, though the fit still isn’t perfect. While the width is pretty good, my toes seem to bump the front end of the shoe more in these shoes than they do in my other shoes. Also, my toes tend to feel a little bit of pressure when I tighten the laces and pull the tongue tight. I notice it more on my left foot, which is a little bigger than my right foot, where it can feel like the tongue is pulling the front of the shoe into the end of my big toe. It’s slightly uncomfortable, but not enough to cause any problems. I don’t think it’s anything wrong with the shoe itself, just part of the compromise I made when I went down a half size to eliminate the toe blisters. The toe sliding doesn’t bother me too much on flat surfaces, but I definitely notice it when running up or down hills. I think I need to spend some time in a shoe store trying on different sizes of Mizuno models to see what the differences are from my other shoes. Mizuno released the Wave Precision 13 later in the summer, and maybe those will fit me a little better.
Toe sliding aside, I really like the Wave Precision. They are extremely comfortable shoes, and as Becki noted in her review, they are very responsive. For me, the balance between light weight and cushioning is excellent – they don’t feel too heavy to me, yet they are cushioned enough to withstand most types of running that I do. The overall fit is very good for me throughout the shoe, other than the length-related issues I have with my toes. The width is excellent for me in the toebox, through the midfoot, and into the heel. I haven’t worn them in a race or for speed work, but I’ve worn them for just about every other type of run that I do, including tempo runs and trail runs. They are very versatile shoes, and I would wear them in a half marathon or marathon with no reservations if I knew the toe sliding issue would be under control. I’ve worn them on 90-degree days and 30-degree days, and have had no problems in either temperature extreme. A minor complaint is that they seem to hold moisture more than most of my other shoes, which I really noticed on those humid 90-degree days. But getting wet shoes – whether it’s from sweat or from rain – is a part of running, and these shoes have dried nicely each time they’ve been soaked.
I’ve been impressed with the Wave Precision 12, and I’ll definitely check out the Wave Precision 13 along with other Mizuno models (like racing flats to replace the Brooks Green Silence, which are scheduled to be discontinued in 2013) when I’m ready to retire this pair. I hope I find a little better fit for my feet, because I really like the shoes otherwise. If you’re looking for a neutral performance trainer that offers a good balance between weight, cushioning, and responsiveness, I highly recommend considering the Mizuno Wave Precision. I think the Mezamashii Run Project is a very cool idea, and it’s great that Mizuno is getting so creative with their efforts to raise awareness of their shoes and build brand loyalty.
Mizuno provided me with a free pair of Wave Precision 12 as part of the Mezamashii Run Project. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone, and I was not asked or expected to express a particular opinion in this review.