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Mizuno Wave Hayate Review: A Decent, But Mis-matched Trail Shoe

Posted on September 22 2014

Mizuno Hayateby David Henry

Other than running in the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 a couple years ago, I have not run in any other Mizuno shoe.  When Pete asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the Hayate, I was excited to try out, what was for me, an untested brand and one that was making an effort to release some revamped trail shoes in the form of the Wave Hayate and Wave Kazan.

I had heard that Mike Aish, a Mizuno-sponsored trail ultrarunner and former Olympic track athlete, was involved in helping Mizuno develop the Kazan (video from Mizuno on his involvement here; can’t help but notice Mikes great form and smooth forefoot/midfoot landing even in a 12mm drop shoe  ).  I have not seen any info regarding if he was involved in the Hayate, but given the similarity in design, I’m assuming the Hayate was influenced by the Kazan and was just stripped down somewhat to offer a lighter shoe. This approach might have been the Hayate’s undoing and I’d be curious, in this case, if the Kazan is not the better of the two shoes, despite my aversion to the higher (12mm) heel to toe differential.  I’ll explain more below.

Shoe Specs

Price: $110 MSRP

Colorways: 1 color

Weight:  8.9 oz/252 g in size 9 mens; 11.1 oz/315 g in my size 13 men’s; and 7.4 oz/209 g in size 8 for women (stats via Running Warehouse)

Stack Height: 21 mm Heel; 15 mm Forefoot; Mizuno claims the midsole has a 9mm heel to toe differential, whereas the stack heights show only a 6mm differential – this is easily explained when looking at the shoe as the outsole forefoot lugs are easily 3mm higher than the heel lugs. In actual ride, the shoe feels closer to 8-9 mm drop to me.

Appearance & Design

Mizuno HayateThis is one area where Mizuno shines.  Their shoes continually look very unique, bold, and, in my opinion, are some of the best looking shoes out there.  The Hayate is a very eye-catching trail shoe, and does so while maintaining a clean and simple design as well.

Something I do question from a design standpoint with a shoe like this for trails is the inclusion of Mizuno’s pervasive “wave” technology in the heel with nothing in the forefoot.  I’m not entirely sure how the Wave plate works on road and less sure on trails. It doesn’t seem to move into the midfoot (like the shanks found in many racing shoes) at all either, which I think would help at least add some structure underfoot.  As it is, I would not have known it was there if I didn’t see it plainly exposed on the side of the midsole.  Can anyone out there share their experience with the wave technology?  Have you experienced any benefit?  Otherwise, the design seems to be a hybrid of a simply constructed trail shoe with a somewhat traditional marathon racing shoe in terms of geometry and stack height.

Materials & Construction

Mizuno Hayate

The Hayate seems to be constructed with quality materials throughout.  The mesh upper is simple and durable (still looks brand new), the shoe is comfortable sock-less, and the outsole appears to be holding up very well after 50+ miles of use.  I always wish that companies would not skimp on forefoot rubber and Mizuno does a decent job here. However, it is the thinnest of all the areas on the shoe (excluding the lugs) and they even have a few cutouts right in the forefoot (I presume for added flexibility) that make it feel even thinner in those spots.

I’m unfamiliar with Mizuno’s different types of midsole materials, but they use an eva compound called U4ic that is supposed to be 30% lighter than their more standard AP+ compound.  This sounds very similar to New Balance’s ubiquitous RevLite midsole, and honestly, seems somewhat similar.  Light and flexible, but not very dense and packs out somewhat quicker than traditional EVA.

Fit

Mizuno Hayate on Foot

The fit of the Hayate is fairly average in nearly every way.  I find it average width, volume and security.  It doesn’t stand out in any one way fit-wise, negative or positive.  I’d like it to be more secure in the midfoot and heel, but it’s still just secure enough to be sufficient.  The heel counter is one that I do notice on steep uphills (over 25% grade).  I would guess part of that is the wider heel fit and part the height and stiffness of the counter.  Overall the fit is not problematic, but could be improved with more security and a better heel fit.

Ride

Mizuno Hayate sole

Outsole.  Good overall tread pattern and it is holding up well (again, black rubber is good!)

The Hayate rides quite nice…on smooth, hardpack trails, or even on pavement (but to a lesser degree).  It runs actually quite similar to the North Face Ultra Trail that I reviewed back in May: nice on smooth trail and somewhat responsive for a trail shoe on roads.  The Hayate does better than the Ultra Trail on more technical and windy single track, but still, like the NFUT, lacks the forefoot protection that I would expect from a shoe in the 9 oz range.  If I am going to put up with the 9mm drop and heavier weight, I expect more rock protection than that of a 7 oz racing flat.  I really don’t understand this trend. It seems like many manufactures are making these 9 oz shoes as their racing models and, therefore, they expect the consumer is not looking for protection, but rather a shoe that, while still having a somewhat traditional geometry, feels lower, lighter and more responsive. For me, coming at it from a minimalist perspective, the Hayate is heavy enough to be a long run shoe, but doesn’t offer the forefoot protection for rocky trails.  This is somewhat frustrating as it is otherwise a good shoe. The lack of adequate rock protection probably prevents many from trying the shoe who otherwise might.

Overall Impressions

My quandary about the lack of forefoot protection leads back to the explanation of my title: A Decent, But Mis-matched Trail Shoe. The shoe seems to be mismatched from the forefoot to the heel.  The forefoot feels low and responsive like a racing flat, but the heel feels like a pretty substantial, nearly traditional shoe (especially with the inclusion of the wave plate).  Mizuno did well in not flaring the heel much, which helps the stability on more technical trail, but it still does not match the light and flexible forefoot. Either this shoe needs more forefoot protection to be able to be a responsive all-around trail shoe or needs to be lightened up a bit (i.e. drop heel stack and ditch the wave plate) to run more like a racing shoe.  As it is, it just sits in a weird spot for me and doesn’t deliver what I’m looking for in a 9 oz trail shoe.

For many who are used to running in traditional shoes (with 12mm drop, like the Kazan for ex.) then the Hayate will likely fit the role as a more speedy option for short runs while not having to go too minimal with the heel to toe drop.  For those used to a lower drop trail shoe (such as Nike Kiger/Wildhorse, Brooks PureGrit, or inov-8 Trailrocs for example) you’ll be scratching you head because all of those shoes offer more protection (and cushion in many cases) than the Hayate, and are typically as light or lighter.

Like I hinted at in the opening of the review, I think the Mizuno Wave Kazan might be the better of the two trail shoes from Mizuno. Even though the 12mm drop is less appealing to me, it’s likely a more complete shoe and would work better as a long run trail shoe than the Hayate. Unfortunately the Hayate straddles the fence too much between long run shoe and speedier racing shoe and doesn’t end up doing either well enough in today’s market to stand out.

Purchasing Options

The Mizuno Hayate is available for purchase at Running Warehouse,  Zappos and Amazon. Outside the US it can be purchased from Wiggle. Purchases made via these links provide a small commission to Runblogger help to support the production of reviews like this one – thanks!

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