Best Mizuno Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Mizuno, a Japanese sportswear company has been around making shoes since 1906, which means they have mastered the art of making a great sports shoe. They have many different styles to choose from, all of which are made to give you customizable support and stability while ensuring you stay comfortable all day.
Mizuno running shoes are distinct from other runners because of their ‘Wave’ plate technology – a thermoplastic component molded in a corrugated shape in the sole of Mizuno running shoes. This plate starts from the heel,continuing along to the middle of the foot and it is designed to prevent your foot from rolling. This Wave plate makes Mizuno the go-to footwear brand for most athletes and of course, runners.
- Mizuno Wave Rider 21
- Cloud Wave Plate
- AirMesh Upper
- Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2
- Wide Toe Box
- Affordable Price
- Mizuno Wave Shadow
- U4icX Strobel Lining
- Cloud Wave Technology
With so many options of Mizuno shoes, choosing the right pair can be difficult. To make life simpler for you and to save you some time that could be used for an extra hour of training, we have compiled a list of our top ten picks. All of the Mizuno running shoes below have been rated for comfort, and performance.
10 Best Mizuno Running Shoes
1. Mizuno Wave Rider 21
With a tradition of over two decades, the Wave Rider 21 keeps what is best, and introduces innovation where it’s necessary. The latest model of the Rider features a Cloud Wave Plate integrated into the midsole which works to disperse shock throughout the entire foot. On heel landings, it provides plenty of cushion, while in the toe off it is a bit softer.
In addition to a newly engineered mesh upper, the Wave Rider also features an anatomical sockliner which will give you the best possible fit. The mid-width will work well for most runners, while the padded tongue and lacing system work together to ensure a locked in feel without any excess pressure.
Cost and Value
Being one of Mizuno’s top ranking runners, the Wave Rider surprises when it comes to price. Its cost ranks low on this list, while compared to other manufacturers it is cheaper than most similar flagship shoes. If you’re in the market for a pair of neutral road shoes, then these are definitely worth checking out.
Cloud Wave Plate
Not Suited for Large Runners
Unsuitable for Cold Weather
2. Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2
A fast shoe with good stability is hard to come by, but the Wave Catalyst 2 goes a step forward and is praised as one of Mizuno’s most comfortable shoes. The midsole features Mizuno’s EU41C foam for a more comfortable ride, users have claimed that this supplies a good amount of energy return as well. The previous version had complaints from users of a crinkling overlay in the toe box which ended up causing uncomfortable friction and even blisters, the updated Catalyst 2 solved this problem so there won’t be any uncomfortable fiction in that area.
Secure and Protective
The Wave plate runs from heel to mid-foot to prevent rolling, pronation, or any other weak ankle problems, along with a cushioned collar to prevent uncomfortable chafing along your ankle.The heel is a snug fit but not too tight, keeping your heel secure while running but the Catalyst 2 also features a wider toe box with accommodates a wider toe splay.
Cost and Value
For such a comfortable and supportive shoe it's surprising to know that this is such an inexpensively priced option. While not the cheapest on our list, it certainly is very affordable and a great option for most runners.
Updated from Prior Models
Lacks Arch Support
3. Mizuno Wave Shadow
Light in weight, the Wave Shadow is perfect for faster runs, and half marathons as well as speed workouts. It features a tighter fit through the upper portion, therefore it does not fit well on wider feet but it works great for agility training, in great deal thanks to a layered mesh upper which not only saves precious grams, but is also very breathable
The snug fit and form-fitting mesh create a truly natural feel as if you were not wearing any shoes at all. The only downfall of these lightweight shoes is that the underlay at the top of the toe-box will crease with use and can tend to rub uncomfortably against your toes.
Cost and Value
As one of the more lightweight models, this is also one of the cheaper shoes you can buy from Mizuno. Designed to stand out, you are getting a fun and unique shoe at a great price. Runners looking for footwear that won’t weigh them down will greatly contribute from wearing the Mizuno Wave Shadow.
Form-Fitting Mesh Upper
Sole Picks Up Rocks
Tongue Can Wrinkle
4. Mizuno Wave Horizon 2
The insole of the Wave Horizon 2 takes care of the cushioning in a way which ensures that you get plenty of energy rebound from each of your landings. This means that despite the 12 oz weight, you will not get too tired even on longer runs.
If what you’re looking for is a reliable pair of runners, then the Wave Horizon 2 is a great choice, especially for road use. The outsole is made so as to stand up to all challenges, will even work in less-than-perfect weather conditions, and is durable enough to guarantee great bang for your buck.
