mentioned Mizuno sending me a pair of Wave Universe 4 racing flats as part its Mezamashii Project. Friday, I finally gave them a try on a run, rather than just wearing them to mow the lawn.
Mizuno gave me the option to pick any of its shoes to try out. The Wave Universe 4s seemed the most minimal choice, weighing in at 3.8 ounces. One drawback is the 4-millimeter heel-to-toe differential.
Out of the Box
My first impression of this shoe is the odd mix of retro construction (notice the old-school fabric toe cap) and hideous decoration (the flames look dumb). Mrs. Viper thinks I'm being too harsh on these, but they just don't jive with my sense of style (lacking though that may be).
The shoe is the lightest thing I've ever worn on my feet. I mean, I think these are even lighter than my huarache sandals. Unfortunately, the soles are not as flexible as I'm used to with my current stable of minimal shoes. Also, the toe box is really roomy.
My first run in the Mizunos was a three-miler around my neighborhood to finish my Crazy Eights routine. I've grown accustomed to zero-drop soles, and the small heel raise was definitely noticeable. They were plenty comfortable otherwise, but I'm not sure I'll wear them again to run.
The flat tread looks perfect for playing tennis, which Mrs. Viper and I are planning to do more of this summer.
Since I have enough running shoe options with a zero-drop sole that I prefer, these shoes will be relegated to other fitness activities. The Wave Universe 4s are a nice shoe and seem well-constructed. They would be a good "transition" shoe for people looking to try a minimal option, and they compare favorably with other racing flats I've tried. With an MSRP of $119.99, though, I'd be hard-pressed to buy these myself.