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“Never settle”: that is Mizuno’s motto.

It sums up Mizuno’s approach to running shoes. They constantly seek to improve the technologies in their shoes in an effort to produce an even better experience for runners.

As a result, it can get a little confusing when trying to choose what Mizuno shoe is for you.

In the past 3-4 years Mizuno has both launched and retired a bunch of shoes (ie, goodbye to Nirvana, Elixir and welcome to Paradox, Catalyst..) so I think it's time to deep dive into their lineup to make some clarity.

Best Neutral Mizuno Running Shoes

Mizuno's neutral shoes, thanks to the wave plate, tend to be quite responsive and offer a tad bit of stability as well.

Mizuno Wave Rider 23 - Pair
The Mizuno Wave Rider is a high-mileage trainer that makes minor changes to create a softer ride than its predecessor. The Wave Rider continues to be Mizuno's Go-To Shoe, suitable for both training runs and long races. Read full review »

Pros

  • Great cushion, softer in heel
  • Flexible
  • Everyday Trainer
  • Improved upper from previous model

Cons

  • Very firm
Mizuno Wave Sky 2 - Pair
The Mizuno Wave Sky 2 is a neutral trainer intended for maximum cushioning over long distances. It is a firm shoe that performs well in the very specific use of long runs with some added stability. Read full review »

Pros

  • Midsole AeroHug technology gives a secure feeling
  • Durability
  • Stable

Cons

  • The upper layering can feel warm
  • Narrow category in terms of use; especially when considering price
Mizuno Wave Creation 19 - Medial Side
The Mizuno Wave Creation 19 is a neutral highly cushioned shoe that is intended to be a daily trainer and for longer runs. This shoe is one of the heaviest shoes out there. It may be the heaviest shoe in the category. We recommend it to heavier-set runners. Read full review »

Pros

  • Soft cushioning
  • Fit (after a few false starts)
  • Well built

Cons

  • Heavy
  • A bit narrow
  • Blisters and Expensive
Mizuno Wave Shadow - Pair
The Mizuno Wave Shadow is the first in a new line of shoes designed to be lightweight daily trainers. It performs well, but has a few quirks that keep it from being a great shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Surprisingly light for what’s in the shoe

Cons

  • Upper wrinkles around the top of the toebox
  • Outsole design seems out of place and sucks up small rocks
  • Foam unforgiving on long runs
Mizuno Wave Sonic - Pair
The Mizuno Wave Sonic is a new edition to their racing line up that will eventually become the only racing option that Mizuno offers. While it is affordable and is very durable for a racing shoe, it does not feel as fast as other racing options on the market. Read full review »

Pros

  • Durability
  • Offers more stability then most racing options

Cons

  • Does not feel fast
  • Construction in some areas appears cheap
The Wave Prophecy 8 is the top of the line full cushioned neutral trainer from Mizuno. It includes every technology and luxury Mizuno has to offer.The midsole of the Wave Prophecy 8 is composed of 4 parts working together. U4ic midsole and wave technologies appear in the Prophecy 8 along with other Mizuno offerings. What sets the Wave Prophecy 8 is the Infinity Wave, an elastic thermoplastic material shaped in a horizontal figure eight pattern. The Infinity Wave was created and installed to absorb the impact of every stride. The wave plate is extended from heel to toe. This combination hopes to provide long-lasting cushioning and a unique ride. Open mesh is the material Mizuno uses for the upper of the Wave Prophecy 8. This update was done to increase the comfort and breathability of the upper. Mizuno’s Dynamotion Fit design is implemented with the upper. Which is stretch material in the forefoot along with a collar design to reinforce it.In short, the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 8 is a luxury neutral shoe built for daily training. It is Mizuno’s top of the line shoe which employs every technology Mizuno has to offer. The Infinity Wave in the midsole has been updated in hopes to help runners go farther with less impact. The upper has been updated to open mesh which should provide your feet with maximum breathability and comfort. This along with Mizuno’s Dynamotion Fit should improve the support and fit of the upper.

