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Brooks Drift, Mizuno Evo Levitas, Mizuno Evo Cursoris: Comparative Review by Fred Brossard

tbGuest review by Fred Brossard: Fred Brossard is a French expert on minimalist running. He is the co-author of the book “Barefoot, Minimalism, Natural Running” (Ed Amphora) and is a freelance writer and gear reviewer for http://runners.fr

The French representatives for both Mizuno and Brooks Running recently gave me the chance to be the first in France to review their latest minimalist running shoes, the two Mizuno Wave Evo (Levitas and Cursoris) and the Brooks Pure Drift.

The new Pure Drift is the most minimal shoe in the Brooks PureProject line – it represents sort of a natural evolution towards less structure and less drop. It’s a step down toward barefoot running from the Pure Connect, attempting to keep the best of the Connect and correcting the worst. The Pure Drift is an adjustable-drop shoe – it can be configured to a 4 mm or a 0 mm drop, with the help of a removable insole (Runblogger note – I measure the insole as 5mm heel/2.5mm forefoot with my C-calipers, so don’t think the shoe is 4mm drop with it inserted as Brooks reports). Its weight (size 11.5) is 166 g without the insole / 185 g with the insole (6.1 oz in US size 9).

Brooks Drift large

Brooks PureDrift

MIZ2

Mizuno Evo Cursoris (top) and Mizuno Evo Levitas (bottom)

Both of the Mizuno Wave Evo shoes are brand new models, the first zero drop shoes from the Japanese brand. They have been designed entirely from scratch without any ties to other models, not even the lightweight Wave Universe. Both EVO are zero-drop shoes which differ, among other aspects, in the thickness of their sole: 8 mm for the Levitas and 12 mm for the Cursoris. Weight (size 11.5) is 190 g for the Levitas (6.1 oz in US size 9), 215 g for the Cursoris (6.8 oz in US size 9).

Mizuno’s designers have obviously read and studied the “What should a real minimalist shoe feature?” theories that flourish on the web. In their first minimalist offerings, they very seriously tried to respect 5 key principles of minimalist shoe design: zero-drop, wide toebox, minimal structure, light cushioning, and flexibility under the metatarsals which leads to two quite different shoes: the Levitas is a real racer, and the Cursoris is great for smooth, easy runs.

MIZ3

Mizuno Evo Cursoris (top) and Mizuno Evo Levitas (bottom)

Neither Mizuno shoe is as anatomically shaped as the Pure Drift. In fact, it’s like they have no particular shape at all – their light and porous mesh (beware of rain …) just surround the feet and leave them enough space to move naturally. However, this creates a real issue with the lacing system: either it’s too loose and your foot can move out of the shoe or too tight and it crushes your feet. Both shoes are tremendously comfortable (the Cursoris may even be more comfortable than your favourite slippers). There’s no toe spring nor arch support, which is a good point. In fact, the Cursoris has no support at all whereas the Levitas has a supportive cup surrounding the heel, which keeps your foot aligned at high speed. The rear part of the outsole is totally flat without any grip, while the front part has 4 flexibility grooves and separated impact pods (some of which are reinforced with rubber outsole, some of which are not).

Brooks Drift sole

Brooks PureDrift

On the contrary, the Pure Drift is a near-perfect model in terms of anatomical design. The curved front part of the shoe fits my foot perfectly and comfortably and allows natural movement. No issue here with the lacing system, and the shoe also includes the Navband seen on other PureProject shoes that is supposed to help the shoes to “fit every feet.” No real arch support in the Drift either, but there is some sort of a firm point under the arch that is far less annoying than the arch contour found in the Pure Connect. The heel cup is curved and reinforced but doesn’t provide as much support as the heel cup of the Levitas. When standing still or walking, comfort and fit stays the same with or without the insole. As perfect as all this may appear, there’s however a possible issue with a big toe spring which, at first, I found an oddity for a minimalist, zero-drop shoe.

