Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Last Ronin

I bought my last pair of Ronins this week, the Mizuno Wave Ronin 5. I wrote about this shoe in my post on the Hitogami. This is a shoe that a lot of runners aren't familiar with, but it's been my favorite for the last few years. I'll miss it, but I do like the Hotogami which will be replacing it.
The Ronin has been an all occasion shoe for me. I use it to train in most days and also race in. There's really nothing special about the shoe, I just liked it. This pair should last me 6 months or so then I'll move on to another shoe.
I never ran in the original Ronin. The Ronin 2 pictured above is the first one I tried. I liked everything about this shoe. It's still my favorite Ronin for multiple reasons. This shoe was wider than the rest of the Ronins. Most lightweight shoes are narrow and don't fit my wide foot well. The Ronin had an outsole that griped different surfaces well. It didn't look like it would hold up well, but it did. I don't think I ever got less than 400 miles out of Ronins and had one pair go over 600 miles.

From left to right in the picture above is the Ronin 2, 3, 4, and 5. The Ronin 2 was my favorite. I liked the fit and feel and even liked the yellow. I wanted to like the Ronin 3. I live in Baltimore and this shoe is black and orange, Oriole colors. For some reason, I didn't like the shoe as much. It felt too tight in the forefoot. I liked the Ronin 4 much more than the 3 despite its looks. The shoe felt great. The Ronin 5 is very similar to the 4. I don't feel quite as secure in the shoe. I prefer the lacing on the 4 better than the 5.
Speaking of lacing, the Ronins always had sparkly laces. I'm not sure why, but people always comented on them. The laces on the Ronin 4 and the Ronin 5 were way too long for my taste. I don't double knot my shoes and these sometimes drag the ground.
After the Ronin 2, the Ronin 4 was my favorite. I thought this was a good durable training and racing shoe. I hated the way it looked. To me it was like wearing a pair of rental bowling shoes. The white on the side is a plastic section that was supposed to look like leather. It looked cheap to me, but was still comfortable.

Mizuno changed the bottom of the shoe also. The Ronin 4 and 5 had flex controllers. I never noticed them one way or another, but I heard some runners say they didn't like them. It seemed like the rubber on the 4 and 5 was also harder. I wish the outsoles were made of slightly softer rubber. The shoe was very durable. I would have been willing to sacrifice a little bit of that durability for better grip.
I know runners that stock up on a shoe they really like. I like and will miss the Ronin, but I'm not stockpiling any. I'm sure I'll like the replacement, or find something else I like.  Mizuno will have the Hitogami. Asics is bringing back the Hyperspeed. I like trying new shoes anyway. This will give me an excuse to try a few new pairs.


  1. Hey MDMatt!

    We may have crossed paths a bit on various forums, but would you shoot me a quick e-mail, would love to chat a bit.


  2. Hi MDMatt

    are all of your ronins the same size ?


  3. No they are different sizes. I wore a 9 in the Ronin 2, 9.5 in the Ronin 3, 9.5 in the Ronin 4, and I have a 9 and a 9.5 in the Ronin 5. The Ronin 4 and 5 are very close, but feel a little different to me. They have different uppers and also different lacing patterns. This could have something to do with it. The Ronin 2 was wider than subsequent versions. I remember when the Ronin 3 came out, the said it had an "improved fit". They meant narrower. This was not an improvement to me. But yes, the sizing was different to me in each version.