words // Nick Engvall
Mizuno Wave Prophecy – A Promoter of Stubbornness
From the people I’ve met through the years of working in the sneaker industry, there is one major difference between the people that enjoy shoes casually compared to the way runners wear their shoes. When it comes to day-to-day wearing of shoes, I am like many sneaker collectors, wearing something from a different brand or genre almost every day of the week. My friends that run, on the other hand, find a shoe that works for them, and it takes an act from a higher being causing the shoes to disintegrate in the midst of a run before they’ll change into something new. Oddly enough, it works the same way for me when it comes to the shoes I run in. I find a pair that works for me and hold on for dear life.
With that “comfortableness” that anyone else may see as stubbornness comes an interesting perspective when it comes to welcoming a new pair of running shoes onto my feet. For the first week or two, I am overly critical no matter how great the shoe is. There are many things that could be blamed for this besides my own stubbornness, the most common, and something everyone has experienced with new shoes at some point, is blistering. With the Mizuno Wave Prophecy, there was never a thought of that after I slipped them on. The initial step-in comfort is phenomenal, something that isn’t always the case when it comes to running shoes, in my opinion.
The comfort can be attributed to the inner lining, which is basically a soft, and almost completely seamless, sock built into the shoe. This design is softer than most shoes I’ve experienced, in any genre. The only seams are at the base of the tongue, and at the very front of the toebox, where the front mudguard panel attaches, which wasn’t noticeable at all. The design consists of a very thin layer of cushioning around the heel and a very minimal amount of added materials throughout the side walls and front of the shoe, which helps them weigh in at just over 13 ounces. The feel of the toebox area is actually one of my favorite parts about the Wave Prophecy.
My first run in the Mizuno, there were two things that stood out as concerns. The first is the overall height of the shoe. The full-length Infinity Wave technology, the first time Mizuno has ever gone truly full-length with this technology, adds a significant amount of distance between the bottom of your foot and the ground. The second concern I had also involved the full-length Infinity Wave, but affected the heel-to-toe transition of the shoe. There is a noticeable difference in the moment the energy of your foot transitions from the Infinity Wave to the very front of the shoe, where you naturally push off from with your stride. There is actually a flex joint in the outsole right at this point, which could be the cause of the “hiccup” in transition. After my first run, I took a closer look, and you can actually see by looking at it that the point at which the Wave ends tends to curl up quite a bit.
The other thing that stood out about the first run in the Mizuno Wave Prophecy was how impressive the technology actually works. Though, it is slightly firmer than running shoes I’m used to that use a more traditional cushioning system with some combination of EVA and foam, the Infinity Wave is amazingly responsive and absorbs impact in an impressive manner. So, after the first run, I had mixed feelings on the shoe. There were some really great aspects, along with a couple that had me questioning it.
There are a few other things to note about the Wave Prophecy. Laces are always a concern for runners, and if you’ve ever seen Mizuno’s lace design, or run in their shoes, it’s a notched/dimpled design, so once you tie them tight, they are not coming undone. Another thing that I thought might be a concern is stability, mainly because of the height issue I mentioned, and the fact that I normally run in shoes that are designed with stability in mind, because that’s what I am most comfortable in.
Mizuno uses a gender engineering system in combination with the Wave system that is designed to basically react to your type of running, whether you over or under pronate. The Dynamotion upper is also designed with conformability in mind. It moves to allow the most comfortable fit possible for any shape or movement, much like the Wave cushioning system is designed to do. For myself, I have a slightly under-pronated stride, and the Mizuno Wave system works well for me.
After the first week or so, I began not to notice the height as much. I actually began to question if I was imagining it feeling lower or if it really was. Turns out it was just my imagination, and my comfort level with the shoes (see my previous comments about stubbornness and being over-critical above). Though I am sure the cushioning wore in a slight amount, visually comparing them to my previous pair of running shoes, like I did when I first opened these up, there wasn’t a noticeable difference.
Now, after a couple of weeks, this is where the Mizuno Wave Prophecy gets really good. The heel-toe transition issue is a lot less noticeable, though it is still present. The Infinity Wave cushioning is still responsive as can be. I just don’t feel as if I’m standing taller like I did when I first began wearing the shoes.
The downside to all this is that I am now in that familiar place of not wanting to change from it. Which, I guess means the Mizuno Wave Prophecy would get an A or an A- in my book. The pros of the Wave Prophecy include: excellent cushioning, great fitment and great step-in comfort. The only downsides are the height of the cushioning and the heel-toe transitional hiccup. As for improving it, removing the flex groove at the point where the Wave cushioning merges into the rubber sole at the end of the toe area is probably the only thing I would change. The height of the cushioning system is less and less an issue as I continue to run in them. In this day and age, the weight of the shoe could probably use a diet, but personally I’d rather have it how it is than to take away any of its current design elements.
As for buying advice, the Wave Prophecy is probably a good fit for a range of runners from heavy under-pronaters, all the way to moderate over-pronators.
At $200, the Mizuno running shoes are definitely on the expensive side for most of us. One thing that I think would justify the price is something that I mentioned back at the start of the review. These really are one of those shoes that I will probably run in for a very long time. Assuming the world doesn’t come to an end anytime soon that is.