Sunday, May 05, 2024

Mizuno Neo Vista Multi Tester Review: a Bold & Practical Super Trainer- 5 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum, Peter Stuart, Ryan Eiler, and Michael Ellenberger

Mizuno Neo Vista ($180)


The Neo Vista is Mizuno’s entry into the “super road trainer” category. What are super road trainers? I generally consider them to be shoes whose heel height is higher than the World Athletics standard of a maximum 40 mm for elite level racing and in the Vista we are 44.5 mm and all 4 of us testing think it is a delightful shoe setting a new high bar in its category.


Designers of such shoes have a tricky task. The higher the stack the less stable and stiffer a shoe can become. Thus, most but not all, such giants incorporate a plate and/or broaden the underfoot platform. Broaden the platform and you get more weight and less agility and flexibitity so many incorporate the new lighter more resilient super critical foams as midsoles and use a plate to provide a propulsive rocker and to stabilize the foam. 

The Neo Vista incorporates a lower soft layer of Mizuno’s Enerzy NXT supercritical foam with above that a full length and somewhat flexible fiberglass plate and then above that is more conventional light Enerzy EVA blend foam. 

Part of the design magic here is that the center of the shoe is deeply “canyoned”with a closed loop of foam and outsole all around  to reduce weight, decouple the platform in motion and by compressing give some deflection at landings.  

The result is a shoe that sits on a very broad 90 mm heel / 85 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot platform yet weighs just 8.96 oz / 255g  in my US8.5 sample. Its closest competitor, as I see it, is the New Balance SC Trainer v2, also $180  which is about 0.25 oz / 7.1 g heavier with a 4mm lower heel.

The upper is a quite compressive engineered stretch knit. Wait a knit upper? I thought we were done with them due to their sloppy hold, thickness and weight. Here the knit is thinner and along with the upper design leads to a secure smooth performance fit heel to toe and this without even including or needing a conventional heel counter.

After their radical Wave Rebellion Pro and overly stiff and firm Flash, Mizuno places the Neo Vista right between the other two with lessons learned from the heavier lower stack Neo Ultra with its sights set on leading the super trainer class with a combination of “semi” radical design and, as I found so far ,practical versatility and any pace or distance reliability and performance 


Versatile: wide range of training paces and distances, also a racer: Sam

1st true “daily trainer” super trainer (>40mm heel) Sam/Michael

Midsole is a delightful combo of comfort and propulsion - Ryan/Peter/Michael/Sam

Fiberglass plate is clearly propulsive, has some flex and in no way harsh (unlike Flash) - Sam/Ryan/Peter/Michael

Foam combination of softer supercritical below plate and EVA above blends together seamlessly - Sam/Ryan/Peter/Michael

Notably stable for just a big stack without overdoing the stability - Sam/Ryan/Peter/Michael

A flawless stretch knit upper: hold & comfort. Never thought I would see one! Peter/Sam


Weight: very tough to reduce given broad platform, high stack and reasonable price point but wish it was lighter Peter/Sam

Forefoot containment - Ryan

Slow transition keeps it firmly in the ‘trainer’ category - Ryan/Michael

Most comparable shoes
Adidas Prime X Strung 2 (RTR Review)

New Balance SC Trainer v1 & v2 (RTR Review) 

Hoka Skyward X (RTR Review)


Approx. Weight: men's 9.2 oz / 261g US9

  Sample Weight: men’s  8.96 oz / 255g US 8.5 

Stack Height: men’s  44.5mm heel /  36.5mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 85 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot 

$180 Available June 1

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The Neo Vista looks big, sleek and modern.  All things it actually is under the hood! 

Starting with the upper, I have rarely found stretch knit uppers to be effective in performance running shoes. They tend to be thick, hot and difficult to secure the midfoot and rear without plastic cages and such.

This remarkable one piece knit upper here has a totally secure hold with no overlays or cages whatsoever and without even a heel counter or any rear padding. 

The high collars at the rear in combination with a thin non-stretch side gray underlays (that it seems is also intended to grip the heel while also reducing friction) had me very well held. 

