Mizuno Ronin 4 – 200 Mile Review

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: January 13, 2015

Ungh yeah, you are reading that correctly this is a 200 mile review on a shoe that I bought on October 6, 2012 (that is right – 2012).

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

Two and half years to get a pair of running shoes to 200 miles. Harold, you usually do that in 2-3 months or less, especially if you like them.

What in the hell happened?

Long Story

It is a long story, but it has a lot to do with my development as a runner over the last few years and how I have finally accepted the runner that I am.

My last run in the Ronin’s before a few weeks ago was on 3/18/13 and before that it was only a few times in 2013.

Almost two years ago
 – it doesn’t seem possible, but true. In the past I had called the Ronin 4’s my magic running shoes, because I always seemed to run fast in them. Unfortunately, they were also about a half-size too small, which caused them to be fussy about which socks I could wear and if things were not “just” so, my right foot and that Tailor’s Bunionette would bother me after 4-5 miles.

That, along with my big push to change my running form.

Yeah that phase I and many other runners went through during 2011-2013, when we were was reading so many or was that too many books and blogs that were pushing a particular running style and more minimal/zero drop shoes as the only way to run “injury-free” and be a better runner.

It may be for some. I know that I bought in “hook, line and sinker”.

Which meant that suddenly my Ronin’s and Elixir’s “were not the right running shoes for me”. After all they were much more traditional running shoes and allowed/encouraged me to run more on my heels – not the proper way to run according to all the stuff I was reading.

Despite or was that in spite of the fact that I had run extremely well in both at the Runner’s World Half Festival in October 2012 and in training after that.

I believe the straw that broke the camel’s back, was the photos and a video from the 2013 Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race, where it showed that I was definitely heel striking…badly. After that I really focused on wanting to change my gait/running style.

Photo by David Colby Young at 2013 January Thaw – Shows my great heel first landing stride

Which meant that the Ronin 4’s languished in my closet. I even gave them to SD1, who wore them as knock-around the house shoes and even worked in the garden in them. Finally, even she moved on to different shoes.

In May of 2013, when I was training in zero drop shoes exclusively and racing in very light-weight racing flats (Ekidon’s), I partially tore my Achilles during a 5K race. I don’t know if the attempted change of gait and training in zero drop shoes contributed to the injury or not, but it happened while I was doing it, so it did raise a lot of questions in my mind.

Since that injury I have looked closely at my running and what kind of running shoes that I run in with and from a different perspective. As part of what I learned – I now know that I do not like running in very minimal running shoes or extremely light-weight racing flats and zero drop shoes tend to bother my Achilles more than more traditional running shoes.

Changing their running style might work for some runners, but it didn’t for me and now I am just going to focus on running – the way that I run.

Thomas College Terrier 5K – 10-26-14 Finish — Not a whole lot of change in my stride.

Fast forward to the end of 2014

Now that I have figured out that changing my form/gait didn’t happen and that while I have periods in a run where I might run with a mid-foot style, for the most part I land on my heels and need shoes that will handle both of those styles well. Plus I have learned that I want a little more protection when I run faster than what the super light-weight racing flats provide.

A concession to my age, maybe, but I just don’t like running in minimally cushioned running shoes at this point in my life.

Hair-Brained Idea

Just before Christmas, I got the hair-brained idea to try the Ronin’s again, after all they were just sitting in the back of the front closet – taking up space.

Especially, since I have moved more towards lighter-weight trainers/long distance style racing shoes (7-10 oz), higher drop (6-10mm), with about 20mm stack heights (give or take a little in either direction) for my faster workouts/racing. Which pretty much describes the Ronin’s.

So why not, go ahead and see whether they were still my “magic” shoes.

Mizuno Ronin 4

This is what I said on 12/10/14 (go to the link) after my first run in them again – a very good treadmill session:

Maybe some of the magic was still in them.

That is the story of why I stopped running in the Ronin 4’s that were working well for me a few years ago and why I started running in them again recently.


How much did I pay?

I bought them at the then Maine Running Company in Brunswick at full price – I believe it was $105.00 plus tax, no discounts. Back when Seth was in Brunswick.

