Mizuno Wave Universe 4 Initial Impressions

Published by Ronald on Friday, 15 Jul 2011 07:43 EDT

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 shoes

I got these a few days ago and, even though I was supposed to take a rest, I couldn’t resist doing a short thirty minute run in them just to see how they feel. I was curious about how they would perform because they were very light and pretty flexible compared to what I am used to. 

I like the way the shoe looks. They look much better than the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 and, being Dutch, the orange color fits me perfectly. The decorative flames make the shoe look fast as well and helps keep the upper mesh in shape when you take the shoe off.  

I am not completely sure, and someone will have to verify this for me, but the sole looks almost exactly the same as the Mizuno Wave Universe 3. The changes to this updated version of the shoe might be purely aesthetical, but they look much better in my opinion.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 shoes - sole


Normally I would take out the insole even if it’s glued in, but the Mizuno’s don’t have an insole. They just have a flat surface without any support whatsoever - just the way I like it. The uppers are made of a super fine mesh which is very comfortable and breathable.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 shoes - no insole

The only rigid and hard part of the shoe is the heel. I like very much because it feels very snug and supportive around the heel. I haven’t run in them without socks yet but all seams seem hidden properly as far as I could tell. I’ll try a run in them without socks soon because I know some people prefer running that way.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 shoes - rigid heel

I might have bought these shoes slightly too big so I really had to tie them properly for them to be snug around my foot. My toes don’t feel restricted at all, which is new and unusual for me.  While running this was evident in the ample amount of toe splay they allowed. I am still slowly transitioning to more minimal running and this shoe seems like the right way to go. I did buy the Invisible shoes/huaraches a while ago but I haven’t made them yet (I should really get on that soon).

The ground feel is awesome - you can really feel every stone and uneven portion of the road, especially with the forefoot. Of course the ground feel in the Huaraches or VIVOBAREFOOT is probably way better, but I was pretty surprised with the performance of this shoe. I didn’t really expect much ground feel at all and it ended up being much more than I expected. I am pleasantly surprised with this.

The sole is about 15mm high, which sounds like a lot, but it's a soft sole. You can squeeze it with your fingers and just having them on already makes it drop a few mm. It is very flexible as well. Not quite flexible enough to roll it up like the Merrell’s, but pretty darn close.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 shoes - flexible sole

First run

The first run was just a slow thirty minutes run on the road and sidewalks. It felt very light and almost like running barefoot in the sense that it feels like you have nothing on your feet. There is still a slight heel to toe drop of around 3 or 4 mm. The official description says its only 2 mm, but it’s slightly more based on how the shoes feel. I’ll see if I can find something to measure it properly.

One small thing I did notice is the tongue seems very flimsy and might not cover your foot properly if you don’t pay attention to it. I run in some sandy areas around here so I’ll need to watch that. The mesh is very good because it’s very breathable and keeps the sand out, which is not the case with all shoes.  After my first run my socks were still dry so the ventilation of the shoe is as it should be.


I need to run way more in these to get a proper feel for them, but they feel very minimal and comfortable. The toe-box seems very wide allowing for a full and complete toe splay.  The wide toe-box also means I really have to tie them snug so my foot won’t slide while running. Again, this might be because I bought them in a larger size than I needed.

My initial impressions of these shoes are they appear to be a perfect transition to minimal running and I am glad I bought these. If you are like me and just looking for a shoe where you can improve your gait and land on your forefoot without issue, then this seems like a pretty good candidate.

For everyone wondering why I am so surprised during this initial impressions article, just have a look at the video below and see how they promote their running technology. You would think they don’t know anything at all about minimal/barefoot running, but apparently they do. 

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