Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 first impressions:
With the demise of the Wave Renegade a couple of years ago, the Wave Alchemy series has since served as the lone carrier of the motion control battle flag for Mizuno. I reviewed the Wave Alchemy 10 and 11 and was pleased with both editions. Naturally, I was excited to see if Mizuno would radically overhaul their motion control flagship for it’s 12th edition.
At first glance the Wave Alchemy 12 looks almost like a color up from the Wave Alchemy 11 but close inspection reveals that Mizuno focused all their attention on creating a new, and hopefully, better upper for the Alchemy.
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 upper:
The upper in the Wave Alchemy 12 has undergone a ground up overhaul. Clearly, weight reduction was at the top of the drawing board for the Wave Alchemy 12. The only thing that remains the same is the mesh that Mizuno uses for the bulk of the shoe. All the overlays have been redone in a much lighter, more flexible material. The 12th edition of the Wave Alchemy sees the removal of the Dynamotion Fit tab from the lateral aspect of the shoe and the heel collar has also been lowered.
The mid foot saddle has been redesigned in the same lightweight material used throughout the shoe and reaches even farther back to the heel area than before. The tongue now employs a woven nameplate tag in place of the previous plastic design. Even the Runbird logo has been rendered in a lightweight material with the medial logo being almost flat and the lateral logo sporting an embossed design to add visual flair.
Speaking of visual flair, the Wave Alchemy 12 shuns traditional motion control conservatism with its striking colorway executed in silver, black and lime green. Mizuno is still using their proven Ortholite design sock liner to finish out the upper.
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 sole unit:
Except for color, the Wave Alchemy 12 midsole is identical to that used in the Wave Alchemy 11 which could be a relief for Alchemy runners who rely on the shoe to provide a familiar ride from year to year. Mizuno uses their most medially supportive wave plate design in the Wave Alchemy 12. This design slows the inward roll of an over pronating foot and helps guide the runner from strike to toe off. Mizuno’s VS-1 cushioning compound is still in the heel and AP+ foam continues to provide the bounce and shock attenuation.
The outsole of the Wave Alchemy 12 retains the same design and materials as before. Being that this is a control shoe, Mizuno opts to use heavy duty carbon rubber for 75% of the outsole with the lateral forefoot being rendered in softer blown rubber. This design places extra stability under the medial side of the foot, just where over pronators need it most. Men’s and women’s versions still get specific outsole designs via Mizuno’s Gender Engineering design with the men’s getting a wider forefoot and the women’s utilizing a more segmented heel.
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 opinion:
It’s no secret that I am a fan of the entire line of Mizuno stability shoes. The wave plate design has met my needs as a runner for many years now. Since my arches are very flexible they demand a shoe that provides firm support. I tend to quickly break down shoes comprised entirely of foam and my feet appreciate the design execution of the Mizuno wave plate. It simply outperforms anything else I’ve tried. I prefer the arch in all my shoes to be located closer to the heel than the forefoot and Mizuno delivers every time in this regard. In my personal and professional opinion the wave plate is the most biomechanically correct footwear design I’ve encountered.
With this in mind I always have high expectations when it comes to a Mizuno update. The Wave Alchemy 12 certainly continues to deliver in the stability department, its rock solid support gives much needed relief to my feet. In the control category, the Wave Alchemy 12 takes light to another level as my test shoes weighed only 12 ounces! I’ve tested regular stability trainers that weigh that much. 12 ounces is pretty much unheard of in a shoe category where the words ‘concrete’, ‘bricks’, and ‘blocky’ are the norm.
The upper is noticeably lighter and still quite breezy, my feet never got hot even in the merciless Mississippi summer. The Wave Alchemy 12 runs smooth and quick for a control class shoe and Mizuno did a great job at making this edition feel and look unlike any of its competition. The fit of the shoe is more shallow and slightly narrower than in the Wave Alchemy 11.
The ride of the Wave Alchemy 12 is best described as smooth and solid. It definitely moves through foot strike faster than other control shoes I’ve tested. I was hoping that Mizuno might go all the way and debut a new midsole and wave plate configuration for this shoe. The Alchemy series has utilized the same wave plate since the 9th edition which some runners undoubtedly appreciate. However, I was left with the feeling that Mizuno held back on this one as they rarely keep a wave plate design unchanged for this long. I can only imagine how light and fast this shoe could become in future editions once Mizuno revamps the midsole. Nevertheless, the design still delivers exactly what it promises; smooth transition combined with ultimate support.
For $115 I don’t believe you can find a shoe that offers this much support, cushioning and a sporty ride all in a light package.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of Wave Alchemy 12 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.