Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers Your Footwear Questions, January, 2014

Do you have a shoe-related question for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. (Please include your address.) He’ll pick five questions a month to answer and if he picks your question, we’ll send you a beautiful Mizuno tech T-shirt.

 Cushioned supportive ride for big guy

Q: Dear Mr. Shoe Guy, I ran for years in Brooks Beast, but switched to the Mizuno Alchemy. I loved them, but under the guidance of my physical therapist, I am switching from a traditional heel strike to more of a midfoot strike. I just wish the Alchemy had greater cushioning in the midfoot for this 180-pound runner. I want to stick with Mizuno, but need a shoe with a more cushioned feel without sacrificing the support of the Alchemy. Any suggestions? Rob Walton, Omaha, Nebraska

A: Rob, glad you liked the support that the Alchemy provided, but, as you may have heard, the Alchemy has been discontinued. Don’t despair. Our new maximum support shoe—the Weave Paradox—is a much better shoe than the Alchemy was in every respect. The Paradox is lighter than the Alchemy and it has a much more cushioned ride (it isn’t as firm), especially in the mid and forefoot. Plus, the Paradox has great support—just as much as the Alchemy—which should be plenty for a bigger runner. Trust me on this one: The Paradox is a great support shoe.

A woman in a man’s shoe?

Q: My favorite shoe has been the Wave Inspire 7, but it’s time to replace them. Unfortunately, I can’t find the Inspire 7 anymore. I know the Inspire 9 is now available, but I can only find it in men’s sizes. Is it OK for a woman to wear a man’s model? Joanne Coble, Blythewood, South Carolina.

A: Yes, it is absolutely fine for a woman to wear a man’s version of her favorite shoe—provided it fits well. There’s a good reason Mizuno makes women’s and men’s shoes. We tailor our shoes to the very different fit needs of men and women. For example, the flex lines are different for women, while men’s shoes are wider than women’s. Although it’s OK for a woman to wear a man’s shoe, I would suggest first trying on the women’s Wave Inspire 10. It’s the lightest, best cushioned Wave Inspire yet and is also the most supportive. Plus, it has an exceptional fit.

Enigma fan

Q: I have been a loyal Enigma wearer for three years. That shoe has helped me get back into running and I have re-found my love of it. I have always been injury prone, but by religiously wearing and replacing my Enigmas, I’ve kept injuries at bay and now I’m PR’ing at the ripe old age of 41. Unfortunately, my local running store stopped carrying the Enigma and I need to find a different Mizuno which would have the same level of comfort and cushioning as the Enigma. What would you suggest? Tony D’Ambrosio, Atlanta, Georgia

A: I would suggest you stick with the Enigma. I realize it isn’t as readily available as some other Mizunos (and isn’t available at all on the internet), but since it has worked so well for you, I see no reason to switch. What can you do if your local store doesn’t carry it? Simply ask the store to special order it for you. I’m certain the store will gladly do that to retain a loyal customer.

 Newbie marathon racing needs

Q: I got your email from the runnersworld.com shoe forums and hope you can answer my question about racing shoes. I’m still new to running and will be doing my first marathon this spring. I have been training in your Wave Riders that have served me well. But I don’t know whether I should buy a pair of racing shoes for the marathon or stick with my Wave Riders. Do you have some advice? Terry McAuliffe, Huntington Beach, California 

A: Stick with your Wave Riders for your first marathon. Racing shoes are much lighter than training shoes and are fine for experienced, fast runners going for personal bests or age-group placings. But, first-time marathoners who have more modest goals, are usually best suited by wearing training shoes in the marathon. Another word of advice. If you have more than 150-200 miles on your Wave Riders, I would suggest buying a new pair about two weeks before your marathon. You want to go into the marathon with “fresh” shoes that have the most cushioning, rather than a worn-down pair. And good luck!

Lighter Prophecy?

Q: Since the first version of your Prophecy came out, I have loved its cushioning. There’s no other shoe which gives me the protection and bounce the Prophecy does. I have used it in all my races, but as I have gotten in better shape I would like a lighter shoe for my 5-K’s with the same cushioning that the Prophecy has. Is that possible? Joe Sandoval, San Antonio, Texas

A: Joe, not only is it possible, it’s a reality. The new Wave Prophecy 3 is significantly lighter than prior versions, but it’s also more flexible in the forefoot and has better cushioning. But it still has that unique propulsive ride which so many runners like yourself are drawn to. You want a lighter, more flexible Prophecy? The Wave Prophecy delivers. Hope you like it.

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