Totally effective and comfortable.

The midfoot is equally secure without any added gimmicks. The upper is literally a sock as even the tongue area is the exact same material without seams as the rest of the upper. 

A cord is woven over to create a touch of structure and of course hold the laces. Elegant and simple.

The toe box is moderately wide and of course stretch knit as with the rest of the upper with enough stretch to accommodate moderately wide feet. My feet are narrow to medium and the hold is perfect with a small touch of felt and appreciated vertical and bunion area stretch room, a bit of a toe bumper and impeccable hold. Even at faster paces things never got sloppy and loose as knit uppers can get. The fit is true to size in length, width and overhead toe volume.   

Peter: Jumping in here. Sam took care of the details up above. I have to say that I was skeptical when I saw these come out of the box. I had no idea what they were and feared a stiff, heavy and loose fitting mess. I was very pleasantly surprised by the weight–not too heavy, the fit–surprisingly good hold and no hot spots on the high ankle collar, and most importantly on the run–really fun. 

The “super-trainer” category seems pretty tricky. I think it’s easy to put out overly heavy shoes or shoes that have a ton of cushion but not at all fun to run in. Threading the needle to come up with a highly cushioned daily trainer that you can also push the pace in is tough. First impressions suggest that Mizuno have done just that!

Ryan: You’d be forgiven if your immediate reaction was to judge this one as a fun but ineffective marketing project from Mizuno. But from its hi-top-ish looks and its towering, cavernous midsole, the Neo Vista delivers a lot of practical innovation. 

The knit upper really does feel like sliding on a thick sock — so pleasant, and super hospitable to all of the foot’s bulges and curves. 

Lace-up is a breeze, and despite the tongue being essentially the same material as the surrounding upper, there wasn’t any noticeable lace bite. Although there was a tiny bit of bunching as I dialed in the tension to my liking, as is often the case with this integrated tongue design.

The outer overlays do a bit of work when it comes to helping contain the lateral side of the foot. Without them, things may have gotten a little too squirrely. 

The knit runs a little on the warmer side as compared to a typical engineered mesh, but I still found it to have plenty of ventilation — and my feet run on the warm (ie, sweaty) side.

I do wish that there was a bit more of a bumper on the sides of the forefoot, as the knit let my foot creep a little further over the edge than I preferred when the road got a little off-camber or when I took a turn. It’s a minor quibble though, and it went fairly unnoticed for the majority of my testing. 

The upper’s mesh tries its hardest to stay out of the way and to remain as pleasant as possible — and that it does. All in all, there’s a homely feeling to this upper which I felt performed surprisingly well for training runs.

Michael: I’m a huge fan of the upper that Mizuno has concocted here. I couldn’t go quite as far as to call it “flawless,” but it’s really, really good. My biggest concerns, given the shaping, were irritation from the high heel collar and/or an awkward, overly-roomy fit. Neither presented an issue in practice; even with short socks, I had no problems with hot spots or irritation - and though the upper does take a little lacing work to find a sweet spot, it remained comfortable and snug all run.

Midsole & Platform

The stack height is 44.5mm heel /  36.5mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) with the platform width 90 mm heel / 85 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot.  So clearly we have a super max cushion shoe. The only super trainers that I know of that are higher stack at the heel are the Hoka Skyward X at 48.5mm and adidas Prime X Strung 2 at 50mm. Both are about 1.5 oz more heavier than the Neo with the Skyward sitting on a slightly wider platform with more forefoot cushion stack height and the Adizero on a considerably narrower (and less stable) rear and midfoot platform.

To give a sense of comparison, an “old school”  Nike Pegasus 40 has a mere 33 mm heel / 23 mm forefoot stack height, weighs about 0.2 oz more, and is on a far narrower platform, My have trainers evolved!

The midsole consists of a Enerzy NXT supercritical foam bottom softer layer with above the full length fiberglass Wave plate a slightly firmer Enerzy EVA blend.

The prominent central cavity reduces weight, provides very good stride transition decoupling and I think, on landings, splays out to further cushion yet with all well under control, and at all paces. 

