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 and continuing along to the middle of the foot and it is designed to prevent your foot from rolling. This wave-plate makes it the go-to running shoe for most athletes and of course, runners.
- Mizuno Wave Shadow
- U4icX Strobel Lining
- Cloud Wave Technology
- Mizuno Wave Sky
- Mizuno Smooth Ride
- Anatomical Sock Liner
- Mizuno Wave Rider 20
- Wave Technology
- Dynamotion Fit
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 fifteen picks. All of the Mizuno running shoes below have been rated for comfort, and performance.
15 Best Mizuno Running Shoes
1. Mizuno Wave Shadow
Lighter weight than the Wave Rider or Inspire, the Wave Shadow is perfect for faster runs, and half marathons as well as speed workouts. It also features a tighter fit through the upper portion, therefore it does not fit well on wider feet but it works great for speed workouts and agility training. The fabric is a layered mesh so the shoe remains light and 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 the underlay at the top of the toe-box will crease with use and can tend to rub uncomfortably against your toes. The Wave Shadow seems to be just as comfortable and supportive as the Catalyst 2.
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, adding to why this made the number one spot on our list.
Design and color schemes
Sole picks up rocks
Tongue can wrinkle
2. Mizuno Wave Sky
The Wave Sky has both the Cloud-Wave plate through the sole as well as a u4icx midsole making it a smooth comfy ride for neutral runners. On top of that the Wave Sky has a midfoot side which is panelled and lightweight mesh for support and a better fit making it by far the most natural and cushioned running shoe. Mizuno claims that the Wave Sky is, “the most plush and lively feel of any Mizuno shoe ever made". One runner has described the Wave Sky as, "bouncy clouds", another
If you are planning to run any more than three miles in any shoe you want to make sure it is breathable. One user of the Wave Sky said, "after a 7 mile run, my feet feel crisp and clean", most likely due to the mesh upper lining.
Cost and Value
Considering this is a brand new addition to the Mizuno line and there are very few cons for this model, it is very promising that the next version of the Wave Sky might be our number one pick. As it stands, being so new and wonderful, this shoe is very pricey and may be out of some individual's budget.
Vibrant colour schemes.
Narrow toe box
3. Mizuno Wave Rider 20
The Wave Rider 20 features a U4IC midsole foam which gives a response and durability 33% higher than other models. Given the Cloudwave technology that has been added, this shoe is also more durable for long distance runners who put a lot of pressure down on their foot as they hit the pavement.
As this is a newer model, they have also decided to incorporate their triple zone engineered mesh. Crafting a more lightweight and breathable shoe, you should notice that your feet have much more overall comfort and are less sweaty and hot after a run.
Cost and Value
This is a great option for those who are on a budget, and are easily found for under the $100 mark. With all of the new technologies added in to this shoe, value wise you are getting a great deal.
Triple Layered Mesh
Underlay on toe box can rub uncomfortably
4. Mizuno Wave Inspire 13
The sole is the same construction as the Wave Inspire 13, The midsole uses the same u4icx technology, and the same Wave technology as most Mizuno models. The heel is a 12 mm drop and rather heavy duty and rather large, but this is perfect for any runners who need a more stable and supportive runner. The ride of the shoe is comfy, multiple runners described it as being like running on air.
The upper features redone AIRmesh which allows for higher ventilation and breathability. Mizuno’s signature mesh is still used and runners should find this shoe fits similarly to other models.
Cost and Value
With this shoe being one of the cheapest on our list, you should easily be able to see the value in them. Do not let the lower price tag on these shoes dissuade you, this model has been built to last much longer than other shoes in this line.
Nice colour combinations
Shoe takes a long time to properly break in
5. Mizuno Synchro MX
Almost every wearer of this shoe takes the time to comment on how comfortable it is, even going as far as claiming it to be the most comfortable shoe they have ever worn. This has a lot to do with the plush cushioning and lightweight design that come together to make a soft and supportive shoe for your foot.
