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Mizuno has been around the running game for almost as long as people have been running. While this isn’t exactly accurate, it certainly feels as if it is. Most shoes from the Mizuno lineup are fairly straightforward; the wave platform is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ designs, and the quality of build has always been reliable and excellent. On the Mizuno Wave Cursoris, however, my first question didn’t pertain to any of this. It was simply, “What the h*ll is a cursoris?”
It turns out I had to look no further than the Mizuno website to find out exactly what the Mizuno Wave Cursoris actually is (or was). The name is a clever nod to the intent of the shoe. Apparently the ‘Eudibamus Cursoris’ is one of our oldest bipedal ancestors; the intent from Mizuno here is to bring your running form back to a more natural state. Great homework, Mizuno, but I have to admit it went right over my head!
First Impressions of the Mizuno Wave Cursoris
My first impression right out of the box was mixed for the Mizuno Wave Cursoris. Picking it up, it felt extremely lightweight and more suited towards performance rather than a daily trainer. The flat lacing decision is slightly asymmetrical, and the heel cup is a bit on the tall side. Flipping the shoe over, though, was a bit intriguing. There’s only blown rubber on the forefoot; the heel of the shoe foregoes any sort of rubber in favor of a high density foam. Also, the forefoot appears a little on the wide side when compared with your standard running shoe.
As Mizuno didn’t post the actual specs of the Wave Cursoris on their website, I availed myself of a kitchen scale to get the low down on weight. I knew they were light; I was not expecting that a size 10.5 would weigh in at 7.25oz. That’s pretty much fly weight for a training shoe – that’s actually competitive with most competition shoes. Perplexed, I slipped them on for a quick run around the block prior to our testing phase. I immediately noticed the “Wave” shape in the last and midsole – it’s an unmistakable attribute to all Mizuno Wave shoes, and clearly present in the Mizuno Wave Cursoris. In it, it’s toned down and somewhat softer, though.
Testing the Mizuno Wave Cursoris
Throughout the testing phase of approximately 100 miles of running, I elected to put the Wave Cursoris through a multitude of workouts. I had two long runs in them of up to 10 miles, numerous shorter runs on pavement/asphalt, several treadmill tempo/pace workouts, and even took them for a spin on the track during an interval workout. I have to say the Mizuno Wave Cursoris surprised me at every turn – it not only withstood every workout I put it through, but came through with flying colors. Keep in mind, though, that the Wave Cursoris is a zero drop shoe – it does have cushioning, but if you haven’t already been transitioning to more minimal drop shoes, I wouldn’t recommend going from 12mm of drop (fairly standard) to this one.
The upper on the shoe is extremely well ventilated, with a light mesh forefoot and comforting, only slightly more substantial mesh/fiber heel cup. The heel cup, as mentioned above, is somewhere between normal height and higher than average. I liked how well the shoe breathed, but definitely wouldn’t take this for a spin during any of the colder months, as it offers little to no protection from the elements. I do like the asymmetrical lacing patterns, but only for aesthetics; I didn’t find that it added much to the functionality of the shoe. As mentioned before, the midsole is clearly patterned to match Mizuno’s Wave last, and runners tend to either love the fit of the this or hate it. I really like the Wave, and recommend it to any runner who has a medium to high arch. Mizuno has 12mm of padding throughout the entire midsole in the Mizuno Wave Cursoris, and it shows. It has a nice feel to it, cushy without being too plush. I actually liked it on all surfaces with the exception of gravel – the midsole just isn’t firm enough to protect the forefoot from sharp rocks.
The outsole is a very unique attribute, and one that I’m still a bit cautious of. As I only tested the shoe for approx 1/6th of the overall lifespan (shoes in the natural category tend to average less miles than heavier, more cushioned offerings – I’ve found 300 miles for this category to be a good bench mark), I’m a bit leery of the lack of blown rubber. It seems that running consistently on concrete would tear this material apart. I will admit, though, that after my initial testing phase, I’ve seen no signs of degradation. It appears that Mizuno came up with a new wonder material for the Wave Cursoris, and only time will tell how it holds up.
Overall, the Mizuno Wave Cursoris exceeded my expectations by being a well balanced, all purpose trainer for those seeking a neutral platform. The platform on the forefoot is wide enough to accommodate a natural foot splay, and the midsole carries enough cushioning for comfort over middle to long distances. The fact that it’s super light means that you hardly feel the shoe on your foot. For a pricepoint of $119.00, I feel you more than get your money’s worth because you now have one shoe for all of your workouts – certainly, 7.25 oz per shoe is light enough for race day. For more info on the Cursoris and other Mizuno footwear, visit www.mizunousa.com.