Verdict from 8 experts and +100 user reviews

4 reasons to buy

  • Many runners valued the lightweight and flexible construction of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5.
  • The U4ic technology in the midsole is resilient and offers a smooth ride.
  • The G3 SOLE technology promotes great ground feel and superior traction.
  • Some took note of the comfortable construction of the Universe 5.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners mentioned that the Wave Universe 5 looks ugly compared to the previous version.
  • According to some reviews, the shoe becomes too tight when worn with socks.
  • Others felt that the shoe lacks the necessary cushioning and support because of its light construction.
  • The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is expensive.

Bottom line

The Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is a lightweight running shoe that offers minimal arch support, flexibility and smooth transition with every step. This shoe will not disappoint runners who are looking for a durable, fast and superior ride. With the technology used, this shoe is really a great racing partner.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • Mizuno drastically changes the Wave Universe 5 that from a racing flat it can now be seriously considered as an excellent barefoot-style shoe. The stack height speaks for itself as the 13mm heel and 11mm forefoot are substantially lesser than the previous 18mm and 13mm measurements before. By having this new height and by lowering the drop even more, serious minimalists will find a really fast shoe with just enough protection in the sole and just a little cushioning than barefoot running.
  • The upper is even more flexible and really feels more like a sock with rubber as the buffer between the ground and the foot. It hugs the foot really well with a little padding provided by the insole for some cushioning and enhanced fit.
  • Mizuno introduces for the first time in this line the U4ic midsole. To compensate for the skeletal structure of the sole, this midsole foam makes the ride a bit softer and acts as a second level of protection after the rubber in the outsole.
  • Past concerns about water getting into the shoe due to the drain holes are effectively addressed as Mizuno completely removed those drainage holes.
  • With huge changes in the 5th version of the Mizuno Universe, the result is a shoe that is even lighter than ever. It is incredibly less than 3 ounces, which is a substantial drop in weight from any of the past models. The new weight, fit, and responsiveness will clearly tempt runners to blaze the road in this shoe.
  • Finally, and for the first time ever, the Mizuno Wave Universe is available in women’s sizes. For the past four iterations, the women runners have to contend with something that is not tailor-made for them. With gender-specific fit, the female part of the running world should be able to enjoy more the venerable Wave Universe line.

The fit in the Universe 5 is different than that of the former model. It has slightly more room in the forefoot and half a size larger than standard length. The sufficient space in the heel and snug midfoot that lead to a spacious forefoot accommodate practically almost all kinds of foot shapes and measurements. As long as the runner gets the right size, the fit should be very comfortable. Available widths are D and B while sizes are from 6 to 15 for the men’s and 4 to 11 for the women’s.

Mizuno uses its proprietary G3 outsole or the configuration of dots in the forefoot for added traction. The nubs on the outsole are fairly regular, which gives the shoe more than enough bite on the road, gravel, or light trail. Mizuno cuts a concave near the midfoot for a little flexibility upon impact. It is a feature that makes the run a bit softer to protect the foot and the legs from the almost there outsole and midsole.

The technology that anchors almost all Mizuno shoes-the Wave technology-is located in the midsole. This flexible, thermoplastic material lends cushioning and shock-absorbing features. Additionally, it is patterned after the waves in nature that returns back some of the energy for a more dynamic run. Working hand in hand with the Wave, where cushioning is concerned, is the U4ic midsole foam. It is a very resilient and responsive foam that is lighter than most of the foams in Mizuno’s fold. Indicated in the midsole of the shoe is the SmoothRide technology or the series of grooves in the midsole that enable shoe flexibility and smooth transitions.

The upper is superbly breathable and flexible courtesy of the AirMesh. A sockliner adds step-in comfort and fit. This is an upper that is barely there and lends little or no support to the arches for a truly minimalist style of running.


How Mizuno Wave Universe 5 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 33% road running shoes
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Top 32% Mizuno running shoes
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Top 50% minimalist running shoes
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The current trend of Mizuno Wave Universe 5.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.