July 10, 2013

Review: Mizuno Wave Sayonara Sneakers

This is a sponsored post for Mizuno through Fitfluential.

A few weekends ago, I woke up at 8am after a night of carb loading with Theodora. Carb loading for what, you ask? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. I had originally been registered to run the Midnight Half Marathon in Brooklyn (starting time: 11pm), but when flight delays meant that I didn’t get home from Dallas until 3:30am on Friday morning, I nixed that idea in favor of actually getting some sleep. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you!

One thing greeting me when I got home late, though, was a package: the Mizuno Wave Sayonara sneakers! I have always been loyal to two very specific shoes (the Brooks Adrenalines and the Asics GT 21xx series), and although I’ve tried a few others, none have been quite right for me. Some don’t give me the support that I need, while others give me horrible blisters after a long run. I was pretty pumped to give the Wave Sayonaras a try and see how they held up.


The first thing I noticed was the color: hot pink! Like Charlotte, I usually try to make my sneakers match my outfit (you know, focusing on the important things when running), so most of my sneakers are the old school white with some sort of accent color. When I did my fashion challenge earlier in the year, I didn’t really look at my fitness apparel at all (though Ashley contended that I ought to do so), but I was aware that most runners are all over these types of saturated neon shoes. Donning a white skirt and bright purple tank, I set about at least matching the bright, summery vibe of the color – and had to concede that I liked it.

The second thing I noticed about the shoes was how different they felt to put on compared to my regulars. Clearly designed to fit the foot snugly, I was stupidly surprised to realize that I would need to untie them, slide my foot in, and then tighten them back up. (It’s probably a good idea to do that every time, but I usually just leave my sneakers tied permanently and just squeeze my foot in – oops.) The custom fit of putting these on properly felt good, and also immediately drew my attention to the Wave Sayonaras number one feature: the light weight. Coming in at only 7.1 oz (compared to a ~10 oz standard training sneaker), these are made as super lightweight racing flats, and really ought to be treated as such. As much as I’d love to PR in the marathon this year (and they say that each ounce in a shoe adds 1 second per mile), these should not be used for marathons or long distance runs. Even the super short six mile jaunt I took them on felt too long! More on that to come.

When I headed out the door of my building and started running, I immediately felt the effects of using a racing shoe. I felt incredibly light on my feet, but the trademark cushioning of the Mizuno Wave line made them also feel soft and bouncy – quite the opposite of wearing Vibrams or racing flats with little support. When I did some research into how Mizuno achieved this, I learned that they developed a brand new midsole for this shoe that is 30% lighter than what they’ve used in the past – so the support was there while still not weighing me down. Impressive!


However, I quickly learned why “racing flats” are meant to be tried before a race. Although it’s easy to say that one oz per shoes adds one second per mile, the real story behind that is the extra weight prevents faster turnover – so while dropping the weight helps, you still need to capitalize that by actually speeding up your legs. On the hot and muggy morning that I chose for a run, I didn’t actually push myself to increase turnover, and therefore ran around the same pace I always do. With the lightweight shoes on my feet, it kind of felt demoralizing – like I was supposed to be going faster than I was. Since I have kind of flat feet to begin with, I prefer the extra support of stability sneakers (yes, even though studies show it doesn’t matter how you match foot type with shoe type). And by the end of my run, I was definitely feeling the lack of support – my feet felt sore like they’d run a marathon, when I had actually run less than 6 miles! Clearly, these will take some getting used to.

So fast forward to this morning, when I wanted nothing more than to don my favorite colors (like those Wave Sayonaras!) and prance around town for my birthday. Since exercising was completely out (thank you strict nurses), I instead put on the sunniest dress I could find and paired it with a bright yellow statement necklace. Maybe the bright colors would act as a pick me up?


Unfortunately, despite my sunny outfit my birthday continued to go through a lot of ups and downs:

Down: I kept waking up in the night because I couldn’t find a position to sleep in that wasn’t painful.

Up: I found out as soon as I woke up that my MRI results were ready, and that my doctor could see me at 9:40am.

Down: My doctor told me that I have not one, but three herniated discs in my neck – one going right and two going left. Apparently I haven’t even noticed the pain in my right side because my left is so bad! After some in-office acupuncture (and then me fainting on the table when he took the needles out), I was out of there and onto physical therapy.

Down: My physical therapist gave me a great massage, but then some very challenging exercises. Example: stand up straight. Hold your arms out to the side, a la DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. Now hold for 10 seconds. Perhaps you thought I was being sarcastic about that being challenging, but I was shaking and could barely go for ten seconds. Similarly challenging: pulling my chin back into my neck like a turtle. How pathetic is it that I can’t do this stuff?

Up: But then, my biggest “up” of the day: both my doctor and physical therapist told me that I am allowed to run! They cautioned me that I cannot do anything with weights in my hands (yes, that includes holding weights to do squats). However, all other lower body stuff is fair game, and even good for me. (Apparently my doctor should also be my dating coach?) So this afternoon, I headed out for a very quick two mile tester run.