Enhances Your Run
This shoe is both flexible and responsive, designed in a way to help runners have the most natural gait when they move. Shifting your foot forward after each landing, this shoe gives your foot better positioning for take off and gives more energy back to propel your forward.
Cost and Value
This shoe really varies in terms of cost, making it a difficult model to properly comment on. Often seen on sale, you can pick this up for a fairly inexpensive price, and your best choice is going to be purchasing it online for the best deal.
Some runners would rather a smaller heel drop
6. 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 chaffing along your ankle.The heel is a snug fit but not to tight, keeping your heel secure while running but the Catalyst 2 also features a wider toe box with accommodates a wider nature 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 mid range and a great option for most runners.
Updated from Prior Models
Feels a bit narrow
7. Mizuno Wave Prophecy 5
This full length plate of cushioning makes for a midsole that really supports the foot, especially in the heel and arch area. Every time your foot hits the ground, this shoe will effectively disperse the impact while you run and provide for a significantly more cushioned ride.
Mizuno X10 Technology
One of the downsides to mesh uppers is that they are not as durable as materials such as leather. Mesh is easier to wear away at, and over time holes can develop. This running shoe features Mizuno X10 technology, which has been designed to reinforce high wear areas. What it means for you is a shoe that is more durable and will last longer than other mesh uppers on the market.
Cost and Value
This shoe is very expensive, there is no way to get around that. Even now that it isn't the most recent model, the price is still far above a lot of the other models on this list. With such a high price tag though, you are getting a shoe that should outlast even others we have mentioned. This is a durable shoe that can easily be looked at as an investment.
Intercool for Dryness
8. Mizuno Wave Paradox 3
For runners that may not have proper gait, this shoe is designed to help your foot land more naturally and give you a more stable stance. Even on rougher terrain, this shoe has the ability to keep your foot from moving inwards or outwards, and will ensure you lessen your degree of under and over pronation.
While most shoes talk about how soft they are, this model is all bout the firmness of the underfoot cushioning. Runners who want a more steady and controlled landing should find that this firmness gives them better support and enables them to have a more pronounced take off after each step.
Cost and Value
When it first was released this shoe was actually quite expensive, but over time the price has started to go down. While still a pricier option, this is a shoe that many runners who overpronate recommend, so if you fall in to that category it is certainly worth checking out.
Great Color Options
High Quality and Durable
Heel is Stiff
9. Mizuno Wave Kazan
The lug design on the outsole is aggressive and has been made with trail runners in mind. For uneven terrain, slippery conditions, or off the path runners this shoe should hold up well in almost all conditions. Many runners have noted that this shoe is what they look for in a trail running shoe, and it has all the necessary features for a great performance.
The upper is made with high quality fabrics that are very breathable. No one wants sweaty feet, especially when they are tackling tough trails, so a well ventilated upper is a must. The fabric also adds to the lightness of the shoe, a great choice for people that like to go fast.
Cost and Value
Trail running shoes always tend to be more expensive than basic running shoes, as they are designed to be more durable and perform in tough conditions. With that said, this shoe is one of the cheaper options on our list, and for those who need a shoe for the trails, this is going to be one of your best bets.
Tread Pattern for Traction
Some find the width too wide
10. Mizuno Wave Enigma 6
While technically this is a road running shoe, some wearers have found that it actually stands up well enough to be used for trail running. This may cause it to wear down faster, since the outsole isn't specifically made for that, but if you want a shoe you can do both with then the Wave Enigma 6 is a great option.
No matter who you speak to, almost everyone will describe this shoe as comfortable. With a more roomy toe box, a snug upper fit, and a well padded sole, this is a shoe you will love running in. This is also is very flexible, so your foot can land more naturally and you won't feel constricted over time.
Cost and Value
The Wave Enigma 6 is very middle of the road when it comes to pricing. When it was first released it was on the more expensive side, but as newer models have come out this shoe has been discounted heavily. Do not let the fact that it isn't brand new dissuade you, as it is still a great shoe especially for those on a budget.
