Thanks to Mizuno Canada I was able to get my hands on a pair of Mizuno Wave Musha 4’s to test out. This was part of the recently launched (in Canada) Mezamashii Project which gives runners (that aren’t already using Mizuno shoes) the opportunity to try out a pair of their choice, free of charge. I wrote a much more detailed description of this program here. I was lucky enough to receive one of the early invites, but the contest is now open for all Canadians to enter – click here if you want to sign up for a chance to get your own to try.
Right out of the box I liked the look of these shoes. I suspect their flashy appearance would be a bit polarizing, but I thought they looked good without being too over the top. Putting them was where they really won me over. These things felt like the plushest of slippers on my feet – they were just the right size, soft, and secure.
While these look (at least to me) like a very flat shoe from the outside, looking inside you can see there is a well cushioned heel hiding in there. They actually have a 9mm drop (22mm heel/13mm toe) which is a similar cushion thickness, but more drop than what I have been running in lately. I would see these as a step towards the more minimal (0-4mm drop) shoes for people that still want some padding and a little support.
On the road the shoe felt quite light and fast. The increased drop didn’t greatly affect my stride – I felt like I was landing slightly further back in the forefoot area, but nothing that impacted on my performance. The shoes were quick enough on my short runs and the cushioned sole was welcome on longer runs (20km). Mizuno’s are known for having a larger than average toebox area, and I found this to be true with the Musha. There was ample room for my toes to move, but not so much that the space felt sloppy. Overall they were a very comfortable shoe to run in, without being so soft that they felt inefficient. The one drawback I noticed with the nice soft upper was that the thick tongue and overlays made it quite warm on my foot in the hot temperatures I was running in. This wouldn’t be a problem at all in more moderate weather, but my feet definitely felt warm in these shoes with the 30C weather we’ve been having.
The sole is a combination of harder rubber in the heel and forefoot area, separated with softer foam in the mid section. The sole has lots of rubber where required to make this a durable shoe. With the few runs I have done in the shoe the wear seems normal – nothing I am concerned with. If you are a heel striker there seems to be enough rubber in this area to keep you going. The 13mm of padding in the forefoot allowed a good feel for the road, which I liked.
Overall I liked this shoe. If you are looking to get into a slightly less cushioned and more efficient running shoe this would be a great choice. If you wanted a more durable, and longer distance racing and training shoe, you can’t go wrong with the Musha 4. As always, I will update this review in the future as I use these shoes more.