Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 :: Fifty-Mile Update Review

As promised in my first-impressions review of the Mizuno Universe 4, I'm posting this update for those who want to know how the Universe 4 handled its first few runs. More specifically, I'll address my initial concerns about the shoe's durability.
Mizuno Wave Universe 4 front and back
It's worth noting that a Mizuno representative indicated that the shoe is good for 150 to 1,200 miles. (That's not a typo. I asked) The rep knows an accomplished marathon runner who regularly wears the Universe for more than 700 miles. So, clearly, the Universe 4 will take you as far as you're comfortable wearing it.

As we observed previously, the Universe 4's outsole displayed some conspicuous wear and tear in the forefoot area after one 13-mile run. Sure, I expected some trade off in durability for lightness. But, I was surprised to see that much scuffing on the surface so soon. It's a good thing I didn't want to return them to the store.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 outsole wear after 45 miles
Mizuno Wave Universe 4 wear and tear on the outsole after 45-ish miles of running on pavement.

Well, fifty miles later, the outsole wear is similar to what we saw in my first-impression review. I suppose the softness of the lightweight foam gives way to friction very quickly at first. But, it doesn't deteriorate at a constant rate. There's just that initial wearing down.

So, my concerns about durability are not as pressing now. The upper is still in fantastic condition. And, the small, black "lugs" populating the forefoot are quite durable, barely showing any sign of wear.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 top and insole view
Mizuno Wave Universe 4 top and insole view
There are a couple of other experiences with the Mizuno Universe 4 worth mentioning at this point:
  • I experienced a hot spot in the left foot under my pinky toe after an hour of running. This occurred for the first three runs with two different kinds of socks. But, I haven't felt the blistering affect recently. So, whatever was causing the hot spot for me is probably corrected by way of a breaking-in period, or something. Besides, hot spots are probably more of a subjective thing and not necessarily due to a manufacturing defect.
  • The plastic piping (?) on the heel cup that follows the shoe laces through the midfoot is an interesting choice. I thought it'd be bothersome, because it's not a soft material like the fabric seams of most other heel cups. But, this element of the shoe hasn't bothered me thus far. It appears to hold the shoe in place around my ankles better.
    Of course, I wear socks that form a barrier between my bare ankles and the plastic material. So, someone who prefers not to wear socks might have a different experience with this black piping.

So, that's my update for you. Everything I observed about the Universe 4 during my initial run remains true after fifty miles. It's a comfortable shoe, something that's ideal for my longer runs on pavement. (I've only gone up to 13 miles at one time so far. But, I could see myself wearing this for up to three hours on asphalt without wishing for more cushioning.) The toe box has more room than any other shoe in my arsenal. And, that 3mm heel-to-toe differential really allows for some great running form.

If my observations of the Mizuno Universe 4 have helped you decide that it's the right shoe for you, then you might like to know that the good people at have lowered their price from the initially outrageous MSRP. I tell you this reluctantly, since I paid full price for my pair just so I could review the shoe for you, dear readers. But, I pay because I care. You're welcome.
Mizuno Wave Universe 4 upper view


  1. Thanks for paying the (full) price for us, Ash! ;-) And thanks for the review follow up. My MWU3's had the same wear pattern, until I used them on the Umstead single track (Company Mill to be precise). Then the soles *really* wore down quickly. Must have had something to do with all the sharp quartz gravel on the trails... Still I managed to get about 300 miles out of them before the EVA portion of the soles got uncomfortably thin.

  2. thanks for the full review. Hopefully got a pair before the end of this month. . =)



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