Roomy Toe Box
No Varying Width Options
11. Mizuno Wave Legend 3
Nothing can make a run come to an end quicker than starting to feel irritations and blisters forming on your feet, especially around the heel. Not having that extra padding in those areas may seem like a small detail, but it can make all the difference. If you find the back of your feet is often irritated or sore after a run, this will help to ensure everything feels good and irritation free.
Running can be very tiring, especially during a hot summers day so it is important to have the proper upper to keep your feet nice and cool. A mesh upper not only is excellent for helping with air flow, it can keep your feet dry and cool as well so you do not need to worry about your feet being stinky when it comes time to remove your running shoes. Mesh is also great for flexibility and will help your feet flex and move during a run, without feeling stiff.
Cost and Value
These Mizuno running shoes are very well priced and are a durable option that will keep your feet comfortable all day regardless of the activity you are doing. They not only will keep you comfortable but supported and stabilized as well.
- Non-Marking Rubber Sole
- Responsive Midsole
- Padded Tongue and Collar
- Mesh Upper
- Possble Sizing Issues
12. Mizuno Wave Elixir 8
The sole of these shoes is very unique as it is made of lightweight rubber and has a dot pattern on the forefoot to help with grip as well as flexibility. This gives the runner a more of a racing shoe feel, while still being versatile enough to wear as an everyday shoe to run errands in.
These midsoles allow for the perfect amount of energy return and are plush and well cushioned while still being firm. Made to absorb shock and keep your feet stable throughout your run, these are very responsive and therefore overall help you run much faster and more comfortably.
Cost and Value
Reasonably priced and a great running shoe for anyone who is training or racing. These allow for you to go very fast and best suit someone who will get good use out of them rather than wear casually to the gym or around the neighborhood.
- Built to Help with Overpronation
- Durable and Responsive Midsole
- Breathable Fabric
- Great Support for Knee Pain
- May Need to Go a Half Size Up
13. Mizuno Wave Precision 13
Those with larger feet or ones that are quite wide may often find it hard to get the perfect fit when it comes to running shoes. These are a great choice if you struggle with comfortably getting your feet in and out of shoes. Although spacious enough for you to comfortably slip your feet into, they still are easy to securely fastened ensure a snug comfortable fit once on.
Knowing you are stable on your feet and not having to worry about potentially slipping during your run is very important. If you are training for a marathon, you will be outside running rain or shine, so you need to know that the shoes you are wearing are going to provide you with the right amount of traction. These rubber outsoles offer supreme traction that will keep your mind focused on the run ahead of you.
Cost and Value
For an overall relatively traditional running shoe these are quite high on the price range, and may not fit everyone's likes and needs, however, if you are looking for a versatile running shoe that is quite supportive these will do the trick.
- Mesh Upper
- Dynamotion Fit
- Enhanced Cushioning
- Durable Overlays
- Supreme Traction
- Only Offered in Bright Color Combinations
14. 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 ensure from foot to heel strike that 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
15. Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2
Welded overlays wrap around the foot for extra support and to keep your foot snug and in place during your run. It is very important that your foot stays relatively stable throughout your run to prevent injury, as long as it has some wiggle room, your foot should be snug. Ensure the laces are tied correctly and firmly to get the most out of the foot wrap.
It is nice to not only feel great but look it as well, and with these designs, you can be sure to get your fair share of compliments. This style only comes in fun colorful designs, so it is not best for those who prefer a more neutral shoe, but if you like to stand out and brighten up your otherwise colorless workout clothes these are a great choice.
Cost and Value
A mid-priced running shoe that will give you all the support you need while still maintaining a lightweight feel. The added midfoot wrap ensures they stay in place all day and will give you the perfect fit, that will help eliminate the potential for any irritations.
- Plush Foam Midsole
- Breathable Mesh
- Midfoot Wrap for Extra Support
- Colorful Designs
- Not Great for High Arches
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 may models are now up in the 20th version, and this just shows how much time and effort goes in to every model they make.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Mizuno Running Shoes
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 goes 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.