Best Stability Mizuno Running Shoes

I personally love Mizuno's stability shoes, and I logged lots of miles both in the Inspire and Catalyst.

There are currently 4 models in this line, and here they are:

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 is a shoe that is true to its name - inspiring runners to go further and faster. Its adaptive ride and stability features provide great support and a smooth ride. Read full review »

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable and versatile ride.
  • Remarkably durable.
  • Wave plate and midsole compounds give a nice amount of stability and support.

Cons

  • Long break-in period.
  • Looks and feels bulky.
Mizuno Wave Paradox 4 - Heel
The Mizuno Wave Paradox offers some of the highest stability and support out today. Spiritual successor to the now retired Nirvana, it has a firm ride and very comfortable upper. Read full review »

Pros

  • Highly durable shoe.
  • Maximum amount of support.
  • Incredibly comfortable upper.

Cons

  • Flexibility issues.
  • Ride is too stiff.
  • Style is dated.
Mizuno Wave Horizon 3 - Lateral Side
The Mizuno Wave Horizon 3 is designed to be a max cushioned daily stability trainer. However, due to the weight and lack of responsiveness, they just aren’t worthy of an everyday trainer. Read full review »

Pros

  • AeroHug Technology
  • Durable
  • Visual Redesign

Cons

  • Looks and feels bulky
  • Unstable at times
  • Lack of energy return
Same as for last year's model, I do love these shoes. They come in a category that is missing competitors and therefore very welcome. The upper fits nicely but materials could be better. Read full review »

Pros

  • Quite lightweight
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Good stability for a fast shoe
  • Upper improvement vs last year

Cons

  • Upper still way too basic in 2017 for the price tag

Mizuno Wave Plate

Mizuno’s signature technology is the Wave plate. It is a plastic plate that runs through the midsole of their shoes. The Wave plate is most visible in the heel portion of Mizuno shoes, where it is shaped like the waves of the ocean.

Mizuno Wave Plate

Mizuno Wave Plate

The idea is that the Wave plate will absorb impact and disperse it throughout the length of the plate, like a shock absorber.

Another feature of the Wave plate is its inherent stability. Think of a strip of cardboard. Cardboard bends and folds very easily in one direction, but is very difficult to twist side-to-side. The Wave plate is the exact same way. As a result, even their neutral shoes will have some inherent stability, usually much more than comparable shoes from other makers.

Almost all Mizuno running shoes will have some type of Wave plate. The length and shape of the plate might differ. Sometimes a shoe might feature a double Wave plate. But if you see a Wave plate, then you know you’re looking at a Mizuno running shoe.

EU4IC and EU4ICX

Every running shoe maker that uses EVA foam to create the midsole of their running shoes will use a specific formula in order to produce a feel that is specific to them. Mizuno shoes are characterized by a responsive feel. That means Mizuno shoes tend to be on the firmer side. You’ll feel like your feet are landing on the ground, not the clouds.

While that might not sound like the most comfortable experience in the world, the tradeoff is a more responsive ride. It’s like running on a sandy beach: the landing is soft, but it feels like you have to work harder to keep your legs moving. Mizuno wants you to feel like you are landing on firm ground, not sinking into the sand.

In 2013, Mizuno released the latest generation of their foam: U4ic (pronounced, “Euphoric”). It first featured in their light weight trainer, Wave Sayonara, and has made its way into every Mizuno running shoe since then. U4ic replaced AP+. And while U4ic still feels more responsive than other midsoles on the market, it is softer than the old AP+.

The best I can describe U4ic compared to AP+ is that U4ic feels spongier. It’s still a far cry from running on clouds or sand, but it’s not as firm as AP+ was, although just as responsive. U4ic is also much lighter than AP+. According to Mizuno, it’s 30% lighter. And that has let Mizuno offer lighter shoes without sacrificing cushioning.

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