Go back to Summer 2014. A change of running shoes was in order. Unfortunately, this didn’t mean ogling over over-priced new-season gear in a swanky up-market running shop. I was in the process of beginning to decorate my room, which entailed sorting through my many clothes and shoes. In the back of my wardrobe I found a few, very worn out, pairs of running shoes although none of them rivalled my Brooks Ghost 3s which I found in the garage early this year which were quite literally concave at the heel! I suppose you could say I liked them a little bit too much!
Beneath my current running shoes, my Asics Gel Nimbus 14s lay my pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 13s – the trainer in which I completed my half marathon. When they wore out in early summer of 2014, I didn’t have the heart to throw them away, although perhaps really I should considering that I probably won’t be wearing them again. Beneath them lay my Mizuno Wave Rider 17s. A pair of shoes I’d completely forgotten about until I lifted the lid on the nondescript shoe box in which they lay. They aren’t completely worn out so I decided to give them a go again to see how they compare to my newer pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 14s (Asics 14s herein), the shoes still fit so I decided to start running in them again. The reason I decided to put them aside in the first place wasn’t down to wear and tear but was due to my tendency to over pronate, especially when tiring over long distances (over 10 miles).
As you can see from the picture on the right, the soles of the shoes aren’t worn down too much. Out the wardrobe they came, then, and straight back onto the road. Immediately the shoes felt noticeably lighter than either of my pairs of Asics, this was, and still remains Mizuno’s plus point over rival brands that I have tried. The Mizuno Wave Rider weighs in at only 9.5 ounces (269g), by comparison the Asics 13s weigh 11.6 ounces (329g) and the Asics 14s weigh slightly less at 11.3 ounces (312g). For that reason alone I use the Asics for longer workouts and the Mizunos for shorter, quicker runs.
So why switch from one pair of shoes to another, then another, then another? Running naturally I am fairly heavy footed, heelstrike and unfortunately have a tendancy to overpronate rather a lot. As such, I opt for cushioned shoes to help keep my feet and ankles aligned and to stop my feet from collapsing when I get really tired. I have tried many different shoes from many different brands. My favourite pair of shoes to this day were the Brooks Ghost 3s which were perfectly balanced between a light, free feeling shoe whilst providing a good amount of protection. When I came to buy another pair of them I despaired that they had been discontinued and couldn’t find a size 6 Ghost 3 for love nor money. Unfortunately, I have found that subsequent Brooks shoes haven’t matched the 3’s quality and fit. I persisted with the Brooks Ghost series through the 4th edition of the shoe but after trying the Brooks Ghost 5 and finding it quite ‘clunky’ and too firm to run in I decided to switch brands and find something a bit different. To clarify, there is nothing technically wrong with what Brooks have done with their shoes, indeed many people raved about the Ghost 5 as being a good follow up to the fourth edition of the shoe but it somehow didn’t feel quite right for me.
Finding the Mizuno Wave Rider was a stroke of luck, after trying a pair on in a sports shop about 4 years ago and not really liking them, I had, rather naively discarded them as a potential option for the future. It was only when I was offered a pair as part of a trial + review agreement with Sweatshop that I encountered the Mizuno Wave Rider again. Perhaps as a reflection of a change in my running style, or more likely, a reflection of the work done on the shoes since I last tried a pair of Mizunos, I found these shoes to be a much more comfortable fit than the previous edition that I had tried (either the Wave Rider 14 or 15, I can’t be sure). The soft mesh upper of the shoe serves to lessen its weight but unfortunately means that your feet will become rather wet rather quickly if you are running in a downpour or through puddles. To the shoe’s credit though, it is extremely breathable and refreshingly light in all the right places. During the winter months, the lack of bulk may mean that your feet feel like blocks of ice but you can use that to your advantage by running more quickly! Don’t let this deter you from buying the Wave Rider though, they are a very good lightweight cushioned shoe. The ride is reasonably firm by comparison to the Asics 14s but with a thinner layer of cushioning this is to be expected. This summer I set a new PB for 5k at 24.40, beating my previous best 25.40 by a full minute, I achieved that goal whilst running in my Mizunos and I genuinely feel that the lightweight construction of the shoe served to help my cause.
By contrast, the Asics feel heavier and more substantial on the run. This has a few advantages in that you feel more secure and less likely to suffer from ankle pain caused by overpronating but having run in the Mizunos for some time, I felt that the Asics were slightly sluggish when I transitioned.
Herein, I plan to buy Wave Riders for speedwork and Gel Nimbus for the longer runs that I do. Shoe specific workouts are the way forward!