Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9

8.7
8.7 score
[Editors rating (8.7)] = Runnerclick score (8.7)/10

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Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9 Review Facts

Experienced minimalist runners agree on saying that the Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9 is a great shoe that provides just enough cushioning for you to feel protected but also to enhance your best barefoot running posture. These really lightweight minimalist shoes, although minimal in construction, offer powerful structure and solid cushioning. The toe box of the shoe is wider than other shoes allowing better mobility of the forefoot area and better strikes. These shoes are best for medium distances, such as 10ks. Wave Ekiden 9 has great traction on asphalt but also good grip while running on grass. The G3 outsole provides great traction and stability to the shoes. The Wave technology provides a very smooth heel to toe transitions. The shoes are not equipped with a lot of technology, but their components make them a favorite for minimalistic runs!

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Excellent breathability
  • Highly responsive
  • Solid traction
Cons
  • The same shoe for both male and female
  • Outdated Version
  • Only one color option
  • Not very affordable 
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

When it comes to minimal running, it's very important for shoes to have enough traction and just the right amount of cushioning while still providing a barefoot feeling. The G3 outsole does exactly that. It provides great traction on the asphalt making them really responsive. The lugs in the outsole are more like dots that are strategically placed to provide multi-directional grip and traction. The outsole features two sets of Flex Grooves, one in the forefoot area and one in the heel area. This allows extra flexibility and enhances a natural movement during each stride.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The U4ic midsole provides good cushioning. The front part of the shoe is more flexible than the heel area. The heel area provides extra stability. The midsole also has great impact distribution and good energy return, so you can have a better heel to toe transitions. The U4ic technology claims to be 30% lighter than regular midsoles. That is great news especially for a minimalist shoe. The Wave technology from Mizuno helps to absorb the energy from the landings and transform it into more explosive take offs. And, according to reviewers, it also allows for a high cadence over medium distances. The combination of the U4ci midsole and the G3 outsole provide protection, responsiveness, and support for the best minimalist ride.
Upper
Upper

Upper

With an Air Mesh upper, this shoe will provide excellent breathability even when running a half marathon under the sun. The heat seal seam is a layer that helps provide a snug fit while preventing the water to get into the mesh. The shoes are not waterproof, but they have water resistant properties. The Ekiden 9 comes with a Slip Last design, which is a layer in the upper that is attached to the midsole that wraps around your foot and allows for extra flexibility and adaptability. Each component in the upper work together to provide a secure fit while allowing your foot to move naturally.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9 are truly lightweight. With an average weight of 130 grams (4.6 oz.), the Ekiden 9 is made to make you run fast. If you want to improve your personal half marathon records, keep these shoes in mind.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Air Mesh upper allows for optimum airflow and will ensure moisture quickly evaporates, regardless if it's coming from the inside or the outside of the shoe. Keeping your feet cool and dry will not only help you avoid getting blisters, it also contributes to the overall temperature of your body. The body loses a lot of heat through the feet when running, so keeping your feet cool will keep you cool and always ready to take on the next mile.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Unlike pure barefoot running shoes, these provide some cushioning. The cushioning form U4ic midsole is really good for a minimalist shoe. The removable insole also provides a bit of extra cushioning to the shoe. As mentioned before, the heel area tends to be a bit less flexible than the forefoot area. The cushioning definitely helps if you are transitioning from regular shoes to minimalist ones. The Air Mesh upper not only brings amazing breathability to the shoes but also enhances a more natural movement to your feet. The upper moves with your feet in a more natural way. The wide toe box also helps to the natural movement of your feet.
Style
Style

Style

The look of the shoe is amazing. You can only find these shoes in one color. A white mesh gradually turns into a deep green from the front to the back of the shoe. A big black Mizuno logo in each of the sides makes them look sleek and fast. The overlays provide support and style to the shoe. These shoes are unisex, but no worries - the amazing look of the shoe will appeal to both men and women alike.
Durability
Durability