This is unlike the more open at the heel all soft foam SC Trainer’s Energy Arc approach which can feel mushy and somewhat unstable at the heel, especially at slower paces.  The geometry and cushioning remind me most of the ASICS Glide Ride 3, close in heel height to the Mizuno but with the Glide having a more rigid heel for sure and stiff rocker based ride at the  front. 

The midsole feel here was always consistent, very well but not mushily cushioned, easy to turn over, stable and propulsive and at any pace from slower (10:30 min miles)  to faster (sub 8 min miles) in my initial testing. 

Big credit goes to not only the careful overall design but the moderately flexible and snappy fiberglass plate and to the lay up of slightly firmer foam underfoot to stabilize and mask the plate with softer more energetic supercritical foam below toward the road. The combination popped me off the heel, decisively but without shock at all paces and off the front by cushioning the plate from the ground just right and, as at the heel, providing a noticed friendly return and easy any pace roll through the flexible yet snappy plate. 

The platform is very stable (far more stable than say the Prime X or SC Trainer)  without overdoing it or making the shoe feel rigid or awkward although I do wish for a touch less midfoot stability/rigidity but only a touch. 

Mizuno calls the combination Smooth Speed Assist with a focus on relieving calf stress and I fully agree with the marketing slogan! Full on carbon race propulsion feel? No, but for most a midsole that is suitable for all forms of training, and for all but the slowest of paces.  And if carbon super shoes are too aggressive or the combination of soft foams with rigid plates especially at the heel, hard to run to the finish, the Neo Vista is certainly a great choice for racing even if a bit heavier than “super race shoes”.

Peter: Once again, Sam has all of the details covered, so I’ll jump in with some color commentary!  The cushioning is goldilocks just right and is comfortable and responsive at any pace. While some shoes with plates either feel overly stiff or harsh, the Neo Vista feels very flexible and the plate provides an excellent propulsion forward when you need it. The platform is extremely stable and, somewhat surprisingly given the huge stack, the Neo Vista doesn’t ever feel like “too much” shoe. 

Ryan: One of the nicest things about this “super-max” midsole stack is that on foot, it doesn’t feel as heavy as you’d think it would. It certainly performs like a 44+mm behemoth when it comes to cushioning impact and bouncing you along, but it doesn’t feel blocky. And there aren't any crazy personality traits or sloppiness to contend with here. I’d call the Neo Vista’s personality approachable and crowd-pleasing, as it feels pillowy at foot strike, but still manages to propel you back up and forward through its NXT foam layer and fiberglass plate. I agree with what Sam and Peter have noted above, which is that the plate is fairly subdued and shouldn’t be a reason to scare anyone off.

I think Sam makes an important and helpful distinction when comparing this one to the SC Trainer (or Elite) — a shoe with a heel that can feel a little too soft and decoupled, in my opinion. With shoes that split the heel into distinct segments, often it feels like those segments can splay and wobble, delivering a suboptimal feeling as you strike the ground. That isn’t the case for the Neo Vista, as I think creating the midsole in a continuous perimeter around the shoe prevents a lot of that sloppy behavior. Throughout the entire time you’re in touch with the ground, the feeling is predictable and reassuring.

Underfoot, there’s a distinct rockered feeling which mutes the rigidity of the plate and allows the foot to roll through the stride effortlessly. 

While the softer layer of foam allows you to pronate fairly freely, the firmer layer keeps things under control and prevents undue roll in the massive stack. The huge cavity running down the center of the midsole also focuses the landing forces around the perimeter of the foot, further adding to a sensation of stability. 

Contrast this to a shoe like Nike’s Invincible, whose monolithic slab of ZoomX feels comparatively like a pogo stick, bouncing you in a less predictable direction. In summary, the ride here is toward the soft end of the spectrum, smoothly but powerfully rolling you through your stride, but it doesn’t sacrifice smile-inducing bounciness despite its softness. 

