I am well aware that I have a tendency toward verbosity (see: wordiness) particularly when it comes to running shoes. Today I’m going to be reviewing the Wave Hitogami 2 from Mizuno Running and I have a feeling that this will set some sort of weird record for the shortest running shoe in Gearist history. This isn’t a bad thing and it’s certainly not me getting lazy. Instead, Mizuno has gone down the “if it a’int broke, don’t fix it” road in the second edition of this shoe for the majority of its features. Now, with all that pretext, I’ll be referring to our Hitogami 1 review quite a bit so, if you’d like to have it open in a new tab, click the image below. Let’s get to it!
The outsole of the Mizuno Hitogami 2 is one of the places were the similarities between this and version one are most apparent. That’s because they’re identical. Like, for real. Same X10 rubber, same flex grooves that don’t quite make their way to the edge of the shoe and so on. So, in lieu of me trying to say something new, go ahead and click that tab you opened earlier to our review of the original Hitogami. Or, you can just crack open a beer and move on to the midsole section.
As above, the midsole of the Hitogami 2 is the same as the Hitogami 1 with one exception. In this version of the shoe, Mizuno has added a bit more toe spring – the upward curvature at the front of most running shoes. For me, and this may delve in the ride of the shoe a bit, since I don’t toe-off very hard if at all, this addition didn’t stand out to me very much. The midsole Wave plate and smooth responsiveness remains unchanged for me and the 9mm drop which feels like much less still give this shoe a close-to-the-ground feel.
Well now, we’ve come to the upper of the Mizuno Wave Hitogami 2, by far the most updated part of this shoe from the first version!
First, the design of the upper has moved away from the Kabuki-inspired upper of the OG Hitogami to a new upper inspired by the Japanese Tengu – a mythological creature whose legend has evolved to make it a protective being in folklore but one that is still dangerous.
Now, don’t close that other tab just yet because while there are changes to this upper, they’re not so massive as to toss aside what worked in version one. The heel counter size and rigidity remains the same and forms a nice heel cup to keep things in place. The mesh of this upper is new in it’s weave but no less fine. It does seem to have a bit more give to it which I like. This mesh is marginally less airy but I didn’t feel hot or uncomfortable as a result.
The support structure of the upper which, in the first edition, was a set of bonded external overlays has been reimagined. The Mizuno logo on the side is now a stitched-on TPU piece that acts as a support running from the midsole to the bottom of the throat. Speaking of the throat (the lace eye area), it is made from a rather substantial material that is stitched on and offers a lot of durability for the eyelets. This same material also appears in the toe bumper which is larger than the Hitogami 1 – a feature which is good for those who have a propensity for kicking things and going ass over teakettle.
Still more of the support structure has been moved to the interior of the Hitogami 2 but it doesn’t compromise the comfort on the interrior although the stitching of the Mizuno logo on both the medial and lateral sides stand out enough that going barefoot may be a bit of a gamble. Moving forward, I think this could be covered with a nice and soft seam tape which would smooth the raised areas.
Yep, the ride to me is the same. Seriously. I wore the Hitogami 1 and 2 at the same time on opposing feet and in all configurations, I could not tell which was which. Since I really enjoyed the quiet response of the first edition, I’m happy to seem that in this shoe as well. This is a good everyday trainer and won’t be afraid to head out for everything from speed work to a marathon.
I said at the outset of this review that the Mizuno Wave Hitogami 2 was a great example of “if it a’int broke don’t fix it” and I stand by that. I enjoyed the first edition and this takes all the good parts of that shoe and leaves them where they are. The only possible drawback to this version is that interior seam that I mentioned in the upper section – something that sockless runners may not be super pumped about. If you liked version 1 and don’t want to mess with success – good news – you won’t be. if you’re new to the Hitogami line, I think this is a lightweight shoe that will be a very successful all-around shoe for most everyone.
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Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).