Monday, October 24, 2022

Mizuno Wave Sky 6 Review

Article by Jeff Beck

Mizuno Wave Sky 6 ($170)


Mizuno is clearly shifting gears, introducing the ultra premium and ultra sustainable Wave Neo Ultra and Wave Neo Wind making performance and eco-friendly both priorities - and they have continued that with the Wave Sky 6. On the surface the 6th model seems nearly identical to the 5 from a year ago as Mizuno’s most cushioned daily trainer. And while the changes from 5 to 6 are incredibly subtle, the sustainability of the shoe is impressive - using recycled materials in every part of the shoe. Doing that, while still maintaining a premium feel and cushy ride is just that much more impressive.


-Lots of big cushion without a hint of mushiness

-One of the best examples of “Mizuno soft” plush yet firm cushioning

-Minimal changes from last year’s shoe, with good refinement

-Toebox didn’t get bigger but the material got stretchier

-Virtually every element of the shoe has recycled materials


-Overall shoe weight coming from a dense midsole

-$170 price tag stings


Official Weight: men's 10.7 oz  / 303g (US9)  /  women's 9.1 oz / 258g (US8)

  Sample: men’s 11.35 oz  / 322 g (US10.5)

Stack Height: men’s & women’s 36 mm heel / 28 mm forefoot. Available now. $170

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

It seems like we’ve seen a number of shoes get a very minor update over the last few years, with minimal changes from model to model - and the Wave Sky 6 is a great example of that. I even broke out the calipers and confirmed the shape of the shoe didn’t change any from last year’s Wave Sky 5. That said, last year’s shoe was a great step in the right direction so I’m not complaining in the least - runners with experience with the 5 are unlikely to have a different feel about the 6.

The upper is the same style of “smooth stretch woven” material that’s named very appropriately. It’s a unique woven stretch material, virtually the same as last year’s shoe. The material is pretty thin for how plush it feels, and it’s got good breathability to boot. 

The big shift from last year is how much more stretch the upper has - and that’s a great thing for me. Last year I lamented that the toebox tapered pretty quickly along the lateral side, where I have toebox width complaints, which made an otherwise great shoe somewhat limited for me. While the shape didn’t change any, the material got noticeably more stretch; Mizuno claims 30% and I don’t doubt that at all. It doesn’t make it sloppy by any means; it’s a very svelte fit that holds the foot closely just stretching where your foot needs it. 

The upper does get a little thicker as toward the middle to the rear of the shoe. The internal heel counter is robust enough it could work on a trail shoe, but it also isn’t over the top - though likely plays a small part of the shoe’s weight. 

The gusseted tongue is decently cushioned and has a more traditional woven material. No major complaints, while also not being all that exceptional.

The biggest change for the year is kind of a behind-the-scenes thing because the shoe has nine (9!) different recycled materials within the upper. The woven upper, shoelace, eyelet reinforcement, tongue mesh, and lining are all made from recycled polyester made from plastic bottles, and there’s recycled TPU elements and even recycled leather on the heel. There was no mention of recycled materials in last year’s shoe, though the fit and finish is seemingly identical from the 5 to the 6, so well done Mizuno.

Fit is true-to-size for me with a thumb’s width in front of the big toe. The toebox taper is still there from last year, but no kidding, the stretch of the upper makes that a non-issue. Sure, Topo/Altra faithful are likely to be a bit disappointed, but those with mostly normal shaped feet shouldn’t have a problem. 


The Wave Sky 6 uses the same multi-midsole construction to make up the “Wave” unlike so many other Mizuno models that have a plastic framework running through it. The shoe uses Mizuno Enerzy as the main midsole which is 17% more softer and 15% more rebounding than Mizuno’s older U4ic EVA  and very soft Mizuno Enerzy Core which is 293% softer and 56% more rebounding than U4ic.. While I don’t have a detailed breakdown as Sam did last year-it appears to be  identical in composition as last year’s both from the look and dimensions, and well as in feel when worn at the same time. 

