What You Need To Know
- Weighs 10.7 oz. (303 g.) for a US M9 / 9.1 oz. (258 g.) for a US W8
- Take “Max Cushion” with a grain of salt
- This shoe is built to last, maybe even through the apocalypse
- Can we please, please, retire the Wave Plate?
- Available now for $170
HOLLIE: I’ve been a fan of the Mizuno Wave Sky for a few versions now. As someone who loves more cushion (and maybe needs it), the Wave Sky is one of the few options I can get away with and not hurt myself from Mizuno. What makes life difficult is that I wear a US W11 — in wide. Sometimes, even the wide for Mizuno isn’t wide enough. So would the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 be enough to cushion and be wide enough? That’s a lot of pressure to put on a shoe.
SAM: Mizuno has made some bold claims for its Wave Sky 6. “You will feel like you’re floating on air every time you run in the Mizuno Wave Sky 6.” I got this shoe while also reviewing the Wave Rebellion Pro, so my expectations were much higher than usual for Mizuno. Will this be another hit for Mizuno? Or will it end up stashed away in my closet, hiding from the light of day until I donate it at the next race expo I attend? Let’s find out.
JORDYNN: At first glance, the Mizuno Wave 6 is just a basic, bland-looking running shoe. Nothing very appealing about it, except maybe the price value (listed at $170) and the anatomical specs. Based on these two factors, you would think the Wave Sky 6 would be the best-performing, most comfortable shoe you’ve ever worn, but there’s only one way to find out.
KALEB: Mizuno has been dropping some funky footwear over the past couple of months. The Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind were the Japanese brand’s first forays into the world of sustainability, and as exciting as it’s been to see Mizuno start to innovate, they’ve still got to hold down the fort with the classics. The Wave Sky is Mizuno’s daily trainer on the max cushion side, and straight out of the company’s mouth, the sixth version targets runners “who truly treasure their runs as an important part of their lives.” So, is the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 a shoe worth treasuring, or is it trash? We’ll see.
HOLLIE: As mentioned, I’m no stranger to the Mizuno Wave Sky. The first time I tried the Mizuno Wave Sky was at a local running store group run in New Jersey. It was wide and had so much cushion! Honestly, it was love at first run. It was pouring rain, and my clumsy self didn’t slip and fall while out. The Mizuno rep said no one really liked the shoe, and since I had a “weird size,” I could keep them. It was like Christmas.
Since then, I’ve tried every version and liked almost all of them. This year, the black colorway looks sleek. I feel like Mizuno has finally decided to get into the modern days of good-looking shoes. Side note: does anyone remember some weird color combinations from around 2017? You could be a running pumpkin or wear shoes that resemble the fourth of July. Now, subtlety is in, and Mizuno is on the bandwagon. Bright color doesn’t bother me, but I prefer something that doesn’t bring too much attention to my amazon giant feet.
Back to the upper, as a woman with US W11 wide feet, I’m looking for a good fit. I’m not running in it if it doesn’t fit well and isn’t wide enough. Heck, I’m not even walking in it. My feet are divas. The wide is wide, and it fits like a dream. The stretch-woven material doesn’t create hot spots and breathes well in the Mojave Desert. I don’t have bunions, but I’m confident it wouldn’t make hot spots if I did. With the thin, breathable upper, I don’t have to worry about my feet cooking while out for a run.
As far as a cushion, it has a lot. Do I think it’s a max cushion shoe? I think it’s a max cushion shoe from Mizuno. Compared to the current offerings in the running industry, I think it’s more comparable to standard cushioning (more on that later).
Finally, I live in the Mojave Desert. About 90% of my daily runs are on the sand in the desert. Sometimes I run up sand dunes; sometimes, I slide down them. (I try to run down, but I usually fall). Clearly, I need a shoe with A LOT of traction. I can’t have something half-assed. The carbon rubber on the outsole of the Wave Sky 6 keeps me from sliding down dunes. There is a lot of traction on the shoe, and it would be one of the first shoes I’d pull in the pouring rain. But realistically, it’s sunny here 350 days out of the year, so I don’t usually have to worry. It is, however, a great option if you are running on loose sand or terrain.
SAM: Kaleb and Hollie have hit the nail on the head so far, and I will add what I can. Just like the two of them, I loved the stability of this shoe, the upper, and found the outsole very grippy.
The positives I want to cover are in the midsole build. I used the Wave Sky 6 good for early morning shakeout runs and slow short mileage. This shoe follows the Mizuno tradition of the Wave plate and provides a good balance of cushion and flex when the plate is paired with the Enerzy and Enerzy Core midsole. The Enerzy Core is some good stuff, and this shoe could use a lot more of it. It is placed on top of the Wave Plate and is soft and springy, as Kaleb mentions. This is very present in the heel landing, which I found to be the most comfortable part of the shoe. The Enerzy foam makes up the outer layer under the plate and is not as soft as the Enerzy Core but is more resilient and protects your foot from ground contact while providing a firmer toe-off to keep your stride moving. This dual-midsole tandem is very balanced, and if it was the only thing present in the shoe, I think I would have enjoyed running in it. Sadly, something hiding in between the midsole sandwich made my running experience not enjoyable. Read on to the cons for more on that.