Cost and Value
Ranking slightly above average when it comes to this list, the Mizuno Wave Horizon 2 is a good choice for those looking for a pair of flagship stability runners that will give good cushion but won’t feel too bulky. However, the Horizon 2 may not be the number one choice for those looking for something stylish and sleek, seeing that it’s a shoe that looks quite bulky.
Excellent Heel Cushioning
Fits True To Size
5. Mizuno Wave Sky 2
In order to provide you with the best possible fit, the Wave Sky 2 introduces a completely new piece of tech developed to perfectly hug your entire foot. With excellent medial and arch support, the inside of this shoe features a material that will stretch with each of your steps, without allowing for any space between the foot and the shoe, making your gait more effective.
In addition to the Wave plate located in the sole of these shoes that disperses shock, the Wave Sky 2 also features a U4icX midsole that’s plush and cushioning, with an excellent amount of energy return that will keep you strong even after having run for quite a few miles.
Cost and Value
While the Wave Sky 2 isn’t the most expensive shoe on this list, it’s definitely got a price tag that may be considered high. Nonetheless, it’s a pair of footwear that boasts plenty of technological features, and it’s a durable and comfortable option for anyone looking for a pair of high-performance runners.
Dual Layer Midsole
X-10 Rubber Outsole
Need Breaking In
May Cause Blisters
6. Mizuno Wave Creation 19
This updated upper features seamless printed overlays for a much better fit and feel that will leave you irritation free. The softer, smoother look and feel of this style will have you reaching for them on a daily basis.
The flex eyelets and mesh together help you to have natural motion as opposed to thicker less lightweight materials that can affect how you run. Regardless of how your foot wants to move during your run, dynamotion fit will move with it seamlessly, which ensures that from foot to heel strike everything is staying in place and moving comfortably.
Cost and Value
One of the more expensive running shoes on this list, the Wave Creation 19 is a step above the others and is a great option for those looking to improve their speed and have one of the most comfortable fits. Its added features are all about enhancing how the shoe fits and feels on your foot during a run.
- Durable Outsole
- Plus, Cushioned Insole
- Anatomical Sockliner
- Removable Insole
- Seamless Overlays
May Feel Too Stiff
Narrow Instep and Toe Box
7. Mizuno Wave Prophecy 7
This is a Wave Plate that’s made out of two parallel plates on top of each other, connected with cushioning. This type of design allows for the highest level of shock dispersion, and is an especially good choice for those who tend to run with heavy landings.
Made out of carbon rubber, the outsole on the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 7 is durable and provides great grip for road running in all conditions. It doesn’t wear out quickly, which ensures that you have as good of a footing on the last day of wearing these shoes as you did on the firs.
Cost and Value
Being a luxury pair of shoes, the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 7 ranks highest on this list when it comes to price. It’s best used by those who prefer plentiful cushioning and shock absorption, and who won’t mind paying a bit more to have the latest technology in their footwear.
Full-Length Infinity Wave Plate
Dynamotion Fit Technology
Intercool Cooling System
Runs Slightly Narrow
8. Mizuno Wave Inspire 14
Mizuno shoes are best known for their wave plate technology that absorbs shock and distributes it over the entire length of the foot. The Inspire 14 does this through a specially designed fan-shaped supportive feature which was developed to accommodate runners with low arches.
Great for Plantar Fasciitis
If you’re someone who suffers from pain related to plantar fasciitis, then the Wave Inspire 14 is an excellent choice, both for running, walking and for casual use. Thanks to the arch support, guidance and overall comfort in the upper, it can help relieve some of the discomfort you may be feeling on a daily basis.
Cost and Value
Ranking average on this list when it comes to price, this is a shoe which is a great option for anyone looking for a high quality stability shoe. It’s breathable, with a seamlessly fitting upper, which means it’s an excellent option even for hot summer runs.
Fan-Shaped Wave Plate
Helps With Plantar Fasciitis
Road Running Shoe
Several Color Options
Securely Locks Heel
Narrow Toe Box
9. Mizuno Wave Sonic
Skipping the Wave plate found in most Mizuno runners, the Wave Sonic features U4ciX foam in a wave pattern throughout the entire sole that has as its goal to provide you with the shock absorption and cushioning you require. This makes the model more lightweight and suitable for short, fast runs.
Zig-Zag Shaped Outsole
Made out of the X-10 blown rubber that most items on this list feature, the outsole on the Wave Sonic has an outsole with a zig-zag pattern that gives runners an excellent grip on concrete and asphalt. Furthermore, it proves to be more durable than most other competition running shoes, which makes the investment in these well worth it.
