2018 High Mileage Neutral Running Shoe Comparison - Asics vs Brooks vs Mizuno vs Saucony

by Sportitude
13 Mar 2018

Kicking off your running experience for 2018, Josh provides an in depth comparison of five high mileage neutral running shoes; the Mizuno Wave Sky, Brooks Glycerin 15 and Asics Gel Nimbus 20 with a 10mm heel-to-toe drop, and the Saucony Triumph ISO 4 and Brooks Levitate with an 8mm heel-to-toe drop.

He provides insight into variances in the upper, cushioning technologies, outsole and widths available between these top-of-the-line runners to help you identify which is best suited to your feet and running style.

Check out the full review with transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh from Sportitude here today with another shoe comparison video.

What I’ve got in front of me here is the elevated top-of-the-line neutral running shoes from Mizuno, Asics, Brooks and a Saucony as well just to mix it up.

When we say high mileage or top-of-the-line we’re talking shoes that roughly get between 600 to 800km. That’s obviously a rough figure depending on the person’s shape, foot type, strike zones and what surface they’re using them on.

High mileage usually is north of 600km. If you’re getting more than 800 to 850km out of your shoes you’re doing incredibly well.

I’d like to start off with our neutral shoes here that are on that 31mm heel / 21mm forefoot heel-to-toe gradient - that’s the 10mm heel-to-toe drop. We’re looking at the Brooks Glycerin, the Asics Gel Nimbus 20 and the Mizuno Wave Sky.

Down at the end we have Saucony and the Brooks Levitate with a lower heel-to-toe pitch, we’re talking 8mm. I will talk about those two comparatively in two ticks.

In regards to your Sky, Nimbus and Glycerin, we’re talking about shoes that have full length cushioning systems. When you’re talking about shoes north of $150 or $200 for that matter we’re talking about shoes that really stack up whether you’re a heel striker, midfoot striker or just need that whole cushioned support as you go through that toe-off phase.

What foot types are in these? We’re talking neutral again. We’re looking at a foot that has a higher arch or as you can see in the medial side of my foot model, relatively pitched through that navicular region, so we’re seeing that arch arched up a bit higher and/or where the foot type is supinated.

Supinated being the minority, we’re talking about a foot type that sits out. When your foot comes down on heel strike, midstance and then toe off were talking about a foot that sits out on the lateral side of the shoe so a lot of the pressure and a lot of the support in these specific shoes brands do concentrate to make it nice and stable on the lateral column. So that’s our neutral foot type right there.

Mizuno Wave Sky

Concentrating on your 10mm heel-to-toe gradient shoes, I’ll pick up the Mizuno Sky first.

What Mizuno have done in the past is use a soft foam. Looking at this shoe here you can see that green layer of foam, that Shrek layer of foam we’re going to call it today, that is their absorbent cushioning system U4icX.

It goes all the way through that shoe so you get a nice plush feeling underneath your foot for heel strike, midstance and toe off.

How Mizuno have split themselves away from the other brands and their unique point of difference it the Wave Plate. They’ve been using the Wave Plate for many years now.

The Wave Plate on the medial side looks like a little blue line splitting the green foam and the white foam. On the lateral side it’s just on that heel strike zone.

Why they’ve done that and not gone all the way through the forefoot like they’ve done in previous models like the Wave Enigma, which is what this little guy replaced is because they want a slightly more flexible shoe on toe-off.

Having a Wave Plate that covered the medial and lateral side made the shoe very stable and it worked for a lot of runners but they were missing out on a few runners that didn’t like the extra stiffness in this shoe. They’ve concentrated on giving it plenty of support right under that first metatarsal joint for toe-off, hence why they’ve kept the Wave Plate on that medial side to go through that transition under your toe off phase.

Mizuno Wave plate, U4icX cushioning, nice and structured, very stable shoe and nice deep heel counter.

There’s two widths in this guy here. We’ve got a D and 2E in the men’s and for the ladies we have a B and a D. That’s your Mizuno Wave Sky.

Asics Gel Nimbus 20

The Nimbus 20 had a bit of an update from the 19 so we didn’t do too much in relation to features underneath the foot. They’ve kept with what they’ve done in the Nimbus 19, the Gel pod in the heel and the forefoot encapsulated with that FlyteFoam midsole.

They've tweaked the upper ever so slightly. They’ve given it extra structure and integrity through the medial side.

It’s hard to see to the naked eye but the woven mesh through the forefoot is a lot stronger and tougher, so we shouldn’t get any issues wearing little holes in the Nimbus 20.

A nice external heel counter gives the shoe plenty of reinforcement. One little feature I really liked with the new Nimbus 20 is the extra foam and padding in the liner on the inside of your collar. It gives the back of your heel and Achilles a nice, snug fit.

Again, as I said before you’ve got a 10mm heel-to-toe gradient, so we’re talking 31mm in the heel and 21mm in the forefoot. The 10mm heel-to-toe gradient takes a bit of stress off that lower Achilles and calf.

In the Nimbus men’s we have three widths; a D, 2E and a 4E. The widths do come in different colours, again when you hit our website you’ll see brands only specifically make some certain colours. There you go, Nimbus 20.

Brooks Glycerin 15

Jumping onto the Glycerin 15. We’ve got the men’s D width in front of me. In Glycerin we’re talking again 31mm in the heel and 21mm in the forefoot for a 10mm heel-to-toe gradient.

The Super DNA cushioning system is essentially silicone particles broken down and sprinkled into the foam of the EVA base, which gives it a really consistent cushioning system. Whether you’re a heel striker, midfoot striker, or even if you’re just walking in them you’re getting a consistent feel underneath the foot for every single step.

