Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mizuno Wave Musha 3..

The Mizuno Wave Musha 3 is easily the best fitting, most responsive, insanely comfortable performance flat I’ve ever run in. Oh, and it’s a “stability racing shoe” shoe to boot!


Prior to finding the Musha I had mostly raced in the Nike LunaRacer (first version), running 2 marathons and countless 5k-10ks with them… and honestly, I liked the plushness of them, but HATED the fit. From there I decided to scale down a bit and ran last summer in the Saucony Grid Type A4, which is a great flat in itself, it just offers not much in the form of stability, and fits a bit snug for anything over a 10k. The Saucony Grid Fastwitch is what I ran my prior marathon in, without an issue.. Except the fit was a touch sloppy… absolutely zero forefoot cushion, and honestly they don’t feel “FAST”.

Full disclosure, I have a real good relationship with the awesome folks at Mizuno Running, and when asked to help them out by running in some of their shoes, I jumped at the chance. I accepted these flats with 100% no obligation to train, race or positively review the brand. I’m writing this review as an honest, unbiased runner… and if these shoes sucked, I’d also let you know. The simple fact that these shoes blew my mind, I decided to wear them last week during the Boston Marathon.

Looks/Construction

I DARE you to find a cooler looking flat. Upon opening the box, the first thing you notice is how fast these suckers look. The Musha 3 blew the 2.0 version out of the water with a sweet “fire-engine red” upper. The black overlays add just enough touch of “bad ass” to them, with green logo and accents that make the red POP! Compared to other Mizuno shoes in my collection these have a much lower profile, and any concerns of hot-spot due to ankle rubbing can be forgotten.

Fit

Mizuno killed it with the fit of this shoe… The Musha 3 goes on like a nice pair of slippers after a hard days work. Super comfortable, with just enough room for my slightly wider than average foot to breathe.. yet it feels wrapped comfortably by the mesh upper. Unlike a few of my other Mizuno shoes, they left the overlays pretty minimal, so I have no issues with a weird stitch rubbing me the wrong way, and I honestly ran a half-marathon PR sockless in these in March…. They are THAT smooth.

When I first went for a walk around my kitchen, then out the door down the road to get a feel for the Musha’s.. I was really surprised at the amount of forefoot cushion in such a lightweight, “stability” flat. If you are a fan of the LunaRacer, or even the Saucony Kinvara, meet your new best friend. Cushion, without the sponge!

Performance

This is where the Musha really shines. Of course everyone wants a super light-weight flat to guide them to PRs, trophies, Olympic medals.. whatever. But if the shoe isn’t right for you.. then how the hell are you ever going to cross the finish line healthy? The Wave Musha is MY shoe. I have a bit of late-stage pronation, not severe when running a fast 5k… but during 10+ mile races, the bit of support I get from the Musha is a lot more important to me vs. saving a few extra ounces and running in a 5oz flat. That’s the beauty of this shoe.. you feel fast because of it’s slipper like fit, and extremely light-weight feeling. Added with the touch of stability within the Mizuno Wave Plate (which blows away other companies medial-posting foam) this shoe is damn near perfect.

Wearing these last month at Boston I had absolutely zero issues. It was my 4th marathon, and first without even a blister, hotspot, or a friggin’ hangnail. The ride is consistent with the historic Mizuno “Smooth-Ride”, whether I’m midfoot striking, or being lazy and flopping down from my heel

Areas of Improvement

The outsole could use a trip back to the lab. The X10 carbon on the heel is super durable, and I know is there for you heel-strikers… but I don’t need it. It’s heavier than it needs to be, so we could get ride of it, replace it with the green blown-rubber that is on the forefoot and it would still be fine.

Speaking of the green outsole… I’d like to see the forefoot comprised more like the Wave Universe, with less rubber, but placed more strategically in high-impact spots. Again, that would save some more weight, and make this an even faster shoe.

Conclusion

Obviously, I love this shoe. I can’t imagine racing in anything else above a 10k from now on, it’s that good. With about 75 miles on my current pair I’m guessing they still have over 150 miles left in them, which is about what I’d expect, although I know a few people who get a lot more. I plan to use this a bit more in daily training, especially on tempo runs this summer, as I gear up for the 5k-10k season (will race in the Wave Universe).

Mizuno knocked it out the park with this shoe… I’m already looking forward to the Musha 4!

2 comments:

  1. Can you compare it to Ronin?

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  2. Would the Elixir as an everyday trainer and the Musha for faster paced stuff be a good combo?

    How many miles do you think you can get out of a pair?

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