Mizuno Wave Hitogami Review Facts
Feel like a god in Mizuno’s Wave Hitogami. Named after the Human Gods of Japanese Kabuki Theatre, Mizuno’s Wave Hitogami shoes promise an ultra-lightweight running experience to keep runners feeling fast! The Hitogami line replaces both Mizuno’s Wave Musha and Wave Ronin road-racing flats, both successful shoe lines for Mizuno. Skeptical fans initially felt as though they lost yet another line of beloved running shoes. Thankfully, Mizuno had combined the best features of the two. The Hitogami keeps both the Musha’s broad support and the Ronin’s light, energy-efficient features, offering the best of both worlds in one do-it-all shoe. The Hitogami provides runners increased cushioning and support over previous versions without adding a ton of extra weight. These shoes are designed for runners who want a fast shoe that does not skimp on comfort. With its less than average drop and relatively lightweight, some consider the Hitogami minimalist in nature, although it may be a stretch to do so when compared to shoes squarely within that category. This may be a reasonable choice for runners looking to venture into the minimalist world without serious worries about decreased support.
The outsole is made of a blown rubber forefoot and X-10 carbon rubber in the heel. The X-10 material is known for its durability and traction control during a heel strike. The Hitogami also features Mizuno’s G3 outsole technology known for enhancing traction while keeping things flexible and lightweight.
Mizuno is widely known for their Wave Technology
used in the midsoles of their shoes. This technology, in the arch/rearfoot area, provides cushioning
, stability and support for lateral and medial movements while also efficiently dissipating impact forces.
The Hitogami utilizes Mizuno’s own Smooth Ride Technology which consists of Flex Grooves in the heel and forefoot, a U4ic foam midsole as well as the Flex Controllers. The U4ic midsole is light-weight (30% lighter), durable shock absorption and enhanced energy feedback. The precisely placed Flex Grooves keep the foot rocking forward through the landing, while the U4ic midsole provides a well-timed energetic push. Together, these technology features create a smooth rocking chair-like movement from heel-to-toe.
The Hitogami’s upper uses a technology that Mizuno calls its Dynamotion Fit. The technology enables the shoe to move with the same natural, fluid movement the foot does, working with it instead of constricting or obstructing. This technology has Flex Eyelets that keep the heel in place while the rest of the upper region flexes and stretches with the movement of the foot. The mesh region is designed to gently hug the foot, keeping it in place without pinching, rubbing or sliding.
The upper consists of flexible AIRmesh and smooth, welded overlays/wraps that keep the shoe highly breathable and light. The Hitogami also features Mizuno’s standard sockliner for additional comfort, braided laces that are designed stay tied, and a padded tongue.
For the men's version, the Hitogami weighs 7.6 ounces, while the women's version is 6.3 ounces. The new, 30% lighter U4ic midsole contributes to the relatively light weight
of the shoe. Notably, much of the weight is most likely due to the Mizuno Wave plate in the heel of the shoe. Speaking of relative weight, some runners have noted that the speed of the shoes most likely extends to marathon
speed, rather than shorter distance speed.
Runners stated that the AIRmesh upper provides excellent airflow and keeps feet cool, dry and blister/chafe-free.
Many have reported a great fit, right out of the box, with little to no break in period required. Several runners noted that the Hitogami made them feel as though they were running naked
. True to the Mizuno Dynamotion promise, runners generally reported that these shoes felt natural, with no bunching, blistering
or chafing. The heel collar also does a good job of locking down the heel resulting in less slippage. Although, some runners said that the laces do not seem to stay tied even when double knotted, which can be a tripping hazard.
Fit, especially in running shoes, can be a tricky thing. In many reviews, runners rate the shoes as true to size in both length and width, with a fitted, but comfortable midfoot and snug-to-roomy toe-box. Others, however, have commented on the shoe’s narrowness. There are pictures available of just how narrow the shoes were when compared with other same-sized, but comfortable shoes these runners had in their arsenal. This tended to be true more so for the women’s version of the shoe.
