Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 - Women's Review
Cons: Narrow, heavy, expensive
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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