Mizuno Kazan 2 – 50 Mile Review

How do you write a review about a pair of running shoes that have so many “issues” and at the same time you love to run in them?

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That is the question for the ages and as many things as I find wrong with the Mizuno Kazan 2’s, when I start running in them, all the problems/issues or things I do not like disappear. It is the first pair of running shoes in a long, long time that I love to run in, but won’t use them for anything else.

Looking back, this is a model that I had a LOT of questions about when I bought them, but the price was under $50 through Amazon and I needed a pair of winter running shoes with a higher drop. I was very happy with the way the Inspire 11’s were working for me and the Kazan 2’s seemed to be the trail counter-part to that model.

So I took a chance

Quite honestly, my first impressions when trying them on were not all that great and if I had been trying them on in a store, no way they would have come home with me, they would have been back on the shelf.

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When I first put them on there was a spot on outside of the right upper that didn’t feel right. It was almost like something sharp was sticking into the side of my foot. Believe me I have looked that shoe over many times and even after 50 miles the feeling is still there slightly. I don’t have a clue what it is.

Update 10/31/16 — I took the wood stove flame lighter and used it it to melt down any loose ends or previously melted down ends that were left a little long. It seemed to help because that sticking feeling is now gone. All I can think is that it was a melted thread end that would lay just right when I cinched down on the laces and I melted it back enough that it no longer bothers. Sometimes it is the small things that getcha.

The second thing was that the shoes were way long. Yes, I got them in 9.0’s, because that is my experience with Mizuno running shoes is that they run small. Not the Kazan 2’s, I have a feeling that either an 8.5 or even an 8.0 would be a better choice.

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As you can see, my thumb is up against my big toe and there is still more than another thumb’s width to the end of the shoe – definitely too long.

The Kazan 2’s are definitely not the smoothest running trail shoes I have ever run in, there is no rock plate in the forefoot, they are noisy/slappy if I am not paying attention to what I am doing on tar, the tread grip is just decent – nothing spectacular, the toe box feels funky when walking in them and the heel cup is a bit too wide.

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So with all that and my history of not having a lot of patience with running shoes that have LOTS of issues…

What in the hell changed my mind?

It was during my first run – despite or is that in spite of the all the negatives that I had found, before running a step in them, that I was going to keep them. Once I started running in the Kazan’s, all the crap disappeared and something almost magical happened – I ran with a real stride in them.

The Kazan 2’s just had very good manners on the road and trail that day. Dare I say, I enjoyed running in them.

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So what do I like about them?

The K2’s keep me honest when running on tar, I “know” when my form is off and can correct it.

The grip is enough for where I typically run at Quarry Road, Inland Hospital, Messalonskee Stream, Colby, UMA, down-back, they should be decent in snow, does well on the tar and they are not harsh run in.

So the Kazan 2’s do what I need and want.

Other than that I don’t know what I really like about them, because there are not things that just stand-out like other shoes I have.

That is the honest answer.

Have you ever?

Have you ever had a pair of running shoes, that just feel right when you are running in them, that is how I feel about the Mizuno Kazan 2’s.

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They are not walking shoes or wear around pretty shoes, they are running shoes.

I run well and comfortably in them.

I guess that is enough.

A Good Example

My last run was a good example, it had rained hard overnight, so it was a bit squishy on the dirt road down-back and was still raining lightly at 39*F, while I was running.  So I expected some slime and wet tar and planned on running around 5.0 miles.

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A day pretty similar to this

Based on past experience, I knew the Kazan’s would be fine on the slime down-back and the wet tar on Tiffany. Plus the upper seems to shed water better than some others, so I didn’t have completely squishy socks/feet at the end.

During the run I just ran.

Which is what I expect. I didn’t worry about how my feet were feeling or if they were going to hurt, get a blister or if I was going to land on my arse while running on the slime down-back.

Going Forward

For the kind of running that I plan to do with the Kazan’s, dirt road, groomed trails, snow, slush, rain, light mud and tar, they do what I want.

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Enough that Bennie decided that I should have another pair, under the Christmas tree. Especially, when the price dropped to under $40, but this time he ordered an 8.5 and hopefully this pair doesn’t have that sharp feeling in the upper.

Yeah, this is definitely not one of my typical the shoe is great 50 mile reviews. I have a feeling that most runners would not have given them a second look after the initial try-on in the store…I know that I would not have.

The only reason I kept them initially, was the low price and I didn’t feel like dealing with the return hassle. Otherwise, I would be running in something else today.

Honestly, I am glad that I gave them a chance, because I do like them.

I have a feeling that the true test for the Kazan’s will be the next review. By then, I will have run in them in a few snow storms and some colder weather with my merino wool socks, which is the real reason that I got them – winter running.

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All I can say is that even with all the warts I have talked about, I like the Mizuno Kazan 2’s well enough that another pair will be waiting for me, under the tree on Christmas day.

That says a lot.