Mizuno Wave EVO Cursoris review – don’t judge me ’til you’ve run 127.36 miles in my shoes

I have been meaning to post about this shoe for a while now, certainly before getting to 127.36 miles in them. It just might be the best zero drop trainer I have owned, becoming the shoe I am mostly likely to put on for a long run. On the other hand, they feel just a little too klutzy to me to race in.

I came to this shoe early this year after taking my annual 1 month break from running (subbing in elliptical) and looking to put a little more cush between my foot and the pavement for those winter runs outside. I had been running in some New Balance MR00s but my feet were still a bit achy from two fall marathons and the training leading up to them.

According to Mizuno, the shoe is named for Eudibamus Cursoris, one of the oldest known bipedal creatures. Of course Latin scholars will immediately know the meaning of this name: “original runner on two limbs.” Having viewed some artists’ conceptions, the little guy looks pretty speedy to me.

The shoe has a deceptively mainstream/traditional look to it, i.e., I bet most people wouldn’t even realize it’s a zero drop shoe. While I don’t buy shoes based on how they look (my first generation Instincts, for example), some have even uttered the phrase “cool shoes!”

2013-03-18_22-57-14_329

I think the shiny material on the upper around the laces (click the pic for a larger image) was intended by Mizuno’s designers to look like dino skin, but I can’t prove that!

Billed as a true zero drop, you are sitting up on 12mm of cushioning. It’s noticeably more cushioned than the aforementioned MR00s, or the Altra Instincts I have been rotating with since the first of the year:

2013-03-18_22-58-31_705

I am no running shoe terminology expert, but as you can see, the sole has a more durable black material in areas presumably identified as striking or takeoff points. A less durable orange material makes up the majority of the sole, including the heel area (where you shouldn’t be striking anyway, right?!) If you ask me, this little section just behind the exposed Wave plate could use the more durable material:

2013-03-18_22-57-52_705

As to that Wave plate, I don’t notice or feel anything most of the time, but at one point in the second half of a recent long run I did have the distinct sensation that I was loading it up and feeling some compression and rebound.

The shoe isn’t exactly tearing itself up at 100+ miles. In fact I’d project it to be fairly durable despite the visible peeling in these pictures. I don’t foresee any problems getting the “traditional” 500 out of it, but then again I’m not pitching…err…donating shoes at 500 miles anymore.

2013-03-18_22-58-15_815

I am someone who admittedly agonizes over shoe fit. Years ago, I used to dogmatically buy shoes in “my size.” Being older and wiser now, I’ll try on at least the half size up from “my size,” or down as the case may be (I recently bought some very oddly sized dress shoes that took me down a full size, creating a great deal of cognitive dissonance). This shoe convinced me to go a half size up. I really like its roomy toe box. I think I have the right size for me. However, I just can’t shake the feeling of a certain amount of clumsiness. I have run in other wide toe box zero drop shoes without this problem, notably the Instinct. For whatever reason, I seem to be magnetically attracted to at least one pavement heave per long run in the Cursoris, much to the amusement of passerby, no doubt. The shoe is light, but doesn’t “feel” fast, I think because there’s so much of it there. In saying that though I feel like I am asking the shoe to be something it is not. There is another shoe in this line, the Levitas, which is supposedly more geared towards speed, with the attendant sacrifices in cushioning. Perhaps I will give it a try at some point.

Update 05/22/13: These now have double the miles of when I wrote this review: 259.39. They’re still holding up well, with no signs of nearing the end of their useful life. I find myself going to this shoe almost exclusively for pavement training runs (my rotation in the last month has been these and barefoot). I still catch pavement heaves in them from time to time, but overall I’m very satisfied.

Update 06/13/14: I recently realized I haven’t run in this shoe for a few months (February, topping out at just over 550 miles, definitely with a few hundred left, barring some unforeseen catastrophic failure). When I wanted a cushioned trainer, the WEC was my go-to. However, ever since I got a pair of Skora FITs, at the end of February, I haven’t come back to the WEC. I liked the WEC, but it’s a testament to the FIT that we’re going steady now. My review of the FIT is here:

https://minimallyshoddy.com/2014/04/11/skorarunning-fit-shoe-review-between-minimalism-and-maximalism-is-just-rightism-fitfriday/

 

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11 comments on “Mizuno Wave EVO Cursoris review – don’t judge me ’til you’ve run 127.36 miles in my shoes

  1. bryanew710 says:

    I’m still trying to decide between these and the Altra The One. The One looks like it’ll last longer, but the fit on the Cursoris (or maybe even the Levitas) looks like it might be more up my alley.

    Thoughts?