On the road

In my opinion, all three of these shoes are tailored for road running only or possibly for very dry and flat trails. And I emphasize “dry.” Rain is THE enemy of these three shoes because of their open mesh uppers – your feet will get wet. A wet road is enough to transform the Pure Drift into a swimming pool for your feet.

Brooks PureDrift side

Brooks PureDrift

Frankly speaking, the Pure Drift isn’t a good zero-drop shoe whereas it’s quite an interesting 4 mm drop shoe. It’s not a matter of support or comfort, which to me feel the same with or without the insole. It’s not due either to the strange noises (plastic cracks) that could be heard when running without the insole. Rather, it’s due to the fact that contact with the ground is very hard under the midfoot without the insole whereas it’s far smoother with the insole. When there’s little feedback from the ground due to the thickness and firmness of the sole, I consider that the shoe should at least provide a little bit of cushioning, which isn’t the case for the Pure Drift. Zero-drop speed work training (400/800 meters) was an excruciating experience.

With the 4 mm insole, the Pure Drift is a better shoe, tailored for long and easy runs. I wasn’t annoyed that much by the toe spring and felt comfortable even after more than 25 km. I’ve heard that some reviewers didn’t like the dual toe flex – I did appreciate it, it gives more stability during the propulsion phase. I must confess that I really didn’t like the Pure Connect, which I found too narrow, too stiff, and which I felt had too much arch support. The “4 mm” Pure Drift corrects all of these defects and is a nice cool minimalist shoe, but not the best choice for performance (i.e., speedwork, racing). I’m still wondering why the shoe feels so bad when removing the insole to run it zero-drop. The forefoot cushioning perhaps needs to be a bit softer.

MIZCUR6

Mizuno Evo Cursoris

MIZLEV6

Mizuno Evo Levitas

In contrast to the Drift, both Mizuno Evo shoes are tremendous zero-drop shoes (except with regard to the lacing issues). The forefoot cushioning of both shoes is soft and flexible enough to allow a nice and smooth contact with the ground, which makes them very comfortable to use even during long runs. Those accustomed to the Wave cushioning technology won’t be disappointed, both shoes share a small Wave plate under the forefoot which filters a bit of the impact forces and gives back energy during the propulsion phase. That’s all for the shared features because these shoes are just so different from each other!

MIZ5

Heel support in the Evo Levitas (left) and Evo Cursoris (right)

The Levitas is a real racer, clearly tailored for speed, with far less cushioning than the Cursoris. As mentioned earlier, it also has the external heel support which adds some stability. It’s not a shoe for inexperienced minimalist runners. The CURSORIS is very, very, very soft and can be used by anybody. As I wrote before, the CURSORIS is as comfortable and smooth as your favourite slippers. Running with it is like running on cotton wool, seems like you could run 100 km in a row before discovering that they’re zero-drop shoes. Their lack of structure and their overall width induce your foot into moving as it wants in all directions which means that they’re not designed for speed work (they are less stable).

And the winner is …

Mizuno EVO LevitasBeing a somewhat competitive runner who does speed and endurance speed work twice a week, I find the Mizuno Levitas to be the best minimalist road running racer I’ve ever reviewed. It has all that I’m looking for in a zero-drop shoe: the perfect mix of comfort and efficiency. I also like the Cursoris, which I use for my two weekly easy recovery runs and which can be used by anybody willing to discover the joys of zero-drop running without any risks. It’s not that I don’t like the Pure Drift, but I just can’t figure out the real usefulness of the dual drop since there’s so much difference between the good 4 mm shoe and the bad 0 mm one.

