mizuno wave neo wind cover
RoadShoe Reviews

Mizuno Wave Neo Wind Review: The Future is Green

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.9 oz. (309 g.) for a US M9 / 9.1 oz. (257 g.) for a US W7.5
  • Green thumbs up for the castor oil construction
  • Bold for Mizuno to go with a white upper for sure
  • Are we sure this is a daily trainer?
  • Available now for $225

ADRIENNE: Innovation is king in the modern shoe game. And queen. And CEO. Basically, tech reigns supreme and is a good ruler for many brands and models. But what about Mizuno? Well, you could hear a mouse drop a pin in a church when it came to Mizuno’s modern tech. That is until the new Neo collection arrived at my door. I’ve run in many a Wave Rider over the years, but it didn’t mean that the shoes were exciting.

According to Mizuno, the Neo collection is built with the future in mind — performance, ride experience, and sustainability. You can put a bunch of cool shit in a shoe, but how do you keep that cool shit out of a landfill or the ocean? If I were on the marketing team at Mizuno, I would use that line, even if it cost me my job. That said, sustainability is quickly rising among the Japanese company’s priorities, so maybe I’d get to keep working a little longer.

How seriously? The Wave Neo Wind comes in white to deduce the dye byproduct that goes into the water system. Mizuno’s lively and fun Enerzy foam uses a castor oil-based product (with water-based paint), and the Polyester knit upper contains recycled materials and a castor-based sock liner. There’s a lot of castor going on, but I hope I got it all right. Anyhow, how does it run?

RENALDO: I don’t have much experience with the Mizuno brand outside of seeing it plastered on billboards at all sorts of athletic events growing up. Honestly, I don’t think I’d even seen a Mizuno shoe in person until 2019. At that point, only the serious runners I knew wore Mizuno — not us everyday folks. Now, a couple of years later, Mizuno is releasing its Neo collection with a serious stance toward a sustainable future.

All that is well and good for my bae, mother nature, but how does it pan out as an actual running shoe for those serious runners I just mentioned? After riding the Wave Neo Wind, Mizuno’s new daily trainer, I’m still not quite sure.

Let’s take a deep dive.

LINDSAY: We’re looking into the future with Mizuno’s Wave Neo Wind. It has a very attractive advertising model, but does the shoe back up that effort? I’m not so sure about it. Adrienne and Reno covered the basics, so let’s get on with the review.

mizuno wave neo wind side

The Good

ADRIENNE: I love the boldness of sustainable design. The shoe looks pretty clean and badass too. While not a maximal shoe by any means like its sibling, the Wave Neo Ultra, I would take this on a long run without reservations. Enerzy foam is also the real deal. I feel like this shoe is a good bridge from old-school Mizuno to the future (or should I say ‘Neo’) Mizuno.

I picked up some Wave Rider vibes but with a thicker midsole. The 12mm drop and Wave Plate (yeah, it’s still here) are standard for Mizuno, but the Enerzy Lite and G3 outsole add a nice touch. Functionally, the Wave Neo Wind is set up as a daily trainer with a small carbon footprint.

Underfoot, however, the ride felt fairly smooth, and unlike the Wave Rider, the 12mm heel didn’t seem to make its presence known all that often. Honestly, I had to double-check the heel-toe drop to write this up because I couldn’t tell. The shoe transitioned pretty well for me during the daily miles and would be an excellent fit for heel strikers. Its grip through the corners (minus the oversized upper) was also good. Mizuno’s rubber coverage is more than adequate, and this shoe should be a decent workhorse for the eco-conscious runner.

RENALDO: There’s already not much to the shoe, which keeps the eco-conscious trainer feeling light as a feather. Its monofilament knit upper fits like a sock and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Even the strong pull tab on the heel adds a satisfying slip-in feeling. Mizuno added a small, flexible ankle guard under the laces, a nice touch to minimize rubbing with different knots.

LINDSAY: The best thing about Mizuno’s Project Neo is its eye toward sustainability when it comes to design and production. The knit upper on the Wave Neo Wind is fresh and flexible. Even without any dye, the white knit is crisp. While my tiny feet don’t always fill shoes, this sock-like upper will hug the foot like a glove.

It’s a bouncy, lightweight daily trainer, I’ll give it that. The updated bio-based Enerzy foam offers soft underfoot cushioning while keeping the midsole flexible and responsive. It felt a lot like the Asics Gel Kayano to me. I didn’t have any problems with traction, either on paved surfaces or on the track. I would’ve loved to take it for longer runs because I think it has a place in the long-distance-run world, but it was absolutely not an option.

