Mizuno Wave Universe 4 Product Review

Short Take

An ultra-lightweight performance road racer with lasting comfort and impact protection, the Mizuno Wave Universe 4 delights with a fast feel that eggs you on.

Big Features

  • Ridiculously Low Weight: The comfortable upper and forgiving platform come together at a mere 3.9 ounces, keeping this shoe among the lightest running models available.
  • Stripped Upper: Minimal overlays create an unrestrictive and sock-like feel that can easily accommodate lower to higher volume feet without forfeiting a secure fit.
  • A Bit of Cushioning: While no match for a traditional trainer in the cushioning category, this shoe delivers impact protection and responsiveness that’s impressive for its weight class.

Road Test

The Wave Universe has long been a go-to shoe for runners looking for incredibly lightweight performance. Our testers of course loved the low weight, but also came away pretty impressed with the build quality and sturdy feel of the latest Universe.

The stripped-down upper provides a comfortable fit that is still generous enough to handle a wider or higher volume foot without utter claustrophobia. That’s welcome relief compared to some other road racers with a fit that runs snug. The heel cup in the Universe 4 is just a touch wide, but the heel collar ensured a secure fit for all testers, and the bit of extra room in the heel was not detrimental to the running experience.

The platform was found to provide a super-smooth transition and great flexibility, perfect for getting up on the toes and feeling fast. Though the low, 4 mm heel-to-toe drop is built for a mid-to-forefoot strike, heel striking over short distances is possible in the Universe 4.

Of course, the tradeoff for such low weight is that the Universe isn’t going to be as durable as your daily trainer. Mizuno gives a nod to durability with strategically placed rubber, mostly on the forefoot of the outsole, which we also found to provide a nice amount of grip.

The Universe 4 is worth a look for racers and minimalists looking for a shoe that feels fleet and nimble.

Runners Say

Daniel

The Universe 4’s platform delivers a surprising amount of protection for its weight. I would use it for races up to a half marathon

Matt

This shoe is great for picking up the pace. The low heel-to-toe offset and excellent flexibility encourages you to get up on your toes.

Taro

I really enjoyed the minimal upper of the Universe. This is the kind of shoe I would want to run in sockless.