Update 2/18/2012: Also read Pete’s review of the Brooks Pure Drift

The Brooks Drift is now available at Running Warehouse, and the Mizuno Evo Levitas and Mizuno Evo Cursoris will be available later this month at Running Warehouse.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. I received

  2. Hi Fred, Hi Peter,

    How does these shoes compare the the Inov-8 Xlite 150 and 155 in your oppinion ? I’m in love with the Trailroc 235 and 245 from Inov-8 and trying to find a matching road shoe I eliminated the PureDrift (reviews) and the Skeckers (tried them and they don’t fit well on me) and now hesitate between the Mizunos and Inov-8. I do run in the Adidas Gazelle which are great but sockless I get blisters in them during triathlons. So now it will either be the Inov-8 (I run sockless in the TrailRoc during Xterras with no problem so that’s a good point) or the Mizunos. Couldn’t find a comparison between the 150 or 155 and other minimalist shoes, are they in a different “category” or would they be close to the Levitas (I have no idea or soft or hard the 155 might be ???) ? Thanks for your advice.

    • Fred Brossard says:

      I would say that the 150 and 155 are closer to the Levitas than to the Cursoris for sure ! Inov-8′s soles are more flexible and give more feedback from the ground but I find these shoes to lack stability (toebox is too narrow, impact zone isn’t wide enough) contrarily to the Levitas. MIZUNO is far more experienced than Inov-8 when speaking of road running shoes and that’s what I found in the Levitas.

      • Thanks Fred. Can you guys tell us a bit more about the sizing on the Levitas, they are not possible to find in store yet (and before they are in store in France… it will be 6 months ahahah) so better order the right size the first time : I’m a US9 in Inov8, US9 2E in Kinvara, US9 in Merrell Trail Glove, can I go “safely” with US9 for Levitas do they size either big or small ?

        • Fred Brossard says:

          Strange sizes … I generally takes 11.5 US for my running shoes. 11.5 is quite OK with the Cursoris although I may have taken a 11. But I had to send back my LEVITAS to Mizuno since they were far too big ! So I took a 10.5. Be careful (10.5 is the size of my casual shoes).

  3. Ugo Leblanc says:

    The shape of the Pure Drift looks pretty good and the outsole remind me a little bit of the Go Bionic with separate pods and the holes between with the up and down that it bring…

    If you want to read other comments on those shoes, i know that Nicholas Pang have reviewed the Pure Drift and the Evo Levitas on minimalistrunningshoes.org and it seems that the Levitas will also come in black and green, interesting…

    • Fred Brossard says:

      Ugo, the outsole may look like the Go Bionic’s but it’s not as articulated as the Skechers.

      • Pete Larson says:

        There also seems to be a stiffer material above the sole in the drift whereas the GoBionic is more flexible.
        Sent from my iPad

  4. Marc Schwartz says:

    Hi all. Got the call today, so stopped by my local running store. Tested the Mizuno Cursoris and the Altra Instinct 1.5s with some running outside the store. The picture should give away which ones I walked out with. Yes, two pair.

    The Altras were notably stiffer and did not fit my feet as well. In fact, I had to go up a full size in the Altras to a 10.5. Running in them was not nearly as comfortable as my Kinvara 3′s, much less the Mizunos.

    The Mizunos fit my feet notably better than the Kinvara 3′s albeit, I had to go up a half size to a 10. They are very comfortable.

    My first real run in the Mizunos will be Friday morning. It will be interesting, with the cold weather here in MN, to see how the more open front mesh upper of the Mizunos affects my feet, not that the Kinvaras had much insulation in the FlexFilm upper anyway. I am excited to test these.

    • Fred Brossard says:

      Temperatures here in France aren’t very cold this winter so I can’t tell you if the Cursoris is OK or not under cold temperatures.

      • Marc Schwartz says:

        Good morning all,

        Just thought that I would post some initial thoughts on the Cursoris.

        Unfortunately, my run was cut short this morning as we had some freezing rain overnight. Even though the sidewalk/path by my house was fine, as I got over near the lake around which I normally run, it was icy and slick, so had to turn back. Temp is around 36F. The lake is at a lower elevation and is apparently just enough to make the difference in the path just being wet versus icy.

