Reebok Zigtech vs. Mizuno Waveplate
Why are Reebok Zigs so popular? Kids love ‘em, perhaps merely because of their noticeability. But are runners making a mistake by falling for this distinguished-looking stranger?
For those unfamiliar with the Zig line of running shoes, they incorporate a foam “zig-zag” platform. This is supposed to take the energy of your heel coming down, and act like a slinky, transferring the force forward.
Sounds revolutionary, right? But this idea of mechanical shoes has actually been used since 1997, when Mizuno first employed their Wave Plate technology.
The Wave Plate is the Zigs’ big brother (read a brief outline here. It’s not as cute, but it’s been around longer and is therefore better developed. The biggest difference is in materials: where the Zigs use simple foam, the Wave Plate uses thermoplastic. Because of this, the Wave Plate is quite strong and when it is bent (say, from the force of your heel hitting the ground), it quickly returns to its regular shape. This process redirects energy forward, launching your feet. The Zigs’ foam, on the other hand, is a little too soft and takes a shape more concerned with aesthetics than biomechanics. The result is excessive bounciness, as if too much energy is going upward instead of forward.
I asked one high-school level runner and one bewildered stranger, both of whom I caught running in the Zigs, what they thought of the shoe. Both had bought the Zigs because of the looks, and both complained of knee pain after long runs– likely a result of their too-bouncy sneakers. They did, however, say that they felt like they were going faster in the Zigtechs.
I read several online reviews, and as far as I can tell, it seems that the Zigs are better for walking and the gym. They’re going to be more comfortable than the Wave Plate, and their bounciness isn’t a problem. The Wave Plate, however, always the dependable big brother, is more reliable if you plan on running some distance.Share on Facebook