Mizuno Ronin 50 Mile Review

Have you ever had a pair of running shoes that almost seem magical?

To me the Ronin’s fit that description, because when I run in them, it seems as though I am rolling back the year’s and I am running faster in these shoes than I have for at least 20 years.

Okay – it might have something to do with running more consistently and having a different mindset than I have had in those 20 years. But the Ronin 4’s are playing a part in my speed work being done at a higher quality and allowing me to focus on the run, instead of how my feet are feeling.

After running 50 miles in the Ronin 4’s (with most of it either being racing or speed work), they are becoming a VERY special running shoe to me.

Disclosure – I bought them with my own money, so I can say whatever I want to about these shoes!

Let’s backup

Way back in September, I was talking to @SethMizuno on Twitter about what kind of Mizuno (of course) shoes I should be buying that could double as racing shoes, but could handle more mileage than the standard racing flat. He immediately stated the Mizuno Ronin.

After that the conversation became very interesting, because back in February when published my top 5 running shoes that I wanted to try this year blog post – the Mizuno Ronin 4 was a surprise last-minute addition. I had never seen them in person, they aren’t all that popular and I still don’t know what really prompted me to put them on my list – other than I what I said when I published the post.

5. Mizuno Ronin – This was a lot of a surprise, when I started this research I had never heard of the Ronin, but the more I read about it and the way that some of the reviews talked about the Ronin, the more impressed I became. I have owned one pair of Mizuno shoes and while they were a nice shoe, the Wave Nirvana was a motion control shoe and wasn’t what I wanted from a shoe. I am concerned a little about how the sole will wear, but otherwise the shoe sounds bomb-proof. One of the reviews I read really had good things to say about how it worked on trails, which really got me to thinking about this shoe as a possibility. The Ronin is a shoe I would have to see before I make a decision, but it intrigues me.

After a lot of online research and thinking about it, I got back to Seth and asked him to order me a pair of Ronin 4, through the Maine Running Company in Brunswick, since they didn’t have it in stock.

When I initially tried on the Ronin’s at the store – to be honest they didn’t feel quite right. My right forefoot felt a little scrunched when I was walking around the store in them. However, when I took them on a run outside, they felt very comfortable.

With some reservations, I decided to buy them based on Seth’s strong recommendation, plus he had told me I had 30 days to try them and return them if I didn’t like them.

Here is what I initially said about the Ronin’s back on October 6th:

I decided to run another 3.0 in my new Ronin’s to see how they felt compared to the Elixir’s. At first the tread felt a little weird and slippery, but after about 1/2 mile they settled out and felt really good. I didn’t notice the snugness when I was running and was able to pick it up pretty good to a sub 7:00 minute pace for a short distance without pushing all that hard. Then it started pouring and I decided to cut it short and get back to the house. The Ronin’s felt great and will be a shoe I will look forward to running my next 5K in to see how it goes.

It seems that when I run in them and don’t mean at an 8:00 minute pace, but when I really run in these shoes, something changes, all the discomfort or distractions that the Ronin’s had goes away. I start to just run and I run fast, faster than I have in many, many years.

Something special

That turned out to be a GREAT decision. There is something special about these shoes.

Based on one road run and a track workout, I liked them so much, that I decided to wear them as my race shoes for the Runner’s World Half Event. Which is something that I don’t usually do, wear new shoes for a race.

They just are one of those rare shoes that make me want to run fast in them.

I did really well at the Runner’s World 5K, running a 21:26 and didn’t have any problems at all with the Ronin’s, in fact I didn’t notice that I had them on during the race, which is the highest compliment that I will give any running shoe.

The other thing that helps a lot is that I also found the perfect sock to run in them with – the Swiftwick Aspire. Disclosure I received these socks as a free media sample while covering the Runner’s World Half Event as a FitFluential Ambassador blogger. They just work great together and I have not had any problems with my feet when I am wearing this combination.

Fast forward a month

After some down-time for rest and recovery, I joined a gym to help me work on my speedwork. The Ronin 4’s are the perfect shoe to do my faster paced treadmill workouts in. I started doing the treadmill workouts and during these workouts something almost magical happened, I started to run faster – a lot faster.

Since I have been using the Ronin’s at the gym for running on the treadmill. I have been increasing my mileage/speed work  and yesterday I ran an 8.0 mile 12 x .25 tough interval workout, that I would consider one of my best speed work training sessions in many, many years. The best part was that I did it without any issues with my feet. The combination of Ronin’s and Swiftwick Aspire socks, did the trick and I just ran, instead of worrying about my feet hurting, which has almost always been an issue after 4-5 miles on a treadmill.

The reality is that

The Mizuno Ronin 4’s are a fast shoe for me. Are they magical, I don’t know about that, but I when I am running fast, I don’t notice that I am wearing them, which is what I want from my running shoes.

  • I like that I can put them on start running and forget they are there.

However, for some people the toe box might not be wide enough, this is one of those individual fit things that you will have to decide on for yourself if the fit is right for you.

No I don’t think I would use them for too many technical trail runs though, the tread isn’t aggressive enough for that in my opinion. These are a definitely a race shoe and for me I don’t think I would use them as my daily trainer.

I know that this review is late for the Ronin 4, since the Ronin 5 is out and according to reviews I have read and from Seth has said, it maintained the same last as the Ronin 4, with the biggest changes being made primarily to the uppers. So much of what say here might pertain to the 5’s?

Who knows, maybe with these shoes and the improved quality of my speed work, that sub 20:00 minute 5K will happen.

Seth thank you for recommending these shoes, they are working GREAT for me.

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