In the running shoe world where the design pendulum has swung from barefoot to “how much sole can we glue on the bottom,” the Mizuno Hitogami find that sweet spot in the arc–a lightweight shoe that is still protective enough to wear through long runs. The Hitogami is a synthesis of everything a running shoe should be. It virtually disappears on your feet with a hint of bouncy energy return. This is without question the best shoe I have worn all year. It is my everyday go-to shoe. If you are an efficient runner looking for an all-round shoe that you can race and train in, grab a Hitogami!
The Mizuno Hitogami is a lightweight performance-oriented trainer designed for roads, but could be easily conscripted into racing flat or track duty. While similar in weight and purpose to the Sayonara, the Hitogami is more flexible and responsive.
Mizuno has found the sweet spot so many runners look for: a lightweight running shoe that doesn’t feel like you’re running in Kleenex. It’s got the wavy Mizuno plate underfoot that provides a nice little landing pad—there’s just enough cushion to absorb shock, but with a nice little forefoot bounce to propel you forward. Hitogami is my new favorite shoe—it goes everywhere except trails—a little too delicate for our gravelly arroyos (and the little horseshoe cut under the heel tends to pick up rocks) but for road running it’s hard to beat. The one minor complaint I have is that the laces did not want to stay tied, Runners with a high instep might also feel a little “lace bite” on longer runs.
Comfort For such a low-cut shoe, there’s a lot of plush. The nicely padded heel cup and springy forefoot will bring a wry smile to your face—a comfy shoe that’s feels like it’s not afraid to work.
Responsiveness Again, it’s a technical marvel to pack in so much bounce in so little a shoe—whereas there are plenty of big-bounce shoes out there that wear their cooler-sized soles as a badge of honor, the little Hitogami is a tustsumi, hiding it’s spring in its fabric, a surprise in such a lightweight shoe.
Speed Speed is the raison d’etre of the Hitogami. The genius of this shoe is that it is a go-fast shoe for race day, but is sturdy enough for everyday wear. Just wearing the Hitogami puts your feet to dreaming of the Rift Valley, or at the very least the last half mile down Boylston Street.
Quality of Materials The simple design of the Hitogami belies its solid construction. It’s little more than a sock on top of a thin, springy platform, but there’s plenty of carbon on the sole, promising a natural lifespan of such a slight shoe. And don’t forget to squish your two shoes together to enjoy the Kabuki mask hidden in the welded overlays!
This is without question the best shoe I have worn all year. It is my everyday go-to shoe. If you are an efficient runner looking for an all-round shoe that you can race and train in, grab a Hitogami!
Value At $100, it is right on the low side of average, though in the same neighborhood as other lightweight trainers such as Saucony’s Type A. Light, of course, tends to translate into short-lived, so don’t expect to be using the same pair for next year’s marathon trials, despite some nice carbon reinforcements on the sole.