Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Welcome to our Guide to Mizuno Running Shoes! While Mizuno originally started as a company focused on baseball, they quickly expanded to nearly every sport and became a leader in the running shoe world in the 1980s with their sponsorship of a number of Olympians. Their popular high drop daily trainer, the Wave Rider, is on its 27th iteration. More recently, Mizuno has shaken up the super shoe world with its unique Wave Rebellion Pro series, which has one of the most aggressive heel bevels on the market. 2024 also brings the release of the Wave Rebellion Flash 2, which will be a competitor to other nylon plated performance trainers. It's an exciting time for Mizuno shoes! Read on to learn more about the brand and their road and trail offerings.


Guide to Mizuno Running Shoes
Written and Edited by Content Manager Bach Pham

About Mizuno


Mizuno was founded in 1906 in Osaka, Japan by Rihachi Mizuno and his brother, Rizo. The company initially manufactured western products, including baseballs, and expanded to athletic clothing in 1907. Rihachi Mizuno was impressed by American baseball culture and wanted to increase the sport's popularity in Japan by manufacturing comfortable, functional athletic clothing. Over the first half of the 20th century, Mizuno expanded into manufacturing baseball shoes and gloves, golf clubs, hickory skis, gliders, backpacks, and tennis rackets. The company released its first track and field cleats in 1928, which consisted of a leather upper and long metal pins for spikes. 

In 1972, Mizuno launched the "M-Line" shoe, which was designed for both athletic and daily use and featured its distinctive "M" logo. In 1980, Mizuno decided to replace the "M" logo due to its similarities to the Adidas three stripe logo. A Mizuno design team went through over 180 logos and trademarks, and ultimately settled on the RunBird logo, which Mizuno says was inspired by the unlimited space and energy of the universe. The first Mizuno RunBird shoe was released in 1983.

The 1988 Olympics were a showcase for Mizuno running shoes, with Carl Lewis, Steve Lewis, Joe DeLoach, and Florence Griffith Joyner all competing in Mizuno shoes. In 1991, Carl Lewis set a new 100m world record of 9.86s in Mizuno spikes. The Wave Rider, which is Mizuno's popular daily trainer that features its Wave Plate, was launched in 1997. In 2020, Mizuno released their first shoe that featured their highly resilient Enerzy foam, aptly named the Mizuno Enerzy. Mizuno has advanced their Enerzy foam to Enerzy Lite and Enerzy Lite+, both of which are featured in their unique super shoe, the Wave Rebellion Pro 2. 


Technology to Know


Wave Plate.
A signature of Mizuno, the wave plate sits in the Wave Rider and acts as stability for the heel, both reinforcing the heel and helping push the runner forward.

Mizuno Wave.
Seen in the Horizon, Sky and to some extent Wave Rider. The wave design offers a combination of cushion and stability depending on the design. In the Horizon for instance, the strategic wave areas offer a little more firmer midsole to help with stability. The same effect happens in the Sky, but to provide more cushioning rather than stability.

Enerzy. Mizuno's current everyday training foam.

Enerzy Lite.
Mizuno's next level of foam above Enerzy. This foam is plant-based, made with Pebax RNEW which is derived from castor beans. The Enerzy Lite foam is lighter and more responsive.

Enerzy Lite+. Mizuno's PEBA, and most premium level of Enerzy. This is seen in the Rebellion Pro 2 in tandem with Enerzy Lite.

Enerzy Core.
The Enerzy Core is a very soft and responsive layer seen in their Wave Sky and Horizon models, acting as a highly cushioned middle layer that connects the bottom and top layers.

G3 Outsole.
Mizuno's signature outsole design on road running shoes.


Breaking Down the Mizuno Running Line



Mizuno Road Shoes

Wave Rider 27 (neutral daily trainer) - One of the longest running daily trainer series in the market. Features a 12mm drop and wave plate in the heel.
Wave Sky 6 (neutral max cushion trainer) - Mizuno's highest cushioned trainer. Features a unique triple layer midsole, with a softer layer on the bottom and firmer layer on top and Enerzy core for bounce. This is called the Fluid Wave System.
Wave Inspire 20 (stability trainer) - The Inspire is a stability trainer that uses a wave plate system that helps facilitate forward motion while providing medial and lateral stability.
Wave Horizon 7
(stability max cushion trainer) - Their max cushion stability trainer. Similar to the sky it has a triple layer system, but swaps the layers for a firmer bottom layer and softer top layer for more stability underfoot. This is called the Structured Wave System.
Wave Neo Ultra (sustainable max cushion trainer) - A project shoe from Mizuno featuring sustainable elements throughout.

Mizuno Trail Shoes
Wave Mujin 9 (trail trainer) - Mizuno's trail running shoe with an aggressive lug system.

