Shoe of the Week: Mizuno Wave Enigma 5

The Enigma 5 is a premium-level cushioned trainer with a softer, smoother feel than previous editions.

The Enigma 5 is a premium-level cushioned trainer that has been nicely improved.
The Enigma 5 is a premium-level cushioned trainer that has been nicely improved.

Mizuno has overhauled a lot of their shoes in the past few years and the Enigma 5 is one of the recent upgrades that got strong reviews from our wear-test team. They’ve taken their premium-level, robustly cushioned neutral high-mileage trainer and made it slightly lighter, better cushioned and more shock absorbent. What’s not to like, right? The biggest change is a new foam cushioning chassis that Mizuno calls its u4ic-X (pronounced “Euphoric-x”) midsole unit. Combined with Mizuno’s uniquely sculpted plastic Wave insert between two layers of foam, the new midsole is more responsive and softer and serves up a smoother ride than previous editions that were more firm and seemed to have a bit of an awkward transition. Our wear-testers raved about the secure, snugged-down fit (aided by the ridiculously soft, plush interior), the softer, airy mesh upper (strap-free in the forefoot) and the consistent heel-toe transition of this shoe.

We found it to be a durable high-mileage fiend, one that’s great for larger runners who need more support, cushioning and structure under their feet. It not quite as high off the ground as some other maximally cushioned shoes on the market, but there is a good amount of material between the foot and the ground. Still, it’s not a heavy clunker—despite having a more traditional heel-toe offset of 12mm. It’s fairly light for what it is (10.9 oz. for a men’s 9.0) and it has just enough energetic pep to make it feel even lighter. It doesn’t have a lot of giddy-up under the hood, but it has at least a couple of gears so it’s not relegated only to long, slow runs. “This could be my go-to shoe for longer marathon training runs,” said wear-tester John Tolbert. “What I like most about it is that it’s just consistent. Good cushioning and nice ride from the first mile to the last.”

This is the shoe for you if: … You’re looking for a sturdy, well-cushioned shoe for longer, moderately paced training runs and slower recovery runs on hard surfaces.

Price: $150
Weights: 10.9 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 8.8 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-toe offset: 12mm; 25mm (heel), 13mm (forefoot)

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