In 2021, the Wave Sky is still clearly more cushioned, with a difference in the stack of 5 mm under the heel and 9 mm (!) under the forefoot.
In addition, the drop of the Rider is 12 mm which is high and a bit outdated. The Sky 5 has a more moderate heel to toe drop of 8mm.
The feel underfoot is equivalent even if, overall, runners note that the cushioning of the Wave Sky is a little softer. In terms of responsiveness, even though both shoes use the same technologies (including the new Enerzy foam), the Rider clearly has the edge. Of course, this is primarily due to its lighter design (40 g/1.41 oz less).
Finally, note that the toe box of the Wave Rider is more spacious than that of the Wave Sky. Runners with wide feet, you’ve been warned!
Wave Rider or Wave Sky: which one should you choose?
Overall, the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 seems like a better choice. For equivalent comfort, you have a much lighter and more responsive shoe. Also, the durability is very good in both cases.
Lighter than before (270 g)
Robust, mileage-proof design
Very nice cushioning with softer foam and a slight bounce
Versatile running shoes
The high drop of 12mm
Not the sleekest looking shoe out there
Mizuno Wave Rider 25
Mizuno Wave Sky 5
|Drop||12 mm||8 mm|
|Heel stack height||32 mm||37 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||20 mm||29 mm|
|Weight (men)||270 g/9.5 oz||311 g/11 oz|
|Weight (women)||225 g/7.9 oz||275 g/9.7 oz|
|Outsole||Blown rubber, Flex Controllers, X10||X10|
|Midsole||Mizuno Enerzy, Mizuno Wave Plate, U4ic||Mizuno Enerzy, U4icX|
|Upper||Engineered mesh||Engineered mesh|
|Softness (1-5)||3 – Moderate||4 – Soft|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate||3 – Moderate|
|Speed||Slow, moderate||Slow, moderate|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10 km, half marathon, marathon||Mid, long, 10 km, half marathon, marathon|
|Workout||Daily running||Daily running|
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.