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Since its foundation more than a century ago, Mizuno has been a major player in the industry of sports equipment and apparel. In terms of footwear, it has always been focused on specific sports like running, golf, volleyball, etc. However, in summer 2019, it made its first breakthrough into the field of cross-training footwear with the TC-01 and TC-02 models.
In the creation of these shoes, the brand consulted 11 professional coaches to find out which physical characteristic of an athlete is most important. They learned that the paramount skill across 15 different sports was balance.
To help sportspersons develop and maintain this asset, the Mizuno TC shoes were equipped with the C.O.B. (“Center Of Balance”) technology. Placed in the sole unit, it is meant to give the wearer’s foot better feedback from the ground, thus improving their entire body awareness.
Flat outsole for stability. Checking the bottom of the shoe, you won’t find any aggressive lugs. Contrariwise, it has a nearly flat rubber outsole which helps to receive better feedback from the surface. And that means better balance. The problem with thick treads is that they create extra padding between the foot and the ground which considerably decreases underfoot sensitivity. In turn, the shoe’s flat outsole helps the foot react faster during agile movements and feel more sure-footed when it comes to lifting weights.
Adhesion to gym floors. The TC-01 compensates for the absence of rubber lugs with the use of textured rubber and a geometrical outsole pattern. These features eliminate the unwanted slipping and sliding on smooth surfaces.
Research-backed Center of Balance. Although this part of Mizuno TC-01 is hidden from the eye, it is the shoe’s highlight technology. Made up of numerous responsive pods placed under the foot, this component instantly transmits information between the foot and the ground. That way, it aims to improve sensitivity and body awareness to help the wearer achieve a better sense of balance throughout the workout.
Mizuno has taken this patent-pending C.O.B. technology through a 6-week study to demonstrate its impact on the wearer's performance. The research involved several athletes training in the shoe for 6 weeks and then doing a workout in a lab setting. According to the brand, the results showed that these athletes improved their balance skills and had a faster reaction.
A bit of cushioning. A thin layer of polyurethane is placed on top of the C.O.B.pods. This soft unit was added to protect the foot against impact without hindering underfoot sensitivity. It also has a flexible nature to promote freedom of movement.
4-mm drop. The foot can achieve better balance when it’s placed flat on the ground. That’s why the TC-01 employs a heel-to-toe differential of 4 mm, similarly to most CrossFit trainers. It helps the wearer feel more sure-footed during dynamic multi-directional movements.
Embracing booty construction. Sliding the foot inside the shoe, you will notice a soft fit offered by the booty design. It has a padded collar and no separate tongue to keep the footwear securely around the ankle. Internal straps have been added inside the shoe to further lock down the midfoot. Additionally, the lace-up closure with an extra pair of eyelets can be used to regulate the fit.
3D foothold with the knit. On the outside, the Mizuno TC-01 is covered by a soft knit fabric. It is engineered to give a compression fit in the right spots and yet stretch and loosen where needed. The knit has larger pores on top of the toe box to let the air go in and out of the foot chamber.
Both of these shoes made the brand’s debut in the cross-training arena. They were also the first ones to introduce Mizuno’s proprietary C.O.B. technology. That’s why these shoes are both constructed with balance and stability in mind and feature the same platform.
The difference primarily lies in the upper design: the TC-01 employs knit, while the TC-02 uses a hotmelt mesh upper. The TC-02 also comes at a more affordance price tag of $100.