Over the last 18 years, I have had my feet in a lot of Mizuno running shoes. From the first Wave Rider to the 18th, to the Wave Maverick, the Wave Legend, through the evolution of the Wave Conviction into the Wave Mercury into the Wave Inspire. One thing has remained true: Mizuno shoes are firm. And firm in a good way. The kind of firm which keeps you connected to the ground and allows you to feel the road. For the first time ever, my feet have experienced a soft Mizuno shoe in the Wave Enigma 5.
While recognizing the Enigma 5 is a departure from where Mizuno usually positions its products, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I used to love running in firm shoes. The Wave Maverick was an all-time favorite of mine. It had mild pronation support and I could really feel the ground. It was great for faster runs, but I found myself logging most of my miles it. However, as the first few years of my 40’s have passed, I find myself wanting a little more padding underfoot. Actually a lot more padding. So a softer Mizuno shoe is welcomed at this stage in my life.
Keep in mind the Enigma 5 is still a Mizuno. It is soft in a way Mizuno does soft. The ride is compliant, with some give to it. But since Mizuno is all about performance running, the midsole has good energy return. It has some bounce back with each step. As such, the ride feels forgiving and lively, making the shoe settle in feeling semi-soft versus being squishy soft.
There are two main elements contributing to the softer Enigma:
1. The shoe is now built with an EVA Strobel construction, meaning there is foam under the innersole versus the fibrous material found in other Mizuno shoes.
2. Mizuno has created a new midsole material called U4icX. This material is softer than Mizuno’s U4ic midsole, but maintains good energy return. It is placed in the bottom half of the Enigma 5’s midsole and is located in the heel and forefoot. The result is a smooth, cushioned ride good for daily training.
If you seek a faster feel for daily training, the Wave Rider 18 delivers a snappy, feel-the-ground, let’s go kind of experience. So, while die-hard Mizuno fans may not like the gentler Enigma 5, my older body welcomes the compliant yet lively feel of this new shoe.
Available July 2015 – MSRP $150.00
Stack height: 32mm heel, 20mm forefoot, 12mm heel-toe offset
Weight*: 11.4 oz (men’s size 9), 9.6 oz (women’s size 8) *Provided by manufacturer
ASICS Nimbus 17: Available now – MSRP $150.00
Brooks Glycerin 13: Available now – MSRP $150.00