Last year, Mizuno released the Wave Enigma, which provides more cushion than the Wave Rider but is more conventional than the Wave Creation. It was that premium cushion trainer missing from Mizuno’s neutral lineup. Now, Mizuno comes out with the second version of the Enigma—let’s see what improvements were made!
Mizuno Wave Enigma 2 First Impressions
Mizuno did not change the Enigma very much in the second version. It is very reminiscent of the first Enigma. Mizuno did change up the overlay patterns, and though it’s difficult to be certain, it looks like the amount of overlays were reduced. The profile on the ankle collar looks lower, especially in the heel area. The upper on the Enigma 2 is still mostly breathable mesh, which is a feature I liked about the previous version.
The Enigma 2 is a big shoe, and so it is not as flexible as traditional or performance neutral trainers, like the Wave Rider or Wave Precision. But it does flex more than other shoes in the premium cushion class. The flexibility might be limited by the Flex Controllers, which are two bands of reinforced carbon rubber Mizuno puts in the outsole. They connect the two sides of a deep flex groove, and are designed to limit the amount of flex in the forefoot. To be honest, they did not seem to add anything to the ride quality, and I question their value.
The Enigma 2 also has Mizuno’s patented cushioning system, the Wave plate, running the entire length of the shoe. The Wave plate is flexible toe-to-heel, but it is very rigid side-to-side. That, combined with a firm heel counter, should give you some pretty significant medial support through the gait cycle. I can see runners with a neutral gait or who overpronate slightly running comfortably in this shoe.
Mizuno Wave Enigma 2 Sole Unit
The midsole is a full length Wave plate embedded in a generous amount of AP+, Mizuno’s EVA compound. This combination provided substantial impact protection throughout any distance I ran. Every company’s proprietary EVA foam has a unique feel, and I would describe AP+ as firm yet fairly bouncy. And so, while I felt well-protected, I did not feel like I had to sacrifice performance. The shoe may feel inflexible in my hands, but it sure had a flexible and smooth ride on the run! I would even say the Enigma 2 delivered the best ride of any shoe I’ve tried in the premium neutral class. I think the Enigma 2 would be a great option for anyone looking for cushion but still wanting a high performance-type feel.
I have run in most of Mizuno’s neutral line-up, and I have found the Enigma provides the most protection for forefoot and midfoot strikers. I attribute this to the generous amounts of rubber found in the outsole, especially in the two sections behind the Flex Controllers.
The one concern I have is the way Mizuno decouples the forefoot and the heel. I know this design makes the Enigma look sleeker than shoes without it, like the Nike Vomero 7 or Saucony Triumph 9. But I also know that my shoes take a lot of pounding in the midfoot section. Without material connecting and supporting the two sections, I’m worried the front part of heel will breakdown quicker. I have put about 75 miles on the Enigma 2, and that section of the heel is already showing significant wear.
Mizuno Wave Enigma 2 Upper
The first version of the Enigma had some minor fit issues. One was the slightly short toe box, and another was the upper eyelets, which tended to cut off circulation if the laces were tied too tightly. I’m satisfied with the way Mizuno addressed these issues. The toe box is a touch longer, which I think makes the Enigma 2 true to size. Mizuno reworked the eyelets so they no longer stick out. Combine the reworked eyelets with the lowered ankle collar, and the Enigma wraps the foot nicely without causing any circulation issues.
The entire upper is made of mesh, which makes the shoe very breathable, especially in the toe box. Mizuno placed a minimal amount of overlays to try and create a secure fit.
While I love the comfort and breathability of this upper, my foot tended to slide to the lateral side (outside) of the shoe. I’m not sure if that happened because there are not enough overlays or because the Enigma 2 has a slightly curved shape. But whatever the reason, sometimes my foot would sit on the edge of the shoe’s platform, creating a painful hotspot on the edge of my foot and pinky toe. I do not have a wide foot, but this sliding was already a problem. Runners with a slightly wider foot may have similar, if not worse, issues.
Mizuno Wave Enigma 2 Opinion
The Enigma 2 is highly cushioned trainer with a smooth ride. It is a great option for runners with either a neutral gait or with slight overpronation, who are looking for big time protection, but who do not want to sacrifice performance.
That said, the Enigma 2 is also a big shoe period. Mizuno claims to have dropped nearly one once of weight, but I couldn’t feel the difference on the run. I think part of the reason the Enigma feels so big is that it is chalk full of technologies. Runners who prefer simplicity in their shoes might be turned off by all the technologies the Enigma 2 boasts. I don’t mind technology, but even I felt like the Enigma 2 had one too many things going on. I don’t think the shoe would be hurt if Mizuno decided to drop one feature (like the Flex Controllers, which I didn’t think added anything), and might even reach a wider audience.
With the second version, Mizuno addresses some of the fit issues found in the first version. But now I found my foot sliding off the platform of the shoe, which caused me a lot of problems. I can understand wanting to keep the all mesh upper design, as I benefited from the breathability. But I think the issue needs to be addressed in future versions, and I wonder if it couldn’t be easily corrected with a straighter shape or a well placed overlay.
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