Mizuno Wave Sky 5 Review Analysis (2021)
Last update: December 2022
The Mizuno Wave Sky 5 is a maximal cushioning running shoe providing comfort and durability for your long runs.
The Mizuno Wave Sky 5 is a maximal cushioning shoe with soft cushioning, whose comfort and durability make you forget about the somewhat high price tag.
For this 5th version, the brand has completely revised the configuration of its midsole. It has kept the three foams (U4icX, Enerzy Core, Enerzy foam) but reversed the layout. With this significant change, testers note a noticeable improvement in the shoe’s cushioning and bounce.
Mizuno also optimized the upper with Smooth Stretch technology, a new woven material lighter and more stretchy. The foot lockdown remains snug. However, runners have doubts about the shoe’s breathability, as moisture-wicking in the forefoot is inefficient.
The outsole, featuring the Japanese brand’s X10 carbon rubber, provides undeniable durability to the Mizuno Wave Sky 5. The new design offers additional flexibility for a more enjoyable ride with its iconic waves and wider grooves.
All in all, the Mizuno Wave Sky 5 is a very good shoe if you want to get into running or sign up for your first marathon. These running shoes will also offer a pleasant and responsive ride for more experienced runners who enjoy long runs at a moderate pace.
Read our full Mizuno Wave Sky 5 review for more information.
- Soft cushioning and decent energy return for such shoe
- Flexible and stable ride
- Sturdy design with high-quality materials
- Stretchy woven upper provides good foot support
- Price a bit high
- Can do better with breathability
- The shoe is a little heavy
Mizuno Wave Sky 5 Complete Review Analysis
The Mizuno Wave Sky 5 are the most cushioned and comfortable running shoes from the Japanese brand. It’s like a little sister of the Wave Rider 25 with a softer cushioning and a little extra weight.
After the success of version 3, the Wave Sky 4 had difficulty finding its place, lost in the middle of serious competitors who have already built their reputation on higher cushioning. Some could say it was a disappointment with its heavy weight combined with a firm and dull ride.
After resting on its laurels for too long, it was time for Mizuno to react and offer a high-performance shoe worthy of challenging its valiant competitors, such as the Brooks Glycerin.
So, are the improvements made to version 5 likely to revive the magic of the Wave Sky 3?
That’s what we’re going to discuss in detail here.
The new midsole is the real revolution of this 5th version of the Wave Sky from Mizuno. The brand’s engineers had the genius idea (in all relativity!) to take the same components of the stack but reverse the order of the layers.
The U4icX foam (the firmer gray layer) now acts as a top layer, just under the foot, while the Enerzy foam (the medium-firm part) is now the bottom layer and merges with the outsole. The middle layer (Enerzy Core foam) remains in the middle, providing a soft underfoot feel.
Despite the name, the signature Wave plate of the earlier versions is gone. Instead, Mizuno replaced it with foam Wave, which is the name given to the midsole concept outlined above.
According to the testers, the change had a tremendous and immediate impact:
- a soft and dense cushioning in the midsole
- a better energy return especially during accelerations
- a surprising stability induced by this new geometry despite the high stack
- The higher stack is now 37 mm under the heel (29 mm at the forefoot) with a lower drop of 8 mm (against 10 mm for the Wave Sky 4). This is clearly a maximal cushioning shoe for a cushioned feel under the foot. According to testers, the result is a more refined sole that is just as effective in terms of shock absorption, landing and rebound.
Runners greatly welcomed the change to the midsole in the Wave Sky 5, which effectively corrected the mishaps of the previous version (especially the harsh feel).
Foot lockdown (upper)
One of the cons noted by runners about the Mizuno Wave Sky 4’s upper is the very tight and heavy fabric.
The new Wave Sky 5 plush upper uses Smooth Stretch technology, a new, lighter woven material. As the name implies, the material is stretchy, but runners haven’t found it detrimental to the foot’s fit. On the contrary, the dense weave provides an effective lockdown and perfect security while running. The heel counter is also padded for a more comfortable foothold.
