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Updated on March 17, 2014
March may mean heated bracket conversations, placing bets that rival the cost of a major marathon and a healthy dose of smack talk. But this year, we’re ready for a different type of March Madness — Mizuno Madness. That’s because there are a slew of new styles that are vying for a spot in your running shoe rotation.
First on the court is the Wave Hitogami. It’s a go-fast pick that will pick off competitors one by one as you tackle the race course. Its U4ic — pronounced euphoric — midsole is lighter weight than Mizuno’s AP+ midsole compound. The best part? It doesn’t lose a speck of its cushy feel. The upper’s design is the true calling card of the shoe, however. Mizuno turned to its Japanese roots for inspiration and found it in the form of Kabuki theater, a type of Japanese dance and drama. When you hold the shoes together, the design forms a Kabuki mask. Grab this shoe when you want to feel like a racing god.
Next out of the chute is the new Wave Inspire 9. The trick to the Inspire is that it feels like a lightweight trainer but still has plenty of stability features baked into the design. The mesh upper is thin, seamless and light, and the main overlays are near the midfoot and heel areas. These will keep your feet in place no matter how many miles you rack up on your run. The outsole’s rubber compound only adds to the inherent stability while keeping the shoe at or below 9 oz.
When you need a little bit more support, tag in the Wave Paradox. It touts maximum stability at a minimum weight, a paradox in the running shoe world. It won’t weigh you down even though it is chock-full of stability features. The midsole uses the brand’s Fan Wave technology, a compound that features waves of different heights. The result is a supremely cushioned ride that gives you the confidence and comfort to keep adding on miles.
Rounding out the lineup is the Wave Rider 17. Take it off the bench when you need a neutral, cushioned ride. This newest iteration has the same amount of cushioning underfoot as the 16 (that is, that stack heights are identical), yet the shoe still manages to shed some weight. That’s because Mizuno introduced the U4ic midsole into the Rider with his update, as well. In the upper, sewn overlays are kept at a bare minimum. This reduces the chance of developing hot spots when you’re on the run and gives you an almost sock-like fit. That way, you can always outrun your competition.
What shoes do you have in your running shoe lineup?