Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

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Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 Multi-Tester Review

     The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4, Mizuno's premium stability shoe, receives a total redesign and comes out as a very positive update. The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 follows the lead of the Wave Sky 3 (REVIEW) with the change to XPOP and Wave Foam instead of a large Wave Plate. As a stability shoe, the Horizon 4 features geometric stability rather than posting or a plate, creating and incredibly smooth ride for a stability shoe. Although a bit on the heavy side, the Horizon 4 continues the trend of moving away from posting while still creating smooth stability shoes that will work for a variety of individuals.


Specifications (per Mizuno USA)
Weight: 11.3 oz
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 10mm Drop
Classification: Maximum Cushioned Stability Trainer

FIT

     Matt: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 fits true to size as my normal size 10 (mens) is spot on. Plush is the best way to describe the upper of the Mizuno Wave Horizon 4.  The is a lot going on with the upper and it feels soft. The heel collar is very padded, although the heel fits normal to slightly wide.Thanks to the The midfoot fits fairly normal, but the laces combined with the Aerohug provide great lockdown in the middle of the shoe. The forefoot fits normal to a hair snug as it tapers more than the previous version, but the knit/Airmesh upper stretches quite well. Overall, the fit is fairly normal, if not a little wide in the heel. However, again thanks to the Aerohug, the upper does in fact hug the foot throughout and provides a dynamic fit. This does take a few runs to kick in.

     David: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 fits true to size and holds the entire foot very well. Where snug, the shoe is also padded and feels very soft, comfortable, and sturdy at the same time. The heel is padded, though may be a little on the roomy side compared to the rest of the shoe. The midfoot is held very well with the jacquard mesh upper and is lightly reinforced to keep structure. The forefoot of normal width, not wide nor narrow. The mesh upper breathes well and feels nice on the foot globally.



RIDE

  Matt: Given the weight and size, the Horizon 4 can be a little bulky and stiff the first few miles. After 10-15 miles, the ride really starts to smooth out. The full length Mizuno Wave Foam replaces the wave plate, creating a softer ride than most Mizuno shoes from heel to toe. The XPOP in the midsole provides a surprising amount of bounce for such a heavy shoe, making the Horizon 4 feel lighter than it is once you warm up. The U4ic midsole surrounding the XPOP provides a stable encapsulation of the XPOP and provides a firmer feel on the perimeter of the shoe that provides additional stability. There are two several deep flex grooves in the forefoot, which make for a very smooth toe off almost immediately. The heel bevel is less than I would expect from Mizuno, although one is present. This makes landing at the heel a little stiff at first, but once the foam loosens up, it smooths out a bit. The midfoot transition is very stable and responsive thanks to the XPOP.  Overall, the ride is smooth from midfoot forward, but is a bit clunky in the heel until the shoe breaks in. Thanks to the same materials used throughout the sole, the cushioning is consistent along the length of the shoe as well. There is a 10mm drop, which seems to be becoming more common for Mizuno. Although the heel is evident, the softer XPOP and use of Wave Foam compresses more and allows for a little more variability in heel toe offset compared to the stiff wave plates.

   David: For a max stability shoe, Mizuno did a great job with the ride of the shoe. The ride is very smooth across all landing zones of the shoe, but could come off as a little clunky at the very beginning. I believe in large part that is from the weight of the shoe, but once the runner adapts to the shoe's weight it smooths out greatly. The Wave Foam is coupled with a firmer EVA portion of the midsole, giving the shoe a plush landing with reinforced structure and support on both the medial and lateral portions of the shoe. The XPOP midsole through the midfoot gives this shoe a much more springy sensation than expected in a workhorse trainer as well. The shoe surprisingly has decent ground feel for how plush the shoe is. With the heel collar being a little on the loose side, I had some small slippage and translation in either steep inclines or sharp turns, but otherwise a silky smooth ride at daily mileage paces. The shoe has a 10 mm drop, but isn't super noticeable thanks to the midsole. Being more of a midfoot striker, the softer midsole smoothed out the relatively high drop landing very well.


SPEED

     Matt: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 is a daily training, long run and recovery run shoe. at 11.3 oz for a men's size 9, this is not a light shoe. That being said, the XPOP makes the shoe feel lighter than it is and it can tolerate strides and mild uptempo running. However, this is not a fast shoe but one meant for getting your miles in.

     David: This shoe runs much faster than its weight... but after 8 to 10 miles the weight starts to catch up to you. So far I have done 2 runs over 10 miles in these (both at 6:40 average roughly) and both times I start to fatigue a little after that duration. The XPOP midsole makes the shoe more springy and responsive, which does help with carrying speed. Overall this shoe is best as a daily trainer though and for building base mileage.

STABILITY

   Matt: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 is a maximum stability trainer that lives up to its name without using posting. Mizuno typically does not using posting, instead using a wave plate with additional "waves" on the medial side to guide the foot forward. The Horizon 4 has a similar set up, but uses a foam wave instead of the plate. The foam density is actually the same on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe, however the only difference is the shapes of the waves on each side, with broader waves on the medial side. It should be noted that the Wave Foam and the U4ic sole interact to make this happen and they are two different densities. This is different from posting in that there is not set piece separate piece on the medial side. The same foams are used across the width of the shoe, which further adds to the consistent ride, stability and feel through the length of the shoe. Unlike others shoes, the stability of the wave foam extends from the heel all the way to the forefoot, providing full length stability. This can be felt initially, but as the shoe breaks in, the Horizon provides a very smooth and generally stability ride without being obtrusive. There is plenty of stability and given the wave foam design, the more you need, the more you will engage the waves. This is one of my favorite designs of the shoe as it demonstrates how you can create a maximum stability shoe without a post.

