|Mizuno Wave Catalyst, released February 2016|
About two years ago, Mizuno discontinued the Mizuno Wave Elixir, arguably one of the best running shoes ever created. This shoe had it all. It was supportive enough to run a half marathon in (and some people even ran marathons in them) but also lightweight and fast-feeling. The shoe molded to my foot perfectly and had just enough cushion to be comfortable, while still feeling the ground beneath me.
I wasn't alone in my love for this shoe. It had a cult-like fan base who are all in strong agreement that it was a huge mistake for Mizuno to discontinue the shoe. Online forums and discussion groups exploded with heated comments about the decision. And whenever I wear my Elixirs to a race, other runners tell me how much they loved those shoes, and how disappointed they are that they are no longer available. Whenever I post a photo of myself racing in the Elixirs, people comment asking me where I got them. Fortunately, I stock-piled about 10 pairs of them, so I still have two of them new-in-box, and one of them with about 2/3 life left.
When Mizuno discontinued the Elixir, they came out with the Wave Sayonara. I liked this shoe quite a bit, but the drawback was that it didn't have as much cushion as the Elixir, so I was afraid to wear it in a half marathon, when my feet begin to hurt at mile 10. I added the Wave Sayonara into my rotation, using it for races shorter than a half marathon, and shorter, faster speed workouts. I continued to use my Elixirs for half marathons and longer workouts, like 5-6 mile tempo runs. I should also note that I wear the Nike Lunarglide for long runs and the Mizuno Wave Inspire for easy runs.
Mizuno Wave Catalyst
After two years, Mizuno realized its error, but instead of simply putting the Elixir back on the market, or making the Sayonara more similar to the Elixir, it came out with a new shoe--the Mizuno Wave Catalyst. I pre-ordered my pair on RunningWarehouse and expected it to arrive on Feb. 19. The shoe unexpectedly arrived early, however, and I received it this week.
My first order of business when I received the Wave Catalyst was to weigh one of the shoes, and compare it to that of the Wave Elixir.
|Top Left: Inspire 11, Top Right: Catalyst, Bottom Left: Sayonara 2, Bottom Right, Elixir 8. All shoes size 6.5|
Before I even put the Catalysts on my feet, I made some observations based on their weight, and what I know about their specs from RunningWarehouse. My first question is, why does Mizuno have three
|Mizuno Wave Catalyst, fresh out of the box|
I think the biggest disappointment, though, is that the Wave Catalyst is 1.3 grams (about half an ounce) heavier than the Elixir. And RunningWarehouse rates it as a shoe for "standard" running-- not for "performance" like the Elixir was. And the Sayonara 3 (not pictured here) supposedly weighs more than the 2. Meanwhile, the Inspire keeps getting lighter. In other words, they are making their lightweight performance shoes heavier, and their supportive everyday shoes lighter. That makes no sense to me.
I figured I would try out the Wave Catalysts on an easy 60-minute run. I didn't want to experiment with a new shoe during a workout, for fear that they wouldn't support me properly.
When I first put the shoes on and walked around I was optimistic. They felt comfortable and they fit pretty well (as all Mizuno shoes tend to do with my narrow feet). The first two miles of the run were promising. The shoes seemed to have more bounce/spring than the Sayonara and the Elixir, and they felt more cushioned as well. In fact, they seemed most similar to the Inspire.
But as I got further into the run, I determined I didn't like the shoes as much. They actually started to feel more like the Elixir in that I could feel the ground beneath my feet a bit more. But the downside was that my feet started to hurt a little, and the shoes became uncomfortable. I felt like my left big toe was hitting the top of the shoe (and I've been wearing 6.5 in Mizuno for years without that problem) and on the right, the shoe seemed to get tighter around the forefoot, and the ball of my foot began to hurt. Sometimes these issues resolve themselves once the shoe is more broken in, but I never had to break-in the Elixir.
By the time I hit mile 6, I was ready to take the shoes off. They didn't feel as good as the Elixir, and they certainly weren't as fast/light as the Sayonara 2. And they weren't as supportive as the Inspire. My overall impression: mediocre. I think Mizuno is trying to "please everyone" with this shoe, and they make a ton of compromises to do so. It's basically a slightly less supportive version of the Wave Inspire, potentially for people who love the Inspire but are ready to "graduate" to a little less support, and a slightly smaller heel-toe offset.
I will note, however, that my average pace for this 60-minute run was 8:46 (6.8 miles total). Typically, I run my easy runs at a pace of 8:55-9:10, and I wasn't trying to run any faster today. So maybe the shoes were "faster" or maybe it was just a coincidence.
I think I am going to return the shoe to RunningWarehouse for store credit. Initially, I was going to trade it in for the Sayonara 3 to see how that felt, but apparently that shoe weighs even MORE than the Catalyst, so why would I do that? I have enough Elixirs to last me another year, and I'm going to start stockpiling the Sayonara 2 as well. Once those run out, maybe Mizuno will have released a version of the Catalyst that's lighter, that fits better, and is a true Elixir replacement.
Mizuno- PLEASE stop messing with your customers' favorite shoes!
|Mizuno Wave Elixir- Bring back these shoes, please!|
I hope you enjoyed this Mizuno Wave Catalyst review, and I welcome your comments and experiences.