Mizuno’s trail offerings in recent years have, for the most part, been limited to a single shoe, the Wave Ascend. And while the Ascend was a good performer, it was never really an attention-grabber in terms of offering a novel running experience. A more recent model, the Wave Evo Ferus quickly fell out of vogue with the decline in popularity of near-barefoot shoes and the subsequent end of Mizuno’s Evo collection.
Enter the Wave Kazan and the Wave Hayate. Designed around on the concept of adapting to uneven ground rather than simply going over it, the Kazan and Hayate were both built from the ground up to offer a flexible platform that can mold over the trail, resulting in a more nimble ride.
These two shoes aim to be a protection/performance power couple for Mizuno trail, similar to what Asics offers with the Fuji Trainer and Fuji Racer. The Kazan is, in a way, a rethinking of the Ascend, combining a nimble and flexible ride with a traditional geometry, while the Hayate is the lower weight & slightly lower profile little brother for the efficient runner looking for a little more speed.
While we are excited to see Mizuno expand within the trail category, we would like to see shoes with a lower heel-to-toe offset, especially with the Kazan. At 12mm, the design of the Kazan sits outside of the sub-10mm offset that is so hot in trail right now. The 9mm offset of the Hayate does fall within this category, but still, offerings in the 4-8mm range will be much more in touch with the trail world at this time.
What do you think of Mizuno’s latest foray into trail? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.