The focus of interest in running shoes over the past few years has been firmly pointed towards the most innovative. Shoes that are making the headlines because they make bold claims about athlete-improving technology or companies that are making creative leaps in design.
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Marketing a shoe is all about the incredible benefits one has over another. The new Mizuno Wave Skyrise comes with the line: "For high mileage runners who want a floating feeling and incredibly cushioned underfoot while running". It's a shoe that's designed for long, comfortable runs. No mention of racing or speed and no claims about running efficiency.
We've been testing the Wave Skyrise out for the past month covering 80km of training runs and races from 5k to half marathon distance.
Price: ¬£119.99 | Weight: 300g/10oz (men) 240g/8.3oz (women) | Type: Road | Stability: Neutral/Cushioned | Heel to toe drop: 10mm | Alternatives: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6, New Balance Fresh Foam More
From an aesthetic perspective, the Wave Skyrise is a fairly conventional-looking running shoe that may appear slightly on the chunky side. There are no bold design aspects that make it stand out like so many other shoes released over recent months, aside from a nice selection of colorways, and for us, its shape and build are far from the most exciting you'll find.
The Wave Sykyrise is not a shoe that should be judged on vanity though as every aspect of the shoe is focused primarily on comfort. The sturdy upper incorporates a Dynomotion fit fabric that's designed to be both supportive and relaxed. The stretchy mesh material offers a high level of breathability whilst still being thick and durable, and there's a large soft padded tongue that offers a nice level of cushioning when tightened.
The midsole is made of something Mizuno calls XPOP PU Foam, a material that contains thousands of small beads to add cushioning on impact as well as responsiveness. That midsole also includes a ventilation system to keep air moving through the foot during a run.
Lastly, the outsole uses X-10 carbon rubber for grip across tricky terrain with additional coating across higher impact areas.
That cushioning produces a fairly chunky stack height, with the heel coming in at 31mm and forefoot at 21mm. That's a good amount of cushioning and enters the realms of more maximalist shoes like the HOKA Clifton or the Asics Metaride.
From the first wear, we found the Wave Skyrise to be an instantly comfortable shoe. The upper offers a cushioned fit around the foot that manages to feel relaxed and stable. We've happily worn it for mile after mile with no noticeable issues and we keep going back to it for training runs.
The fit is roomy but secures well when tightened and the outsole offers a nice level of grip on various road surfaces and conditions.
That said, there isn't anything particularly impressive about the shoe from a noticeable performance perspective. It allows for a comfortable and almost unnoticeable ride as you clock up the miles but it also doesn't feel like you're getting anything additional from it either. At high speed runs it feels comfortable but sluggish - it's definitely not a race shoe.
That is perhaps the greatest strength of the Wave Skyrise and the fact we've kept going back to them for long runs, despite no noticeable performance benefits is a testament to the primary focus of the shoe. Ultimately every aspect of it is designed like your favorite armchair: comfortable, reliable and lets you get on with what you're doing without thinking about it.
The Wave Skyrise is a shoe designed for comfort and assurance over long training miles. It's a comfortable, cushioned piece of kit that is neither incredibly impressive or in any way disappointing. If you're the kind of runner that ticks of a few miles every week to stay fit and wants a reliable shoe for that sole purpose, it's a nice option.
In our shoe collection, it exists purely as a slow, easy run trainer. At that, it does a great job, but at ¬£120 it may be a bit pricey, especially if you need a second pair for speed training or races.
For those looking for one all-round pair that'll do everything from high mileage slow runs to racing, something like the Hoka Clifton may be a better choice.