Mizuno Brand Retrospective


Following a string of great releases from the Japanese company over the last couple of years, as well as our collaboration on the Sky Medal back in February, we wanted to take a dive into the sportswear giants acclaimed past and share their humble beginnings.

Osaka, 1906.

 Mizuno was founded in 1906 after the founder Rihaci Mizuno returned from the US and was inspired by his love for baseball. His initial goal was to try and generate interest for baseball Japan, but over the next seven decades, they expanded their offering greatly, creating equipment and clothing for tennis, golf, skiing, track and field, boxing, football, and less widely played sports like handball.

Mizuno isn’t just a brand, and continuously throughout their existence, they have dedicated itself to scientific research and manufacturing improvement, with the aim of creating the best products for its consumers. The continuous search for the best product, the best quality, the best performance, and the constant attention to the smallest details, have made the efforts in production and technological research lead to continuous innovation, constantly challenging themselves in achieving better results, for the future.

The 1970s’ international running boom saw Mizuno dedicating itself to meticulous scientific footwear research, and during the 1980s, Mizuno made developments that would contribute to making the brand what it is today. This would eventually lead to the creation of Mizuno’s most well-known technology: the Mizuno Wave Technology.

In the same years, the graphic emblem of the Mizuno brand, now known throughout the world, the RunBird, made its first appearance. It is more than just a logo to decorate shoes, clothing and equipment. The RunBird symbolises Mizuno’s belief in the Japanese concept of a universal approach to sport with unlimited space and energy.

For followers of Mizuno, it may have seemed a little quiet throughout the early 2000s, but 2018 saw the launch of the Sportstyle collection and also the Kazoku project. In 2018, Mizuno decided to merge the spirit of innovation with style-focused designs and created the Sportstyle category which saw them repurpose their performance technology and apply their spirit of innovation to create unique lifestyle sneakers. We’ve highlighted some of our favourites from the Sportstyle collection below!

Mizuno Wave Rider 1 OG

The year 1998 represents a milestone for Mizuno’s history. The Wave Rider was launched: it was the first shoe introduced featuring Mizuno’s Wave technology. This is the definitive Mizuno style that has remained popular among runners since its first launch. Two decades later this sneaker is as sharp looking and as technologically advanced as it was then, as proven by the buzz generated by a series of high-end collaborations with some of the most highly regarded sneaker stores. 

Mizuno Sky Medal OG

Barcelona 1992, Opening Ceremony. One of the legends of athletics wears the Mizuno Sky Medal, the shoe with the unmistakable silhouette, which was released the following year. Mizuno has now decided to focus its attention to 1994, bringing back the original lines and colour variations. The shoe is an ode to the past as it is strongly inspired by models from the nineties.

Mizuno Court Select OG

Volleyball in the 90s was dominated by a model that is now considered part of Mizuno’s DNA, the original Court Select, a shoe with an unmistakable aesthetic and powerful performance, introduced in the 1994 catalogue alongside a range dedicated to volleyball.

Mizuno Mondo Control OG

The Mondo Control OG comes straight from the 1995 Running Catalogue. In 1995 Mizuno was ready to conquer the performance running market and the Mondo Control already had all the technical qualities required. Mizuno pays tribute to the era in which this technological race began, travelling through its running archive, with a look to the future. 

Mizuno Wave Rider 10 OG

Since the first launch of the Wave Rider, Mizuno’s research and development team has worked tirelessly to improve the shoe year after year. In 2007 Mizuno conducted a consumer study on the buying habits of runners called Kansei Engineering. All the feedback went straight into the development of the Wave Rider 10, a shoe that embodies Mizuno’s pursuit of perfection. Its aggressive appearance and Japanese innovation strike the perfect balance between quality, aesthetics and technical performance.

Kazoku.

In Mizuno’s ongoing search for perfection, the brand looked for like-minded people who put excellence above all else, and brought together some of the leading names in the sneaker game to be part of Kazoku - Japanese for “family”. The result was the Kazoku project, launched in 2018, which aims to establish partnerships with major sneaker stores around the world using a variety of archive models.

Mizuno’s Kazoku division focuses on working with names close to the company, and is the highest expression of the Mizuno Sportstyle brand, and as such represents its values and upholds its ideals.

Being part of the Mizuno Kazoku symbolises not only a close-knit group of people with a deep passion and knowledge of sneakers but above all a select group of true Mizuno enthusiasts who are at the forefront of the Mizuno movement.

Earlier this year as part of our 30th-anniversary celebrations, we shared a celebratory dram with Japanese sportswear company Mizuno as we blended both countries love for whisky for our take on the Sky Medal - ‘The Angel’s Share’.
‘The Angel’s Share’ is described as the percentage of alcohol that evaporates from a cask into the air as the whisky ages over time. For Scotland specifically, the amount that the Angel’s take is around 2% per year due to the colder nature of our climate but the share can also be determined by barrel size, time, and environmental conditions.
We utilised a distinctive brown corduroy application across the upper, and we offset this with a rich chocolate brown pig suede underlay which the iconic ‘RunBird’ logo which graces the Sky Medal silhouette and symbolizes Mizuno’s roots in Japanese culture and its approach to sports is decked out in vibrant blue cord. The toe and vamp were treated to a lush light cream pig suede with sunburst perforated detailing, and this material transfers up through to the tongue section of the one-piece sockliner construction.
Letting the materials and colourway do the talking, tonal branding appeared on the heel and tongue by way of a subtle keyline emboss, and we applied dual-branding to the leather laminated insole which features the Gaelic phrase “Uisge beatha” - used to describe whisky and translates to “water of life”. To finish off the shoe, it was sat atop a clean white moulded EVA midsole which features Mizuno’s innovative Transtab cushioning system and paired with a black rubber outsole contrasted with vibrant pops of blue.

You can shop our Mizuno offering here, and stay tuned for the latest Sky Medal release which will be arriving on August 22nd, with more information on that coming soon!