When it comes to running shoes, I have a hard time convincing me I don’t need any more running shoes. Very true that I have several shoes that are still in a good condition. While marketers say life of typical running shoes is about 350 miles, one can run in them after well over 350 miles and I still run in shoes that have more than 35o miles on them. But, it is also true that I want to find the best running shoes for different purposes; marathon race, track race, and regular trainer. No one pair of running shoes can fulfill all these purposes. Also, I run over 1,300 miles/year. In addition, new technologies are constantly developed, which may help run faster without incurring any injuries; therefore, it is not surprising that I seem to be buying running shoes all the time. So my running shoe purchases are well justified, and it only makes sense I know what are the hot running shoes and why (Wow, that was pretty convincing, wasn’t it?).
So, this is my first running shoe review in writing. I chose to write about Mizuno Wave Universe 3 that arrived on Dec 7, 2010. Yes, it is in pink-ish color, and no, it does not look like there is much cushioning or foot support, but this pair of shoes only weigh 3.8oz each shoe! This super light-weight-ness was enough to twist my both arms and made me frantically look online to get a pair as soon as I could. Waiting until after Christmas was not acceptable in case all others might have wanted them for their Christmas. Also, I have had many good lucks with Mizuno shoes. I wore Wave Rider 13 for over 500 miles. When I played volleyball, I often had Mizuno shoes. So, I totally trust the brand and its high-quality shoe manufacture-ability.
From this light weight, this is definitely a racer or racing flat, not a trainer. As you can see in the photo to the right, the sole is pretty thin and flat. There is only 5mm difference between heel and forefoot, which is thought to be good for runners who want to strike ground with midfoot or forefoot. I have not had professional assessement on the foot strike, but I am a mid-foot striker, so this pair may help with forefoot strike. However, because of this flat and thin sole, I would not run a marathon in them any time soon. I should be able to run 5K and 10K road races and track races.
I have not put a lot of miles in these yet since I bought them. Partly because I was recovering from CIM when these babies arrived and soon after I started to train for Boston. Another reason was that I bought Saucony Kinvara that I love so much. I trained and ran Boston in them. They are perfect trainer/marathon shoes for me. And honestly, I love Kinvara so much, I totally forgot about Wave Universe 3… What prompted me about Wave Universe 3 was Pride Run 10K results and how I felt about the race. After the race, I did not think to blame Kinvara for not making a PR. But when I look back now, Wave Universe 3 would have been a better choice for racing on gravel surface for a shorter distance, such as 10K. Kinvara is good when speed is not required, but when I want to race at faster pace, Wave Universe 3 would perform better. So, I will be running World Masters 5,000m in Wave Universe 3 this Saturday.
OK, back to shoe review. Other than the weight and brand that sold me this pair, these shoes fit my feet like a pair of socks, comfortably. There is just about enough space for my toes and they hug my wide feet so nicely that I don’t feel any tightness after I lace them up. I have three pairs of Vibram Five Fingers and they are comfortable, too. But I rank Wave Universe 3 higher in comfort. This is maybe from the fact that I don’t wear socks with Five Fingers. But I do want to wear socks when I run, because my feet sweat. Or maybe, my toes get uncomfortable in each toe compartment with Five Fingers. Rear side of the shoe (topline collar) has good support and is high enough that it does not feel like shoes will come off while I am running. The height does not bother or hurt my Achilles. The only discomfort is that my heel gets tired or sore after a while, and this is probably me not have got used to wearing and running in them. Jury is still out on this.
Running performance with Wave Universe 3 is somewhat similar to that with Five Fingers Bikila, except Wave Universe 3 gives you more foot support and you don’t have to worry too much about not stepping on a rock or running in a pothole. Running gait seems unchanged with Wave Universe 3, too, while Five Fingers totally made me run differently. On a track race, I think Wave Universe 3 would give an advantage over other shoes, including Five Fingers, because my running form will stay the same and will have the same performance advantage of having little between your feet and track surface, and perhaps hitting the track with my forefoot more.
In conclusion, I really like Wave Universe 3 and would recommend to those who participate in similar running events to mine, unless they are just starting to run or their feet are super narrow. These shoes require feet and legs that have a certain level of mileage on them. Hasting into these shoes will only increase a chance of getting injured. I will go to the track practice this Thursday and run in them before the Saturday race. But I doubt I would change my mind on this at the last minute. Otherwise, my review has to be reversed and no one will trust my review in the future!