Since 2008, my feet have entertained the likes of Asics, Nike, Saucony, and Mizuno while my eye casually undressed other shoes sitting pretty at the Running Fit Bar (you can always look at the menu - you just can't order from it, right?).
However, I've maintained a mostly monogamous relationship with Mizuno lately. We met in 2010 after a failed attempt to rekindle my Asics romance, but the GT-2140 screwed my affairs so badly that I had to find someone new. That someone was the Mizuno Inspire 6, and it was lust at first sight.
Three pairs of Inspires and a case of the Two-Year Itch later, I was on the hunt for something new. A $35, clearance-rack pair of Saucony Kinvara 2's did fill a hole, albeit small, in my cold, black heart. I liked their semi-minimalist feel on short runs, but I like my running shoes with curves, a bit of meat on their bones, so I still wanted something more.
You can imagine my happiness when Megan offered up an invite to join Mizuno's Mezamashii Project and score some new Mizuno kicks. I probably owe her at least a pound of fro-yo at Yogurtpalooza for this.
In short, the Mezamashii Project is aiming to help runners experience a brilliant run. The Japanese word "mezamashii" translates to "eye-opening" or "brilliant".
You can eye-open me anytime, Mizuno.
After checking out Mizuno's two performance trainers - the Elixir and the Precision - I went with the Elixir, as its design mirrored the Inspire's (with regard to being a stability shoe) more closely.
I've since taken the Elixir out on three runs: a 3- and 6-miler out on the road and a 4-mile treadmill run.
In a nutshell, some stats and my observations:
- Sizing: Runs a bit small. I normally wear a 6-6.5 street shoe, but a 7.5 in the Mizuno Inspire. Originally, I'd ordered a 7.5 Elixir, which was too big, and had to exchange for a 7 which fits perfectly with thinner socks.
- Fit: Comfortably snug in the heel and through the laces. The Elixir, like the Inspire, has a wider toe box, which I like, but some runners do not.
- Feel: The Elixir is cushy in the heel, much less so in the forefoot which makes for a good, close-to-the-ground feel.
- Weight: 7.2 oz, half an ounce heavier than my Kinvaras, but still light enough to make me feel like an angel. Kind of.
- Heel-to-toe Drop: 15mm, 4mm more than my Inspires
And a few opinions:
- Light, pretty, airy shoes that are great for training runs and short races.
- Since my nagging heel strike won't go away, I appreciate the extra cushion in the heel, but I never feel bogged down by excess material.
- Would be great for speedwork and tempo runs. Haven't tested them on anything too long yet, but the Elixirs would probably be great, for me, for low double-digit distances, like a 10-mile or half-marathon.
- Tiger-stripe design makes me look fast. Duh.
- Still need a more supportive shoe for longer runs and marathons. I'll probably continue to ride the Inspire wave for LSD Saturdays.
- Lower-cut shows off more of my sock and makes me feel dorky. Yeah, not a real scientific con, but I'm picky about socks.
- Without much cushioning, I wonder if the Elixirs can stick it out for the long haul, mileage-wise before needing replacement.
Bottom Line: Is it everything I dreamed of? Mostly. Will we have to go to counseling in the future to save our relationship? Maybe. Will my slutty shoe needs still crop up once in a while? Pour me a gin & tonic and we'll see. Overall, I'd definitely recommend the Elixirs to someone looking for the lightweight feel of a (semi?)minimalist shoe without losing out on the cushioning of a regular running shoe.
Click on over to find out more about Mezamashii Project .
What's your shoe of choice? Do you find yourself canoodling with various models now and then?
Gratuitous Disclaimer: Although Mizuno provided me with the shoes free of charge, all of the opinions expressed herein are my own. I was not compensated in any way.