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Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 - Women's Review

These classically shaped shoes have excellent support and a protective feel, but run small and narrow
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Price:  $160 List | $158.35 at Amazon
Pros:  Supportive, durable, comfortable
Cons:  Narrow, heavy, expensive
Manufacturer:   Mizuno
By Ally Meller ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2020
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 15
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 7
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Upper Comfort - 10% 7
  • Breathability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 hit the market this spring, and narrow-footed runners are in love. Runners who are looking for a classic style trainer with ample support and a snug fit will enjoy putting miles in these. They are quite comfortable, and their structure holds strong, but breathability and weight are not strong suits, making the Wave unfit for wider-footed runners (especially on hot days). Additionally, sizing is tricky. As is typical for most long-distance runners, we buy our shoes a half size up to prevent black toenails. For Mizuno-made kicks, though, we have to buy a full size up, and even then they run small, so keep that in mind if you're ordering online.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The new and improved Wave Horizon 4 do not boast many fancy features. They have a secure fit and a responsive, 10 mm drop with what they call "one of a kind cushioning." The inner portion is adequately cushioned but not immensely so. The structure is inflexible, which is great for runners looking for a secure fit.

Performance Comparison


The Wave Horizon with some waves on the horizon while out for a speedy and rocky run.
The Wave Horizon with some waves on the horizon while out for a speedy and rocky run.

Responsiveness


The Wave Horizon lands slightly above average on the responsiveness scale. They have fairly good energy return, but their inflexible nature makes each footfall feel a bit heavy. These kicks might not be your track day rock stars, but they can still keep you moving as the miles add up.

The Wave Horizon tends to feel like you're lugging ankle weights around.
The Wave Horizon tends to feel like you're lugging ankle weights around.

Landing Comfort


The landing comfort of the Wave Horizon is minimally soft. This is a very supportive shoe, so overpronators will likely enjoy the aggressive architectural structure. The outer sole is made of traditional rubber, and the midsole is XPOP foam, which is lighter and bouncier than rubber. The lugs are not very aggressive, so these shoes are best worn on road roads and do not make good crossover cross-country shoes. Overall, we enjoyed our runs in these kicks and consider them strong long-distance contenders, though we will likely opt for more underfoot cushion on distance training days.

While not a true crossover shoe  we used the Wave out on light and durable trails and they did great.
While not a true crossover shoe, we used the Wave out on light and durable trails and they did great.

Weight


Ooof! These puppies are heavy — among the heaviest in our review. Still, if your needs have you in search of a highly supportive shoe, the weight may be worth it. If just moderately supportive is your game, on the other hand, we recommend checking out something from Brooks instead or another traditional yet plush pair of running shoes.

All of this structure comes with a catch... These kicks are on the heavier side of the spectrum.
All of this structure comes with a catch... These kicks are on the heavier side of the spectrum.

Durability


We are happy to report that the Wave Horizon held up through our rigorous testing period. Their heavyweight materials come together in a burly design that helps to ease the pain of the high price tag. The lugs aren't especially deep, though, so we don't think they'd do very well as a light trail crossover unless it's only once in a while. On roads, however, these help up great.

These heavy lugs hold up through the pounding of thousands of footfalls in a running season.
These heavy lugs hold up through the pounding of thousands of footfalls in a running season.

Upper Comfort


The upper comfort of the Wave Horizon is high considering their tough exterior. The lace bed is flexible, and the laces don't cut into the upper foot. The tongue is perfectly cushioned, and while the shoe structure is narrower than we prefer, the engineered mesh accommodates sweaty and swollen feet.

The super plush collar and tongue keep upper comfort high.
The super plush collar and tongue keep upper comfort high.

Breathability


The engineered mesh at play in the Wave Horizon is tightly wound and doesn't allow for much breathability. We suspect that runners in cooler climates will enjoy the heat that these guys trap in. In our central California beach climate, though, we were left with hot, sweaty feet, even with fancy moisture-wicking race socks.

Foot saunas  need we say more?
Foot saunas, need we say more?

Value


The Wave Horizon costs a lot, to be frank. If the supportive structure is what you're after, then we say, sure, pony up the cash, they will surely last through months of pavement pounding. But if you're looking for a versatile, top-shelf sidekick, we'd rather you save some money and check out the more palatably priced Brooks running collection. We enjoyed having these shoes in our quiver for testing, but since most people don't have the luxury of buying multiple pairs of shoes, we think this is a pair to pass on unless you're totally sure it's right for you.

We are Switzerland here. We don't want to disuade you from buying your potential favorites  but we prefer a more versatile runner.
We are Switzerland here. We don't want to disuade you from buying your potential favorites, but we prefer a more versatile runner.

Conclusion


We don't hate 'em, but we don't love 'em either. The Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 offers unwavering structural support and a traditional aesthetic, but we aren't sure the pricing reflects its true abilities. To spend this much cash on a single pair, we'd prefer something a bit more versatile and less rigid. The lack of breathability and heavy-ish weight put a damper on long training runs. Anyone looking for a lightweight speedster should keep looking as these kicks won't do the trick. Those things aside, it's not all bad. Runners who want a stable distance shoe will find that the Wave Horizon 4 pulls through. They are only moderately responsive, so they won't be a go-to track shoe, but runners with histories of overuse injuries may find the supportive nature of these shoes to be just right. Overall, these narrow and strangely sized kicks aren't for us, but skinny-footed runners looking for a super supportive shoe will likely be psyched.


Ally Meller