I am a big advocate when it comes to having an extensive collection of trail running shoes at your disposal for all different kinds of terrain, but when it comes to road races, I only use one shoe, the Mizuno Wave Hitogami 4.
This shoe offers everything required for a reliable road running shoe. It is light, comfortable, and incredibly durable. This is the shoe I use when I run on asphalt, the track, or the dreaded treadmill. I have used this shoe in races ranging from 5ks to half-marathons.
The Mizuno Wave Hitogami 4
|Weight||7.8oz or 221 grams|
|Heel to toe Drop||9mm|
The Hitogami 4 is the 4th edition of the Hitogami line and my second shoe experience from this line. The shoe has kept its minimal design, excellent traction, and supreme comfort. I prefer minimal shoes when running short distances and this shoe offers simplicity and responsiveness I need.
I tried the original Hitogami 4 first and thoroughly enjoyed it, so when the new edition came out, I jumped at the opportunity. The 3rd and 4th editions are both amazing road running shoes, but I do prefer the 4th edition.
The shoe does have some tiny flaws that I would like to outline, but they are insignificant in comparison to the remarkable features the shoe offers. I have two pairs of this shoe: one for training and one for racing.
When I first received my pair of Hitogamis, I was immediately impressed with the overall look of the shoe, especially the color schemes they chose. The shoe has a distinct design specific to all Mizuno shoes and remains stylish.
I am a big fan of the colors used in this shoe. The grey contrasts nicely with the bright green without being too over the top. The other color offered for this shoe is “Clownfish Black” which is simply orange and black.
The Hitogami runs true to size and offers a very secure fit. I have had no issues with my foot-sliding forward when running. It’s always a relief when the shoe runs true to size.
Snug secure fit
In my experience, road running shoes usually require less of a break in period than typical trail running shoes. The Hitogamis are comfortable from the start to end but do not offer much protection due to the minimal padding.
The Hitogami’s upper is comprised of Airmesh, which is very flexible with good breathability and will remain comfortable for the duration of the run. For these reasons, this material remains Mizuno’s go-to fabric for running shoes.
Mizuno has developed a shoe technology called Dynamotion fit, which aims to simulate the natural fluid motion of the foot throughout the shoe. This keeps the shoe secure to the foot as it flexes and extends.
Inwards lateral side
This technology also features flex eyelets for the laces, which I have noticed helps keep my heel in place while letting the rest of my foot move around.
Due to this AIRmesh region of the shoe I have not had a problem rubbing, pinching, or blistering.
The heel of the shoe is also compromised by the Airmesh and is very comfortable. It does a good job in preventing my heel from sliding up or forward.
The collar and heel area of the shoe
While it is still very minimal, the area around the heel has 21mm of cushion to prevent any discomfort while running. I am always looking for the perfect balance between minimal and comfortable, which this shoe succeeds in.
The tongue of the shoe is a mesh substance that I find to be sufficiently long, soft, and accommodating to the foot. One feature I have grown to appreciate is the padded tongue, which offers more comfort for longer runs. Impressively the tongue of the shoe stays in place while running.
Supportive shoe tongue
One of the main reasons I decided to try the Mizuno line of shoes was for the highly touted Wave Technology used in the midsole.
This is a black thermal piece of plastic that starts at the heel of the shoe and runs along to the forefront to help with cushioning in each step. This technology is supposed to decrease impact, as well as offer excellent support, and help improve motion.
Wave technology on display
The Hitogami utilizes a “Smooth Ride Technology,” which contains flex grooves in the heel and forefoot of your foot, which can be beneficial if you suffer from heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Flex grooves are notches put into the midsole to help the shoe bend with the foot and help provide maximum comfort by decreasing rubbing or resistance.
A “U4ic” foam midsole, which is specific to all Mizuno running shoes, helps disperse energy from impact and improves the ride of the shoe.
The lightweight nature of the midsole does not take away from its durability or comfort. From heel to toe the U4ic midsole offers stellar shock absorption which helps keeps the foot moving forward at all times.
The Hitogami’s outsole is comprised of blown-rubber for the forefoot and X-10 rubber for the heel.
Blown rubber is simply a hybrid rubber compound comprised of rubber and air, which gives you a lightweight outsole that has a decent cushion. X-10 rubber is the Mizuno brand name for their outsole, which is comprised of the most durable carbon rubber.
Blown rubber and X-10 rubber outsole
Another feature of the outsole is the use of Mizuno's G3 technology, which is a performance outsole component that enhances traction where needed most.