This is the type of shoe that has me convinced I can add an extra 10/mi/wk to the training block without getting injured…

I will say that because of its depth of cushion and very rockered shape, the shoe’s transition is on the slower side. For that reason, I think it’s best to leave this one happily categorized as a ‘trainer’, and to pull out something with a bit more responsiveness if you want to go fast.

The Neo Vista somehow manages to deliver an admirable level of stability without being flat-out boring, like many other hi-stacked trainers. I’m increasingly becoming a fan of hybrid foam midsoles such as this, especially when they seem to deliver a “1+1=3 effect”, in that you get most of the benefits from each type of foam, without experiencing their drawbacks.

Michael: Just looking at the Neo Vista, my biggest concern with regards to platform was the stability - so much stack, with not that much width (and who knows how the foam will compress!). From step one, that concern was largely alleviated. The midsole is soft - actually, softer than I expected, given the other Mizuno Neo trainers - but it’s not sloppy, and whether it’s that firmer layer stabilizing, or the plate (or both), I did not have any concern with regards to wobbliness or unstable footing, even on right corners.

At quicker paces, I was also happy to feel some distinct feedback from the Neo Vista - it wasn’t the same ride as a “traditional “ (2016 and on) plated shoe, in that I didn’t feel a forward rock or a distinct propulsion - I personally could have been fooled into thinking this was a plateless (albeit stabilized somehow) trainer, just insofar as all of the energy seem to come from a midsole “pop” rather than a plate “roll,” if that makes sense. It’s nuanced, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. 


The outsole is “full” coverage, that is except for the giant cavity! 

Removing all the midsole foam and rubber that isn’t needed is genius.  Using the plate way above keeps things stable while the outer walls deflect a bit to increase cushioning but never so much to feel overly soft or unstable. 

The rubber appears to be a softer variety and is relatively thin and of a consistent thickness back to front. I will be watching carefully for wear especially at the front on the medial side as 12 miles I am already seeing some scuffing.  Mizuno is always careful about durability and I assume the rubber will hold up but will update after more runs.

Peter: The huge channel underneath the shoe helps keep weight down, but can pick up some larger rocks. I’d avoid any rocky runs. Outside of that the outsole grips well and is holding up extremely well at about 50 miles so far. 

Ryan: As I mentioned in the section above, fashioning the midsole as an effectively continuous path around the shoe’s perimeter seems to prevent a lot of unwanted behavior. This means that the outer doesn’t have the tendency, which we commonly see in shoes this tall, of splaying out in an uncontrolled manner and grinding against the road. 

This one feels super quiet and well behaved against the road, complementing the characteristics of its midsole and upper nicely.

Michael: I have now stomped down thousands of cicadas with the Neo Vista without issue. Across wet and dry (cicada-covered) ground, I am yet to notice a slip! You pay pick up some rocks, I agree, though they’d be large enough that you’d notice them pretty readily. No complaints.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Mizuno, known for being somewhat conservative strikes a powerfully effective middle road here between their super radical Rebellion Pro and their more mundane stalwarts such as the Wave Rider. Last year they hinted at more bold things to come with the highly sustainable (and pricey) Neo Ultra which also had a superb knit upper and great ride although it was a heavier shoe than here and considerably lower stack,

A thoroughly modern do it all super trainer, it is light, lively, very well cushioned and priced reasonably. I was very surprised how well it handled both easy paces and more uptempo ones, something I have not as of yet experienced with super high stacked trainers. Such trainers are either wildly fun (Prime X) but not practical day in day out, struggle at slower paces and in terms of stability with a combination of soft foam, a deep central cavity and rigid carbon (SC Trainer) or provide tons of cushion roll well but end up on the heavy side (Skyward X RTR Review). 

Here, balance is achieved with a friendly yet effective (and cost effective) combination of foams, a fiberglass plate with both snap and some flex, a central cavity that reduces weight and aids decoupling and strong stability for such a high stack shoe. I would add another surprise: a knit upper that works brilliantly for me. 

If you have not yet considered a super trainer, and maybe are worried about the practicality of such giant shoes for day in day out training, the Neo Vista is for sure worth considering, even I would say, as a single shoe rotation for all your runs and even races which is a first for me in its category.

