Ready To Race: 2012 Racing Flat Review

Top: Mizuno Wave Ronin 4; Bottom: adidas adizero Hagio. Photo: Scott Draper/Competitor

MIZUNO WAVE RONIN 4, $105

men’s: 7.0 oz. \ women’s: 6.0 oz.

Feel the road in this slipper-like neutral shoe that’s light, fast, bouncy and smooth. The G3 sole really grips the road, making it the perfect flat for wet, slick conditions. For those accustomed to cushioned or supportive trainers, it will take a few workouts to get used to the firmer, functional cushioning these flats provide, but that’s the price of speed. It has a moderate heel-toe drop (10mm), which means it’s a good option for runners not ready to jump into more minimally designed shoes. It has enough cushioning to be a marathon shoe for more advanced runners, but most runners will find the sweet spot in the 10K to half-marathon range. www.mizuno.com

ADIDAS ADIZERO HAGIO, $90

men’s: 6.0 oz. \ women’s: 5.0 oz.

Light and low to the ground, the Hagio offers a firm, fast feel that is ideal for 5K or 10K racing, track workouts and up-tempo training. Its super-thin, flexible upper wraps the foot like a glove while offering a lot in the way of freedom and ventilation. The Hagio features a secure heel fit and provides a very snug midfoot wrap, but offers a generous toebox that is amazingly accommodating for a variety of foot types. It has minimal heel-toe drop (5mm), which is ideal for runners with efficient form, midfoot to forefoot foot strikes and a quick cadence. Overpronators beware: The Hagio offers nothing in the way of additional arch support. www.adidas.com

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