In a time when flashy shoes
seem to get all the attention, Mizuno takes a different approach with the Hitogami. The shoe colors and overall design may seem a bit modest compared to others, but this line has a unique conversation-starting design. Harkening to its Kabuki-inspired name, these shoes look just like a Japanese theater mask when the shoes are placed side by side with the tops facing inward.
White shoes are often a non-starter for runners who like to keep the sharp, clean look of new shoes, but the kabuki-themed design of these shoes manages to make even the dingiest shoes look stylish.
Runners have noted some concerns about the overall durability of the shoe, specifically wear in the forefoot midsole and outsole regions. These were not enough to discontinue use of the shoe. The concerns also did not necessarily translate to problems during use. Overall, runners found the Wave Hitogami to be relatively durable for high-mileage and the shoe did not show any significant signs of wear outside of the noted concerns.
The Wave Hitogami provide adequate protection for regular underfoot road-running obstacles, such as small pebbles and rocks. The lightweight upper mesh may not stand up to any sort of shear or ripping forces.
Runners report a solid ground feel. Some runners have noted that this connection, due to the U4ic foam lightweight midsole, is true as “euphoric,” as the name boasts. Others referred to the cushioning as being just right, “snappy,” not squishy. Shoe squishiness results in lost energy when runners need it most. In terms of your run, this means that the Hitogami provides runners with great energy return and the increased energy efficiency
so important during a long run.
The Hitogami is a supportive shoe appropriate for mid-to-long distance
running. Runners have reported the shoe as providing a surprising amount of cushion for its weight. Mizuno’s Wave Technology, extending into the arch of the shoe, provides a dash of arch support
. Mizuno created the Hitogami to have more cushioning than the Musha or Ronin. The enhanced support is due to its enhanced U4ic midsole. The midfoot wraps provide not only an aesthetic design element but also keeps feet from shifting inside the shoe, preventing toe injury.
The Hitogami is a road running shoe, although can also be used for crushed gravel. Runners repeatedly reported a smooth road running feel. In fact, runners who have tried them on both trails
and cement noted that a harder surface is where these shoes truly shine.
The Wave Hitogami is priced significantly lower than your average pair of running shoes, making them a more affordable
, cost-effective option for runners with any sized shoe budget. Their many features (talking-point aesthetics, race-ready feel, supportive technology) also make these shoes quite a deal. It’s great to see a major shoe brand targeting shoes at this price point.
Despite the traction X-10 and blown rubber traction control features, some runners have noted problems running on wet-surfaces and reported some issues with slipping and sliding.
The Hitogami is a rather flexible shoe in the midsole stack, despite the Wave plate in the heel to arch. The Flex Grooves ensure that the shoes can be bent and twisted in your hands in nearly every conceivable direction. Mizuno’s Dynamotion upper comes through again, with the shoe following along with runner’s natural stride movement during the run.
The Mizuno Wave Hitogami is made for neutral runners. It provides some stability, but not enough for runners who need guidance to correct their under or overpronation.
The Hitogami have an approximately 9mm heel-toe drop, the same as both the Ronin and Musha lines that it replaces. The men’s shoe profile goes from 27.7 in the heel to 18.3 in the forefoot. The women’s shoe has a 25.66mm feel to a 17.1mm forefoot. With a slightly less than average heel drop, this shoe may help runners interested in learning and maintain a mid-to-forefoot strike.
Key Features of the Mizuno Wave Hitogami
Key Features of the Mizuno Wave Hitogami
• G3 forefoot outsole rubber and X-10 carbon rubber heel for traction control
• SmoothRide Engineering
• Dynamotion Fi technology in AIRmesh upper
• U4ic responsive midsole
• Wave plate technology
• Hitogami mask detail when shoes are turned on their side
• Approximately 9mm drop
The Mizuno Wave Hitogami is a cost-effective option for runners looking for a neutral, race-ready running shoe that does not skimp on support. It has an understated look, but a conversation-starting design. It is a solid choice for any middle or long distance runner.