Mizuno Wave Musha 5 General Info:
The Wave Musha 5 can trace it’s lineage back to the original Wave Revolver series.
As such, it has consistently maintained its spot in the rather narrow market for racing flats that offer some measure of protection from over pronation.
This year’s Wave Musha 5 debuts with some slight upper tweaks while maintaining a carryover midsole from last season’s shoe.
Mizuno Wave Musha 5 First Impression:
The Mizuno Wave Musha series has always favored a color palette with wilder tastes in mind and the Wave Musha 5 comes to the party dressed in an electric lime, yellow and black color way. While the overall visual design is very simple and slightly 1970’s in flavor, the aggressive colors make for an outstanding visual impact.
Looks aside, the Wave Musha 5 comes with a retooled upper that presents a stripped down design philosophy free of almost all overlays. As usual with Mizuno, the Wave Musha 5 has kept the same midsole for a second year.
The fit of the Wave Musha 5 is low slung and feels much the same underfoot as its predecessor, the Wave Musha 4. With the upper change, the new Wave Musha 5 sizes in the same in the heel with just a touch more width in the mid foot and toe box.
Mizuno Wave Musha 5 Sole Unit:
The Wave Musha 5 utilizes a carryover midsole from the Wave Musha 4 constructed with the same premium AP+ midsole foam and wave plate.
The heart of any Mizuno running shoe is the Mizuno Wave. This is a plastic device inserted into the midsole and tuned for different applications. The idea is to give the shoe a durable “suspension system” that combines stability, responsiveness and cushioning.
The Wave Musha 5 uses a single density wave plate that begins at the heel and travels all the way to the first forefoot flex groove. The lateral heel area has ports left open around the wave plate to help the shoe release laterally more than it does medially. This adds to the stability of the shoe and helps smooth out transition.
The Wave Musha 5’s last is rather dramatically curved and features Mizuno’s high durability X10 carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber up front. The Wave Musha 5 also features a flat outsole with no arch cutout for increased ground contact and a slight bump in stability.
Mizuno Wave Musha 5 Upper Unit:
Here’s where Mizuno put all the focus on the update of this shoe. Clearly, the focus was on getting the most done with the least amount of materials.
Beginning with a retro design motif, Mizuno deleted every overlay from the Wave Musha 4 and replaced them with a vintage looking suede type eyelet row and toe box cap. Only the Mizuno Runbird and the heel overlay are made of thermoplastic material. The Mizuno Runbird pulls double duty as brand logo and overlay by connecting to the midsole and the eyelet row right at the mid foot. The heel overlay no longer connects to the eyelet row and now wraps itself around a slightly more flexible heel counter.
The balance of the upper contains standard mesh that is just a touch softer and more flexible than in the previous design. Mizuno has also deleted the “dazzle” laces and replaced them with a slightly smaller type of flat lace. The tongue feels thin just as before but now sports a woven nameplate instead of the earlier style embroidered logo. The interior collar lining seems identical but the Wave Musha 5 now gets an Ortholite style sock liner to replace the older foam version.
Mizuno Wave Musha 5 Opinion:
In past races I’ve had some really good luck with the Wave Musha series. This season I raced the Wave Musha 5 in the 5K, 8K and 10K. Last year I had a new 5K personal best and this year I was able to shatter my previous bests in the 8K and 10K. While I didn’t break my 5K yet in the Wave Musha 5 I’m hopeful to have some really strong 5K’s in the shoe this summer but those will happen some time after this review is published.
The Wave Musha 5 is pretty much my dream short distance racer. It has blistering transition, a powerful ride and great road feel. The only thing that bothers me about this shoe is its excessively curved last. The shoe almost looks like a banana when you flip it over! A last this curved is really only appropriate for a neutral shoe and I like the straighter last shape found in the Wave Musha 3 much better.
The Wave Musha 5 is so curved that it leaves a good deal of my mid foot hanging off the inside of the shoe.
Thankfully though, the new upper is brilliant in both design and execution. The mesh is quite breathable and the shallow fit and wider toe box works well in concert with my feet. Also, there are no hidden “underlays” to chafe my feet as in the Wave Elixir 8.
As a moderate over pronator, I feel like this shoe is best suited for 1/2 marathon distance or less. Personally, I wouldn’t take it past the 15K because I like a bit more shoe for anything over that. The shoe can handle it for sure but my feet are just too flexible for me to even attempt anything over that distance in a shoe as minimal as the Wave Musha 5.
Thanks to the revised upper the Musha gets a bit lighter on the foot and heavier on the wallet.
Another $5 price jump pushes this shoe into the $90 bracket. Even though, I still think it’s a great choice for a moderate over pronator who is interested in pushing the envelope of their physical capabilities on race day. Oh, and it looks killer too.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of Wave Musha 5 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.