April 25, 2012
by John Schrup
Mizuno has taken a hit in the past year, as they have been slow to react to market changes, and they completely botched the update to the iconic Wave Rider. The Wave Rider 12 and 13 had been two of the best updates they’d ever done, and then someone over at Mizuno got greedy or wouldn’t put down the bong or whatever and the 14 really shit the bed. Since the first Wave Rider, we’ve pretty much expected them to be one of the best shoes on the wall, period. It is always good. Was always good. The 14 was embarrassingly bad. The Japanese (and European, for that matter) brands are traditionally slower on the draw when it comes to the American market, as the US offices have to report to heads across oceans, but this was really poor timing. Their best shoe flopped right when the market shifted suddenly toward lighter and lower. Oopsie.
God bless the Musha. It does have a plastic Wave plate in the rear and mid foot, which we excuse because it is negligible in this incarnation, but the Wave really needs to be retired. We don’t need a plastic anything between us and the ground, I don’t care what your lab coats—or your focus groups—tell you. The Musha are racers that you can train in almost daily because of the moderately firm, ridiculously smooth midsole. Durability is off the chart, at least for Mizuno. And that’s good, since Mizuno have had issues with that historically. The fit is comfortably snug, perhaps unremarkable, but that is not enough to detract from the overall performance.
This, like all the others on the list, disappears on the foot when you’re wearing it, which is pretty much exactly what you’re looking for.