        To that end, I would agree with Fred’s comments in the review that one needs to be careful in this shoe with a slick surface. The outsole is notably smoother than my Kinvara 3′s (K3s), with less traction. I don’t do any trail running (yet) so would agree that these should be limited to solid running paths/roads.

        That all being said, the shoe is very comfortable with more room in the toe box than the K3s. With the K3s, there was a tendency for my little toes on both feet to be a little squeezed. Not at all in the Cursoris.

        The Cursoris feels ever so slightly lighter than the K3s and I think that the actual weights match that sensation. My general sense is that the cushioning and flexibility is similar between the two shoes, albeit, my K3s had around 270 miles on them, so were well worn in.

        A key difference that I noted once I got running is that while I had a very definite mid-foot strike in the K3s with occasional fore-foot strikes, with the Cursoris and without conscious thought, I seem to be transitioning to more of a consistent fore-foot strike. I think that from Pete’s prior review of the K3s, the actual offset was closer to 7mm as compared to the advertised 4mm. If the Cursoris is near the advertised 0mm, that is a notable difference and would help to explain the shift in foot strike. It will be interesting to see if I end up with the same tight calf symptoms after running in the Cursoris for a while that I had when I first started to run in the K3s. My foam roller is close at hand. :-)

        The temperature this morning was, for MN at this time of the year, “balmy” and my feet were fine. I have run in the K3s down to around 5F with below 0F windchills (multiple layers and merino wool blend socks). The weather is supposed to turn back to normal over the weekend with highs in the teens F and the possibility of snow. If the weather permits, I’ll get outside over the weekend and see if I can get a better and longer run in. The city is very good about clearing the paths of snow after a storm, so we’ll see.

        • Pete Larson says:

          Thanks for chiming in Marc!

          —-
          Pete Larson’s Web Links:
          -My book: Tread Lightly: link to ow.ly
          -Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
          -Twitter: link to twitter.com
          -Facebook Page: link to facebook.com
          -Discussion Forum: http://www.runblogger.com/forum

          • Marc Schwartz says:

            Welcome Pete!

            A follow up from my just finished run today. It is 8F with a -5F windchill. The Cursoris are definitely colder than the K3s at this temp. Both in terms of the open mesh upper allowing cold air in and in terms of how stiff the soles got. My feet were uncomfortably cold at this temp, where with the K3s it would have been tolerable.

            Might have to think about running indoors with the Cursoris when it is this cold.

            I wear Fitsok ISW wool blend socks (link to fitsok.com… for cold temps. They are based about 10 minutes from where I live in a SW suburb of Minneapolis.

            If anyone has any recommendations for a warmer sock or perhaps an outer layer over the ISWs that might offer more warmth without breaking the bank, I am all ears (or perhaps feet). I have seen Gore-tex outers for around $60 U.S., which is pricy.

  5. Kyle Hemmer says:

    I am curious if your blister from the PureDrift is due to the design of the sole. It appears that the pods are pretty narrow and form a straight pattern under the metatarsals. Unlike the GoBionic and Mizuno’s above, they have a more curved (anatomical) pattern.
    Kyle

  6. Pete Larson says:

    I have the Brooks Drift and have put two runs on them, one with the insole and one without. I overall like them so far – as Fred writes they are on a great last and are very roomy. They are firm with the insole removed, but for me that may be exaggerated by the cold weather where I live. My run felt better with the insole. Only problem I have had so far is a hot spot that develops along the side of the ball behind my big toe – same thing that happened in the Brooks Grit and not sure of the cause. Need more runs before I review it myself.

