Review: Nike Air Zoom Structure vs Mizuno Wave Paradox

I

think I’ve found the perfect fit. But they’re not with the ones I’ve been running on for four years. This is not a technical review. This is a purely experience-based, unbiased shoe review.

My very first pair was Asics Gel Kayano but our relationship didn’t last very long. We just didn’t fit, literally. After consulting a podiatrist I discovered that I over-pronate, bought Nike’s Lunar Glide, put expensive soles on them and ran my first marathon.

The friendly staff at Run2Day Rotterdam helped me buy my next pair, Nike’s Air Zoom Structure. I thought I’vefound the perfect fit so I stick with the same model for 4 years, running 4 marathons on them.

Pretty running shoes

The Air Zoom Structure are pretty and which every new model that Nike releases yearly, the colour combination are becoming more irresistible. The husband recently bought a luscious pair in orange, salmon and navy blue palette. They were so pretty but very in-demand so he had them ordered straight from the Nike’s warehouse.

As for me, my favourite pair was the pink/white model 18 with a tinge of blue on the side. I trained two marathons on them but never used it to run any race. However I used them regularly on casual days.

I was satisfied with the Air Zoom Structure until a persistent IT Band syndrome led me to try another pair.

Ugliest pair ever

You don’t buy the Mizuno Wave Paradox 5 for its look. Definitely not. This pair are my ugliest shoes, ever! But the reviews on the Wave Paradox were positive so I bought it online on a whim.

First, I had buyer’s regret. In addition to its unsightly looks, the shoes felt tight on top of my feet, the tongue is short, the laces are short and they’re heavy. I even considered returning them.

Until I discovered that I haven’t been using them properly. I didn’t lace the shoestrings to the last eyelets. When I did, the Mizuno’s felt like a completely different shoes.

So far I’ve ran 300 kilometers on the Mizuno Wave Paradox 5.

The difference

Whereas on my Nike Air Zoom Structure 20, I’ve racked up 720 kilometers on them, including the Zeeland Kustmarathon. So it may be a little unfair to my Air Zoom Structure to make this comparison.

But after a 43km run where I ended up limping to the car with a knee pain that prompted me to stop running for one week, I think my Air Zoom Structure gave up on me. At one point, I could my feet were rolling inward too much that I thought the sides were touching the ground. It also felt like I was running barefoot. Perhaps because of the uneven terrain (beach, soft ground) or because they’re worn out but they lack the support and stability they used to provide my feet.

Two weeks after that, I ran 40km on the Wave Paradox 5. The training went very well and surprisingly I didn’t have any pain afterwards. So I’m convinced that the shoes made a difference.

When do you lose the support and stability of an Air Zoom Structure anyway? If 700 kilometers is the turning point, I think that’s a little short for such an expensive shoes.

To be fair, a pair of Mizuno Wave Paradox costs €160 compared to the Air Zoom Structure, which sells at €120. Maybe a €40 difference in price does make a difference in performance. The Wave Paradox is high, I’m a few centimetres taller when I put them on. They felt more solid compare to any Nike shoes I’ve tried before.

Conclusion

I’m a loyal Nike client but running on the Mizuno’s, I realized that my Nike’s are more of pretty shoes than performance shoes. I’m not saying that they don’t provide support and stability like advertised but the Mizuno’s are better especially when you’re pounding the pavement for ultra-marathon distances.

I just wish that the Japanese would come up with prettier colours. But sometimes you can’t have it all.

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