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Mizuno Ronin 4 – Our Take

January 26th, 2012

Mizuno Wave Ronin 4 Women's Shoe

Our Tweet

Want silky smooth speed? Get runnin’ in Ronin, now in its 4th version with minimal changes to its winning formula for fast.
(View Men’s Ronin 4 and Women’s Ronin 4.)

Runners Say

“The Ronin 4 is an impressive racing flat, but my foot just couldn’t quite settle into the upper. I had to cinch the laces pretty tight to feel securely in place, but then my midfoot was cramped. Still, I enjoyed the firm, flexible ride.” – Matt

“This shoe is super flexible and fast. My foot felt at one with the ground, thanks to the very natural transition. I had to go a half size up to get the right fit.” – Joanna

“Bit of a strange shape in the upper. The toebox had some extra room, but it didn’t affect performance. When speed is the objective, this shoe delivers.” – Daniel

Big Updates

  • Fresh Design: The Ronin takes a big step forward in design, with a flashier look compared to prior models that flew under the radar.
  • Flex Controllers: These additions to the outsole maximize energy optimization by improving efficiency during the final stages of toe-off.

Road Test

Many of you out there probably know what a ronin is. Japanese samurai who became masterless were known as ronin, which translates in English to “wave man.” They got this name because of their status as warriors who were socially adrift. The Mizuno Ronin 4 certainly hasn’t lost its way, but wave man is quite a fitting description, given the shoe’s Wave cushioning technology.

Mizuno Wave Ronin 4 Women's Shoe Outsole View

Version 4 of the Ronin looks very fresh but rides much like the outgoing model. You still get plenty of tech in this shoe, including Wave plate cushioning, AP+ midsole, AIRmesh upper for better breathability and a G3 outsole for lightweight grip.

It was a challenge for our testers to feel much of a difference between the Ronin 3 and Ronin 4. Many commented that the latest version felt just a touch more responsive in the forefoot, which probably can be attributed to the Flex Controllers placed on the outsole. Like its predecessor, the Musha 4 has a 10mm heel-to-toe offset, but the shoe feels flatter than that on the road. The slipper-like fit received a lot of praise, letting the foot do its thing without too much interference or slipping around.

While the Men’s version fit true to size, we recommend purchasing a 1/2 size bigger in the Women’s model. The bottom line is that Mizuno didn’t mess with success on the Ronin 4 design, and that will be music to the ears of the many Ronin fans out there.

Matt Running Shoes ,

  • Dennis Robeson

    The Wave Universe is Mizuno’s main contribution to the minimalist movement. The words “minimalist movement” refer to those shoes developed in response to the rising awareness of the benefits of running barefoot. Those benefits include ground feel (the body’s awareness of its position relative its surroundings due to the sense of feel.), light weight and a low heel (encouraging a forefoot landing.)

    Mizuno Wave Musha – I’ve tried several of Mizuno’s shoes. The Wave Musha is lightweight, 7.8 oz, has a decidedly minimal heel to toe drop, and slight support against over pronation. I had bought them years ago, before I became aware of the adverse affects of heel strike running. When I started using a forefoot landing, I found that they worked quite well. Although it is not promoted as a minimalist shoe, it is more minimalistic than many shoes manufactured by other companies that are.

    Mizuno Wave Ronin – Next I tried Mizuno’s Wave Ronin. Weighing in at 7 oz., the Wave Ronin is remarkably similar to the Wave Musha but without the anti-pronation control. The anti pronation control in the Musha is not pronounced so, I could hardly feel the difference between the two shoes.

    Both of these shoes are extremely well made. When the soles in them finally wore out, the uppers still looked brand new. Since I like these shoes so well, when I decided to try minimalist running shoes, I thought I’d give Mizuno’s Wave Universe a try.

    Mizuno Wave Universe – If the Wave Musha and the Wave Ronin are minimalistic, then the Wave Universe is another category altogether. They weigh only 3.8 oz. and their soles are thin and extremely flexible. Running in these shoes is like running in your bedroom slippers. They offer you the protection against from the terrain that you want while wearing minimalist running shoes and remarkably little else.

    The soles of these shoes are thin, so you still have some ground feel. Unlike the Wave Musha and the Wave Ronin, the Wave Universe has no heel. The outsole simply extends over the heel, so it has no heel to toe drop. The newest version comes in any color you want, as long as the color you want is red.

    If you want a truly minimalist alternative to running barefoot, I don’t think you will go wrong with Mizuno Wave Universe. I believe that running in these shoes are about as close to running barefoot as you can get while still wearing shoes.