Mizuno Performance Shoes
Wave Neo Wind (sustainable performance shoe) - Mizuno's second sustainable shoe, a fun performance trainer that can do a bit of everything.
Neo Vista (super trainer) - Mizuno's highest stack, highest tech training shoe.
Wave Rebellion Flash 2 (plated performance trainer) - The training companion to the Pro, the Flash features a dual layer foam that is both responsive and comfortable for daily training and workouts.
Wave Rebellion Pro 2 (carbon plated racing shoe) - Mizuno's super shoe, featuring a very aggressive rearfoot bevel.


Science Feature: Stability for Flat Feet Runners
By Matt Klein


The Wave Horizon series has been a favorite of the team thanks to how well it seems to work for a variety of people. Although the industry is moving away from more traditional methods of stability, like posting (which the Horizon 6 does use, but integrates well), many of these methods can still be a challenge for those with flat feet. We often hear from our readers and listeners who have flat feet trying to find shoes that provide stability without an aggressively high arch as part of that. The high arch does work for some people, but not everyone. Additionally, many shoes have stability methods in the midsole that sit up against the foot. Sidewalls are a common method that works extremely well for someone like me who doesn't find them obtrusive. However, those with flatter feet do not always like this (some do).

The Horizon 6 has several methods of stability in the midsole, but they sit lower in the sole than many other shoes. Combined with a lower arch, this will accommodate a wider variety of arch shapes. While the research has been clear that arch shape is not a valid method of determining stability needs in regards to injury prevention (Knapik et al., 2014), it may influence perceived comfort. I am NOT advocating that all shoes have a low arch, but having a variety of heights creates greater accessibility for those with different foot shapes.


Our Mizuno Running Shoe Recommendations to Try


Best Daily Trainer: Wave Rider 27

The Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is a pleasant update to the 26. The shoe makes some tweaks to the upper and lacing design which provide a more locked down experience. The upper is from 90% recycled materials and the wave plate is plant based. The shoe is still the high drop training shoe, but transitions smoother through the heel.

Best All-Around Stability Trainer: Wave Horizon 7

It incorporates a wide range of stability elements we often see in stable neutral shoes, all neatly put together in one package without using anything too obtrusive like GuideRails or posting. The latest Horizon 6 features a new Enerzy Core which resolves many of last year's fundamental issues to make the latest Horizon a wickedly solid trainer that many will enjoy.

Best Performance Trainer (and introduction to Mizuno): Wave Rebellion Flash 2
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a training companion to the Rebellion Pro 2 (super shoe). The unique geometry combined with the Enerzy Lite + top layer midsole provide a big rolling sensation and bounce at toe off. The shoe does use a nylon plate vs. the carbon plate seen in the Rebellion Pro model as well. This is a highly rockered shoe that can do a little of everything at paces.

Best Overall Mizuno Shoe: Neo Vista
The Mizuno Neo Vista is Mizuno's new super trainer, which features an extremely high stack of Mizuno ENERZY NXT foam, a nylon Mizuno Wave plate, and Mizuno's Smooth Speed Assist, which refers to the shoe's large heel bevel and forefoot rocker. In a market full of heavy super trainers that are limited in use by their weight, the Neo Vista is refreshingly light on foot, at 9.4oz for a men's 9 and 7.8oz for a women's 8. A large midsole cutout reduces weight and contributes to the shoe's compliance and resilience. The Mizuno Neo Vista is a super trainer that could be used for everything from recovery runs to workouts, and is a nice training complement to the Rebellion Pro 2 and Flash 2.

Best Racing Shoe: Wave Rebellion Pro 2

The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is Mizuno's super shoe that features an extremely aggressive heel bevel and a snappy, fast ride.


Have questions? Send us an email at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!



More Shoe Brand Guides

Beginner's Guide to Running Shoes: Are you a brand new runner and unsure where to start? Visit this guide first to get started.
Stability Shoe Resource Page: Our comprehensive guide to stability shoes and alternatives for neutral runners as well
Carbon Fiber Plated Shoes Resource Page: Want to go as fast as possible for race day? Visit this page for all of our super shoe reviews
Guide to Walking Shoes: Featuring some science behind walking and the best running shoes for walking based on our everyday testing and clinical experience working with patients.
Getting the Right Fit: Unsure if your shoe fits? Visit this page to help you determine how to find the right shoe for your feet. Comfort is one of the most important things we emphasize at Doctors of Running before you get out the door and on the road. Sometimes the right shoe for you is not what works for many others. That is why it is important to try different shoes when you can to get a better understanding of works best for your needs.
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Ultimate Guide to Hydration Products for Runners: We review 10+ hydration products that may help you on your running adventure.
Best Affordable Running Shoes: We compiled a list of the most affordable options you can find in the market today. Updated monthly.


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