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Mizuno Wave Ascend 8 (Fall 2013)

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11.4 oz | 12mm drop | $110 | mizunousa.com

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The Dirt: In its eighth rendition, the Mizuno Wave Ascend sports a redesigned upper with offset eyestays to better flex with the feet.

Its signature Wave technology uses wave-shaped, thermal plastic through the midsole to disperse impact from rocks and roots, while also providing arch support. Though the heel-to-toe drop is traditional, the shoe rides low to the ground.

Reminiscent of Mizuno’s road-running shoes, the Wave Ascend’s plush midsole and beefy heel offer ample cushioning for longer runs.

Best For: Moderate overpronators, or those suffering from plantar fasciitis, who want some arch support on gravel trails or smooth singletrack.

Traction: The multi-directional tread performs well in both wet and dry conditions, but most testers agreed it was not ideal for hardpack or extremely rocky terrain.

Fit: The Wave Ascend fits true to size, with conforming, seamless uppers that snugly hug feet.

The Downsides: It falls into what one tester called “an often disappointing category of trail-shoe design: the road-shoe upper with an added trail-tread sole.”

Tester-Monial:“Your feet will not feel beat up in the slightest, even after hours and hours and miles and miles.” –Lou Brenner, Lexington, KY