Due to port congestion, the Mizuno Wave Hitogami only hit our stores here last week — and how excited were we! Up until that point, only fellow Mizuno athlete Coach Ige Lopez had a pair of the racing flats that were set to replace the old Wave Musha and Wave Ronin models.
The Mizuno Wave Hitogami is the shoe Javier Gomez has been winning world championships in all year.
A “Hitogami” in Japanese means “human-god” and denotes the actors in traditional Kabuki theater who put on face paint to transform into gods. So, by extension, putting on a pair of Wave Hitogami should make one feel god-like when running ;)
Of course off I went at the earliest opportunity to snatch up a pair at the Mizuno flagship store.
Having used the Wave Sayonara for quite some time, sliding into the Mizuno Wave Hitogami felt a little strange because of the smaller heel drop (9mm heel-to-toe, versus the Sayonara’s 10mm). In the Hitogami my heels sat lower to the ground; in general I felt a little more in contact with the surface underfoot than I did with the Sayonara.
I took the shoes out for a spin that same weekend at the Next Step Triathlon Exceed Camp with a sharp 2-kilometer run off a 50-kilometer bike ride. I’d actually brought my Sayonara as well, but decided it was as good a time as any to test how the Hitogami would do in a race situation when my legs are tired from riding hard.
Let me tell you, they were beautifully light and responsive. There’s minimal structure in the forefoot, although the heel cup keeps your foot in place quite nicely. Because of the smaller heel drop, it aids runners who land midfoot (higher heel drops encourage heel striking…)
The Hitogami is a shoe that’s great for light runners with good mechanics, and for a guy like Ige Lopez who’s been training and racing in neutral shoes for years, the Hitogami is a godsend. He’s actually going to run the Osaka Marathon in them.
However, I come from using more cushioned trainers, so if I want to run longer in the Hitogami I would need to break my body in gently on them.
One place I loved using the Hitogami is on the track.
Regular training shoes always feel clunky to me on tartan track ovals. Because the tartan surface is softer than the road, my Sayonara with all its cushioning feels mushy underfoot and not very responsive. (On the road, the Sayonara is perfect.) The Hitogami is light on the feet and firm underfoot, which enables me to bang out track sets without feeling like I sink too deep into the track.
For a runner like me, I’ll be using the Sayonara during my training runs and long races, and the Hitogami on the track and potentially during very short races like sprint triathlons and 5K fun runs.
Read more about the Wave Hitogami on the Mizuno Philippines website.
Photos all taken with the Samsung Galaxy S5, available first on Globe Postpaid.