    Don’t have either of the Mizuno shoes yet, and Fred’s comments are the first I personally have read on them. Cursoris sounds like my kind of shoe, wish the Levitas weren’t purple…

    • Ben McDonald says:

      Had the same hot spot on the same foot towards the end of an 8 miler this last weekend in the Drift; then again I have perpetual blood blisters in the same place from soccer. Really became noticeable when trying to up the tempo towards the end of the run. Only has been noticeable recently also in the Grit. Possible that it has something to do with the split toebox not distributing toe-off evenly and causing the uppers to roll? Just a thought… Not sure…

      Otherwise, very comfortable shoe for slower long runs, which seems contrary to their weight, and forefoot striking was easy to stick with. Prefer them from a weight and height standpoint to the Kinvara 3, which is still in the arsenal for rotation purposes. But yeah, far too soft of a cushion and toe box for speed work, makes you really work against the shoe and not with it.

    • Stephen Boulet says:

      Thanks for the review Fred. Pete, I’m also leaning towards thinking that the Cursoris might do it for me too, especially as a zero drop marathon shoe.

      • I’m also wondering which way to go for marathons. I’m looking for something I can do some speed work and training for (hopefully) a sub 3 hour marathon. Would you be inclined to take the extra cushioning of the Cursoris for that sort of race pace and training? Or Levitas for speed work and racing and something more cushioned for easy runs?

        • Pete Larson says:

          I like a flat for speed word and short racing, so something like the Levitas would probably work for that. But, for long runs and marathons I like a bit of cushion, so the Cursoris sounds like a better match. Note that I don’t have either yet so just going off Fred’s description. Different tools for different jobs is sort of my philosophy about shoes.
          Sent from my iPad

          • So I opted for both in the end.
            Levitas: Feel like a pair of Ferrari’s! Unfortunately I made the mistake of doing 3×1 mile reps in them the first time. I could not walk for two days. Apparently they require some getting used to :)
            Cursoris: Only just turned up today. They feel really good, like I have a half marathon in 3 weeks and might wear them good. Will see how the training runs go but the short run I just did looked positive. Going from a Mizuno wave rider was not a problem with these shoes (so far anyway).
            Something to be ware of is the colours, for 2 reasons:
            1) Slightly embarrassing! You have to run fast to pull off something this loud as they do attract attention.
            2) May have been a coincidence, but they seemed to attract a very large dog that proceeded to nip my ankles and butt for a few hundred metres. Made for a funny story for the first run in the Levitas though :)

          • Pete Larson says:

            Ahh, you took the easy way out when faced with a tough decision! Watch out for that dog!

            —-
            Pete Larson’s Web Links:
            -My book: Tread Lightly: link to ow.ly
            -Blog: http://www.runblogger.com
            -Twitter: link to twitter.com
            -Facebook Page: link to facebook.com
            -Discussion Forum: http://www.runblogger.com/forum

    • Fred Brossard says:

      Yes Pete, I hope the Levitas will come with other choices of colors :-) Not easy to find the right T-shirt to suit them :-)

      • Pete Larson says:

        Well turns out my hotspot was a pretty massive blister, first time I’ve had one caused by a shoe in a long, long time. Still not quite sure of the cause.
        Sent from my iPad

      • Levitas come in a slick black and green now, yellow logo on the side. Picked up a pair for speed work and casual wear. Ridiculously comfortable and look great. I’m super picky and the soles feel fantastic.

  7. The Drift was actually on my shopping list for my run commuting rotation. But now I’m a little confused due to Fred’s remarks on running without the insoles. I have to admit, I do not fully understand what the issue is. Can anyone compare the feel of running in them without insoles?

    I know there are Kinvara cushioning type of runners and firmer cushioning type of runners? Fred, where would you position yourself?

