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The rich history of Mizuno

April 23, 2023 8:17 PM
The rich history of Mizuno

Mizuno has been a well-known brand for many years when it comes to sneakers. The Japanese brand is known for its high-quality and performance-oriented silhouettes and has been a name in the sneaker scene since 1906. With collaborations with big names like Patta, Footpatrol, and Hajime Sorayama, Mizuno has made a name for itself. Read on to learn more about the Japanese sneaker brand.

Mizuno History

Mizuno Corporation was founded in Osaka, Japan in 1906 by Rihachi Mizuno and his younger brother Rizo. The store sold various Western sports products, including baseball equipment. Within a short period, the brand grew into a true sports brand and began selling custom-made sportswear.

In the early years, the brand focused on producing baseball clothing and accessories. Both brothers had a passion for the sport and had been fascinated by it from a young age, starting to make performance-enhancing items in 1913.

First Mizuno fabriek l Bron Mizuno

Some 20 years later, Mizuno also turned its focus to making golf apparel and accessories. In 1934, the brand opened its first factory in Osaka, Japan. The company continued to expand, focusing on multiple sports such as skiing and tennis.

Mizuno's international reputation as a manufacturer of the highest quality sporting goods was established in the 1970s when the company began exporting its golf clubs to Europe. Mizuno also established a factory in Europe, Mizuno Corporation UK Ltd.

In addition to focusing on sports such as golf, baseball, and tennis, the brand now also focuses on designing lifestyle sneakers. Mizuno has sneaker locations worldwide, including in the UK and Asia. The sports industry has shifted from running shoes to lifestyle sneakers in recent years, but still retains its sporty DNA.

Different Mizuno Models

The brand's focus on the sports world is also reflected in the Mizuno lifestyle sneakers. With models such as the Wave Rider, Sky Medal, and Contender, the brand has made a name for itself in the sneaker scene and has several collabs under its belt. Many of the Mizuno sneakers were designed in the 1990s and are still beloved by many.

The Mizuno Wave Rider

One of Mizuno's most famous sneakers is the Wave Rider. The Wave Rider was introduced in 1998 and has not been removed from the collection since its first release. With the Wave Rider, Mizuno focused on a completely different front. The Wave Rider series returns to simplifying technologies.

"It took us forever to figure it out. We looked at consumer products, electronic products, everything. We took everything apart," said Tuan Le, Product Designer of the Wave Rider, in an interview with Highsnobiety, "We tried everything we could. But once we figured it out, it was like, 'Oh, the answer is so simple.'"

Mizuno Wave Rider 1
Mizuno Wave Rider 1 l Image: Mizuno

The Wave Rider has received several variants in recent years that use new technologies. In 2007, the brand introduced the Mizuno Wave Rider 10, a futuristic design that is popular with many sneaker enthusiasts.

Even the Mizuno Wave Rider Neo and the Mizuno Enerzy Wave Rider, successors of the Wave Rider, are beloved models among runners. The Wave Rider Premium is a chic variant of the OG silhouette and uses materials such as leather, suede, and mesh.

The Mizuno Sky Medal

The Mizuno Sky Medal model was introduced in 1993 and has become one of the best-known sneakers from the Japanese brand. Athletics legend Carl Lewis wore it during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Soon the sneaker became a favorite among many athletes and was often worn on the running track.

Mizuno Sky Medal
Mizuno Sky Medal Premium l Image: Mizuno

The sneaker has a sleek look and was unique in its kind. The technologies used in the midsole provided cushioning and comfort. Even off the running track, the Mizuno Sky Medal was a success. The EVA sole combined with the Transtab cushion system made the Sky Medal a comfortable model and resulted in Mizuno's own Wave technology a few years later.

The name of the sneaker is derived from the goal of being a podium shoe that athletes would wear to receive their medals after competitions. Mizuno modernizes the original Sky Medal OG with the release of the Sky Medal S. This silhouette pays tribute to the vintage look of the Sky Medal and gives the model a modern twist. The Sky Medal S uses premium materials and has a chic feel.

The Mizuno Contender

Another Mizuno silhouette that is doing well is the Contender. The silhouette was introduced in 1995, also as a running shoe. The Mizuno Contender was released at the same time as the Mondo Control and both were a hit. Nowadays, the Mizuno Contender is also a favorite outside of the running track.

Mizuno Contender
Mizuno Contender l Image: Mizuno

The sneaker was designed based on the idea of founder Rhiachi Mizuno. The design was the priority in the model, followed by function. In 2021, the iconic silhouette was succeeded by the Mizuno Contender S. The model stays close to the design of its predecessor. The EVA foam technology in the midsole provides cushioning and comfort.

The Contender is a lightweight model characterized by stability and support. The iconic model and the use of a subdued color palette make it a sneaker that is certainly suitable for daily use.

De Mizuno Wave Inspire

A final Mizuno sneaker that should not be missing from the list of well-known models is the Wave Inspire. The Mizuno Wave Inspire stays close to the DNA of the brand and focuses on the sport of running. The sneaker uses various technologies that provide cushioning and comfort, such as the use of Energy foam in the midsole and the Wave Plate in the sole.

The sneakers from the Wave Inspire line of Mizuno are lightweight and are suitable for sprinters and marathon runners. Since the introduction of the Wave Inspire, the model has had several successors. Especially the Wave Inspire 2e, 17, 17d, 17 2e, 18, and the Wave Inspire 16 2e are well-known models.

Mizuno collabs

Since the founding of Mizuno over 100 years ago, the brand has gained global recognition. This includes well-known brands such as Patta, Highsnobiety, Hanon, Footpatrol, and Carefree, who all collaborated with the Japanese brand.

Patta x Mizuno Ivory Red Green
Patta x Mizuno Sky Medal 'Ivory Red Green' l Image: Patta

In 2020, the Amsterdam-based streetwear brand teamed up with Mizuno for the first time and released the Patta x Mizuno Sky Medal 'Roadrunner'. The success of the first collab led to a follow-up in 2022 with the Patta x Mizuno Sky Medal 'Ivory Red Green'.

The Scottish sneaker shop HANON also teamed up with Mizuno. The two names came up with the HANON x Mizuno Sky Medal 'The Angels Share', a striking colorway of the iconic running shoe. The use of corduroy and suede gives the collab a chic look.

HANON x Mizuno Sky Medal 'The Angels Share' l Mizuno

Recently, HANON and Mizuno teamed up again and this time released the Contender. The sneaker was released in early 2023 and is currently available at various retailers. The striking combination of silver and turquoise characterizes the sneaker.

Upcoming releases

If you are more interested in Mizuno sneakers after this story, check out the upcoming releases in our release calendar. In addition, you can find all Mizuno releases in our sneaker search engine.