Mizuno is launching the fifth in their excellent Wave Enigma series this summer. I had the good fortune of being asked to review the shoe before it reaches stores.
First, a few details about me as a runner. I am 47 years old, 5’7″, 158 pounds. I am mostly a triathlete, but I have finished 6 marathons and 14 half-marathons. I am not a lifelong runner. In fact, I started running in my 30s. Therefore, I do not have, and never will have, the smooth, beautiful gait of lifelong runners. When I run, I try to keep a high cadence and midfoot strike, but I don’t always succeed. I generally run 20-30 miles a week when I am not cranking up miles for a big event.
Enough about me, how about the shoes?
First of all, the Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 is an attractive shoe. I got the blue men’s version with a bright yellow sole (called “Electric Blue Lemonade”). The shoes looked like they will run right out of the box.
When I first put the shoes on, they felt light, but also soft and springy. The toe box is capacious, which is a nice feature for me.
But the real test is the run.
My first run with the Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 was an 8 mile interval run on suburban streets. I ran at paces ranging from 9:30 to 6:30 and got a good sense for the responsiveness of the shoes. Unfortunately, I also found that the size 9 shoes I ordered were apparently sightly larger than the size to which I had become accustomed. This led me to have hot soles after about 45 minutes because of sliding. When I tightened the laces, I over-tightened them and my feet became numb. This is NOT a fault of the shoe, but of the size I selected. It is important to always try shoes on and take them for a test run before purchasing them.
Subsequently, I adjusted the laces and ran a 30 minute brick run (running immediately after cycling) on a gravel path, a 40 minute run along paths in a seaside community, and a 10 minute brick run in a seaside community.
These shoes are fun. At slower paces, they gave good support and a sure strike. I never felt wobbly. The shoes are also quite light (10.9 ounces), for a well-cushioned shoe. But the area where these shoes really excelled was in acceleration. They felt very smooth and the degree of responsiveness increased the faster I ran.
I am not a professional shoe reviewer and I do not have a lot of language to describe the different components of the shoe. But I think I can explain the smoothness of the transition in speed and the nice responsiveness from the shoes as I ran faster. Mizuno has a special type of cushioning called “u4ic-X” (pronounced euphoric-x). It is light and responsive. In addition to this feature, these shoes have the famous Mizuno “wave” technology, which is designed to give added stability to the running gait throughout the stride.
The Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 is a neutral shoe which is exceptionally light and responsive given its cushioning. The cushioning, however, is not like running on pillows and some high-mileage runners may want to keep this in mind. This shoe is an excellent choice for training and for racing distances from 5K to the marathon.