The two types of midsole materials combine to give a soft-yet-not plush feeling that Mizuno has been going with for years. Historically Mizuno shoes have been some level of firm, and this is no different, even though it’s got a near the limit stack height of 36mm in the heel. The heel is noticeably softer than the forefoot, which helps the ride quite a bit. The softer heel is still very dense and doesn’t allow much sink in at landing - it’s a unique feel for sure. While there is an 8mm drop from the heel to the forefoot, it can feel even lower than that because the forefoot is very amply cushioned until it gets to the toes. There’s a somewhat pronounced rocker geometry that makes the very front of the shoe much thinner, but more of that in the Ride section below.


Mizuno’s tried and true X10 rubber is still on the bottom of the Wave Sky 6, hammering home the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. X10 has been around for years, and has a nice balance of durability, traction, and flexibility. The outsole design is the same as the 5, with a segmented forefoot to allow for as much flex as possible. There is a bit of exposed midsole, but nearly all of it is recessed in the center of the heel and unlikely to be a point of early failure. There’s also some exposed red cloth portion of the upper midsole, but that doesn’t serve any purpose.


The Wave Sky 6 ride is very well cushioned and smooth. The rocker geometry is subtle but can definitely be felt at virtually all paces, and keeps the foot moving forward. It isn’t as pronounced as the ASICS Glideride or Saucony Endorphin Shift, but makes the shoe feel like it’s lighter than it is on the scale. I’m a midfoot striker but forced some heel landings, and had no complaints about heel sink-in. I think the density of the midsole both works for and against the ride - I think it plays a large part in how smooth the shoe rides, but also keeps it from being a very energetic ride.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mizuno took a great shoe from last year, made its upper both better fitting and more sustainable, and kept the fit and finish top notch. It is well cushioned and will work as a daily trainer or long run shoe, with a subtle but noticeable rocker that has a great ride. Long ago they cornered the market on firm plush, and the Wave Sky 6 is one of the best examples of it. The $170 price tag stings, but the construction is among, if not the best, around.

Score 9.15 /10

Ride: 9 Fit: 10 Value: 8 Style: 9


6 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Mizuno Wave Sky 5 (RTR Review)

Two incredibly similar shoes, the 6’s stretchier upper gives more room in the forefoot, which is a big upgrade for me. Otherwise it boasts recycled materials throughout the upper making it a more sustainable option - but performance wise they are virtually identical.

Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra (RTR Review)

A Mizuno that’s truly soft, the Neo Ultra is higher stacked, lighter, and yet more sustainable (70% by weight sustainable/bio based) than the Wave Sky. It also boasts a price tag $80 higher at $250, making it a tough pill to swallow. If budget doesn’t matter, the Ultra is a truly special shoe, but the Sky is a very good training option, if a little more pedestrian.

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24 (RTR Review)

ASICS best Nimbus in years, the 24 has a noticeably lower stack but is also softer than the Wave Sky. The Nimbus has a more pronounced bounce to it than the denser Mizuno, and a wider toebox to boot. The Wave Sky has more underfoot protection, while the Nimbus is more versatile.

Brooks Glycerin 20 (RTR Review)

Brooks made a big step forward putting their latest midsole material, DNA Loft v3, in their best cushioned trainer. Two very similar shoes on paper that feel incredibly different, the midsole density of the Mizuno is almost jarring versus light and bouncy Brooks. It does feel more premium than the Glycerin, and the extra dense midsole provides great underfoot protection. I’d give the edge to the Glycerin, but runners who prefer a firm ride will want to go with the Mizuno.

New Balance 1080v12 (RTR Review)

The New Balance platform is much wider than the Mizuno, and is substantially softer. There’s less underfoot protection in the 1080, a little more sink-in at landing, and a wider toebox than the Sky - even with the extra stretch. 

Saucony Triumph 20 (RTR Review)

The runaway favorite for my shoe of the year, the Triumph is lighter, softer, more cushioned, and bouncier with a wider toebox. The Sky has a more pronounced rocker and is more sustainable with recycled materials.

Wave Sky 6 is available now including at our partners in the US, Europe, and Australia below

Tester Profile

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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