Product Review: Mizuno Wave Universe 4

I was lucky enough to be chosen to review a pair of Minuzo running shoes. Being a minimalist runner, I ventured towards the Wave Universe 4. I have strictly only run previously in Vibram Fivefinger Komdosport LS’s and Saucony Kinvara 2’s. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try another brand and see if I like those better. A few notes before I start, I am 50 years old, female and 217 lbs. So I’m not a tiny female runner like many out there.

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Here we go with my ratings on a 1-10 scale:

 

FIT: 8/10

When I first ordered them, I was told they were a “unisex” shoe by the company “fit specialist”. That made me totally confused as to what size to order… mens vs womens?  I decided to go with a womens size 10 which is what I wear in a normal every day shoe. However, I wear an 11 in my Saucony’s as I tend to wear a heavier sock and like the extra toe room. I ended up calling back and asking for a 10.5 instead. I actually should have gotten an 11. I feel that the shoe gets very narrow towards the front of the shoe, and is just a little too tight for my liking with socks on. I never run without socks, so I can’t say how it would be without them.

FLEXIBILITY:10/10

Ultra flexible! You can bend them up into a ball, and even bend them from side to side right down the middle! (Even more so than my Saucony’s, about the same as my VFF’s)

WEIGHT:10/10

3.8 oz  per shoe.  Wow. Light as a feather.. Sometimes I look down at my feet to make sure I still have them on..  Very nice! I was reading on another blog about these shoes, to see what others had to say about them. I noticed a couple of people commented on how light they were. They weigh the same as a box of Jello! Who would have thought!

GRIP:7/10

I typically run the roads in my area. They grip very well both up and down hills. They do well in the soft sand on the sides of the road, though I don’t like the feel of it under my feet. I prefer a hard running surface. I have yet to run in the rain in them though. Will do that soon.

BREATHABILITY:10/10

These shoes are made of a different type of upper. The upper material is not as mesh-like as my other shoes. It’s similar to a technical running shirt fabric. Mizuno calls it “AIRmesh”. It’s not your typical mesh, but it is super breathable. No smelly shoes here! I suspect that I will have wet feet once I rain test them. I definitely don’t think these are the shoes for Maine winters though. Your feet would freeze. No one wants frostbit toes.

CUSHIONING:7/10

These shoes have just the slightest bit of cushion. They are after all, a minimalist shoe, so they are not supposed to be soft and squishy feeling. There is no removable insole, so the only weight is in the sole of the shoe itself.  I myself have had ankle surgery, and thus I prefer a little more cushioning, thus I like the Kinvara’s by Saucony.

DURABILITY: 8/10

I’ve run about 50 miles in these shoes and they are holding up well. I think that they may wear down fairly quickly though if they were used daily, since there sole is so lightweight and thin. Time will tell. So far they are doing well, and I love running in them. I can “feel” that my form is so much better when I’m using them.

PRICE:2/10

Expensive! I can’t say that if I was to walk into a sport shoe store, and try these on, that I would buy them for $120.00. But since they were free from the company, I am going to give them my best shot at use and see how they hold up.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Nice shoes, but I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone with wider feet or long toes. I also think that they are too flat for someone who hasn’t transitioned down into a minimalist shoe. For advanced runners, who are used to a 3-6mm heel to toe drop, these are great if you like a nice lightweight shoe.

Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed in the post are 100% my own. I was not compensated by Minuzo in any way for my opinion.

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