    Is the Drift’s cushioning feel under the forefoot in any way comparable to the Pure Grit’s?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’ve done two runs in the Drift – one without and one with the insole (just got them last week). I don’t have a good sense of the shoe on the run yet. They feel awesome on foot and walking around, fit is fantastic. But, the sensation under foot is a bit strange on the run, particularly without the insole. Feels kind of “lumpy,” maybe due to differing firmness between pods where there is outsole rubber and pods where it is lacking. Strange because I did not feel this in the Skechers GoBionic which is a similar design. Could be because the Bionic is more flexible and has a lot more give in the material above the sole.
      They feel different than the Grit to me, but it’s hard to do a direct compare since I ran in the Grit a lot last summer, and it’s now sub freezing when I’m running in the Drift and cold tends to firm up midsoles. My biggest problem is a giant blister I got on my right foot after two runs in the Drift – on the ball behind my big toe.
      I like the shoe overall, but this is one that I don’t feel comfortable writing a first run review since I’m still feeling it out.
      Sent from my iPad

    • Fred Brossard says:

      My English may not be as clear as I would like to :-)
      What I’m looking for in a minimalist shoe is either minimum interference between foot and ground (such as with a VFF or a pair of huaraches) or if the sole is too thick without any feeling from the ground, a bit cushionning (such like the Kinvara). The sole of the Pure Drift falls in this second category : it’s quite thick and rather firm so I really feel better with the insole despite the 4 mm drop than without.

  8. MilerHighClub says:

    I’ve done a few runs in the PureDrift now and am still taking notes for my own review, but I agree with Fred about a lot of the potential problems with the PureDrift . Fit is fantastic (as compared to PureFlow2 where upper won’t conform to my foot as nicely), they’re pretty light, and highly flexible. I’ve found that the placement of the blown rubber on the lateral side of each shoe makes them feel a little canted towards the medial sides. I also find that they feel less than great at faster paces even with the insoles in place, and I’m forced to almost comically shorten my stride. I’m wondering how practical it is to design a shoe to function ideally both with and without an insole. I get that modular designs might make the shoe more versatile (like Altra’s approach with Provision or Superior) but they could also make a shoe more mediocre all around. I’m not a hardcore minimalist runner, so not using the insole was just a little too much for me in these. With the insole they’re definitely better, but as they don’t really work for me past an easy pace, it seems like they’re just not worth it. Again, need to do some more runs and tests, but initially I’m struggling with them.

  9. vitor roma says:

    Regarding all this lacing issue, I really, really love the lacing around the ankle of the original RunAmoc by Soft Star.

    I have big feet, size 14, but really skinny ankles, more often than note they feel wobbly in most shoes, except the RunAmoc.

  10. Steve Tremblay says:

    Hi Fred and Peter
    Compared to Green Silence, how the PureDrift is different ? I really love the Green Silence and I was quite disappointed when Brooks decided to discontinu this shoe.

    • Fred Brossard says:

      The PureDrift is far less cushionned than the GS. It’s also closer to the ground and to your foot. The sole is also totally different made of these pods and a bit more flexible overall than the GS.

      • Pete Larson says:

        I agree with what Fred writes here – GS is a pretty soft shoe, Drift is not. Drift fits wider and is more flexible due to the podded sole design.
        Sent from my iPad

        • Steve Tremblay says:

          Thank Fred and Peter for sharing your thoughts.

          For responsiveness perspective, which one is more responsive ?

          • Pete Larson says:

            If you want a shoe for racing, go GS. It’s been a long time though since I’ve run in them do going from memory.

  11. amadeus303 says:

    Well… I gave the Cursoris a whirl for roughly 100 miles, and I just returned them. I’m a big Mizuno fan, and the WU4 is one of my all-time faves as both a trainer and racer. I was looking for something more apt for higher mileage training, and I was hoping the Cursoris fit the bill. I really wanted to like this shoe, but it just wasn’t for me. There were 3 things that I disliked:
    1) The shoe was too soft. I felt like I was losing a lot of “energy” on impact, and I felt like I was fatiguing a little bit faster unless I was running around an indoor track with a perfect surface.
    2) The fit was inconsistent with the lacing system. Some days it felt good; some days it felt uncomfortable until I got a few miles into my run and my feet “adjusted”.
    3) Despite the zero drop and moderate stack height, it didn’t feel like a minimal shoe (its weight notwithstanding). By comparison, the Kinvaras feel a lot more minimal than the Cursoris. It was hard to really get any ground feel.
    The experience wasn’t all bad. Ironically, I had some good runs in them as far as pace and time go… the difference, however, was that I didn’t *feel* like I was running well while wearing them.
    I traded them in for a pair of the New Balance MR10 v2. The build is much more up my alley along with the Mizuno WU4 and Saucony Hattori LC. I suppose my old, trusty Kinvaras will continue to be a longer run shoe until I find a suitable replacement (looking at the GoRun2 and A5).
    Btw, Pete… have you seen the New Balance Hi-Rez yet?

