First run – Levitas

Last week I wrote all about the Mizuno Evo Cursoris and now I’m going to tell you all about it’s lighter, leaner sister, the Levitas. The Levitas is the other shoe in the new Mizuno Evo offering and, like the Cursoris, it features a zero heel to toe drop and Mizuno Wave technology in the midfoot area of the sole, to absorb the shock in the predominant area of impact when mid or forefoot striking. The Levitas has just an 8mm sole though (compared to the Cursoris’ already slight 12mm) and provides even less cushioning. The minimal cushioning means its more suited to runners who are already transitioned (or in the process of) to a mid or forefoot strike, rather than those who are completely new to a minimalist type shoe. It’s super light too, which makes it an ideal racing flat.

The uppers are made of one piece of airmesh fabric with some extra reinforcements in the heel only, which allows for ventilation – perfect for long or hot runs, less excellent for rainy runs! At least they dry quickly.

You can see my geeky white socks through the front of the shoe, which demonstrates the ventilation offered by the airmesh upper.

I took the Levitas on an early wet and windy 8 miler down by the river. If I’m honest I was expecting a hard ride, with little or no protection from the impact from the pavement, and I was braced for a bit of pain as my feet and ankles adjusted to having to work for themselves. In truth, I was pleasantly surprised! I have recently transitioned to a midfoot strike and the Levitas definitely helped me flex my foot naturally and land in the middle of my foot. I think I even preferred the Levitas – their thinner sole allowed for more ‘interaction’ with the road and felt as though my stride was more natural in these than in the slightly more padded Cursoris.

The Levitas have the same multi-directional grooves cut in to the sole as the Cursoris, and so they allow for natural flex of the foot. They also have the same solid sole section underneath the arch, which lends a bit of extra support in this key area. As you lace up you can feel the shoe wrap around the arch, which provides some comforting support in such a minimalist shoe.

The crash pads and deep-cut grooves mimic the natural movement of the foot, which lends itself to minimalist or barefoot style running

As with the Cursoris, the toebox is wide toe allow for optimum toe flex which is supposed to allow for balance. Now, I will not lie to you, dear reader of my – I was surprised by how off balance I was in these shoes! There were quite a few occasions where I found myself lose my balance, usually where I ran over cobbles or other uneven surfaces, but sometimes just for absolutely no reason at all! This demonstrated to me how weak my feet and ankles apparently are – I can’t even keep myself upright if I’m moving at speed without the trainer equivalent of stabilisers. I could see that, by using these shoes more often, I could build strength in my feet and ankles and make myself stronger, thus improving my balance…and this can only make me a better runner, right?

After running in these my feet, ankles and calves are quite sore, which goes to show that the muscles there are being worked and as a result are getting stronger. In a transitional stage, I can see how using these for shorter runs while using more supportive shoes for longer or more intense sessions could help to build strength whilst not overloading the muscles. Too much too soon would probably be detrimental and so my advice would be little and often while you build strength, and gradually build up to longer and faster runs!