As I had wanted to do first thing this morning, I put on my Sayonaras and a bright purple tank, then hit the road. I headed up along Riverside Park, down along the Hudson River, and turned around what felt like way too soon – but I didn’t want to do too much too soon. I knew it was hot and sticky out and I probably wouldn’t go too fast, but it felt easy and like I was flying (average pace: 8:39, which actually is reasonably quick for me in this heat). I was so glad I had on the lightweight Sayonaras – they really helped me feel like I could increase my turnover rather than be slogging away, which was no easy feat in this heat. I think that my attitude made all the difference – I was itching to go fast, and the Sayonaras allowed me to do that. But on days where your legs are worn out and don’t have it in them, the Sayonaras can be discouraging, because they feel like you should be going fast. (Does that make any sense, or am I crazy picky about matching my sneakers to my mood as well as my outfit?)

The only downside to my run was that while my neck/shoulders didn’t hurt, my jaw ached quite a bit. (Coincidence that the song I was listening to on repeat was Fun’s Carry On, the lyrics of which are “My head is on fire, but my legs are fine… after all, they are mine”? I think not!) My doctors said that it was fine to run “if my neck didn’t hurt,” but I am not sure whether that includes my jaw as well. I know it is all connected, but it felt more like my jaw was aching from the half pound of chocolate Edible Arrangement I downed right before I went running. (Not the right pre-run fuel? Too bad, so sad.) No matter what, I’ll be at the Boilermaker expo to speak on Saturday… but I really want to run it as well! So I guess that’s up in the air for now until I can do a few more test runs.

Also up in the air: whether or not to wear my Sayonaras for the race? They felt amazing today when I did 2 miles, but the 6 mile distance I did last time around didn’t seem to do so well. Was it a matter of my feet not yet adjusting to them, or are they only good for super short sprints and I should avoid them for a 15k? I’m not sure yet, but will certainly let you know when I decide!

Disclaimer: Mizuno provided me with shoes and compensation for an honest review, but I was not pressured to write a positive review and all opinions expressed in today’s post are mine alone. These turned out to be a great birthday present and I wouldn’t have risked ruining my “special day” if I didn’t think they were great!


17 thoughts on “Review: Mizuno Wave Sayonara Sneakers”

  1. I’d give them a chance! I have slowly eased myself into lighter/less supportive shoes and will never go back. My knees actually hurt when I use heavy shoes now, go figure. Take your time, and if your feet get super sore take a few days and use the shoes you are used to!

  2. Happy birthday! I’m glad you got some answers as to what is wrong. Congrats on getting approval to run!!

    I’m a devoted Brooks Glycerine person, but I’ve been wanting to get a zero drop/light weight shoes. I think they definitely take some getting used to, especially if you are used to more cushion, but like you said, every little bit of weight loss helps!

    1. The thing about the weight is: I’d probably be a lot better off getting a pound or two off my body than worrying about how many ounces my sneakers are! Ha 🙂

  3. Ay! So sorry to hear about your neck, it’s really great that you got such a quick diagnosis and that you’re still allowed to run. Hopefully your test runs went well! Good luck if you decide to run this weekend, but don’t sweat it if your body is telling you it’s not ready yet!

  4. Like you, I have flat feet, and I also have pretty moderate-to-severe overpronation. I wear Adidas Supernova Glides with custom orthotics, and lately, compression knee socks to protect my shins. (Yes, in July. Not ideal.) Do the orthotics weigh me down? Probably at least a little bit, and I am sure the knee socks don’t help, either, but they keep my shins from screaming.

    I wonder if a more lightweight shoe like this would balance that out? I just started (as in, this week) training for a half (my first!), so if these aren’t “distance” shoes maybe I should skip. I will wait and see what you say about running in them for the Boilermaker. 🙂

    1. On my way home from Boilermaker, and I wore the Sayonaras. They felt great for miles 1 and 2, then my legs/feet started to hurt around mile 4, and in the end I was worried I was getting blisters from lack of support. I still really love the colors and the lightweight feel for very short runs, but I think I’ve learned not to use them for anything longer than 4-5 miles.

      SO exciting to hear that you’re training for your first half! Which one are you running?

    2. Good to know. 🙂 When I first got the Adidas Supernova Glides I had no shin pain, but since I upped the mileage I have shin and foot pain. Not serious, more naggy, but I think I need something with more ankle support.

      I am running the Smuttynose Rockfest Half in October. Flat, ocean views, and beer & lobster rolls post-race. 🙂

  5. Hey I love your blog it is great! Just found it. How was the blend retreat? Did you save your shoes after that muddy hike I keep reading about? Lol. I love mizunos they are great.

    1. Blend was great! I didn’t get to go on the hike since I was running a marathon that morning, but I definitely would have saved my shoes. Sneakers are too expensive to throw away because of some dirt! (And perhaps that’s why I’m not a fashion blogger, ha.)

    2. What have you done in the past with running shoes once you wear them out? Are you pretty loyal to mizuno

    3. This was my first time trying out Mizunos! I usually keep my worn out running shoes for weight lifting (the low cushioning is good for that) and eventually toss them… but not for a while 🙂

  6. I ready Kim’s post and totally AGREE. I love my Brooks Glycerine but the Sayonara’s are AMAZING. I did 3 miles in them and my legs felt powerful and my pace proved it. But I will use the Brooks for my regular longer training runs and keep the Mizuno’s for those “special” days where I want to FLY!!

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