Review: Mizuno Wave Ronin 5
Date: March 18, 2013 (revised March 19)
The Mizuno Wave Ronin 3 have become my go-to race day shoe for events up to 21k. It is an older model with a roomy toe box (some would say too roomy) and a ballet slipper fit so nice that I bought the last two pairs on clearance. Good thing I did, as it will be a sad day when my last pair wears out.
I was waiting for the new Ronin 5’s to hit my local Running Free, and they did this weekend just in time for ATB and spring marathon season. Visually, the Ronin 5 look like they have a touch more cushion under the heel. But looks can be deceiving, as the Ronin 5 actually has 2 mm less heel rise, yet slightly better arch support and better lateral heel stability. On paper, these changes were improvements I hoped would make them friendlier to longer races. That is why I was so excited about them.
However, Mizuno took the redesign of the Ronin 5 too far for my taste and preferences. The lacing system went from symmetrical 6 hole plus lace-lock to asymmetrical 4 hole plus lace-lock. While this makes it easier to tie in a timing chip, tightening up loose areas is not as good. As a result, the upper had a clumsy fit around the arch of my foot, with fabric bulging out along the instep that I just can’t seem to cinch up.
And I believe Mizuno listened too closely to feedback about the roomy toe box. The shoe now fits as narrow as the Ecco Biom A, the narrowest minimalist shoe I can fit into. Too narrow for my feet, and perhaps too much toe space for the same shoe size. In summary, the Ronin 5 is effectively a different fitting shoe.
Could I run in the new Ronin’s for 5k or 10k? Absolutely. Will they be killing my feet 35k into a marathon? Fairly sure they will, based upon walking around the office in them today. But I am not going hit the road in these shoes to find out for sure (at which point they become keepers). I already have two or three years worth of middle distance race flats any way. So sorry, Mizuno, the Ronin 5’s are going back to the store.
The good news is that those people who previously passed on the Ronin 3’s may find that the Ronin 5’s are now accessible to them. If so, then enjoy. These shoes let you fly!
Buy them here.