  12. Andrew Bentley says:

    Mizuno’s: From the pictures of the out sole it looks like everything south of the forefoot is eva – which would raise durability concerns with me. How’s that going to cope with a midfoot strike I wonder? The Brooks on the other hand looks like it has rubber on the lateral side to cater for this.

    Brooks: The shape of the last looks fantastic. Nice idea with the variable heel-toe differential (although from the review it doesn’t sound like it quite works). Why the toe spring? What’s the point in this? My toes are fine just as they are thanks. If they loose the toe spring and offer a lower stack height version i’d be really interested in these.

    Pete, any plans for some Vivobarefoot reviews? Haven’t noticed any on your blog. Thanks

    • Pete Larson says:

      I think on the Mizuno shoes that there is rubber on the heel, just that it’s the same color as the surrounding EVA.
      I’ve reviewed several Vivobarefoot shoes in the past – Ultra, Aqua, Neo. I’m not as big a fan of their running stuff as their casual shoes.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Andrew Bentley says:

        Aha, my apologies I’ve just seen the search function on your site and found the vivo reviews. RE: their running shoes, have you tried the Breezy lite? I have found that to be their best running orientated effort so far. Breaths better than other vivo’s and has the most propreoceptive sole I’ve ran in (including 5fingers)

        About the mizuno’s, if that is the case i’d be interested for sure. I have a pair of Wave Universe 4′s which are my first racing flats, purchased following your review. I really like ‘em – thanks!

  13. michael prudhomme says:

    Like other shoes from Brooks, I wanted to like that Drift and did for a while. But by the 3rd run I had to remove the liner to make room for my toes as the paper-like material actually folds over and in – I’ve read other reviews who had the same thing happen – creating a crease that’s irritating.

    I agree that it’s a very flat feeling shoe without a liner. After working all day in my Altra Adams they actually felt good, but as time went by (a couple months) the top of the shoe fold just got to me!! And I ran a race in them which left me really disappointed. It was the last straw: a flat, boring shoe that gave nothing back. No “pop” whatsoever. Maybe if I had purchased a half size larger then I could have kept the liner in?

    But probably not. It’s the 3rd or 4th pair of Brooks shoes that I really wanted to like but in the end just couldn’t. I’m done with Brooks forever.

    On the trail I am smitten with the S-lab and foresee no change to that baby. Love it!! But for my street run home from work I need a good steed. Going to try this Levitas based upon your review. Thanks!

    • Pete Larson says:

      I haven’t tried the Levitas, but recently got the Cursoris and like it a lot. Very roomy toebox, breathes really well, and just enough Cush in the sole to not make it a harsh ride.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Marc Schwartz says:

        Pete, first comments that I have seen you make on the Cursoris. Have you had enough miles in them yet to have any initial thoughts on a comparison with the Virratas?

        • Pete Larson says:

          No, just got them and only on 2.5 mile run so far. Less shoe underfoot than the Virrata, but wider fitting with a nice open mesh up front. I think I’m going to like them a lot!

