Trail shoe review: Mizuno Wave Kazan

What good is a shoe review without an adorable fluffy malamute?

This is my first official shoe review. My last couple of relationships with shoes haven’t been very good. It all started when Mizuno discontinued my one true love of a shoe — the Wave Elixir. Oh, how I loved that shoe. It was perfect in every way. It was light, fast, comfy, and had the perfect amount of stability.

Over the next year, a lot of disasters happened. This is in no way a diss on the specific shoes that I will next mention — it’s more that I have messed up feet and so I literally need THE PERFECT shoe.

I tried the Altra Torins. Loved loved loved them. They were so comfy! So I splurged on Altra Lone Peaks (for trails). That’s when everything went downhill. It could have been just a coincidence, but after my first run I developed plantar fasciitis (which is probably the worst injury I’ve ever had). After running in standard shoes my entire life, and then switching to zero drop (which means there is no difference between the heel and ball of the foot from the ground) I most likely strained my plantar fascia and put extra stress on my achilles. Ouch.

I heard about Hoka trail shoes. I know a lot of runners who swear by them (especially to treat/heal plantar issues). Hoka’s are crazy looking moon shoes that have max cushioning. I tried them out on two runs. I never got such bad blisters. Another $$$$ down the drain. (side note — they did totally kick ass when it came to keeping sand out! If you have a narrow(er) toe box, you might love these shoes!)

I decided to give Mizuno’s another shot.

I chose the Mizuno Wave Kazan for a few reasons.

(Note about me if YOU are considering this shoe!: I am an average build female – 140 lb. I train about 40 miles/week off season and 50-70 during season. I over-pronate and past injuries include achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis)

Supportive (more of a stability shoe)
Light-weight (only 8 oz — amazing for a trail shoe!)
Traditional drop (12 mm heal to toe differential)
Good heel notch, doesn’t rub achilles (big deal for me..)
Good arch support
Cool looking!

Fit a little small — go 1/2 – 1 size up
Feel a little stiff (at first!)
Need to double/triple knot laces

But would they hold up on runs through sand and rocks? And for many, many miles (without blisters and hot spots?) I needed to try them.

I ran about 50 miles in them so far. The trails I run are very sandy and technical. There are a lot of small rocks and loose scree. There are also sharp rocks and slick rock.

First impressions (first run): The feel is a little stiff and not as cushioned as I am used to. They had good responsiveness on rocky trails. I didn’t get very much sand in the shoe. NO BLISTERS!

Second run: OK, this stiff feel might not be too bad. I actually quite like how it hugs my foot and after a 10 mile trail run my feet feel great.

Third run: I can’t believe I said these were stiff! They feel really really great. 

Overall, I really LOVE these shoes!The true test will be my upcoming 50 miler. Stay tuned!

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