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The birth of sneaker brand Mizuno

July 2, 2021 12:00 PM
The birth of sneaker brand Mizuno

Mizuno is one of the oldest sports brands. They have been around for over a hundred years, but did not start selling sports shoes until the second half of the last century.

The history of Mizuno

Mizuno Corporation was founded in 1906 in Osaka by Rihachi Mizuno and his younger brother Rizo. The shop sold western products including baseball equipment. A year later it became a real sports brand. Mizuno began to sell order-made sportswear.

In 1910, the two brothers moved the shop to Umeda-Shinmichi. This is a commercial district in Osaka with many shops. The shop was named 'Mizuno Shop'. In 1913, the brand started to design and produce their own baseballs and baseball gloves.

Mizuno designed 'Star Line' in 1933. These were the first golf clubs made in Japan. Two years later Mizuno's golf showroom became the largest in the world.

The Mizuno brothers were not only into sportswear but also into gliders. They started making such planes around 1936. The fact that the brand studied this technology came in handy when Japan asked them to make military ammunition during the Second World War.

Mizuno Shop
Image by Athletics Weekly

In the early 1960s, more opportunities opened up for the Japanese sports brand. The 1964 Olympic Games came to Tokyo and Mizuno was allowed to sponsor them. The same applied to the Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1972.

Mizuno shoe technology

In the summer of '72, the brand introduced the "M-Line". These were running shoes with spikes. It was not yet a success. Brands like Nike had more innovative running shoes, so Mizuno had to expand.

The Japanese economy was not as fast as that of the United States. Because of this, the sports brand decided to open a department in the US. Two American men started working for Mizuno. Both had a background in sports culture. It took only a year and the brand became a household name in American golf.

Image by Athletics Weekly

The logo of the sports brand we know today is called "Runbird". Before this logo existed, the shoes had a large 'M' on the side. In '82 the logo was designed and a year later the Runbird collection was launched. These Mizuno shoes had a mesh upper with an EVA foam midsole and a rubber outsole.

In 1987, Masato Mizuno became the head of the brand. This was the grandson of Rihachi. He came up with new ideas and had a lot of knowledge about marketing. The brand started to focus on a lot of sports in order to satisfy the needs of as many people as possible.

"We want to be able to meet every sports need"

Masato Mizuno

No sooner said than done. Today, the brand sells products for running, tennis, football, handball, volleyball, hockey and much more.

Mizuno Wave technology

The Wave technology first appeared in 1997. This technology is the exact opposite of Nike's Air technology. The synthetic Wave plate under the heel gives the runner good cushioning. This also happened with Nike Air, but this was a thicker unit with air in it. With the Wave technology it is a flexible plate with waves in it.

Wave technologie
Image by Athletics Weekly

Famous Mizuno shoes

Mizuno Wave Rider 1

The Mizuno Wave Rider 1 is one of the best known models of the Japanese sports brand. The Wave Rider 1 has had a number of collaborations with 24 Kilates and Mita, among others. What is striking about this shoe is that you can clearly see the Wave plate. This technology is almost twenty-five years old, but is still being used.

Mizuno Wave Rider 1

Mizuno Sky Medal

The Mizuno Sky Medal is also one of the best known sneaker models of the brand. Just like the Wave Rider, the Sky Medal has a number of collaborations to its name, including Patta, HANON and Footpatrol. This model is more of a lifestyle sneaker and more stylish than a real sports shoe.

Mizuno Sky Medal

Mizuno x Pieter Ceizer

Each year Mizuno collaborates with an artist to create a running shoe for the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. In 2020 the Japanese sports brand chose Pieter Ceizer. Together they designed a Sky Medal and a Skyrise. The Sky Medal was more for before and after running, while the Skyrise was the real running shoe. In the Skyrise, you can clearly see the Wave technology.

Mizuno Pieter Ceizer
Mizuno Pieter Ceizer

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