Mizuno discontinued the Ronin line, so you cannot get updates past the Ronin 5 from Mizuno and they are not available on the Mizuno website. You have to rely on retailers like Amazon, 6PM, Ebay, etc. to find them and it seems that each day they are getting more difficult to find and there is not a much of a discount despite them being discontinued.

For consistent measurement purposes, I am a size 7 on the Brannock Foot measuring device and when you add-on a thumb’s width, it usually puts me in an 8.0 to an 8.5 running shoe.

Below is a photo of the Ronin 4’s and my thumb showing where my right big toe is inside the toe box to show how it actually fits my foot.
Mizuno Ronin 4’s – less than a thumb’s width

They are about a half-size too small and the fairly narrow toe box bothers my Tailor’s bunionette if I am using the wrong socks – they are very finicky about which socks work and which ones do not. The upper is such that I have to wear socks or get raw spots/blisters.
Feel (different from fit)

I compare all shoes to how quiet the Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s were for me and when I started to run in the Ronin’s again, I was a little slappy on the forefoot, but now that I have run in them a few times they are much quieter, not GRR2 quiet, but quiet enough that I am pretty sure that I am running efficiently in them.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

The Ronin 4’s are a light-weight trainer/racing shoe that for me feel firm, but comfortable. I just know that I am supposed to run fast when I have these shoes on, whether that is just a mindset or the shoes – it doesn’t matter. All I know is that I feel fast when I run in the Ronin’s and have run some very fast for me times.

I still run fast in them and I have a feeling that my next 5K or race will be run in those shoes (unless the weather totally sucks).

I have always liked the looks of the outsole of the Ronin line, it is a road shoe that can do dirt roads or easy trails as long as they are dry. It feels flexible, but at the same time has a very nice snap to it that makes them a faster shoe than I would have expected from a higher drop shoe.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

For 200 miles and all the other wear they have had, I am very impressed with how well the sole has held up and that they still feel very fast and comfortable to run in.

The upper on the Ronin 4 has a lot of sewn on overlays, which I find irritate the Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot on any shoe that doesn’t have a very wide toe box. The Ronin 5’s have a better upper and if I can find a pair of 8.5’s in the 5’s I will chase after them.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

I can’t run sockless in them for long distances, because there are a few places that really irritate and if I ran too long sockless, those areas would blister or rub the skin away.

If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

To be honest, I think that I would go ahead and attempt to find another pair of Ronin 4’s or 5’s if Bennie decided to chew these up. They have worked well for me and I like running fast in them.

The Reality is that

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I sort of wish that I had not gone down the gotta change my form/minimalist/zero drop rabbit hole. Even though I learned a lot and met some great people, I also learned that I don’t run that way and probably never will.

When I look at my old and more recent running photos and videos (when I am not aware I am being photographed or videoed), I am a heel striker. Not a bad thing, just the way that I run – too many years of muscle memory and not enough motivation to actually make the change.

Mizuno Ronin 4’s

Between the Skechers GoRun line (which do not meet my personal definition of minimal running shoes) and the Ronin’s I have found a running shoe rotation that I believe will serve me well, well at least as long as I can still find the Ronin’s. By then I will have found a nice shoe to replace them.

I do like my Ronin 4’s and plan to keep my eyes out for size 8.5 or even 9.0’s in the 4’s or 5’s, that I can squirrel away and delay the day when I have to find their eventual replacement as my race day shoe up to the half marathon.

The Ronin 4’s may not be the perfect running shoes, but for me the pair that I have were a magic shoe, that still have some remnants of magic left.

If you happen to have an old pair of Ronin 4 or 5’s lying around in your closet and want to get rid of them in a size 8.0 or 8.5 – let’s talk.

I just had to learn how I actually run, to have a better appreciation for the Ronin 4’s – too bad I am a day late and a dollar short – yet again.

How about you do you have an old pair of magic shoes in your closet that still have some life left in them?

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Labels: 200 mile review Mizuno Ronin 4 running shoe review

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