There was a time when the difference between these two flagship models of the Japanese brand was clear. However, over time, the cushioning of the Rider has softened while the Sky has become lighter.
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In addition, the drop of the Rider is 12 mm which is high and a bit outdated.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
Flexible and stable ride
Sturdy design with high-quality materials
Stretchy woven upper provides good foot support
Can do better with breathability
The shoe is a little heavy
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|