Shop Mizuno Wave Neo Wind – Men Shop Mizuno Wave Neo Wind – Women

mizuno wave neo wind sole

The Bad

ADRIENNE: I think I like the idea of the Wave Neo Wind more than I like the shoe itself. The upper felt thick and warm in the Texas heat, and it’s not compatible with sockless efforts. It’s more of a me problem than a design problem but be warned nonetheless. Also, at $225, going green will cost you way too much.

As for the ride, I’ll mention that my US W9 felt more like a 9.5 or a 10. I’m not sure if it’s a sizing or a simple error with the sample because my other Mizuno shoes have fit true to size. Naturally, the discrepancy left the shoe feeling sloppy, and I struggled to get a good lockdown.

RENALDO: Unfortunately, for what Mizuno is doing with this shoe and its collection, there just isn’t much here. And what IS here leaves much to be desired compared to the competition. The ride of the Wave Neo Wind is pretty unremarkable. It’s marketed to have the “highest propulsion” and “highest energy return” for the most eco-friendly shoe in Mizuno history, the shoe feels like a regular trainer.

The Enerzy Lite foam is there, along with a Wave Plate from the midfoot to heel, but there wasn’t anything to write home about when running in the shoe. On top of this, the undyed white upper gives the shoe an ‘unfinished’ look, as if you’re getting a prototype right out of the box. It’s a look, but it just looks super dull to me. Performance-wise, I was able to put down some decent paces in the shoe, but that’s a great segue to the next issue I have with the Wave:

Its price point.

This shoe costs $225.

That’s a two, a two, and a five for a shoe that looks like the default option for a create-a-character in a Tony Hawk Pro Skater game. I just can’t. Also, I’m guessing that Mizuno shoes must run a little big. I’m a US M12 in all shoes except running, where I prefer a snugger M11.5. I got these in a US M12, and there was so much more room where I least expected, making the sock-fit of the upper a little baggy. Worse, it gave the shoe room to rub, causing hotspots and even a few cuts — not great, Mizuno, not great.

LINDSAY: I wasn’t a fan of the one-piece upper. It was tough to get the shoe on, and once it was on, I struggled to get a good lockdown without bunching up the tongue area. The upper is also quite warm, considering how thin it seems to be. On the bright side, the shoe fit my foot true to size, but I think Adrienne is on to something when speculating that the general sizing might be a tad off.

Okay, cue the Joker because here. We. Go.

RIP to my heels. Ouch, like, seriously. I understand some shoes take a little breaking in, but I couldn’t wear this one again until the wounds healed. I was sporting mid-crew socks and band-aids for days to follow. It was BAD. Also, while I love the sustainability effort, the shoes look and feel recycled. I’m not confident in the durability, but, as I said, I couldn’t wear it multiple times in a row, so that’s still up for debate. Finally, that $225 MSRP is a no from me, dawg.

Shop Mizuno Wave Neo Wind – Men Shop Mizuno Wave Neo Wind – Women

mizuno wave neo wind upper

Mizuno Wave Neo Wind Conclusion

ADRIENNE: The Mizuno Wave Neo Wind isn’t a bad shoe, but it’s a debut with areas to clean up. Much like the Texas A&M Football team, it has excellent materials and big ideas, but it needs to tighten up the execution. While it didn’t stick the landing, sustainability-minded runners may want to look at what the Neo collection has coming down the pipeline.

RENALDO: My fellow reviewer Adrienne said it best “I think I like the idea of the Wave Neo Wind more than I liked the shoe.”

It’s a good concept from a brand that knows what it’s doing in the running shoe world to last this long with so much innovation and change happening in the shoe stratosphere. And to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if a die-hard Mizuno runner loved this shoe and got more out of it based on their experience with the brand. But when I think about this shoe and run in it, I think about other eco-friendly shoes that I’ve had a much more enjoyable experience with.

One such option is the Adidas Solar Glide 5, an absolute blast of a daily trainer with much more charm, character, bells, and whistles for a fraction of the cost. As a debut, I’d say skip this iteration and wait and see what Mizuno does after another pass at the drawing board for a more eco-friendly option for a daily trainer.

LINDSAY: Overall, not a shoe I will be adding to my rotation. I feel like the sustainability concept was more of the focus here than the shoe itself. Don’t get me wrong, I love the direction it’s going in, but it needs a little fine-tuning. Might I suggest starting with a softer, lower-cut heel? Maybe next time, Mizuno.

If you’re interested in an eco-friendly, lightweight daily trainer, this Japanese company has taken strides to reduce environmental impact, which is worth supporting.

You can pick up the Mizuno Wave Neo Wind for $225 by using the shop link below.

Shop Mizuno Wave Neo Wind – Men Shop Mizuno Wave Neo Wind – Women

2 Comments

Leave a Response