According to testers, the toe box is comfortable without being overly generous (at least less than previous models). The overall fit remains quite slim and is, therefore, more suitable for relatively narrow feet.
The tongue’s engineering is on point, preventing minor inconveniences like falling to one side or needing to readjust the laces during your precious workout.
Despite shaving a bit of weight compared to the Wave Sky 4, version 5 is still objectively heavy with 311 g/10 oz for the men’s model and 275 g/9.7 oz for women, though reviewers didn’t feel it hindered the ride.
Lastly, despite the new upper, runners remain skeptical about the Wave Sky’s breathability, especially in the forefoot area. Indeed, the engineered woven mesh doesn’t absorb much moisture, especially in the rain or when sweating heavily due to heat, which means it all stays inside the shoe—welcome to the sauna!
Grip and durability
The outsole of the Mizuno Wave Sky 5 still uses the famous carbon rubber of the brand: X10. It’s one of the reasons runners keep coming back to Mizuno over the years: it’s solid as a rock (Arrested Development reference intended). It gives the Wave Sky outstanding durability without limiting the flexibility of the platform.
The outsole comes with a revised and refined rubber configuration. The following improvements have caught the attention of testers:
- A nice tread design so characteristic of Mizuno now adorns the entire front of the foot. It’s not its look that appealed to runners but rather its lighter touch (although there’s still a way to go)
- The flex grooves between the rubber are wider. No need to use tweezers to remove small stones embedded in the grooves!
- The sole is more zoned with less rubber
The result of these improvements is more flexibility without altering the stability or durability.
Some areas of the outsole expose the Mizuno Enerzy foam in the lower layer of the midsole, which makes for smoother landings.
In short, the outsole of the Mizuno Wave Sky 5 lives up to the improvements testers were expecting, with one question mark for some, though. Will it be as brazenly durable as the previous model? And at the same time, is it worth having an outsole that is more durable than the midsole if the midsole gets damaged faster? Let’s see how the shoes fare in the coming months!
Generally speaking, runners were pleasantly surprised by this Wave Sky 5 (maybe because they didn’t expect much after version 4?). The new midsole and outsole improvements are noticeable, even for runners who are new to the Japanese brand.
Thus, the shoe offers more bounce and softness with the use of Enerzy foam in the outsole. The responsiveness is sublimated during accelerations with this new conception, even though Mizuno shoes are not traditionally known for their bounce.
Testers appreciated the incredibly smooth and stable ride of this shoe, as well as the remarkable flexibility resulting from the wave-like design in the forefoot.
These qualities make the Wave Sky 5 ideal for moderate pace runs, recovery runs, or long runs on easy days. It’s not the best option for speed work, but this version does much better than the previous ones in this area.
Finally, for runners with sensitive ears, the shoe is now (almost) silent: you won’t have to put up with a clapping sound as your feet hit the pavement. Well done, Mizuno!
The Mizuno Wave Sky 5 is a beautifully crafted road running neutral shoe whose maximal cushioning and good stability make it the ideal companion for your daily long runs. Its well-balanced, fluid, and flexible ride is a return to the widely claimed version 3.
Suitable for almost all paces, it’s a pretty good option for beginner runners wishing to run their first marathon or for more experienced runners looking to run smoothly at a moderate speed. It’s a serious contender for those disappointed with the Adidas Ultraboost, for example.
Some runners may regret the high price tag ($170), but the quality of the high-end materials makes it worthwhile.
|Heel-to-toe drop||8 mm|
|Heel stack height||37 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||29 mm|
|Weight (men)||311 g/11 oz|
|Weight (women)||275 g/9.7 oz|
|Midsole||Mizuno Enerzy, U4icX|
|Upper||Smooth Stretch woven mesh|
|Softness (1-5)||4 – Soft|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10 km, half marathon, marathon|
Mizuno Wave Rider 25
See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The shoe fits correctly. The toe box is moderately spacious: neither small nor large.
It’s certainly not a competition shoe (forget about that new PB), but it certainly does offer comfortable and stable cushioning for this type of long-distance.