Cost and Value
Ranking lowest on this list when it comes to price, the Mizuno Wave Sonic is a great option for those looking for a good pair of lightweight competition shoes. They’re very durable, especially in the outsole, meaning that they will easily get you past the 400 mile mark.
U4ciX Wave Midsole
Plenty of Color Options
Not for Long Runs
Upper Feels Cheap
10. Mizuno Wave Paradox 4
Although built for road running, the Wave Paradox 4 will work just as well on the trail, thanks to the high-quality outsole that is both durable and provides good grip. It hardly shows signs of wear, which is one of the reasons the Paradox 4 is such a good investment.
In addition to a highly breathable upper, the Wave Paradox 4 ensures that you’re kept dry and comfortable with an OrthoLite sockliner which wicks away moisture and ensures proper airflow to prevent the development of any unpleasant odors in these shoes.
Cost and Value
With a price that is average when compared to the other models on this list, the Mizuno Wave Paradox is a good option for those in need of a stability shoe, but prefer to skip the Wave Inspire line. If this shoe becomes your choice, you’ll definitely benefit from its advanced features, especially if you like to mix it up and add some trail running to your routine.
Works Both for Road and Trail
Good Arch Support
Roomy Toe Box
Needs Breaking In
Mizuno is known for making high quality running shoes, both for the road and for the trail. Whether you are looking for a more budget friendly option, or something with all of the newest technologies, there is something on this list for almost everyone. By really focusing on revamping prior models, Mizuno has done a fantastic job of isolating parts of their shoes that need improvement and then actually taking the time to build on their weaker spots to create even better shoes. As you can see many models are now up in the 20th version, and this just shows how much time and effort goes into every model they make.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Mizuno Running Shoes
What differentiates Mizuno shoes from other manufacturers’ models is the technology they use in order to provide runners with the best possible performance when it comes to shock absorption and cushioning. In all of their models made for running, this is provided by a Wave plate inserted into the sole unit.
The Wave plate was inspired by nature, and it works so as to disperse the shock from landing onto a larger area. Wave plates have several different variations and methods of working, depending on the shoe model. Some shoes will have Wave plates that run from heel to toe in order to provide the user with a maximum amount of cushioning, while other models feature shorter plates that are focused in the mid area of the sole.
Based on the type of running shoe type, there are several different variations of the Wave plate:
- Parallel Wave – this is the most basic Wave plate found mostly in neutral shoes. Its main purpose is to uniformly disperse shock throughout the shoe, providing the wearer with a solid level of cushioning and stability.
- Fan-Shaped Wave – found in stability shoes, this is a plate which offers more support, especially in the arch area, and guides the foot through the gait cycle in order to prevent overpronation and misalignment which may lead to unnecessary pressure and pain in joint areas such as the knees, hips and back.
- Infinity Wave – the best cushioning found in Mizuno shoes, the Infinity Wave is made out of two parallel plates that are connected by pillars of cushioning material. What the Infinity Wave achieves is the best possible shock absorption upon impact, which makes it especially effective with users who tend to strike with their heel. It is also more visible in Mizuno models, making for a nice aesthetic addition to the shoes. Furthermore, the Infinity Wave is also more durable than traditional foam cushioning.
The way your running shoe fits and feels is always the number one most important factor. Regardless of if you’ve picked a pair of shoes that perfectly stabilize and cushion your feet, if they do not feel good you will not only never want to wear them but they can cause long-term problems.
The first thing to know is that running shoes should never require a break-in period. That seems to be a commonly known fact, yet it can be easily forgotten when we think we’ve found the perfect shoe and yet it feels slightly off, so we try to justify the pinched toes or irritated heel in hopes that that will go away as the days go on. The hard truth is that those pains and irritations will not go away, or get any better, they will only get worse and can cause serious issues.
You should have a thumbnail’s length of space in the toe box area, no more and no less. This will allow for a little bit of wiggle room so you do not feel as though your toes are ever being pinched or squeezed. The overall fit of the shoe should be snug, yet not tight, and there is a big difference between the two. A snug fit will allow for your feet to not feel constrained yet still feel held in place and comfortable. If your running shoes are too tight, your feet will not be able to properly flex and move with them as your run.
Your feet tend to swell during a run and throughout the day, so take that into account when it comes to sizing. Even if the shoes fit “true to size” they may not once you’ve gone for a long run and your feet are swollen. Try them on after you have been on your feet all day and see if they still fit comfortably, if not, size up by half.
