First Impressions – Mizuno Wave EVO Cursoris and Levitas

Approximately 2 weeks ago I took delivery of the Mizuno Wave EVO Cursoris and the Mizuno Wave EVO Levitas, the latest offerings from Mizuno, designed to encourage a mid-foot or forefoot strike, with zero drop between the heel and toe. There’s no disputing that the shoes had an immediate impact. I had an idea of what to expect from web searches but I don’t think I was adequately prepared for seeing them ‘in the flesh’ – They are ‘colourful’!

Aesthetically, the Cursoris fare better where I am concerned. Orange happens to be one of my favourite colours and, as such, I will admit to loving the vibrant orange of the shoe. The purple of the Levitas was admittedly less to my liking, bordering on the edge of ‘acceptable’ in terms of my preferred colour schemes. However, I have grown more used to the purple and my colour reservations were helped along the way by two young cousins who described them as ‘cool’. (Writing that, I just feel so old for some reason!). Regardless, at the end of the day, aesthetics don’t factor into the equation when it comes to the performance of the shoe.

When it comes to actual use, the Cursoris were the first to be tested, initially with a short treadmill session and then again, on an 8 mile trail run. I am fully aware that the shoe is intended for pavement but wanted to test the Cursoris to see how they fared in off-road conditions. It was a beautiful frosty morning, slightly wet underfoot from rain and melting snow, with minimal mud en route.

Despite the lack of a trail specific sole, they actually fared well. They don’t offer much in the way of support, something that I noticed when a stray rock presented itself underfoot, trying its best to turn my ankle, but then, as I said previously, they really are intended as a road shoe. With 12mm cushioning, you don’t notice much underfoot – other than occasional stray rocks! Would I use them off road again? Probably, but only in similarly favourable conditions. Given the sole, I don’t think it would cope overly well with muddy conditions and/or tougher terrain than the former railway line, the Formartine & Buchan Way, that I often train on.

The Levitas have 8mm cushioning, and are touted as more of a race shoe. They have considerably more support around the heel, no doubt to increase stability while racing. So far I have only tested these on the treadmill (honestly nothing to do with my earlier gripe about the colour!) on a few shorter length runs.

At this point in time, the Cursoris is my firm favourite out of the two (still nothing to do with the colour!). The fit and feel of the shoe is just that bit more forgiving and I prefer the ‘slipper like’ comfort afforded by the shoe. However, this may well change over the weeks as I try to give both shoes a thorough test. Keep reading the posts as I test the shoes out.

There’s an excellent, very thorough review of the Cursoris and the Levitas by Fred Brossard over at the Runblogger website. Fred captures the essence of the shoes in his review:

“Mizuno’s designers have obviously read and studied the ‘What should a real minimalist shoe feature?’ theories that flourish on the web. In their first minimalist offerings, they very seriously tried to respect 5 key principles of minimalist shoe design: zero-drop, wide toebox, minimal structure, light cushioning, and flexibility under the metatarsals which leads to two quite different shoes: the Levitas is a real racer, and the Cursoris is great for smooth, easy runs.”

Shoe Summary

Cursoris

  • Still retaining underfoot cushioning for protection
  • Lightweight, breathable overlay
  • Wave technology in midfoot provides impact protection upon footstrike

Levitas

  • Lowest shoe, bringing the runner closer to the ground
  • Open mesh upper, breathable and lightweight
  • Low number of overlays to reduce possible abrasions on the foot while still holding it securely in place

See what the rest of the UK Test Team have to say about the EVOs: