WHAT’S YOUR SHOE? // BY TONY BENSON July 7, 2017 – Posted in: Latest News, Expert Advice, Products

Tony Benson competed in the 1972 Olympics, was ranked 5th in the world for the 5000m in 1971, was the 1992 Australian Olympic T&F Head Coach, a national coach of the Philippines and Australia, an IAAF lecturer and co-author of “Run With The Best”

For the review, Tony chose to to focus on an average fun runner who wears a neutral shoe – the runner who might be capable of averaging 55k (+/- 15km) per week and completing a marathon in 4 hrs (+/- 15 minutes).

The likely performance profile of this person would:

21.1k  :: 1 hr 47 min (+/- 7 min)

10k  ::  49 min (+/- 3’30 min)

5k   ::  20’30 min (+/- 1’30 min)

  1. The Wave Rider 20

This is an excellent all-purpose training shoe.  They are extremely comfortable and, for a shoe with this much material, they felt light and well balanced.  These factors make the shoe ideal for high volume running regardless of whether the volume amounts to 50 kilometers or 200 kilometers a week.  I would not recommend these shoes for faster intervals however because the designed ground contact position is a little too far back for speeds much faster than about 90% of marathon pace. To achieve a technically correct first contact the runner would need to ‘manufacture’ the initial contact point rather than this just happening naturally as a result of good posture, body position and arm action.

  1. The Wave Sayonara 4 (the shoe that would now fit this category is the Wave Shadow)

Technically better/faster runners could use this shoe alone only or in conjunction with the Wave Rider 20.  It has all the capabilities of the Wave Rider 20 and the design seems to promote a ground contact position that is slightly more forward than the Wave Rider 20 when running at similar speeds.  This allows for technically correct effortless running at higher speeds and would be an ideal shoe for running between 21.1k speed and 3k speed in training and racing.  At higher speeds the construction means an athlete would need to expend a reasonable amount of energy to achieve a correct initial ground contact position.

  1. The Wave Hitogami 4

For the type of runner targetted in this article the Wave Hitogami 4 is ideal for intervals, surge and hill running while faster runners could use for racing up to 10k and the more technically correct could even use if to race 21.1k.  As an interesting side note to this shoe my first impression was I did not like them.  They seemed too hard and unresponsive.  At the time I was relatively unfit.  When I wore the shoes 2 months later after a daily 30 to 60 minute diet of jogging and hill repetitions in the Philippines they felt totally different.  This illustrated to me how careful a person has to be when purchasing a shoe and how much knowledge the person who advises people about shoe selection needs to have.


The Fun Runner with more fast twitch fibres (often the more ‘all sport’ type) might consider a combination of the Wave Rider 4 for general training and the Wave Hitogami 4 for interval, surge and repetition running while the others might consider a combination of Wave Rider 4 and either of the other the Sayonara 4 or the Hitogami 4.  For races up to 10k however I would probably recommend the Hitogami 4.  More elite or better performed runners would need to have a true racing shoe in their wardrobe.

by Tony Benson