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Performance Review: Mizuno Wave Enigma 6



During the test run for the Wave Enigma 6 last April 19 at the Mizuno store in SM Mall of Asia (READ article HERE), I had different impressions towards the shoe. It was understandable since it was entirely brand new and would require a break-in. I decided to hold my assessment and give the shoe further tests. 
At this point, my accumulated mileage input in the Wave Enigma 6 has already reached 47 kilometers. I believe that the shoe has already gone past its break-in period and adjusted well already to my foot.

PERFORMANCE REVIEW: 

At first, I struggled during the first few miles due to the concerns I had with the shoe. The first concern I had was the stack height. The pair I often use only has a 22m on the heel and 18mm on the forefoot.  On the other hand, the Wave Enigma 6’s measures 32 mm on the heel and 20mm on the forefoot.

(The rear view of the Mizuno Wave Enigma 6's heel   PHOTO BY: The Road Titan)
That's high. The higher the heel-to-toe drop, the more likely I’d land on my heel (which bugged me since I’m a natural midfoot striker).  The last thing I’d want is pain caused by unintended heel striking. Good news since nothing as such occurred and my appreciation for this shoe grew overtime.

The other concern I had was the underfoot. It felt a little stiff. It was soft but not as plushy as I’d hoped it to be considering the weight penalty it already had due to the midsole foams installed in it. On a positive note, it's the right kind of stiffness I want in a shoe. Perhaps  the Parallel Wave plate inserted within caused this. I gave consideration to the Wave Enigma 6 since it is a neutral-support shoe. It's meant to have a more structured functionality.

Heading to the cushioning and ride topic, a runner must remember that the degree of cushioning can affect the shoes’ overall ride. Most shoes nowadays are beefed-up with unique cushioning technologies that brag an all-new level of “comfort”. As a consequence, the ride of the shoe feels dull or sluggish. I once bought a shoe that was generally known for its marshmallow-like cushion. Unfortunately, I ended up disliking it since it eats up additional energy or effort in every stride. It made me feel slow and tired than usual afterwards.   

I believe this is where Mizuno’s Wave Enigma 6 comes in. It’s one of the few pairs in the world that found the sweet spot between support and responsiveness. It might not be too squishy but it maintained my ground feel without compromising too much comfort. For me, that is relatively important than running in a very cushioned shoe. 


The Wave Enigma 6 compensated a lot when it comes to responsiveness. In long runs, I liked how the shoe remained stable due to the heel-to-toe transition guided by the Wave plate inside the midsole. It was fun and impressive. The transition of each stride was fast since the forefoot helped my feet launch quickly.  Despite being a support shoe, it felt a bit snappy.

 However, my guts tells me that the Wave plate itself, despite its effectiveness to distribute the impact received by the foot, causes the rigid feeling I had underfoot. It didn’t significantly affect anything in my performance actually. I’m just a weenie when it comes to the midsole area.

(The Wave Enigma 6 after 15Km run)
After additional miles logged into the shoe, the ride became more forgiving and comfortable. The stiffness of the shoe will eventually wear off. Just give it more time.

The upper construction of the shoe allowed my feet to stretch freely and naturally inside while running on uneven roads. When it comes to grip or traction, the outsole of the Wave Enigma 6 is definitely a winner. There was a time when I decided to train outdoors after raining. To fully test the grip, I decided to run on the wet sidewalks since it was more slippery than asphalt roads. The traction of the outsole performed well despite the condition I set.   

VERDICT:

The Wave Enigma 6 is perfect for long distance runs and training sessions. It can take a serious beating in high mileage runs. The shoe was highly responsive and performed better than the other cushioned shoes I tested before. For neutral runners who tend to land on their heels, the Wave Enigma 6 can adequately provide the support you need. However, it needs a longer break in period to reduce the stiffness of the shoes.

I hope Mizuno will look into the possibility of reducing the weight of this trainer by making adjustments in its components and figuring out how to enhance the underfoot comfort. Aside from those, the shoe did a very fine job. Fine enough for me to consider it as my marathon trainer.

(I would like to thank our friends in Mizuno Philippines for providing us a sample of the Wave Enigma 6. It did not affect or had any bearing on the results of this review.)

  

 


 

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