    David: The Wave Horizon 4 does a great job of creating dynamic stability. Instead of using posting, the shoe plays much more with midsole and foam density to create a stable ride. The U4ic and Wave Foam hybrid creates a ride that almost guides you linearly, creating stability on both the medial and lateral sides of the foot. Normally I do not need high amounts of stability, but did appreciate these features as I got tired late in runs and began to have more lateral and rotational movements. I agree with Matt. The more stability one needs, the more they will utilize the waves of the shoe. The shoe does an amazing job of creating a max stability environment without locking the foot out or making the shoe overly rigid in any way. I am a big fan of this design.




DURABILITY

    Matt: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 is a tank. I have well over 200 miles on my pair and am only beginning to see signs of wear on the posterior lateral heel (left side only). The upper has no signs of loose ends of wear. The XPOP cushioning feels similar to how it first did and the ride is starting to soften in a pleasant way. I full expect this shoe to last beyond the normal mileage of most trainers (industry standard of 300-500). The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 is the kind of shoe that those who work in running retail see people come into the store after 15 years of wearing them and say "these are still comfortable and I'm running, but someone suggested I get new shoes...".

    David: I have always praised Mizuno for durability. The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 is nothing short of that. This shoe is a workhorse in every way. Though heavy, the shoe will be able to last high mileage for a long time to come. I don't see the ride of the midsole changing either, for it has only improved with multiple runs. This shoe will run until the cows come home and then some.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

   The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 continues the current trend of using alternative methods to provide stability. The classic wave plate being replaced by a wave foam design is surprising but effective in creating a smoother ride. There are many different ways to provide a stable ride without posting or stiff heel counters. I have discussed sole flare in the past, which is the medial or lateral extension of the sole beyond the foot to create a wider base. Wider lasts (or shoe shapes) is also another way to create more surface area under the foot. This is especially important in the midfoot/arch area, where more companies are filling in that area rather than cutting it out. Guide rails are becoming more popular, as seen in Adidas and Brooks almost completely replacing posting with this in all their stability shoes. Elevated side walls are another method similar to but less specific than Guide Rails seen in companies like Hoka. Finally, appropriate flex grooves can also subtly guide motion. The amount of variation in methods these days is great in the fact that people are so different. Thus there is now something for everyone. How much each method works in guiding foot motion has yet to be researched extensively, but at least we have options.



RECOMMENDATIONS

  Matt: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 has been completely redone from previous versions and I am impressed with the update. I only have two suggestions for the next model. The first is I would suggest beveling the heel a bit more to smooth out the ride in the rearfoot. The second is I would like to see the shoe lightened up a little. The Horizon 4 is a maximum stability premium cushioned shoe, but since Mizuno is known to make lighter shoes, I'd like to see them lighten the shoe up to add a little versatility to the ride.

   David: I was very happy with the Mizuno Wave Horizon 4, though I have 2 recommendations for it. I like that the heel collar is padded, but it still is a little on the loose side for harsher movements. I'd like to see the collar tightened up a little bit, and hopefully a reduction in weight as well. The shoe is so smooth and feels great, but does start to wear on you in longer runs. Even if it was reduced 1 ounce, I think that would be huge for the versatility of the shoe.


CONCLUSION

     Matt: The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 is a premium, maximum stability shoe that has one of the smoothest stability rides of any shoe with this much stability I have tried. The Wave Foam provides a very comfortable and stable ride for the full length of the shoe without being intrusive. The ride is especially very smooth from midfoot forward and improves at the heel with a few miles. For those looking for a bouncy but premium and protective max stability shoe that will last forever during long miles, the Mizuno Horizon 4 is a great option.

     David: This is a top of the line daily trainer in the max stability category. The shoe twists your brain a little bit because even though it is a max stability trainer, it feels incredibly fluid and smooth as well. The shoe is best for daily efforts and mileage, taking pace and distance into account, but is one of the best durable workhorses out there. It's bouncy, responsive, and stable all at the same time, but does come with the cost of weight. For those that like stability with a plush ride, and favor high mileage on the shoes, this could be a great option.

GRADING

Matt: 

Fit/Upper        9 /10 (slightly loose heel but aerohug is very comfortable)
Ride/Midsole  8 /10 (Smooth forefoot/midfoot, clunky heel at first)
Stability          10 /10 (Great stability without being intrusive)
Speed              6 /10 (HEAVY, but feels lighter)
Durability       10 /10 (This shoe is a tank)

David: 

Fit/Upper        9.5 /10 (great fit in midfoot and forefoot, slightly loose heel)
Ride/Midsole  9.25/10 (XPOP and Wave Foam great. Weight and slight clunkiness initially)
Stability          10 /10 (Incredibly stable without locking foot out or changing mechanics)
Speed              7/10 (You can force it... but best for daily effort)
Durability       10 /10 (I agree with Matt. This shoe is a tank)

TOTAL: 88.75% (Matt 86%, David: 91.5%)

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Mizuno USA for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 212 miles on my pair (Matt) and 36 miles (David). My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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