What’s better than giving the gift of comfort and performance this season with a free pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16 or Wave Inspire 9 running shoes? Getting a free pair for yourself too! Launched in November, the latest versions of the Rider and Inspire are high-performance daily trainers, and either one would make a perfect holiday gift.
Congratulations to Matthew in New York, our Merry Mizuno Days contest winner. He’ll be giving his wife a new pair of Wave Inspires and running in a fresh pair of Wave Riders for himself. Thank you again to everyone who entered, and a Merry Mizuno Day to all!
Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8 Women's Running Shoe
Minor updates to the Nirvana 8 keep things humming for runners who want a protective, comfortable ride along with some road feel.
(View Men’s Nirvana 8 and Women’s Nirvana 8)
- Redesigned Upper: The upper of the Nirvana 8 was designed for increased breathability and reduced weight.
- Slimmer for Guys: The Nirvana 8 is nearly an ounce lighter than its predecessor in the Men’s version, but almost identical in weight in the Women’s model.
- Identical Mid/Outsole: Mizuno made no changes to the platform of the Nirvana 8, meaning all the weight reduction was achieved through lighter materials in the upper.
There’s a lot to like about the Nirvana 8. Mizuno’s premium moderate-support shoe, the Nirvana series is all about protection and smoothness, not the pillowy cushion you get with many other high-feature shoes in this category.
The Nirvana 8 has one of the tallest heels of any running shoe we carry. So it’s not surprising that the heel feels substantial underfoot – testers labeled it “beefy,” “bulky” and “built-up.” Heel strikers liked the transition of the shoe less than midfoot strikers, but all appreciated the amount of road feel the shoe offered.
The fit received wide praise, with several testers commenting that they liked the snug heel and the placement of the laces. We’re not quite sure that they achieved nirvana, but Mizuno has assembled an impressive set of technologies to wrap a runner’s foot and keep you comfortable.
“It’s a Mizuno, so it delivers on its promise of a smooth ride. But it feels too bulky for my taste. At 155lbs, I think I am too light for this shoe.” – Jonathan
“While the heel felt comfortable in the Nirvana 8, the forefoot almost felt too cushioned, even for a runner looking for a plush ride.” – Lauren
“When I midfoot strike in this shoe, the transition is seamless. I really like the tight heel collar, which anchors you in and gives you confidence.” – Daniel
Mizuno Wave Elixir 7 Women's Running Shoe
Mizuno Elixir 7 has the winning formula as a versatile shoe that’s ready to handle tempo runs, daily training and race day.
(View Men’s Elixir 7 and Women’s Elixir 7.)
“This is my kind of ride. It has a tautness about it which feels great at faster paces. Definitely a performance shoe, but for me this is the kind of shoe I will use for any distance. My only complaint is that the heel feels stiff when walking, but hey this is a running shoe.” – Jonathan
“I feel very connected to the ground in this shoe. I didn’t feel this way about the Elixir 6, but I would totally make the 7 my daily trainer.” – Joanna
“Very cushioned in heel…makes me think ‘Is this really a Mizuno?’ The second-skin fit and responsive forefoot make me happy. Finally this shoe feels like serious competition to the DS Trainer for me.” – Matt
- Lower Weight: The Elixir 7 sheds about half an ounce in both Men’s and Women’s versions (based on Men’s size 9 and Women’s size 8).
- Revised Fit: the fit of the upper has been slimmed down a bit compared to the prior version, with a slightly narrower heel and lower toe box. The arch feels a little lower as well.
- Flex Controllers: These additions to the outsole maximize energy optimization by improving efficiency during the final stages of toe-off.
- Wider Base Net: The mid/outsole is broader than the previous model to spread out impact forces over a larger surface area.
We liked the Wave Elixir 6. We pretty much love the Wave Elixir 7. There’s nothing earth-shattering about the update – you can see above that no big changes were made – but everything comes together to generate big praise from a wide range of runners on staff.
Both Daniel and Matt, who regularly run in the Asics DS Trainer series, were particular fans of this shoe. Like the DS Trainer, the Elixir 7 has a light and flexible feel, but the shoe lets you know it has you covered for the long-haul with just the right amount of cushioning. The shoe also carries on Mizuno’s reputation for solid build quality. The outsole seemed just a little too fussy for daily training use, but we haven’t heard any negative customer comments about similar outsole designs on prior Elixir models.
If you’re looking for a ride that lets you feel connected to the ground, with a silky smooth transition and enough cushion to go the distance, Elixir 7 needs to be on your list.
Mizuno Inspire 8 Osaka Edition Men's Shoe (sample shown)
Long considered the performance runner’s support shoe of choice, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8 will continue to deliver a smooth and responsive ride. And although the updates to the Inspire 8 are minor and focused primarily on fit, the weight is reportedly a half ounce lighter than the Wave Inspire 7.
The Fan Wave of the Inspire uses basic physics to distribute ground reaction forces in manner which slows the rate of pronation. What this means is the Inspire works with the foot in a non-obtrusive manner, yet delivers support for moderate over-pronation.
With the 8th edition of the Inspire, we get changes to the heel fit to resemble the 6th model and the addition of flex controllers to the forefoot outsole for a proclaimed more efficient toe-off. There is also a limited edition Osaka color, which celebrates Mizuno’s Partnership with the 2011 Osaka Marathon. Fortunately for us, this means we get some fun colors to go along with the status quo usually found in this shoe’s history.
The Osaka edition will be available mid October 2011, while the remaining two colors per gender will be released in December 2011. And, following the common trend for Spring 2012 model updates, the Inspire 8 will see a price increase to $115 MSRP.
Mizuno Inspire 8 Osaka Edition Women's Shoe (sample shown)
Mizuno Wave Rider 15 Women's Shoe (1 of 3 colors for December 2011)
In attempt to improve the fit of the Mizuno Rider series, Mizuno made several upper adjustments with the introduction of the Wave Rider 14. As a result of the fit changes, many Rider loyalists became alienated with the Rider 14 and some have gone to a different shoe. While the Waver Ride 14 still sells in large numbers Mizuno needed to make some fit tweaks to maintain and regain its loyal followers.
With the Wave Rider 15, Mizuno has reverted back to most of their previous fit components. Gone is the lateral lace tab and the ankle/achiiles collar has been lowered to match the height of the Waver Rider 13. Additionally, the eye-row stays are back to being parallel. This new “old” fit should get previous Rider wearers to come back to the 15th version.
Two other changes for the Rider 15 are the addition of flex controllers to the forefoot outsole and the Wave Plate has been moved slightly higher within the midsole. Flex controllers work with flex grooves to improve efficiency at the latest stage of toe-off and were introduced via the Wave Creation 12. The slightly higher position of the Wave Plate within the AP+ misdsole should make the shoe landing a tad more forgiving, but since this is a Mizuno shoe, the ride is expected remain on the firmer side and feature a smooth heel to toe transition.
It may not be readily known yet, but most running shoe prices across all brands are increasing with the 2012 models. The Waver Rider 15 will have an MSRP of $115. Reported sample weights have the Men’s size 9.0 at 10.6oz and the Women’s size 7.0 at 8.7oz. In addition to three colors being available for each gender in December, a limited edition color commemorating the 15th anniversary of the wave Rider 15 will be available in November.
Mizuno Wave Rider 15 Men's Shoe (1 of 3 colors for December 2011)