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.
words & images // Nick Engvall
Performance basketball shoes have come a long way in the last 2-3 decades. From relatively no cushioning in the early ’80s, with solid rubber being the only thing between you and the hardwood, to relatively no weight in 2011 with a wide variety of superb cushioning options to choose from. So with all of the choices for tested and proven technologies, do we always see players in the NBA opting to wear retro models? Perhaps a better question is how do these retro models actually perform against today’s standards of lightweight and superior cushioning?
For some models, like the Nike Air Go LWP, they were so far ahead of their time that they still remain a competent performance choice in retro form. For others, we’d like to take a closer look. In the same manner that we take a look at current models in our Performance Reviews, today we take a look at one of the performance aspects and back-story of a returning retro model, the Nike Air Max CB 34, in a new series called Performance Revisited.
In the early to mid-nineties, Charles Barkley was a beast on the boards. Earning himself the nickname the “Round Mound of Rebound” due to his abilities on the court, and also, due to his less than conventional body type. After being awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player award in 1993, Nike took Barkley’s footwear to the next level. Charles’ signature sneaker line was one of the early adopters of Air Max2 technology, arriving in the 1994 release, the Air Max2 CB. The follow up to that design was the Air Max2 CB 34 that Barkley not only featured the same cushioning, but also helped establish Sir Charles’ place in the memories of sneakerheads for years to come.
Today’s version of the Air Max2 CB 34 may not be cutting edge technology, but after playing it a few times, aside from my own personal preference to play in a lighter more agile basketball shoe, I think it would be perfectly suited for Charles to make a return in. After all his requirements would probably remain similar, stability and cushioning able to support his oversized frame being the priority.
The Nike Air Max2 CB 34 has some slight changes, most notable being the change from full-grain leather to synthetic leather used throughout the upper. Despite the switch, the quality is solid for a synthetic, it still does what it needs to, and it serves as a placeholder for one of the most memorable details of the embossed ‘CB34’ throughout the side panel nicely.
Cushioning may not be the same, as full-length Air Max shoes of today like the line of LeBron shoes, however the Air Max2 and Phylon midsole combination does a great job still to this day. In my opinion, the rubber surround of the design actually feels more stable, and more responsive than a full-length Air unit without the exoskeleton-like support. The trade-off is obviously weight. Barkley’s shoes might be just as deserving of the Round Mound of Rebound nickname compared to similar designs of today that weigh nearly half as much.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the CB 34 compared to today’s basketball shoes is the traction. Now, taking into account that Charles wasn’t exactly a quick mover, I can understand that it probably wasn’t much of a thought back when this shoe was originally designed. The reinforced and rugged toebox on the other hand, probably withstands battles in the paint better than many of today’s designs, appropriate considering the amount of time Barkley spent scrapping for rebounds.
Overall, revisiting the performance aspects of the Air Max2
CB 34, it would probably land somewhere in the middle of the pack compared to today’s performance shoes. It’s two biggest shortcomings, being heavy and having less than desired traction, ironically are things that most of us probably associate with Charles Barkley and his style of play. What is impressive about the Air Max2
CB 34 is what it led to. The development of the Air Max2
cushioning system is the roots of today’s full length Max Air cushioning systems found in shoes like the LeBron 8 and Air Max 360 BB. Out-dated performance hasn’t stopped all players in the league from lacing up a pair of retro models though. Whether we’ll see this pop up randomly on an edition of Sneaker Watch will remain to be seen, I guess the same could be said for the NBA season at this point.
Iker Casillas and Sergio Romo hoist the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy.
words // Nick Engvall
This time of year, soccer fans have about as many choices as you can get when it comes to seeing quality matches take place. From friendly matches, to playoffs, and everything in between – it took place this week and is sure to get better as the MLS playoffs arrive and UEFA Champions League action picks up next month.
Real Madrid stole the show in the latest Soccer Watch by winning their seventh consecutive Santiago Bernabeu Cup. Although considered a friendly, and set up by Real Madrid, the 2-1 victory over the Turkish Galatasaray SK club was definitely entertaining. Other action included a Barcelona workout this week where Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas were spotted. The UEFA Europa League Playoffs were in full swing, and in the U.S., the Major League Soccer action moves just a few weeks from the end of the regular season.
Check out the photos below thanks to Yahoo.
Sergio Ramos controls the ball with his Nike Total90 cleats.
Cristiano Ronaldo makes a run in his signature CR7 boots.
Tom Huddlestone of Tottenham in the adidas adiPURE.
Jonathan Spector of Birmingham City does his best “gangsta lean” impersonation in the adidas adiPower Predator.
Lionel Messi in the adidas F50 adiZero during a practice session.
At the same Barcelona practice session, Cesc Fabregas wearing Nike soccer cleats.
Francesco Totti of AS Roma wearing all-black Nike boots in the UEFA Europa League playoffs.
Peter Stepanovsky celebrates a goal for SK Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League playoffs wearing the F50 adiZero.
Sal Zizzo of the Portland, wearing Nike Mercurial cleats, takes a shot on goal against Chivas USA.
words // Nick Engvall
There are times when you may want to just kick back and relax, to the point that you don’t even feel like having to tie your shoes. But let’s be honest, flip flops and sandals aren’t for everyone, and they’re not exactly something that will protect your toes should you decide to hop on your skateboard or bike and head to the local watering hole. Emerica has the perfect solution: the Emerica Laced, which is now available in two new suede versions.
One colorway in Black and one in White, wrapped in a soft suede material, have arrived. The hidden gem of its design, which was inspired and created by Emerica team riders, is an internal elastic band that keeps them snug on your feet; whether you want shoelaces involved is up to you. The Emerica Laced can act as a simple slip-on, you can throw in the laces and leave them hanging, or you can lace them up in traditional fashion. It’s gum-soled with a herringbone traction pattern that is even suitable for kick-pushing your way around if needed.
words // Nick Engvall
images // Nick DePaula
Nike and EA Sports have worked together on a number of occasions, but one of the most popular was the Nike Trainer 1.2 x Tim Tebow colorway, inspired by the Florida Gators team colors. This year’s edition of the collaboration for the popular NCAA Football video game doesn’t have a single face that inspired the colorway, but rather something that is important to college football players on all levels.
For NCAA Football 12, which released in July, they created this unique version of the Nike Trainer 1.3 inspired by the varsity jacket. A combination of chenille, wool and leather – materials traditionally found on letterman jackets – are combined in a unique way on this version of the Nike Trainer 1.3. As can be expected, EA Sports graphics take their place on the shoe, the company logo on the tongue and matching details underneath the clear outsole. The black-based colorway keeps it simple, yet allows the material choices and Air Max cushioning in the heel to really shine through as the highlights of the Trainer 1.3.