In the pantheon of stability trainers the Wave Nexus has a heritage that goes back all the way to 2007, and it has always quietly impressed runners looking for a moderate amount of stability without bells and whistles. As a utility shoe which has gotten little updating over the years (even in the aesthetics department) the Wave Nexus is often overlooked in favor of the speedier Wave Elixir or the fancier and more expensive Wave Inspire, but many runners looking for a road workhorse at an affordable price would be well served to try on a pair.
Mizuno Wave Nexus 6 Upper
What do you know, Mizuno seemed to nail the fit again for their 2012 line of shoes! A lightweight, very breathable, and appreciatively stretchy dual density mesh runs the length of the shoe and is reinforced by really durable sewn overlays. A medium width forefoot gives way to a medium width mid foot and heel. Really, the Nexus 6 is very accommodating and after having several friends try the shoe on all report that the fit was near perfect.
A traditional lacing system with oval laces and a moderately padded tongue were comfortable and the Nexus 6 has a locked down feel on the road. The heel collar is well padded and a nice height that doesn’t lead to irritation around the ankle. If there is a problem with the Nexus 6 upper, I couldn’t find it.
Mizuno Wave Nexus 6 Midsole
Often runners will ask me to compare shoes across brands when looking for a comparable shoe in terms of support or cushioning. The Wave Nexus 6 compares nicely to a Nike Structure Triax or an Asics 2170, but with a tad bit less support. The Wave cushioning of the Nexus 6 is soft yet supportive, and I found it to be accommodating to any type of foot strike. The platform height (height of the shoe off of the ground) feels high at first, but the more I ran in the Nexus 6 I found it to be agile and at just over 10 oz for my size 9.5 the Nexus performed great on longer runs where protection is needed but extra weight is not.
Mizuno uses their Ap+ midsole foam throughout the midsole and places a bit extra in the forefoot than some of their other shoes which improves protection on the roads a great deal. Mizuno retains the standard heel drop of 12 mm and they use their Smooth Ride technology, a series of grooves throughout the mid foot, to give the Nexus a great transition from heel to forefoot which is something all runners have come to expect from a Mizuno running shoe.
A great deal of stability is provided by the wave plate throughout the mid foot making this a trainer without a lot of medial twisting. The Nexus 6 is recommended for mild overpronators but there seems to be plenty of protection and durability for big runners who subject their shoes to a lot of pounding.
Mizuno Wave Nexus 6 Outsole
Does Mizuno have a “typical” outsole? If so, then the Wave Nexus 6 could be a good example of Mizuno’s use of durable carbon rubber surrounding exposed cavities in the heel to save weight and a full forefoot protection. I didn’t have any issues with picking up rocks and the X10 carbon rubber is about as sticky as it comes on a road shoe.
Mizuno Wave Nexus 6 Overall Impressions
So, you walk into your local running store, where I hope you buy your shoes, and some models just leap off the wall at you. I know, not all runners have the luxury of having a local running store, so you’re shopping online and a shoe catches your eye. You’ve read about it in the latest new running shoe guide and it comes highly recommended (of course it does, they’re paying for advertising). Something about this shoe looks fast, has eye-catching colors, or in some way “looks” like the type of shoe you imagined yourself running in.
As an insatiable consumer of running shoes I often buy a shoe thinking that it will be my huckleberry, only to find a less flashy or initially uninspiring shoe to be what works best for me. The Wave Nexus 6 really seems to be that overlooked shoe in the Mizuno line without the flashy colors, the suave design, of the advertising dollars. What it does have is a great price, low weight, and great cushioning and support for high mileage.
While I am always pressed to look for what is wrong with a shoe, I will attempt some recommendations for the Mizuno design team (if I may?). Given the average stack height for a shoe in its class (cushioned stability), the firm edges surrounding the outsole can make this a difficult shoe to do any trail or even dirt running in. On any uneven surface, the Nexus 6 seems to catch an edge which could lead to ankle rolling.
My recommendation is for those of you die hard stability fans, take a closer look at the Wave Nexus 6. It could be the diamond in the rough you’re looking for.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of Wave Nexus 6 to test. This did not influence our review of this shoe, written after running more than 50 miles