That’s a great thing I personally think. Instead of trying to generically locate where they need to put a cushioning pod, they have made the midsole the same blend or the same density the whole way through. I’ve always been a big fan of the Glycerin the last couple of years, they’re making some great shoes.

What Brooks do that is a bit different than the other shoes is the pure rubber outsole the whole way through the base of the shoe.

On the other hand, Asics have split the rearfoot and the forefoot by putting a Trusstic system through the midsection. That gives it plenty of structure and integrity when you go through the midstance phase when the load is on that one foot to get some support.

Same with the Mizuno Wave Sky – they’ve split the rearfoot and the forefoot with a Trusstic system which is connected to the Wave Plate. Again, it gives you structure and integrity when you go through the midstance phase.

However, Brooks by not having that Trusstic system have increased the width of the shoe through midstance so you’re getting plenty of real estate when you’re going through that midstance transition.

Which one is better? I’ve run in them all and probably for me I found the Brooks Glycerin gave me a little bit more cradled support going through midstance because I do vary my speeds when I go for runs. I like to go for slower runs and quicker transition runs.

If I’m hitting through that midfoot-forefoot region I’d like to know I have a whole part of the shoe which I can hit the ground with. If I’m missing a Trusstic system, it can cause for me a little bit of a funny feeling but I do like the Glycerin and how it runs for me.

We have D and 2E widths in this guy here for men’s, so D standard and 2E a little broader. For women’s we have a 2A, B and D. There you go that’s the widths in the Brooks Glycerin.

Saucony Triumph ISO 4

Jumping over here we’re going to be talking about our 8mm heel-to-toe gradient shoes. Saucony have a polyurethane blended midsole called Everun. The Everun cushioning system is very soft. Probably out of the shoes we’re looking at here it is the softest underneath the foot.

If you’re at home and you like a nice, plush very soft cushioned landing pad, this is certainly a shoe I’d consider.

Up top we have a bit of a unique lacing system. They’ve got larger eyelet plugs so instead of having just a specific eyelet hole like most brands do, Saucony have essentially almost a little lace passage.

They have three lace passages up top. That helps when you tighten the shoe on your foot to cover a little more surface area up top instead of making it quite tight back and forth, which can cause a little bit of restriction across the top of the foot.

Now that being said, I have no issues with any of these other shoes. Saucony have identified it as potentially being an issue, therefore they’ve increased these little lace passages. They don’t have a technical name, so we’re just going to go with ‘lace passages’.

What I have in front of me is one of their unique colour schemes. It almost looks navy to a denim trend. They’ve called in denim in colour, so they’re trying to jazz up their shoes there. I don’t mind the look at all. 

Also, I need to touch on the ‘stitching’ on the toe box right through the forefoot – but that is not stitching. It’s just a cosmetic tweak they’ve put on the front of the shoes to make them look a bit more authentic. It’s purely and simply a cosmetic touch up through the forefoot.

Brooks Levitate

The Brooks Levitate has sold like hot cakes. I’m not going to lie to you, we got this in roughly a couple of months ago and it’s just flying, so much so that Brooks even ran out of stock.

There’s a new model coming in March 2018. It’s not going to be the same cosmetics I’m holding in front of me here. It’s going to have the exact same Levitate midsole however it’s going to be on a black upper, so it's going to look quite slick.

Men’s and women’s will look almost identical. Black upper with a silver Levitate base.

Brooks have created a DNA AMP cushioning system. They’ve followed the trend of a few brands out there doing a polyurethane blended midsole in with the EVA to generate this little guy here. 8mm heel-to-toe drop, we’re talking 26mm heel, 18mm forefoot.

I just want to touch on the Saucony, going back one step. That’s a 28mm heel / 20mm forefoot drop so a little more shoe underneath your foot than you have in the Levitate, and only one width, men’s D and the ladies come in a B for the Saucony Triumph ISO 4.

Back to the Levitate. You have a shoe on an 8mm heel-to-toe drop. One width men’s and women’s, a D men’s and B women’s.

Up top they have a knitted upper so in terms of getting your foot inside this shoe it almost feels like a slipper. It’s quite comfortable.

We haven’t had a huge amount of success fitting a broader foot type, so if you’re a guy at home and you’re playing the 2E to 4E category I’m so sorry, but you’re going to have to put a line through this one. You should be considering the Glycerin, Nimbus or even Sky.

Same with the ladies, if you have a slightly broad foot type we haven’t had much success in allowing this shoe to adapt to the foot, so we won’t go down that path.

Levitate is a great performing shoe. It’s the most responsive polyurethane shoe on the market, that’s my personal opinion, I don’t have any stats to back that up.

I ran in all the polyurethane blended shoes and when I’m running in the Levitate you do feel like you’re on top of the ground a lot more. You get that perfect balance of absorption which is want you like from a polyurethane blend and then that kick, that bounce back.

All the energy in the DNA AMP midsole, the silver base, doesn’t escape out the sides. Energy stays hidden inside the shoe and when you toe-off it gives you a really springy toe-off feel. The sprung last through the forefoot gives your forefoot more of a cradled toe-off feel when you’re going through midstance to toe-off.

There you go hopefully I’ve giving you enough information. It’s been a long shoe comparison video today. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you’ve got any questions regarding our shoes or any other neutral shoes you’d like us to talk about please contact us and we’ll do our very best to get back to you ASAP.

Thanks again, we appreciate your time and happy running. We’ll see you next time.