I’ve been running is the Asics Piranha 3s since November and have been comparing them with the Mizuno Wave Universe 3s, Brooks T6s, and Brooks T7s. After a thorough evaluation, the Piranhas will be the shoes I race in this summer.
These are all great shoes: the Mizunos are one of the lightest racing flats you can find, and the T6 & T7s provide an good amount of cushioning for such a light shoe. But I found the Piranhas proved to be the most responsive, comfortable, and fastest shoes in this group.
Unlike many minimalistic shoes, the Piranhas are very responsive. This comes from the well fitting upper, which fits snug and leverages the natural responsiveness of your feet. There is a fine line here. The Mizunos, for example, were so light and structureless that they felt dead. Many cushioned racers go too far in the other direction and absorb too much energy and thereby absorb speed. Asics has found a way, primarily through the design of the upper, I believe, to make the shoe both light and responsive. I have had these out for 21 mile runs and never felt like my feet or legs were getting abused, even though they weigh only 9.9 ounces for my size 11s.
For reference, my Mizuno Unverse 3s weigh 8.5 ounces, my T6s weigh 14.1 ounces, and my T7s weight 13.7 ounces, all size 11. Last year I raced in the T6s and before that the Brooks T5s.
All the shoes in this group are very flexible. My one complaint about the Piranhas regards the laces. They are made of a very thin, slick material. This means that unless you tie super tight triple knots, they are going to come undone. I’ll solve that by replacing the laces with elastic laces, but if I were going to keep traditional laces, I’d swap out the Asics laces with something from an older pair of flats.
The Piranhas do run a little large for me. The Brooks 11s are just a little tight, which is perfect for a racing flat. My next pair of Piranhas will probably be a size 10.5, which I’m guessing will also be a big snug and just right for the races I have planned this summer.
If you are running in these shoes, please leave me a comment and tell me what you think.