Another positive to this shoe is that it is durable as all get out. After the apocalypse, the only two things left will be cockroaches and the Wave Sky 6. For $170, you get a shoe that will last you over 300 miles. With so many shoes these days lasting for about a week’s worth of runs, getting many miles out of the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 is a blessing.
JORDYNN: The Mizuno Wave Sky 6 runs true to size. It has a snug fit throughout the heel up to the toe box, which has the right width for my feet. There was just enough room to allow for toe movement without scrunching or feeling too compact. I appreciated the perfect-length laces that I only had to double knot once. Once I put the Wave Sky 6 on my feet, it had the perfect little spongy bounce and firm sole.
KALEB: The Wave Sky 6 is my first Mizuno shoe, and to be honest, expectations were low. The sleek-looking black-yellow-silver — or Black Tradewinds, whatever the heck that means — colorway made a decent first impression, so I was willing to give it a chance (also, that’s my job, so…).
During my first run, a 50-yard jog down the street, one term came to mind: two-by-four. The midsole felt clunky, loud, and steeper than the advertised 8mm drop. However, as I continued (despite myself) to run in it, I began to gain a better appreciation for the Wave Sky 6.
Starting from the top, the upper on this shoe is a dream by my standards. The stretch-woven material is thin, strong, light, breathable and provides that ever-desired effect of being unnoticed on the run. My cross country teammates know me for two things: bad jokes and re-tying my laces repeatedly (I wish I were kidding). First, too loose, then too tight, and then unequal lockdown between feet; it can take a lot of focus off the run. But between the standard flat laces and the excellent upper lockdown, one tie was all I needed, and that’ll always be an automatic 10/10 from me.
The midsole has pretty decent cushion. I mean, it’s not like the marshmallows we’ve been told to strap to our feet lately, and I might look at you sideways if you started calling it max cushion, but it does its job well, especially if you’re a heel-striker. The heel provides comfy touchdowns, and the foam springs back into shape to push you through the toe-off. It’s not quite a bouncy sensation, but it does give you a push forward. The foam thins pretty radically toward the toe to provide a more rockered feel, making for a much firmer sensation through the forefoot and giving the shoe its fair share of ground feel.
This whole system can be a little intrusive at first because it feels like the cushy heel is abandoning you to bottom out as you approach toe-off. I tend towards a firmer ride, so I learned to enjoy pushing off a firmer platform while still being protected by Mizuno’s wacky dual-density Enerzy cushioning system on the landings, so the firm forefoot could be a positive or a negative depending on your preferences.
The carbon rubber on the Mizuno Wave Sky 6’s outsole is superb. My third run in this shoe was a rainy 7 miles on slippery pavement, and the grip performed beautifully. The shoe as a whole—not just the rubber— did well with cornering. The firmer midfoot means you’re not wobbling on stilts when you change directions. Durability-wise, I foresee no problems for the Wave Sky.Shop Mizuno Wave Sky 6 – Men Shop Mizuno Wave Sky 6 – Women
HOLLIE: As I alluded to, the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 is a max cushion shoe from Mizuno but compared to other brand offerings, it’s not all that max. It’s more of a traditional amount of cushion. It’s not my first choice when my legs are tired from a workout or just feeling beat up.
It’s also hard to justify the $170 price tag when you don’t feel like you are getting as much cushion as Mizuno mentions. Maybe if I were a high school cross-country runner, I would feel like this is a lot of shoes, but as a 32-year-old woman, I do not.
SAM: Ok, before I start on my negatives, I want to make sure everyone (especially Mizuno representatives) makes their way over to the Wave Rebellion Pro so they can see a glowing review for a Mizuno product. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s not kid ourselves. The Wave Sky 6 is by no means a lightweight daily trainer. I did not feel like I was floating on air. Instead, I felt like I was running with bricks under my feet. I would attribute most of this to the Wave Plate in the middle of the midsole sandwich. What could have been a nice experience became a sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce.
While it has lost an ounce from the previous iteration, it’s still over 10.5 oz for a US M9, which is not what you want to see for an average to low-stack daily trainer. I believe that the Enerzy Core foam is great and needs to be more prominent in this shoe. I would love for Mizuno to abandon the traditional wave plate entirely, or if they cannot, seek out lighter-weight options like the one they used in Wave Rebellion Pro. If Mizuno stuck to lighter weight materials or abandoned the wave plate entirely, I think this would be a great shoe. Overall I found the ride firm, unexciting, and not comfortable to run in. The Wave Plate adds excessive stability that is natural to the shoe with its stack height and firmer bottom layer of foam. The heel has a nice cushion, but this feeling goes away as your foot goes through its natural motion.
