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The Mizuno Wave Shadow 3 is an excellent option for non-marathon runners

It’s a shoe that falls somewhere in between the two stools of everyday neutral shoe and sleek performance model.

  • Weight: 250g (M) 210g (W)
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: 8mm
  • Type: Road
  • Price: $180

 

 

RW summary

‘A hybrid cushioned/performance shoe which serves as a gentle introduction into the word of speedier footwear.’

  • Firm, responsive forefoot and toe-off
  • A nice mix of sturdy reassurance and lower to the ground feel
  • Too firm for longer weekend runs

The Wave Shadow is a shoe that falls somewhere in between the two stools of everyday neutral shoe and sleek performance model. Here’s what Mizuno says about it: ‘Comfort and performance for a soft yet zippy running experience. Cushioned and responsive with a snappy toe-off.’ Judging by the feedback from our testers, these claims are actually spot on. They found it useful for everything from 3K time trials to tempo runs of half marathon distance, which is an impressive range indeed.

X10 rubber outsole

The longitudinal and latitudinal flex grooves are so deep that the outsole is effectively partitioned off into seven different landing pods. Mizuno has used its firm X10 rubber for the ground contact and as ever it provided above average grip. Where is came into its own though was on durability; after 150 miles the upper of these was looking a tad baggy as you might expect but the outsole was barely worn.

Pebax ‘wave plate’

Before the carbon fibre plate craze, Mizuno had been a little ahead of the curve in a related manner, plugging away producing Pebax ‘wave plates’ in their shoes, the plastic devices inserted into the midsole that give that distinctive wave look from the side, and which were designed to attenuate shock and provide a platform for the foot to rebound from. The plate in the Shadow 3 extends through the heel well into the midfoot, which is great if you’re a midfoot runner looking for some extra oomph in transition. That said, the cushioning is on the firm side and a few people found it too stiff to be truly comfortable on longer runs – but on the upside this is precisely what makes it such an exciting ride when you’re clipping along at lactate threshold pace.

AirMesh upper

Constructed of a single piece of lightweight, seamless material called AirMesh, testers found it light, weather-resistant and breathable – but not especially giving in the forefoot. Fortunately the front section offers decent width so most runners who have neither slim nor wide feet should find the fit suitable, but if you have particularly wide feet or they tend to swell a lot when they get hot be warned, the Shadow 3 is likely to pinch a little up front after a few miles. The heel counter is perfect, locking the rearfoot down without pinching or rubbing, which gave us confidence when speeding up on interval runs.

An excellent option for non-marathon runners looking for one shoe to cover most bases, and for those looking to invest in their first ever pair of ‘faster’ shoes.

 

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