It is also important to take into account the type of socks you will be wearing during a run. Not only do you want them to be breathable you also do not want anything thick that is going to alter the way in which your running shoes fit. Thin cotton socks or merino wool generally feel the best during a run as they allow for proper air flow, and will wick away moisture keeping your feet comfortable and dry. If you wear medical orthotics, be sure to try those on with the shoes as well, those, plus your socks may drastically change the way your running shoes fit. Luckily most Mizuno running shoes have the option to remove the sock liner which makes inserting insoles a breeze.
Take each part of the shoe into account and think about not how it feels as a whole, but how every single part of the running shoe feels individually. The heel, for instance, should be snug and perfectly fit into the shoe. While you are running it should not move around, or slide up out of the shoe in any way, as this not only gives you no support, it can cause irritation on your heel and possible blisters, which will result in no running for a while. When the runners are tied up properly, the upper should feel snug on the top of your foot, yet not tight or applying any sort of pressure. If you have to tie the laces quite loosely so that that part of your foot feels comfortable, then those are not the right shoes, or the size is wrong.
When it comes to running shoes, never assume your size as it will probably differ from style to style. Depending on the features you need, or potential orthotics, the way each pair of running shoes fit will probably differ in some way or another. Every time you go to buy a new pair of runners check your size again to ensure you have the best possible fit.
At first glance, all running shoes can appear to look incredibly similar and it is not always super easy to differentiate one pair from the other, however, Mizuno running shoes stand out from the rest due to their impressive and useful features. With styles that are sure to fit everyone’s specific wants and needs, Mizuno focuses on their advanced technologies that set them apart from their competition.
Mizuno’s wave technology features five different styles that all provide the runner with the perfect balance of cushioning and stability which helps to almost abolish any issues such as overpronating. Overpronation occurs when your foot rolls inward after your heel makes contact with the ground, and although common it can lead to ankle and knee pains and injuries. Wearing a shoe that properly stabilizes and absorbs shock is essential and you’ll be sure to find the perfect pair with Mizuno.
The features in running shoes are all different and it is important to know which ones will best benefit you, so you are not paying for an added technology that will not make a difference with your running style. If you suffer from problems with stability during a run, a heel counter will make a world of difference. A heel counter is a plastic insert that reinforces the heel which provides the runner with motion control. This is very important for those who are in need of extra support as it helps to cradle the heel and reduces overpronation. It essentially holds the heel and foot completely in place to improve overall stability during a run.
Running shoe uppers are very important and the material of which they are made can make a large difference in how you feel during and after a run.
- Leather is very long lasting and durable however it can tend to be quite heavy and is not always the best choice for running shoes as it adds weight to the shoe, and is not the most breathable. It can be, however, very easy to take care of and keep clean and does look very sleek. Depending on the look and feel you’re going for a leather upper can be the right choice for you.
- Nylon & Mesh are the most common upper materials as they offer the most breathability and do the best job at wicking away moisture. During warmer, summer months a shoe with mesh will be sure to keep your feet dry and comfortable all day.
- Synthetic materials are extremely durable and yet lightweight and offer fantastic breathability throughout the day. So whether you are going for a long run, or simply running some errands, your feet will be able to breathe and not feel sweaty.
When it comes to midsoles (the cushioned layer between the upper and the sole) the thickness and material it is made of makes a difference in how it best works per person.
- EVA is the most common type of foam used in running shoe midsoles as it provides the runner with the best cushioning. From a single layer to multiple, it can be either very firm to very soft. A good indicator of how dense it will be is the color of the midsole; grey EVA is generally quite firm where white EVA is softer and gives a lighter cushioning.
- Plates help to absorb impact and spread it throughout the midsole. Mizuno wave plates are made of plastic and are the length of the shoe to ensure shock is properly dispersed. Not only does the plate absorb shock, it also provides tremendous stability. Almost every pair of Mizuno running shoes have some sort of wave plate in them, however, the shape and length may vary depending on the type of shoe, and the stability offered.
- Shanks are a piece of plastic that goes in the middle of the shoe to help reduce inward rotation, thus aiding with stability.
Finding the proper outsole for your needs can be a little difficult because you want one that will be durable and last for as long as it needs to, yet still be lightweight and comfortable. For more minimalist shoes the rubber will be quite thin and very flexible. This is great for those who want a more barefoot feel, but not for anyone seeking immense support and stability. Base your outsole choice on the terrain you will be running on, as road shoes and trail shoes require very different outsole and will wear out much faster if not worn properly.
