Sunday, December 1, 2013
Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Elixir
How do you know when it's time to buy new running shoes? The correct answer is to keep track of your mileage and once you reach the known life of your shoes, replace them. I have not been following this protocol. I usually run my shoes into the ground with reckless abandon. Once I start to feel any sort of pain (usually in my knees) I know it's time to get new shoes. This is a dicey strategy because while I have been able to get a lot more miles out of my shoes than prescribed, I have to replace them immediately upon feeling the ache or pain, otherwise face risk of serious injury and time off of running. A few days ago I started feeling some foot pain after a run. Stupidly, I ran 11 miles the next day and 9 miles the day after that. The pain worsened, I had to take a day off of running, and I knew it was time to spend money on new shoes.
Anyhow, on to the new shoes! I first tried on the Brooks Pure Connect, Saucony Kinvara, and Nike Free 3.0. I've tried on the Connect and Kinvara before and I immediately noticed the same thing I have noticed before about these shoes. For me, there is too much material underneath the arch of the foot. I'd say I have a medium arch, but I really don't like anything to be built up under there. My take is that the natural function of the arch is to support your foot and help absorb the impact of your steps and I DO NOT like anything underneath it messing with the natural mechanics of that mechanism. In addition, I found the Kinvara too wide, especially in the toe box; I have a narrower foot. The Nike Free 3.0's felt decent, but there was not much cushion at all. They didn't feel like they'd have the gusto to last muchos miles.
I then went to Trysports at Mayfaire (where I should have gone from the start and am embarrassed to say that I did not) and tried on the Mizuno Wave Elixir. As soon as I slipped my foot into this shoe it felt fantastic! I was pretty much sold before I even went outside and gave them a test spin. Sometimes you just know when the shoe fits. And when I did go outside and run in them, they still felt great. My foot didn't even hurt one bit! They felt like a minimalist shoe with just the right amount of cushioning to hold up over long runs and increasing training mileage. I wanted to buy them right then and there.
However, I obliged the helpful sales guy and proceeded to try on the Brooks Pure Flow, Brooks T7 Racer, & Mizuno Wave Sayonara. The Flow actually felt decent, but didn't fit as snugly on my foot as the Elixir. I've always thought the T7 Racer looks really cool and have wanted to try that shoe for a while now. It felt like I could run a really fast 5K in those shoes! They were super light and would be perfect for racing or speed training, but maybe not so ideal for marathon training. The Sayonara's just felt awkward across the top of my foot and I didn't care for them.
So, of course I went with the Elixir. I had my first run in them today and was super pleased. They were lightweight, comfortable, and provided just enough cushioning. I'm a very neutral runner and they allowed me to maintain my mid-foot strike. I had no foot pain whatsoever and no blisters or hotspots. I did a total of 10 miles at about 7:15 pace and felt awesome. These shoes remind me a lot of the old Mizuno Musha that I used to run in and really liked. They are also similar to the Pearl Izumi Isotransition, which were a dream come true shoe for me. Definitely a solid shoe for anyone looking for a lightweight, minimalist, training shoe on which you can rack up some marathon miles. Mizuno got this one right when they pegged the Elixir as "a performance shoe with just enough support that also delivers on longer training runs." And as for looks, they may not be the prettiest shoes I've ever seen, but they do have a certain attitude about them, and I like that.