Category Archives: Product Reviews

Mizuno Wave Enigma 5: Review

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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.

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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.

Sports TagID

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I was recently in communication with the manufacturers of a product that is new to me: SportsTagID.  I suggested, “hey, why don’t I do a review of your product for my blog?  It will be as unbiased as I can make it.  Please send me one of your bracelets and I’ll try it out and share my thoughts.”  Well, here is the review:

I ordered my Sports Tag ID through the company website.  There are a number of choices of color, pattern, and, even, weight (mostly for runners who may want the lightest possible bracelet). The website allows for between 3 and 6 lines of laser-inscribed text on the ID, each with 24 spaces or fewer.  There are also suggestions regarding the information that should be entered, including warnings about entering too much personal information.  Another cool option is to have QR engraving on the bracelet.  For those of you who don’t know, QR codes are those funny squarish codes with seemingly random dots that are found on a lot of products. These can be easily read by cell-phones with QR apps.

My SportsTagID bracelet arrived in regular mail very quickly after my order (under a week).  It was packaged in this neat little container, which is shaped like a cigar tube, but flat on one side. On the website, the manufacturers of SportsTagID state that this tube is intended to be reusable, in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of their product.  It is large enough for change, keys, cash money, or other purposes and its shape is great for the back pocket of a bike jersey.

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Once I got my nifty, “World Edition Sport ID” version of the SportsTagID out of the container, I had to figure out how to size and put together the wristband.  It was a little tough at first to open the teeth of the clamp, but this was intended, since it needs to remain shut semi-permanently once sized.  I cut pieces of the wristband off very carefully and went through three cuttings until I got it just right.  Incidentally, all of this support information, including a video, is available on the product’s website.

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Then, the most important step: the TWEEN DAUGHTER TEST!

It passed without any eye-rolls and even the admission that the Sports TagID looks “cool.”

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Today, I wore my Sports TagID bracelet on a bike and run brick workout.  Since my Garmin is almost welded to my left wrist, I used my right wrist for the Sports TagID.  Once I snapped it on, I simply forgot about it.  It is light and doesn’t bounce around and twist on my wrist.  It is made of a soft, comfortable, rubbery material (which is an ultra silicone product unique to Sports TagID), and sweat (of which I am a copious producer) just runs right off.  There is no rubber or latex in this product.  The metallic parts are stainless steel and should last for many years.  When I finished my 4 ½ hour workout, I just rinsed off the Sports TagID and left it out to dry for tomorrow.

The makers of Sports TagID also make ID bracelets for medical conditions, children, and dogs. That’s right, waterproof dog collars in bright colors.  This, incidentally, is my favorite part of their website with the line “made better, fits better, feels better, smells better.”

I have a family of five kids, a busy medical practice, and recently had a heart scare.  It is very important that I bring identification with me when I leave the house to exercise.  I hope to never be in a situation in which someone needs to look for identification on me but, with my new, stylish, Sports TagID, I feel more confident and responsible.