          —-
          Pete Larson’s Web Links:
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          • Marc Schwartz says:

            Thanks Pete. Interesting comment regarding less shoe on the Cursoris. Fred has it at 12mm above but other places have it at 18mm, which is the same as the Virrata. Have you measured it? Do you think that a difference in materials also changes the feel with respect to cushion? There are times when I think I could use slightly more cushion and have been contemplating whether the Virrata might make for a good rotation shoe with the Cursoris. Your comment would support that notion, so might have to stop by my LRS and try them. Glad that you like the Cursoris and look forward to more in depth comments.

          • Pete Larson says:

            Have not measured them yet, just guessing by feel. The Virrata feels like a flat Kinvara to me, whereas the Cursoris is more like a softer alternative to something like the Altra Instinct or NB MR00.
            Sent from my iPad

          • Marc Schwartz says:

            I trust your judgement and sense of feel Pete. Before I got the Cursoris, I tried the Instinct and found it too stiff for me, so would agree that the Cursoris is softer. I have a busy week, but will find time to stop by my LRS and try the Virrata. I suspect that I will end up buying a pair. Thanks!

      • michael prudhomme says:

        Out of the box, I can see how people would get the impression that these come a bit large. But with more than one pair on minimal shoes I went too small and my toes paid the price. 99% of the time I wear 11.5 and these are just fine in that.

        I’m standing on the carpet in my living room and I was not impressed. My mind quickly recalls how great other shoes have felt while I walked around the store only to seriously suck while running so I took a closer look at what was bothering me. Taking out the liner I could see that the pressure I was feeling across my entire arch was due to the sock liner having extra puff built in. So this must be the “wave” they are marketing. Looking at the sole, I can see there is some sort of “wave” built into it as well.

        Well, I think I had that same arch pressure from from a pair of Brooks Pureflows that I returned but since I am a bit desperate for a simple street shoe (and have plenty of sock liners that I could exchange if needed) I decided that the only way to evaluate a running shoe is to run in them.

        I got my first run home from work in the Levitas last night. A nice easy deasy 10K eval. I had hoped that their 8mm cushion was going to be the sweet spot and it was! More than my Vibrams and NB MT00 and less than my Luna Leadvilles or Ultra Intuition 1.5 shoes. I’m looking forward to more runs!

  14. I still have not decided what my new marathon shoes will be. I am interested how the Levitas is compared to the Universe. Or a big comparative review with lots of racers. Including the A5, some Adidas etc. Like they do with cars. Too many choices. But still a few months to decide :)

    • Fred Brossard says:

      Front part of the Levitas’ sole is far moer flexible than the Universe’s. It’s also wider which gives it more stability. Other main difference is the fact that Levitas’ heel isn’t cushionned at all contrarily to Universe’s.

  15. I just noticed that the pictures of the pure drift in the article must be of previous prototypes, as the ‘navband’ is absent (I realized that while reading that it was still there, and couldn’t see it). The picture from above seems to show the actual released shoe.

  16. Marc Schwartz says:

    I am waiting for a call from my local running store when they get the new Mizunos in. I want to compare the Cursoris to the Altra Instinct 1.5s. Glad to see these first reviews! Thanks!

  17. Hi Pete and Fred,

    I’m going to attempt my first marathon in April this year. I am looking to purchase a new pair of runners for the event. I currently run in Adidas Hagio’s, Inov-8 Road-x Lite 155 and Inov-8 Trailrock 235. I have run 5 halves in racing flats. I was considering buying one of the Mizuno Evo’s which would you recommend? Or do you think I’ll be fine running a marathon in the Hagio’s?

    Thanks

    Love the blog!

Trackbacks

  1. […] “Mizuno’s designers have obviously read and studied the ‘What should a real minimalist shoe feature?’ theories that flourish on the web. In their first minimalist offerings, they very seriously tried to respect 5 key principles of minimalist shoe design: zero-drop, wide toebox, minimal structure, light cushioning, and flexibility under the metatarsals which leads to two quite different shoes: the Levitas is a real racer, and the Cursoris is great for smooth, easy runs.” (runblogger.com) […]

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