Sam’s Score: 9.6 /10

Deductions for weight and a bit less rigid easier to transition midfoot platform although those seeking a touch of stability will be happy,


Road Scoring Rubric

Peter: The Mizuno Neo Vista is an excellent super trainer. I liked the Wave Rebellion Pro (though it wasn’t nearly as stable-it was fun  to race in). The Neo Vista keeps some of the fun of the Wave Rebellion and tames it down a bit for a great daily trainer with some pop. It’s been my go to shoe for the past couple of weeks. It’s really fun to run in and I’m not feeling beat up at all. The knit upper is surprisingly comfortable and holds well and the shoe is fun, fun, fun. Neck and neck with the NB SC Trainer for the most enjoyable daily “super” shoe. 

Score 9.5/10


Michael: Over more than 50 miles, I’ve come to absolutely love the Mizuno Neo Vista, which I see as an early candidate for Shoe of the Year. There’s a lot than can go wrong in a 44mm-stack super trainer (especially one with a totally knit, high-top upper!), and yet Mizuno has avoided misstep - and in fact, excelled! - and basically every juncture. Even the price - $180 - feels reasonable enough in this 2024 landscape. I would not have been surprised to see this shoe at $200 or even $220 (though I am certainly glad it’s priced where it is). Those wary of Mizuno, worry no longer - this is an exceptionally good shoe!

Michael’s Score: 9.8/10 


Ryan: This one takes the cake as the most friendly super trainer on the market, I’d say. The Neo Vista takes a delightfully mellow approach as it delivers a super soft, yet bouncy and stable ride via its mega midsole. Its upper is one of the better knits out there — although it’s still a knit. The rockered, dual-density foam makes for a trainer whose ride you’d be crazy not to love. 

I don’t feel the need to deduct points for its weight, as it feels lighter on foot than you’d expect, and because I view it as a trainer rather than a racer. I’ve been using this one every other day for the past two weeks, and the enjoyment of lacing them up for easy runs hasn’t diminished a bit. This is a great choice for folks who want to knock out high mileage on asphalt while simultaneously minimizing muscle soreness and enjoying a hospitable ride.

Score: 9.6 /10


Deductions for containment and breathability of the knit upper, as well as for its super soft platform reducing the shoe’s ability to turn over for uptempo running.

The Mizuno Neo Vista is available now

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Tester Profiles

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Michael is a patent attorney and graduate of Northwestern University Law School. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). Michael’s PRs include a 67:43 half-marathon (Chicago Half-Marathon) and a 2:21:19 marathon PR at the 2023 Grandma’s Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.

Ryan Eller A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.  Rya more recently has a PR of 2:14:23 from the 2024 Boston Marathon finishing 3d American and 15th overall, a  2:17:16 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, from the 2023 Philadelphia Marathon after two other 2:18 efforts in the last year.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is in his 60’s  with 2024 Sam’s 52th year of running roads and trails. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very, very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. 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! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Anonymous said...

Is the knit upper breathable or do you feel like it will trap heat during the warmer months?

Sam Winebaum said...

Still not super warm here but as noted it is thinner than the usual knit and has ventilation holes. It is really not much thicker or denser than many of this year's similar more closed engineered mesh uppers so it should be decent in heat.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have not run in the Flash 2, which is much softer (and superior, imo) to the original Flash. It’s quite an overhaul.

Stephen said...

I’ve put 50+ miles on the Flash 2 and find it one of the firmest shoes of the past few years, even when doing reps at 5:20-pace. I agree with other reviewers that it’s harsh—but I’m glad it’s working for you, at least.

Anonymous said...

Wow, not my experience at all! I actually find it works well for daily training paces as well as moderately fast stuff.

Anonymous said...

I love the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro V1 but the Flash V2 felt narrow (long) and bottom heavy.. Cheap imitation of the Rebellion Pro V1 in my opinion..

Don said...

How is the ride compared to wave rebellion pro 2? I love my wave rebellion pro 2, but it is easy to get rocks stuck underneath it. Is there a similar issue with the Neo Vista?