Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind

A pair of the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind sits against an outdoor backdrop.

Mizuno combines plushness and performance in their new Wave Neo line, featuring the Wave Neo Ultra and the Wave Neo Wind.

The Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind offer the best of Mizuno running technology. Made with their proprietary midsole foams, premium knit uppers and sustainable materials, the Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind offer unparalleled comfort in an eco-friendly package (Mizuno estimates that 50 percent of all parts in these two shoes are made with sustainable materials).

While the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind may look similar, there are several key differences between the models. Fleet Feet reviewers put both models to the test to see how they fit, feel and perform. Here’s what you can expect.

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra

Mizuno Wave Neo Wind


9.1 oz (W), 10.9 oz (M)

7.1 oz (W), 8.5 oz (M)


8 mm

8 mm







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Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra

A pair of the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra.

How Does the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra Feel?

The Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra offers the ultimate running experience: comfort, performance and durability. Shoe designers went all in to make sure the Wave Neo Ultra does it all.

“The cushioning feels springy and bouncy, and the shoes feel much softer and more flexible than any other Mizuno shoes I’ve tried,” Caroline says.

The Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra is the first shoe in Mizuno’s lineup to feature all three of their signature midsole materials – Mizuno ENERZY, Mizuno ENERZY Core and Mizuno ENERZY Lite. While each foam delivers a different cushioning style, they combine to create a luxuriously smooth ride.

Mizuno ENERZY foam, an EVA-based midsole compound, is the brand’s go-to midsole foam that can be found in fan favorites like the Wave Rider 25 and the Wave Inspire 18. It has a soft feel, but still offers a rebounding pop with each stride.

Mizuno ENERZY Core is the brand’s softest and most propulsive foam yet. It’s found in their max-cushioned shoes. You may have experienced ENERZY Core foam in the Mizuno Wave Horizon 6 or the Mizuno Wave Sky 5.

Mizuno ENERZY Lite foam is the brand’s lightest midsole foam, as seen in the speedy Wave Rebellion, and is therefore often used in race-day shoes. It’s also made with castor bean oil, which makes it a more sustainable solution to traditional foam materials.

The result of the three combined foams? An energetic ride that’s built for extended durability.

“These shoes have a ton of pep and life in them,” Nate says.

The heel collar of the Wave Neo Ultra.

How Does the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra Fit?

A smooth, one-piece upper offers enough stretch to accommodate wider foot shapes. While some reviewers prefer a traditional upper, other reviewers appreciated the fit of the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra.

“I felt like I was running with just my favorite socks on, plus a durable sole, of course,” Juan says. “The Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra makes my feet feel really secure while I run.”

The knit upper is sleek and all-white, made with undyed white yarn to reduce the amount of water used in the dying process.

“The upper in the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra works really well for me. I can slip them right on and immediately feel locked in and secure. I also like the extended heel cup that helps with pulling the shoes on,” Nate says.

Overall, reviewers enjoy the fit and feel of the Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra.

“These shoes are ready for all the miles you want to throw at them. Given the one-piece upper, I would double check the fit of these, but if they fit you well you’ll probably like them as much as I do,” Nate says.

Mizuno Wave Neo Wind

A pair of the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind

How Does the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind Feel?

The Mizuno Wave Neo Wind is the lightweight counterpart to the Wave Neo Ultra. It’s about two ounces lighter, but still offers a generous amount of cushioning and bounce.

“These shoes have a comfortable fit and feel light, quick and durable. They can handle just about any run you throw at them, including hitting faster paces,” Kate says.

The midsole is made up of Mizuno ENERZY Lite foam and Mizuno ENERZY foam, similar to the Wave Neo Ultra without the addition of soft ENERZY Core foam. Because of that, it offers a lighter, firmer and more responsive ride than its counterpart.

“I felt really fast and powerful while running in these shoes,” Juan says. “Usually after long runs my calves feel pretty sore and uncomfortable, but this wasn't the case with the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind.”

The heel of the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind.

How Does the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind Fit?

The Mizuno Wave Neo Wind offers an almost identical fit as the Wave Neo Ultra. A smooth, one-piece knit upper wraps around your foot while long, slightly textured laces keep the fit secure. A pull tab on the back of the heel makes it easy to slide into the shoes before heading out.

The Wave Neo Wind offers more padding inside the heel collar than the Wave Neo Ultra, helping to hold you securely in place while you run.

“I was nervous when I saw that this shoe is made with a one-piece upper since that type of fit typically isn’t very adjustable,” Kate says. “But it feels like the upper material molds to the shape of my foot when I put it on, and it has a really comfortable effect. There is extra padding around the heel collar that gives a soft, premium feel.”

The Wave Neo Wind uses the same undyed knit upper, making it easier on the environment.

Final Thoughts

The Mizuno Wave Neo line offers a glimpse at what may be the future of Mizuno running shoes – more cushion, more flexibility and more responsiveness.

Reviewers enjoyed their runs in the Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind and think you will, too. While the two shoes are pretty similar, keep in mind the subtle differences when choosing a pair.

If you enjoy a best-of-both-worlds shoe with softness and energy return, you’ll likely enjoy the Wave Neo Ultra. This shoe offers a combination of Mizuno’s best midsole foams in a cushioned, supportive package.

If you prefer a lightweight shoe that feels more springy than soft, you’ll probably prefer the Wave Neo Wind.

No matter which shoe you choose, be sure to head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height. Not only does the outfitting experience provide you with the right shoes and insoles, outfitters can make recommendations on apparel, accessories and nutrition to help you reach your goals.

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