Saturday, 31 October 2015

shoeporn: Mizuno – Wave Kazan 2

57 weeks ago I was in Osaka. If you like running and sports in general it is tough to oversee a pretty evident corporation that was created right here back in 1906. What the Franconia township of Herzogenaurach is for adias or Oregon’s city of Beaverton for Nike, Osaka is for Mizuno. Rihachi Mizuno and his younger brother Rizo originated the trade, that was primarily titled Mizuno Brothers, in the 2,7 Million municipal of Japan’s Kansai district. Still the company has his head office here and sports a bling flagship storehouse that locked me away from further tourist magnetisms around the "nation's kitchen" for quite some time. Besides running as a key market for the brand round Japan and the rest of the world, Mizuno is going strong in golf, tennis, baseball, volleyball, football, running, rugby, skiing, cycling, judo, table tennis, badminton as well as boxing. For me the brand will be always remembered as a major provider for the always eventful Japanese colleague and elite running scene as they offer a range of reasonable road flats all Japanese elites use while training and racing. Two other sportsmen also come into my mind when I think about Mizuno. Tiger Woods played their clubs and won his first major with them back in 1997. Furthermore Czech tennis genius Ivan Lendl is a face that, for me, will eternally be remember with the picturesque, free-flowing, symbol of Mizuno’s Runbird. But just leave the history portion behind and continue to assess their newest creation – The Wave Kazan 2.

The second edition of the off-road based Kazan line.
The name of this shoe hails from the samurai battle standard meaning “...move as swift as the wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, and be as undefeatable as the mountain”. At least that is what the official Mizuno website tells me!
They called this sole „X10“. I liked the sturdy carbon rubber and the smooth and safe ride.

As you can undoubtedly decipher by reading the shoes name, this is the second edition of Mizuno’s Kazan model. Hailing from the road running market also the Japanese big player wants his share of the booming trail running market. With the Ascend Modell they attract the market and then advanced their product line towards the Kazan. Now a couple of months after the release of the initial Kazan they gave this model a nice little tune up. Personally I haven’t run in the Kazan but some of my friends did and they seem to be pleased with what they got. It has been a fair while that I experienced a Mizuno shoe. While I was very glad to race with an Ekiden (A spot-on classic in their road running assortment!) road flat several years ago, I somehow missed out on their latest models.

The world famous Runbird logo!
Looking good. A slick and aggresive look. And a lot of orange.
A pretty comfortable durable trail shoe.

The heart of the sole is the Wave technology that is used in most of Mizuno’s running models. It bids an easy-going, tolerating touch, without loosing a dynamic approach too much. All off that adds to a snug sensation on the street as well as on rocks, roots and a diverse set off typical trail characterises. Occasionally, because of the smoothness, it was less responsive, which makes a bit demanding to run higher speeds for too long. Still the sole is somewhat of a great shield with a vast comfort. As you can observe on the images the sole profile is not as forceful as a characteristic trail running shoe. The chunks of little traction segments still do their job and offer grip that can be trusted on. For myself I would not use this shoe for high mountain excursions or Zegama-like undertakings. Saying that, I guess that is not the envisioned playground for the Wave Kazan 2. Grip with this shoe was great and I never experienced any unkind situation while floating around my local technical trails in wet and dry conditions. It is not a racing shoe therefore it is precisely the right choice whilst jogging on a mixt variety of undergrounds. I found the low forefoot height as one of the key benefits and stamps. With my style of running (mostly forefoot) I had good fun.

Versatile and soft cushioned. A pretty sweet all rounder from Osaka!
Nice breathable upper, comfortable fit.
A good looking hybrid shoe with a Runbird at the front.
XtaRide, Mizuno's technical trail concept featuring to design a sole that adapts to the various grounds.

Reading through the formal description of the shoe an undeniable outline sticks out for me. Mizuno defines this shoe as a “door to trail shoe“. For most runners this is accurately what they get and need. Not all of us are blessed to live close to a assortment of weathered, technical trails just besides their doorstep. Most runners have a tiny travel ahead of themselves before they are actually hitting a trail - Same for me. My day-to-day exercise excursions take me throughout a large set of undergrounds - from smooth highways to snaking forest boulevards to narrow single tracks. That’s what I face and what I need a shoe for. Whilst I might loose a bit of vitality on the road I want my shoe to be an straightforward and dependable partner during daily training runs, specifically now that the weather turns rainy. You never know what you face and you need some shoe that helps you even when not everything is noticeable during gloomy runs in the forest after work or to work, a true commuter shoe. That’s what the Kazan 2 knows finest. With its cosy but still vibrant approach he is just the right associate when you need to have command and even when you just jog down a concreted alleyway. Hands down to a great all around training associate.

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