High-quality support and smooth rides are the calling cards of the best Mizuno running shoes.
Those qualities propelled Mizuno into the spotlight, and their continuous development of the best running shoe technology lights the road ahead. With some of the most popular running shoes on the market every year, Mizuno is a great brand for beginners and experts alike.
From the shoes that soak up most of your training miles to the race-day models you bust out a few times a year, the best Mizuno running shoes will help you reach your goals.
[Updated Feb. 9, 2021. This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2021. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is as consistent and comfortable as they come, which is why it's the best Mizuno running shoe for everyday training.
Mizuno updated the classic Rider this year with a new kind of foam called Mizuno Enerzy. The new cushion brings a softer and bouncier feel to the Wave Rider for more comfort in every step. Designers paired the Enerzy foam with the tried-and-tested U4ic to maintain the Rider's responsive feel.
There are also two upper options this year. Mizuno built the standard version with an engineered mesh upper but added an option for a knit upper, which Mizuno calls Waveknit. In the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 review, Fleet Feet runners say the two options let you choose the most comfortable fit without changing the ride.
With a full-rubber outsole for added traction and durability, the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is built for hundreds of miles of use.
The Wave Horizon isn’t a new shoe, but the Wave Horizon 4 is a completely redesigned take on the family name.
What makes the Wave Horizon 4 the best Mizuno shoes for overpronators is the brand new Foam Wave. The Foam Wave replaces the signature Wave Plate that’s been embedded in many Mizuno running shoes, but it serves the same purpose.
Designers created the Foam Wave to give its running shoes a floating feeling, and they tweaked it in the Wave Horizon 4 to add stability. To do that, Mizuno changed the shape of the waves on each side of the shoe. The rectangular waves on the medial side (instep) compress less than the rounded waves on the lateral side (outside), creating the stability overpronators need.
The floating feeling comes from a strip of XPOP foam set into the shoe. The foam is bouncier than the surrounding material, which gives it the easy riding sensation. Fleet Feet testers said in the Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 review the shoe delivers the best of both worlds: a well-cushioned, responsive ride and good stability.
Mizuno used its two softest foams to make its most-cushioned running shoe. Meet the Wave Sky Waveknit 4.
Designers layered the Wave Sky with its popular U4icX and its new Mizuno Enerzy foams. The soft foams create a supremely cushioned step, while a third foam, called XPOP, adds a bit of bounce.
In the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 4 review, one Fleet Feet runner said the shoe delivers all the plushness of the puffiest max-cushioned shoes without the tall stack height.
“It’s very soft without feeling mushy," he said. "There’s still some firmness there to push off from.”
With a soft Waveknit upper, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 4 wraps your foot in comfort for as many miles as your legs can handle.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 is the stability sibling to the Wave Rider, so you get great structure and support as well as extra stability from Mizuno’s Wave Plate.
Mizuno tweaks the Wave Plate technology to dial up certain attributes. In the Wave Inspire, the Wave Plate creates added stability.
If you held the Wave Inspire and Wave Rider in front of you, you’d see a clear difference in the shape of the plate embedded into the shoe. The Inspire’s Wave Plate has more prominent peaks and valleys on the medial side of the shoe, while the Rider sports a mellower form.
Both versions help evenly disperse impact across the shoe, but the Inspire’s plate design adds the stability overpronators are looking for.
Just like the Rider, though, the Wave Inspire 16 is very supportive and delivers a firmer, responsive ride.
Mizuno’s Wave technology takes many forms across its range of running shoes.
The Wave’s first job is to promote flexibility. The orientation of the waves creates natural flexibility that works with your foot as it rolls through its transition, but at the same time it resists bending laterally, or from side to side, to improve stability.
After flexibility, the Wave also has to absorb and disperse the impact forces of running and then return some of that energy to create responsiveness. Mizuno says the Wave is able to direct impact forces away from your body but also keep those forces centered in the shoe so you get a more stable feeling.
The new generation of Wave Technology, though, is Mizuno’s Foam Wave. The Foam Wave ditches the traditional plastic insert in favor of foam. Like the Wave Plate, designers influence a shoe’s ride by tweaking the shapes of the wave—flat and rectangular for stability, tall and rounded for cushion.
We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best Mizuno running shoes for most runs and the most runners.
You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on all orders over $99, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.
Mizuno makes some of the best running shoes in the business, but there are plenty of excellent shoes from other brands. See the best running shoe brands 2021 for more great shoes.
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