Durability

High-quality materials make the shoe durable yet very flexible and light. The rubber dot pattern from the outsole provides durable traction on the asphalt. The Flex Grooves on the forefoot and the heel also provide durability and flexibility to the outsole. Even though the U4ic claims to be 30% lighter than regular midsoles, it manages to prove to be long-lasting. The Air Mesh upper integrates different layers that make the shoes more flexible, more durable and lighter. This shoe is built to last.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Minimalist shoes bring minimal protection to your feet. However, it doesn't mean they are not going to provide any protection. The G3 outsole will make sure you don't get hurt by the terrain you are running over. The U4ic midsole absorbs the energy from the impact and transforms it into energy you can use for better take offs. The upper provides maximum breathability and will keep blisters and hot spots far away from your feet.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

This minimalist neutral running shoe has a G3 outsole that provides great traction over asphalt and grassy surfaces. The outsole is very responsive thanks to the dotted design and the tacky rubber compound. As minimalist shoes, the Ekiden 9 promotes a forefoot strike. They feel and perform differently than regular shoes. The upper moves with your foot movements and with a wide toe box, it provides a more natural strike. These shoes are really lightweight as well, enhancing the responsiveness of the shoe.
Support
Support

Support

The Wave technology from Mizuno is the one in charge of providing support to the shoe. It disperses the force of the impacts providing progressive support step by step. It also provides great energy return for a smooth gait transition. The sock-like feeling from the different layers of the upper provides extra support. The G3 outsole gets firmer in the heel area improving the fit and giving additional support to runners transitioning to minimalist shoes. These shoes have more cushioning than you would expect from a minimalist running shoe. They come with removable insoles that you can change for your orthopedic ones if you need to.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

These shoes perform their best on asphalt. They perform very well when running on grassy surfaces as well. The dotted pattern on the outsole gives them outstanding traction and grip on flat surfaces. The durable rubber compound will provide the best traction when running on the road. You can take them for offroad runs, but the performance overall will decrease. Reviewers have said they are not as good for full marathons and should be used for middle distance running instead.
Price
Price

Price

You can still find these shoes online for a decent price. As they are an older release, the price has decreased over time. However, the Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9 is a bit more expensive than other minimalistic running shoes. If you like the extra cushioning in your minimalist shoes, these will be a good investment.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The traction brought by the G3 outsole is great. The dotted pattern in the outsole makes them have exceptional grip and traction even when running on grass. The rubber compound has enough tackiness that can perform for longer times while running over abrasive surfaces. The Flex Grooves in the outsole enhance a more natural movement. These shoes will perform their best when running over asphalt, that's why they are great for half marathons.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Each of the components of these shoe provides optimized flexibility. The upper is really flexible and adapts to the movement of your feet, they provide a very great fit. The G3 outsole is highly flexible overall. It gets a bit less flexible towards the heel area but it achieves a great flexible and lightweight feeling overall. The U4ic midsole is very flexible while providing amazing shock absorption and cushioning. The Wave technology from Mizuno helps the shoe to provide a more smooth heel to toe transition. As well as the U4ic midsole, it provides flexible adaptability and solid support.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The combination of the different technologies makes the Wave Ekiden 9 very stable. The G3 outsole when combined with the U4ic midsole, provides some stability to this minimalist running shoes. They allow a more natural movement of your feet. The less flexible heel area provides extra stability to runners that are transitioning into minimalist and barefoot running. The reinforced heel area makes them more stable than other minimalist shoes. The great control provided by the G3 outsole and the amazing fit provided by the upper make a more stable shoe.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Wave Ekiden 9 has a 5 mm drop. The heel height is 15 mm while the forefoot height is 10 mm. They have the average drop for minimalist shoes. That makes them great for running half marathons.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

• U4ic midsole
• Mizuno Wave Technology
• G3 Outsole
• Air Mesh upper
• Heat Seal Seams
• Slip Last technology
Bottom line
Bottom line

Bottom line

These are great minimalist running shoes for running half marathons. They look amazing, they are very breathable, they are really flexible but still, they provide great protection and stability. The amazing traction of these shoes makes them great if you want to improve your speed. You can totally beat your personal records in these shoes. If you are just moving from regular shoes to minimalist shoes, these shoes will work well for you. The extra cushioning they provide makes them great for inexperienced runners and makes them very comfortable for experienced runners. Have in mind these shoes are dated but they provide a great performance overall.