Mizuno Ronin 4 Review
The Mizuno Ronin has always been a no-nonsense, stripped-down racing flat from Mizuno built for neutral runners. This new, 4th version does not deviate from the core concept of the Ronin. Many elite runners prefer their racing footwear to be “responsive”. What is usually meant by this is that the base of the shoe is rather firm, and stiffer than most running shoes, so the shoe is loaded up with energy when it is flexed just before toe-off, and springs back propelling the runner forward. Mizuno has reinforced this function in the 4 with plastic ‘bridges’ that span the forefoot flex groove (see photo at right). They are meant to stretch when the shoe flexes, and help it spring back even more on toe-off. The result is that the Ronin definitely runs fast.
The fit of the Ronin is somewhat narrow in the forefoot. It’s worth noting that I have been running in primarily barefoot and minimal footwear that have rather wide toeboxes, so other shoes often feel narrow. The mesh material used in the Ronin is fairly stretchy, however, so while not as wide as I usually prefer, the toe box wasn’t irritating. The outsole on the forefoot is made up of small, separate pieces of a harder compound which provide very good traction. I think the Ronin would be a great shoe for races on combination surfaces as it would grip well on smooth dirt roads and light gravel.
I tested the Mizuno Ronin 4 on shorter, fast-paced runs, speedwork days and even some longer runs up to 10 miles. The Ronin always felt fast and responsive, and its 7.3 ounces didn’t hold me back. It is not cushioned enough to be an everyday shoe for many runners but lighter efficient runners might be able to use it for most runs and races, and it is a great faster run and race shoe for all neutral runners. For those looking for something similar with a bit of pronation control, check out Mizuno’s Musha racer.
The Ronin retails for $104.99. For more information, visit MizunoUSA.com.
Weight: 7.3 oz (size 9)
Stack Height: Heel (25mm), Forefoot (15mm)
- Mizuno Wave consists of an elastic, thermal plastic wave running from the heel to the midfoot, creating an incredibly springy and well-cushioned ride.
- AP+ is Mizuno’s top of the line full length midsole copolymer material for a lighter, more resilient ride.
- Smooth Ride is a gender specific network of grooves that minimizes the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the foot to create a smooth heel to toe ride.
- AIRmesh covers the entire upper and provides breathability to keep the foot cool.
- Standard Sockliner provides underfoot comfort.
- Dynamotion Fit creates optimal fit with stretch material in the forefoot and a collar construction that prevents the heel collar from buckling under load.
- X10 located in the heel and forefoot is made of durable carbon rubber for enhanced traction.
- G3 Sole is a lightweight rubber dot pattern in the forefoot for increased grip and flexibility.