This year the Wave Paradox gets a total refresh. Everything looks re-imagined and re-tooled. Again we see a traditional upper and overlay design, just updated to, presumably, improve the fit and function of the shoe.
The midsole is still beefy and reminiscent of the old Wave Alchemy line. The Wave Paradox 3 is immediately comfortable right out of the box and my test pair arrived in a stealthy black and royal blue color way.
Mizuno Wave Paradox 3 Sole Unit
The Wave Paradox 3 has a slightly tweaked wave plate from last year. While it still retains the “three up, three down” wave configuration, the plate has been split at the mid foot under the shoe.
This leaves a full length plate reaching only under the big toe and under the pinkie and fourth toe; a first for Mizuno to my knowledge.
On the lateral heel, the shoe has two small ports to allow for some lateral compression and to disperse shock at heel strike.
The U4ic foam midsole is more segmented in the forefoot than that of the Wave Paradox 2 which should help the shoe flex a bit more; a helpful feature in a shoe this stiff.
The rear foot sports Mizuno’s resilient X10 carbon rubber through the entire heel and into the mid foot where a softer blown rubber takes over and covers the balance of the outsole.
Mizuno has deleted the SR Touch foam previously used to add extra heel cushion. Its replacement is dubbed U4ic X and, as opposed to being simply a wedge, is found throughout the entire heel area.
Mizuno Wave Paradox 3 Upper Info
As was the case last year, Mizuno has stayed with a traditionally styled upper for the Wave Paradox 3. This year we see a completely stitched upper free from any heat pressed overlays.
The mid foot overlay cage is substantial and features multiple “ribs” to provide a secure fit. The Runbird logo is stitched on top of this overlay both medially and laterally.
The heel overlay features the shoe name and wraps medially and laterally, finally joining up with the mid foot overlay. A stitched and notched eyelet row also connects with a sewn toe box cap.
Upper fabrics are a standard mesh on the outside and a finely woven fabric on the inside. The medium thickness tongue features the same fabrics as the interior and sports a heat pressed Mizuno logo.
Laces are the standard semi-flat style but are color matched to the black and royal blue color way. A removable Ortholite style foam sockliner rounds out the upper treatment.
Mizuno Wave Paradox 3 Conclusions
When the Alchemy and Nirvana went away, it was a very real and sincere loss for me. I had high hopes for the replacement that eventually became the Wave Paradox series.
The first Paradox was an utter disappointment. Despite its massive wave plate, the shoe lacked stability. Also, the plastic upper was binding and hot.
The Wave Paradox 2 improved dramatically but it still fell short of the Alchemy and, especially, the Nirvana. I was hopeful once again when I received the Wave Paradox 3. Were my hopes finally realized? Well, not really.
The Wave Paradox is a good stability shoe. I’ll say that first. I do, however, have some issues with it. For instance, the lateral heel of this shoe is still pretty beefy and does not lay down like the Nirvana or Alchemy did.
It actually slings my foot into pronation faster! This has been true since the first Wave Paradox. The second and third versions are better in this regard but the issue still remains.
Also, this is a premium level shoe and the upper materials feel like they belong on a lesser model. I think Mizuno used this same mesh on the budget Wave Nexus series several years ago.
The shoe runs well enough and feels fairly light despite its weight on the scale. I did feel a bit loose in the heel although it did not cause me any problems while running.
The U4ic foam does have a bit of bounce and pop to it and it definitely helps make the Wave Paradox a bit sportier feeling than it might have been otherwise.
I still struggle not to compare this shoe to its predecessor Nirvana and Alchemy. I truly do aim to rate it on its own merit and against its direct lineage Paradox brethren.
As such, it is slightly better underfoot than the Wave Paradox 2 and slightly worse in the upper. Mizuno could fix the lateral heel and give this premium shoe a true luxury upper treatment.
Altogether though, the shoe performs capably with a touch of liveliness and feels especially stable on the forefoot. For the stability minded runner, the Wave Paradox is certainly worth a look.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of Wave Paradox 3 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.