2 Jan

On the crest of Wave Horizon 2

runner at dusk with Mizuno Wave Horizon

The Wave Horizon 2 is Mizuno’s offering to that very demanding group of runners who want it all: moderate to severe overpronators who need lots of stability, but who also crave maximum cushioning in a high-mileage, everyday road shoe. I’m one of them. And being in need of new trainers to start me off on the long road to Boston Marathon in the spring, I decided to try them out.

 

First Impressions

Peering into the box, my first impressions were favourable. Although the sole and heel were perhaps a little chunky and overcomplicated for my taste, I liked the distinctly tropical colour-way of Hawaiian ocean, estate blue and fiery coral.

Walking around the house before my first run, I found the Horizons very comfortable. Their insides were smooth, almost silky, and well padded, especially around the heel and ankle. The lacing system accommodated different sock thicknesses and supported my heels well.

In terms of size and fit, I found them spot-on. I didn’t develop a single blister or any tenderness over the 100 miles of my three-part test (road, treadmill and race). As is often said about Mizunos, the shoes were on the narrow side; but, luckily, so am I. I was pleased to find they had plenty of room in the toe box. In contrast, I find my similarly sized pair of Brooks Adrenalines too short for my right big toe, a fact which has seen them relegated, barely worn, to short runs only.

Treadmill

My testing started on the treadmill, pounding out both speedwork and base miles. Not having run in Mizunos for a while, I was quickly reminded of the fact they are always comfortable right from the start. My Wave Horizons didn’t seem to need a period of ‘breaking in’, unlike my current ASICS Gel Kayanos.

Compared to my Kayanos the Horizons seemed quite noisy on the treadmill. This could be due to their wide base, or a change in my stride: I felt like I was striking more mid-foot and heel in these shoes than others I have run in, but didn’t have any corresponding soreness. Mizuno’s Cloudwave cushioning technology certainly did its job.

On The Road

Out on the road, I found my new shoes had good grip. I also found them particularly nice to run up hills in. I couldn’t quite figure out why this might be the case until I read more about the design of the shoe. Mizuno has separated the forefoot of the outsole (the very bottom of the sole) from the midfoot and heel, which allows more flexibility during toe-off.

The 12mm drop is also designed to push the foot back into the air for more energy, which helps further in pushing the runner forward. In truth, my preference is for a lower heel drop, as I often run on mixed surfaces and like the added stability, but I do see the logic of giving your lift off a bit of help.

Race Day

My last day of testing was a 10-mile race. At 340g for men and 280g for women, the Wave Horizons aren’t the lightest shoes in their category, but their breathable uppers meant that I didn’t find them too heavy or too hot.  

As far as race-day energy return was concerned, I knew there was always going to be a trade-off between cushioning, stability and responsiveness. But, overall, I feel the Wave Horizons struck a very good balance on that front. They’re not nimble, but I wouldn’t have expected them to be.
 
Final Thoughts

Over 100 miles in now, both the uppers and the soles of my very durable Wave Horizons look barely used. They won’t see me all the way to Boston – no shoes would – but I think they’d be a very good choice to get me up Heartbreak Hill.

More details at the Mizuno website.