    • Tad says:

      It’s hard for me to compare when I have only run in the Wave Evo Cursoris. The One is on my wish list – I saw a guy wearing a pair at my last marathon. I have a pair of first generation Altra Instincts, and while I think it’s a good shoe, I just haven’t favored it the way I have the WEC. I think what it comes down to is whether you prefer a firmer or more flexible and cushioned shoe. The WEC is more flexible than the Instinct, which has a full length rubber sole. The WEC is also considerably cushier. The One looks similar, but it’s hard to tell if it’s the same material or not. Regardless, my best guess is that The One would be more durable. Having said that, I’m up to 400 in the Cursoris now (I have a few more shoes in the rotation now so it’s not getting as many miles). It’s wearing, but I still think it’s got several hundred left before any kind of performance affecting wear sets in. Do you run in the heat of the day? I usually run in the morning, but I notice that the WEC wears more when I put it on hot pavement. If you keep it cool, I think you’d get quite a few miles out of it. I’d like to get my feet in a pair of the Levitas too. It’s probably more comparable to The One. I think of the WEC as a training shoe, while the Levitas and One are pitched as racing shoes. I hope you make a choice you’re happy with!

  2. I’m WAY late to this review, but narrowing down my shoe choices for NYC in 26 days. My current rotation is the Cursoris, Brooks Pure Flow and Saucony Virrata. Was wondering if you had an opinion if you thing the Cursoris is a worthy 26.2 shoe or too flat/not cushioned enough? These are all pretty similar shoes, but my experience is different in them. I’m considering throwing out the Virrata because they are a bit too narrow in the toe box and although the same thickness as the others, they feel a little firmer and my feet a little more achy after long (18+) runs. Maybe it’s the difference in the midsole material compared to the others. The Flows have been my marathon go-to the last two marathons. They aren’t the lightest or fastest, but just get out of my way. Also considering the Flow 2. I’m intrigued by the Cursoris since I’m on my 3rd pair and they fit the best out of any shoe I’ve ever owned (and lighter than the flows). I’m just concerned about that extra 6-7 miles I haven’t taken them past in distance. Any advice based on your experiences? Thanks!

    • Tad says:

      I think any shoe you’re happy with after 20 miles is fine to go the distance. The WEC is the only of the three I’ve run in, although I tried on the Brooks once and thought it might be worth a try.

      My personal preference was that the WEC was too bulky for speed in a marathon. I might have been able to solve that problem by going a 1/2 size down, but I do think I have the right size for me. I tend to like a lighter, more racing-flat type ride for racing.

      Bottom line, you really can’t go wrong by racing in your current favorite long run shoe. If it feels good and isn’t giving you problems (i.e. blisters) at 18-22, it should be fine!

      • Tad says:

        Michael: I was on vacation when I left the previous reply. I went back and looked, and my personal experience with the WEC includes several 20 milers, but nothing longer than that. However, IMO that’s enough distance to judge whether a shoe is going to work for 26.2. Shoe fit is so variable that when you find a shoe that fits you well and doesn’t cause you problems, stick with it. I don’t find the WEC to be either too flat (it’s zero drop, but that’s what I like) or not cushioned enough (an easier question for me, it is probably one of the more cushioned shoes I run in). You present an interesting range of options – I think the Virrata might tend towards promoting and cushioning more of a heel to midfoot strike; the Brooks a midfoot strike; and the WEC tending most towards midfoot/forefoot.

  3. I tested the shoe too. It is quiet comfortable, but the durability have to be sorted out. The exposed EVA part on the outsole will be grated down I think. I put around 100K into the sole and it already shows wear. Will se how it holds up. This is my first mizuno shoe for in the last 5 years, but I am satisfied.

    You can check my reviews here:


    http://evolutionexpress.blogspot.fr/2013/10/mizuno-wave-cursoris.html

  4. Tad says:

    Y’all: I saw a post on the demise of the Evo line yesterday. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you try to pick up a pair in a few months after everyone’s sold out. Personally, I’ve migrated to Skoras, but I did like the WEC when I was running in it.

    • bryanew710 says:

      I’m still coming to terms with my Skoras (stuffing the top of the shoe with moleskin pads seems to have helped the volume issue I was having with them). I picked up a pair of Evo Levitas to use for recovery days.

  5. Mike says:

    I e-mailed Mizuno and they said they we keeping the EVO Ferus stateside and not importing the Cursoris and Levitas.

    • Tad says:

      That’s interesting. I wonder how often the trail model of a shoe survives when the road model is discontinued. Most big companies seem to roll out “niche” trail versions based on the lasts of their road shoes rather than separately developing a trail shoe – then if anything the trail version goes away while the road model soldiers on. In this case, it’s like continuing to manufacture a convertible after you’ve stopped production on the hardtop.

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