I also need to say that I cannot condone spending $170 on this shoe and would say it borders on financially irresponsible. It will give you great bang for your buck by lasting a long time, there are much cheaper options that will be more comfortable and last just as long. Or spend $80 more and get the Wave Rebellion Pro if you are this committed to Mizuno (if you can’t tell, I am a massive fan of that shoe and want everyone to know that Mizuno has done something great with it).
JORDYNN: Since this is a running shoe, I test-drove the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 for one of my Sunday long runs. Boy, was I disappointed! About 80 or so meters into my run, I began to feel a slight discomfort along the outside of both feet from the bottom edge of my pinky toe to mid-foot. At first, I thought the irritation would go away after I broke in the shoes a bit, but it kept getting worse with every stride I took. The pain was so bad I couldn’t even concentrate on how the rest of the shoe performed. I’m not sure if the shoe was slightly too narrow in those areas of my feet or if there was a defect in my shoes.
KALEB: These days, everything’s primed and ready to go out of the box, no break-in required. That’s not the case for the Wave Sky 6. On my first run, the shoe felt outright clumsy. The heel transitioned not-so-smoothly into the midfoot, producing the dreaded Mizuno Slap, and the extreme thinning of the foam at the toe left the whole front half of the shoe feeling rather uninspired. As I said, for heel strikers, this may be a non-issue, but as a mid-foot striker, I felt like I was working against the shoe for the first few runs, which took the focus off the workout. While it got better as I learned how to run in them, the clumsiness has not entirely disappeared with time. The “tipping point” of the shoe, typically in the forefoot, feels more like it’s in the back of the shoe, making transitions awkward.
The shoe also has a big ol’ wing on the lateral side of the shoe, which could potentially help with certain stability needs. For me, it just really hurt the lateral side of my foot if I tied the shoe too tight. This could be a form thing, but it’s worth mentioning.
Also, for a shoe marketed as Mizuno’s highest stack, most plush shoe, the Wave Sky 6 is pretty firm. That’s not bad in and of itself, but it’s also not exactly what you may think you’re paying for… and for $170, you’re going to want what you’re paying for.Shop Mizuno Wave Sky 6 – Men Shop Mizuno Wave Sky 6 – Women
Mizuno Wave Sky 6 Conclusion
HOLLIE: I’m a big fan of the Mizuno Wave Sky. The fit is excellent, and the traction and not sliding down dunes are great, but I struggle with the price tag. To me, it feels like a $150 shoe. Mizuno has come a long way from its original (and freaking little) Wave Rider and Wave Inspire, but I think there’s still a ways to go with offerings for regular people who want a high-cushioned trainer. If you want something more cushioned than the Wave Rider and don’t mind the $170 tag, go with the Wave Sky 6.
SAM: While there are some promising lower-stack daily trainers on the market today, the Wave Sky 6 is not one of them, in my opinion. Mizuno has put out a hit with the Wave Rebellion Pro, and I would love for them to take some notes from that shoe and apply them to the daily training category. I feel bad disparaging this shoe so much while our other reviewers are a fan; it is just not my cup of tea when it comes to a daily trainer. I did not find it very comfortable, and the high weight had me wanting to choose other trainers over this on a daily basis. I know Mizuno can do better, and I am excited to see what else is in store for them after this shoe.
JORDYNN: Even though these shoes were designed with superior quality, promising comfort, and performance, I would not recommend the Mizuno Wave Sky 6. The first few steps were great, but the delivery during my run was weak. I have never owned a pair of Mizuno running shoes, and I believe this experience alone would deter me from trying a second time. There were a few pluses with the cushioning and the drop, but the product and engineering didn’t deliver for me this time. The Mizuno Wave Sky 6 came up a bit short in my book.
KALEB: I feel like you shouldn’t have to learn how to run with a specific shoe; it should just flow as a part of your foot. The Wave Sky 6 is advertised as a shoe that provides “Mizuno’s highest level of energy return and cushioning, giving the wearer a comfortable running experience that almost feels like floating,” and frankly, I didn’t feel that it entirely delivered. Don’t get me wrong, the shoe is a decent daily trainer, and I’ll likely pick it up now and then on my way out the door for future runs when I want something different. Mizuno has come a long way and, as far as I’m concerned, nailed it in the upper and outsole departments, but there’s still plenty of work to be done on the midsole before I’m dishing out 170 bucks for this shoe.
You can pick up the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 for $170 using the shop link below.Shop Mizuno Wave Sky 6 – Men Shop Mizuno Wave Sky 6 – Women
Sam is a Baltimore city school teacher and one of the fastest runners in the area. If he’s not running, he’s cooking or watching all three Matrix movies… in a row… again.