Visiting the Mizuno Performance Centre

I am a bit behind with this post, having visited the Mizuno Performance Centre way back in the days when the Olympic Games were still the talk of the town. The Performance Centre was based at Centre Point in central London for the duration of the Olympic Games and I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of some new shoes called ‘Be’.

Performance Centre

As it was the summer holidays I had my assistant blogger in tow, so was armed with a bag full of pencils and paper and a little bag of chocolate buttons for any real moments of need (they were quite quickly whipped out of the bag when Hector announced loudly in a hushed room that it was boring and he wondered when the man might stop talking!). The man doing all the talking was the designer of the shoes, who told us that they were not designed for running, but for times in between training sessions, to aid running strength and ability. Here is some information about how these shoes came about:

‘The Be takes inspiration from the old Waraji sandals that were worn by the samurai class and foot soldiers during the feudal era of Japan. Fascinated         by why the Waraji were shorter than the feet of those wearing them, Mizuno conducted a series of biomechanical tests to determine the benefits of the toes protruding slightly over the front edge of the sandal’

We were told a lot about the biomechanics of the foot and how the Be has an inner sock which allows the toes to spread as if walking barefoot (these are not barefoot running shoes though). I had a look at some Be shoes and tried a pair on, they are lovely looking shoes, with the women’s design having a nice grey/pink colour-way and they are certainly comfortable. I’m not sure though how many recreational runners would want to spend money on an in-between-training shoe, but I imagine they might be good for someone who has an injury and wants to think carefully about how they look after their feet at all times.

Women’s model

Once ‘The Man’ had stopped talking, we went and had a look around the Performance Centre and had a go at the various activities on offer – you could test your footballing skills and there was also a mini running track to test how quickly you can come out of the blocks.

Checking out the track

You were given some rather nice spikes to try on and could race a friend or try your time against the clock. We just watched because they didn’t have children’s spikes – much to Hector’s annoyance – and were given a good view of the ‘race’ start from the top of the stairs:


I was also given a lovely pair of Mizuno Wave Rider shoes whilst at the centre, and have really enjoyed running in them since – I’ve had lots of comments about how lovely they are, they certainly stand out! I hadn’t run in Mizuno shoes before, and found them a little firm at first, but they have softened up after a few runs and I now find them just right for the road and a bit of trail – though I wouldn’t want any mud spoiling the lovely shiny toes! I found a page of nice colourful Mizuno shoes over on the Activinstinct website, and they now have the Be in stock as well.

Whilst at the Performance Centre, I was lucky enough to see some beautiful paintings by Hidekichi Shigemoto, and these have now been made into a moving image piece with brush-strokes capturing the movement of the Mizuno athletes in action.


Hot heads

What joy to have some sunshine again! I headed up, up, up to the top of Blythe Hill this morning though pushed on instead of my usual sneaky stop at the top to ‘enjoy the breathtaking view’. I was distracted by two men shouting at each other, it seemed one was a cyclist and one a dog-walker so I guess maybe the dog had gone in front of the bike, but really, I don’t think it warranted the kind of language that was being thrown across the grass! On I went into Ladywell Fields, looking briefly down river to see if I could spot the kingfisher. Feeling strong, I carried on to the gym, where I stepped hard uphill then pushed my muscles to their limits on the weights machines. One move I am particularly digging is a pulling action where you turn your upper body and really get deep into those lateral abdominal muscles, rock hard they are! Once more I was distracted by hot-headed men, posturing over some petty disagreement. These guys need to cool down, find some focus and remember why they are doing what they do.

Today’s inspiration for me has been looking at Olympic hopefuls in action. Next week at Hector’s school they are having a day to celebrate the London Olympics and he can go dressed as an athlete from past or present. As much as I would love to get him a bushy moustache, a little afro wig and a vest with ‘Daley’ across his chest, I think I will show him some videos of today’s athletes and see what he comes up with. Here is elite athlete Christian Malcolm getting ready for action:


Christian is supported by Mizuno, who will be opening the Mizuno Performance Centre in London during the Olympic games where, from July 24-August 12, you will be able to watch live sporting events, try out the Mizuno brand, compete against your friends and get yourself fitted out in the perfect running shoe for your style of running.

Distance: 3.04 miles

Time: 33 minutes 28 seconds

Average Pace: 11.01

Best Pace: 7.15

Calories: 328

Stepper: 20 minutes

Weights: 40 minutes