Monday, 4 March 2013

"Out of the Box" Mizuno Evo Veritas @ Essex 20

"Out of the Box" Mizuno Evo Veritas @ Essex 20

Last time out I’d just tested the “sister shoe” of the Veritas, the Evo Cursoris. This was to be my biggest Out of the Box test so far as I set about trying Mizuno’s Minimal Road Racer at the Essex 20 Road Race.

Evo Levatis on left with Evo Cursoris on right

I’d never run this race before so had no reference to compare it to, I don’t know why but I had visions of a fast small town road course as it was on the outskirts of Colchester in north Essex. What I discovered was a picturesque 3 lap country lane road race that had at least 3 reasonable hills and even a short 500m trail section to keep me happy.

I drove to the race with my good friend Mr Andy Hind who is an established club marathon runner and we got there with plenty of time to spare. We prepared our kit and we compared our choices as even though it was chilly now, it looked like it could warm up later, decisions, decisions!

Mr Andy Hind - Any ideas what phone network he's on :)

I then got to the point with about 15 minutes to start time where I pulled the shoe box out of the boot and removed the Veritas’s (is Veritas plural already?) I’d obviously looked over the shoes before today so knew what to expect, ultra lightweight flat road racers. As I set about cutting the tags off them and removing the tissue paper from inside the shoes Andy couldn’t help but comment on how mad I was whilst laughing and from the look of the fellow runner in the car next to us, he also agreed.

Cutting the tags on the Veratis
First impressions? They were obviously more stripped down than the Evo Cursoris. The felt comfortable and the toe box section was snug due to the light mesh design but overall they felt slightly less “slipper like”. I chose the wear a pair of thin compression socks and I felt that I might get some form of rubbing due to the lack of extra padding and I nearly decided to change the socks and put on some slightly thicker examples but stuck with the original choice in the end.

As I stood at the start it was great to see so many familiar faces from my club, it was also a surprise as many of them commented on the shoes and asked if they were really “box fresh”? (nice to see people actually do read this stuff) In fact me and Andy were so engrossed in conversation that we’d not even noticed the race had started, so we thought we’d better set off!

So what about the race? As I said, it was a 20 mile 3 lap race and was far from flat, within 5 minutes we were running up a hill where if this was an ultra I’d be walking up. The good news was that the shoes felt fine and I was soon forefoot striking with no issues.

I’d agreed to run with Andy for at least the first two laps at his pace then I said I would probably slow as this was a training run for me and I was worried about my existing knee issue especially as my physio said on Friday that I shouldn’t run (thanks for the advice Liam but remember I break and you fix it mate). We were running together quite comfortably and our 9 minute mile pace was easy to maintain but it was after the first lap were I told Andy we were running too fast. The 9 minute mile pace was now 8:45 and below and even though this doesn’t seem that much difference, my long distance pace alarm in my head was sounding. We slowed a little when we were well into the second lap and it was here that I told Andy I’d be backing off on the last lap to let him go.

So far the Veritas were behaving. As I said I was finding it easy to run forefoot strike probably assisted by the lightweight design and the only issue I did encounter was on the off-road section of the course. It wasn’t lack of grip that caused a problem though even when I pushed downhill on wet muddy terrain but there was an amount of debris on the track and a small piece had set up home in the heel of my shoe. Didn’t really want to stop so I tried to flick it out with the other shoe as I ran (don’t try this at home kids). I thought this had done the trick but after a while I did noticed the familiar burning sensation. One thing I was happy with though as stated was the grip in the off-road section from the Veritas. The Cursoris performed well on loose wet gravel in the week previously and these were the same. Even though racing flats are not a new concept, these combine a clever technical tread design on the forefoot of the sole with a plain heel, best of both worlds in my opinion!

Sole pattern on the Evo's show the decent forefoot grip
We both got to the last lap and this is where I said goodbye to my running partner. In my mind I’d done well to get to this point in one piece and the knee was still a concern. I eased back the pace and saw my colleague disappear but after a couple of miles I actually still felt ok and no knee issue so I decided to push the pace again. Soon Andy was in sight and I was gaining on him, I have to admit I was feeling good physically but a little guilty as I passed him (sorry mate) and for a while we ran together but soon I realised I could kick on and decided to go all out in the last couple of miles. I pushed as hard as I could for the last mile and don’t think I could have gone any faster and I was more than relieved to cross the finish line.

I have to admit I enjoyed the run especially as I’d had so much pain and frustration pre-event. It was especially good to run most of the race with a good friend as I usually prefer running alone in races but this was a pleasant change and I was glad to see Andy finish shortly after me. We’d both finished well within the times we wanted so both of us were more satisfied.

I take my hats off the organisers especially Gary Chandler and it was also fantastic to see many club members who were not running cheering everyone and it was much appreciated. I recommend this race as not only is it a good test in a lovely setting but also very spectator friendly due to multi-lap format.

Post race and the Evos did well

And for the shoes in summary? More than impressed. You could argue that running shoes today don’t need breaking in but I don’t think you’ll find any marathon runners slipping on new shoes for a race (I didn’t even re-lace them). If you’re an experienced minimal shoe runner that runs road races then the Mizuno Evo Veritas are perfect for you. If like me you’re an experienced off-road minimal runner who likes to use road races for training then these are up to the job but I preferred the extra comfort of the Cursoris if I’m honest.

It is really close though. I think the Veritas for race and Cursoris for training works well. I’m not a road runner but even I can tell these are a quality product for the minimal runner.

And finally. Post race foot inspection revealed that the sore heel was due to a small piece of tree in my right shoe but I actually didn’t even have any form of blister anywhere!

Next race in the Evo’s will be the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon 17th March 2013, the hardest part will be which ones to wear?


  1. The colour suites too! :-)
    Thanks for the review!

    Barefoot Britain

  2. Thanks Tracy,

    Strangely enough the colour wasn't commented on at the start line as "different" colours seem to be all the rage and these were quite tame :)