I use this shoe for road running and have never had a problem with traction while running on concrete. I have been very impressed with the G3 technology’s traction and durability.
I only use the Hitogamis for road races as it offers everything I am looking for: comfort, responsiveness, and lightness. However, for long training runs (10+ miles) I will use a shoe that offers more cushion.
I have ventured into trying this shoe on gravel roads and even on the trails. The shoe held up well while running on gravel; however, I can not say the same for trails due to it smooth traction, which is not surprising as it was designed to be used as a road shoe.
I will continue to use this shoe for any road runs less than a half marathon. For any run longer than a half marathon, I need a little more cushion to protect my feet.
10k road race in the Hitogamis
The upper of the shoe has been reinforced with a carbon rubber outsole, which has proven to be highly durable and maintains its comfort while on long runs. I have two pairs of Hitogamis, both of which have ran at least 100 miles.
Only one pair has shown some wear and tear in the fabric of the upper outside forefront of the shoe. Other than the small tears forming in the shoe, I have found the shoe to be very durable and show minimal signs of damage.
Small tear in the upper
- High drop
- Minimal cushioning
- Narrow fit
My first pair of Mizuno shoes did not disappoint, and I am elated that I have discovered this shoe and brand. I recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a lightweight road shoe that offers comfort and speed. This is a lightweight race ready shoe that is an affordable option compared to other pricey lightweight trainers.
I have used this shoe for over a year and will continue to use it for all road races that are up to a half marathon. Though this shoe has a 9mm drop, I still feel the shoe is fast and agile, while keeping its comfort.
Mizuno has done a superb job at creating a great race day shoe that is fast, responsive, and lightweight but offers excellent stability features. I am happy to have found my road racing shoe for many years to come.
- The Mizuno Wave Hitogami 4 is a road running shoe that’s meant for those who have neutral pronation. Its façade doesn’t look any different from its predecessor, but the evolution is in the components. The stitched overlays are still in the same position as the previous iteration’s and the Mizuno logo still graces the medial and lateral sections of the upper. The mesh material has a more robust construction, yet it remains breathable.
- The designers of this shoe didn’t want to make too much of a change when it comes to the mid-sole of this running shoe, but they improved the U4ic compound to be more responsive. Additional springiness and shock absorption is given by the Wave unit that goes from the heel to the mid-foot area.
- Durable rubber is used for the outsole unit of the Mizuno Wave Hitogami 4. It protects the rest of the mid-sole from the potentially abrasive nature of the roads. It is also the one responsible for traction. A network of grooves makes the platform more agreeable to the natural movements of the foot as it transitions through the gait cycle.
Standard sizing schemes were used during the conception of the Mizuno Wave Hitogami 4. It adheres to the regular preferences of runners, in terms of size. The available width for both the men and women’s versions is medium. This running shoe follows the natural curve of the human foot, as well, because it has a semi-curved shape.
X10 is a high-quality compound that’s made from carbon rubber. It basically shields the mid-sole foam from wear and tear. It also provides traction, which is important when it comes to attaining surface control. This material is very common in some Mizuno shoes like the Wave Creation 20 and Wave Inspire 15.
Grip and pliability are heightened by the G3 Sole design, a rubber dot pattern in the forefoot area. They’re akin to the patterns of rubber tires that help in holding the ground.
The U4ic is a lightweight foam material that’s responsible for delivering responsive cushioning to the foot of the wearer. It has been engineered to have a springier ride, thus giving a more energized underfoot experience.
The Mizuno Wave is placed in the rear section of the platform and it runs from the mid-foot to the heel. This elastic unit is made from thermal plastic. Its purpose is to provide additional cushioning and springiness to the running experience.
The SmoothRide system is made up of a network of grooves that make the platform more flexible. They’re placed in a gender-specific manner, so runners are able to move more surely and accordingly.
AIRmesh is a breathable material that serves as the main upper fabric of the Mizuno Wave Hitogami 4. It is more tightly woven than the mesh used for the Hitogami 3, which makes it more robust. But it doesn’t sacrifice airflow.
Stitched overlays are placed in the forefoot and mid-foot sections. They provide structure to the upper unit, while also giving security to the foot. The Mizuno logo on the lateral and medial sections assist the upper fabrics in hugging the foot in a snug wrap.
The Dynamotion Fit technology makes use of a stretchable material in the front section of the upper, as well as a well-rounded collar construction. This system adapts to the shape and motion of the foot, evoking a responsiveness that’s akin to wearing a second skin. It also prevents the runner from wobbling in the shoe during the running session.
Size and fit
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