Types of Running Shoes
There are many different types of running shoes, which is great because it means there is a pair for everyone but also can be quite confusing and daunting when it comes to having to decide which pair will best suit you. The first step in accessing the type of running shoe you will need is knowing your foot type. The easiest way to do this is by dampening your foot and stepping onto a piece of paper towel or paper.
There are three different types of feet:
- Low arch – Also known as “flat feet” will show almost your entire foot on the piece of paper.
- Normal arch – There will be a thin band connecting your toes and heel.
- High arch – You will see a very thin band connecting your toes and heel, and in some cases, if you have an extremely high arch there will be no band at all.
The next step is determining your gait; which is the way in which your foot moves when you walk/run. Knowing this is crucial because it will be the main factor in knowing the type of running shoe that will benefit you the most. Picking the wrong shoe for your gait can lead to chronic pain and injuries, so be sure to take the time to properly access your feet.
Similar to arch types, there are three different gait types:
- Underpronation – If you supinate, it means the outside of your heel strikes the ground and rolls outward throughout the entire strike. This does not allow for proper shock absorption and can cause strained tendons and ankle injuries.
- Neutral – Your heel will strike the ground and the rest of your foot will follow straight down the middle, properly absorbing and distributing shock.
- Overpronation – This is when your heel strikes the ground and then rolls inward, meaning your ankle is not able to stabilize properly. This is usually the case with people who have little to no arch, are “flat-footed”.
After determining your arch type and gait style, it is time to find you the perfect running shoe.
- Neutral shoes – Best for those who tend to underpronate (supinate), a neutral running shoe will have a fair amount of cushioning to help absorb the impact that your foot naturally does not, due to your high arch.
- Stability shoes – These work best for neutral gaits and slight pronation, as they will not only focus on strictly stabilizing or cushioning, but will have a good balance of both.
- Motion control shoes – This is the best shoe for flat feet or if you overpronate, as it will help prevent your ankle from rolling inwards and will provide you with the maximum support and control.
If you are not in need of special support and cushioning there are a couple other styles of running shoes that can be great options. The barefoot and minimalist style are quite similar in that they both are very lightweight and do not offer special features in the sole that will help with stability. A minimalist running shoe may still provide the runner with some form of stability as there will be some cushioning in it, however, a barefoot style has little to no cushioning can be slightly hazardous if you are planning on running on unknown ground, or pronate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know what my gait style is?
A: The first step to accessing your gait style is knowing what arch type you have. Low arches or “flat feet” tend to overpronate which means your foot rolls inward when your run. A neutral gait is when you have a normal arch and your foot lands straight down the middle when you run and if you underpronate your foot and ankle will roll outward which cause potentially cause ankle injuries if you are not properly supported with the correct running shoes.
Q: Which running shoe is best for flat feet?
A: Having flat feet will generally mean that you overpronate so a shoe that is very supportive and absorbs shock properly will work best for you. For example, the Mizuno Wave Inspire line that has a firmer underfoot and a plate in the midsole to reduce pronation.
Q: What running shoes are good for summer months?
A: Any shoe that offers great ventilation and is made of breathable materials will work great in warm summer months. You want to make sure the upper is made of mesh to increase airflow, and that your shoe is overall quite lightweight. You do not want to be feeling sweaty and smelly during or after your run.
Q: Can I wear my outdoor running shoes at the gym as well?
A: Outdoor running shoes work great for the gym as running on a treadmill, although easier on the body than running on pavement, still wears down the sole of your shoe. You should, however, have two different pairs of running shoes that you wear to the gym, and wear for running on pavement.
Q: What material is the most breathable?
A: Mesh is the most breathable especially in the upper, as it will allow for breathability and air flow. Knit or Prime-knit is also very breathable and will keep your feet dry and cool during your run. Although leather is a common material in running shoes, it can add to the price tag quite a bit as well as the bulk of the shoe and is not the most flexible or breathable.
Q: Can I wear any sneaker or do I have to wear a running shoe?
A: You should always wear a running shoe when running to prevent any possible injury. As you run, your foot strikes the ground almost 1700 times per mile, which is a lot of stress on your entire body but especially on the small fragile bones in your feet. You need to ensure that your feet have the proper amount of cushioning and support to stabilize and give you the best possible results out of your run. If you notice pain or discomfort during your run, the shoe is either not the right fit or can potentially have too much or too little support.