'Comfortable: they should have called them Easy Rider.'
Strengths: Some makes add more and more padding in the sole in order to cushion the impacts. Mizuno cleverly manage it by engineered springs in the form of the wave plate. That way they can use more air: which is both cheap and light. In this particular shoe the balance is focussed on comfort, resulting in a shoe that invites you out for those long runs, and leaves you cheerful.
Can't think of any.
Overall: I did a major comparison exercise with all sorts of different shoes recently. These were comparable with some carrying £120 price tickets for the comfort level, yet were lighter than the opposition. They are mile eaters and are calling me out for a run right now.
Strengths: Light, supportive, responsive, good road holding, and long lasting. For a mile eating shoe you forget that you're wearing them.
Weaknesses: They don't charge enough, so people think that they are cheap. Shhh and keep the secret, especially about the deals that are available.
Overall: Mizuno shoes have a unique wave plate embedded in the sole. "Gimmick" you cry! But no, the wave plate really does work. It means that the EVA heel doesn't collapse, and it provides a controlled roll to the forward motion. Engineering in action.
Strengths: Cushioned sole allows use on road and hard stony trails. Stud pattern gives great confidence when descending wet grass. Grip is quite good in mud.
Weaknesses: The stiff protection extends all around the shoe, which has the potential to rub on my toes. Maybe I bought the wrong shoe from this regard - after all it says "rock" implying tough.
Overall: For cross country racing grip in deep mud, I'd stick with xc spikes. For long runs I'd look for a lighter upper. But for a compromise shoe when the route will take in mud, grass, track, road, streams, and rocky descents, these are the babes to choose. They have taken everything I've thrown at them so far, let's try snow next!
Strengths: Soft & light uppers Light and airy heel zone that feels responsive without being hard. The transfer of weight from heel to toe is smooth.
[Update 28/12/06] The arch support bedded down over time to be "just right". The soles have worn evenly, and the outers although they are indeed light are in fact quite tough.
Weaknesses: The arch supports may be just too supportive for some feet.
[Update 28/12/06] er er ?
Overall: I'm only seeing the good points at the moment!
[Update 28/12/06] OK then, I've had these shoes forever now, nearly 8 months. That's got to be well over 1000 miles and they are still going strong. Did my 20+ miler in them this morning and I feel great.