Mizuno Wave Horizon 6 ($170)
Bryan: This is my second Mizuno review in as many years, of which the previous was the Wave Rider 25, which I was a massive fan of. In contrast to the sleek and versatile Wave Rider, the Horizon 6 is a maximal shoe that has ample cushioning and stability without the use of traditional posting. Similar to its predecessor, the Horizon 6 features the full length of its Mizuno Enerzy foam below the foot, but now also features a core of red. Mizuno Enerzy Core, which Mizuno claims to be 293% softer and provides 56% more rebound than their U4ic EVA foam a white layer of which is above the outsole in the picture below.
Note, U4ic when vocalized is ‘euphoric’! Maybe euphoric isn’t an appropriate term, but I was certainly excited to put them to the test. Read on to find out more!
Sam: I have never been a fan of big pronation control shoe, those massively posted, railed, plastic bits supported titans. While some may need that kind of support, I think they are often “over prescribed” and for some lead to other issues as the human foot naturally pronates to a certain extent.
So in a way I was dreading the Horizon 6, one of the most massive such shoes or really any shoe I have ever tested. But things evolve and my recent test of the similar class Diadora Vigore was a pleasant surprise for its clear support that wasn’t brutal in feel or overly prescriptive. And the very light Saucony Guide 15 with its subtle plastic arc support element was another pleasant surprise. The market for “control” shoes is clearly evolving to friendlier more adaptive approaches.
I was intrigued when I saw the specs for the Horizon 6 with its all foams and very elaborate layering Wave construction. It appeared to be an approach more continuous and “flowing” in support and without posts, plastic pieces or rails which are more sharply medial “point” support oriented. Of course, as always with Mizuno I expected that comfort, quality of construction and materials would be top notch.
Surprising! Every run faster (relatively speaking), smoother, and more pleasant than weight and appearances would point to Sam/Mike P
Massively supportive and also adaptive with control not in the way for this neutral runner, a first in the category: Sam/Bryan
Ideal easy run, recovery run, long slow run option for any runner type Sam
Easy flow heel to midfoot transitions on the waves of foam, almost never the case with stability shoe for me: Sam
Smooth roll from lateral forefoot landings Mike P
Just soft enough rear cushion with no brick like feel medially or laterally: Sam/Mike P
Almost perfect true to size spacious (in a good way fit, upper security and comfort for the shoe type: Sam/Bryan/Mike P
Quality and expected long durability; Sam/Mike P
Heavy at 11.6 oz /330g in US9 but for sure runs well, well below weight: Sam/Bryan/Mike P
Front outsole is somewhat overdone, thick, firm and slappy. Some longitudinal flex grooves?: Sam/Bryan
A touch of bunion area pressure Sam
Longish break in period Bryan/Sam
Not the most inspiring ride Bryan
Heel can feel blocky for forefoot/midfoot strikers Mike P
Estimated weight: men’s oz 11.6 oz / 330g (US9)
Samples: men’s 11.2 oz / 317g (US8.5) 11.6 oz / 330g (US9) 11.9 oz / 336g (US10)
Stack Height: men’s 38mm heel / 30mm forefoot, 8 mm drop
Available June 1, $170
First Impressions and Fit
Bryan: Having last worn the highly rated Wave Rider 25, I had high, and almost unreasonably high expectations for the Horizon 6. Upon opening the box, I was pleasantly welcomed by an aesthetically designed shoe, with the eye-catching FoamWave (wavy separation of the two midsole foams) and a beautiful woven upper in foam-mist blue. For a second I forgot that Mizuno shoes run quite heavy, and was surprised at how brick-like they felt in hand, weighing in at 330g / 11.6 oz in my men’s US9. It’s the second heaviest pair of running shoes I have worn, being edged out by the Asics Kinsei Blast. Spoiler alert: The Horizon 6 runs far better and smoother than the Kinsei Blast. Fit wise, the Horizon 6 fits true to size. It is spacious in a great way, for everyday use, but instilled a sense of confidence lockdown wise. Off I go for a run!
Sam: Massive in appearance with every detail of the upper and midsole shouting maximal cushion and support, I was scared! Yet, Mizuno helpfully provided a highly detailed spec sheet highlighting that the central core was their super bouncy and soft Enerzy Core and that the Wave geometry, midsole layers, and even wrap up outsole were designed to not only provide adaptive support but were also biased to provide a softer lateral heel landing.
Every element of the visual design is functional with the Wave theme continuing to the upper with a more aggressive ribbing (colored yellow) on the medial than lateral side. A pretty and racy shoe not really, but one whose every visual and functional design element is purposeful and effective. Brilliant visual messaging if “serious”.
The fit was true to size, generous but highly secure highlighted by the very stout but not overwhelming heel counter. The stretch woven upper blends all over support as is assisted by 3D stitching which is more substantial on the medial side with a welded underlay also in the mix. The toe box is generous for my narrow to medium feet.
Mike P: Honestly I was a bit taken aback by the size of the shoe when I first took them out of the box. The felt heavy in hand (later confirmed on the scale) and there was just a massive array of thick rubber, both on the bottom as well as on the medial side of the heel. The upper material appeared quite dense, bolstered by heavy stitching elements which are in fact support elements. I was aware that it was a “stability”, or motion control shoe, which I don’t necessarily mind, but all of the elements just seemed a bit “heavy duty”. I thought it would not be my kind of shoe. Not to spoil the conclusion, but I ended up positively surprised in the end.
Bryan: Occam’s Razor – the simpler, the better. This seems to be what Mizuno has gone for when redesigning the upper of the Horizon 6, which features an adaptable stretch weave featuring a ribbed woven design to provide structure to the upper. This design is thoughtfully applied more densely on the medial side as compared to the lateral side. As an underlay to the upper, the shoe also features an extensive but tapering heel cup that extends out close to the top eyelet. Again, another thoughtful design implementation.
The top of the toe box features none of the ribbed, woven design and instead is constructed with the upper’s base stretchable material and large perforations. Flexible and ventilated, perfect! The tongue is non-gusseted, sufficiently padded and does the job without much movement on runs.
Lastly, the shoe’s laces and mesh lining are made from recycled PET. The upper is probably my favorite aspect of the shoe; simple in construction, detailed in its design and accommodating many foot types whilst offering great lockdown.
Mike P: Bryan describes the details of the various elements of the upper, very well. The main feature is how integrated stitching as well as directional weaving is used to provide both structure and security. I haven’t seen this design before, as the typical design is to use some type of over or underlays to provide structure. The Horizon uses more structured stitching on the medial side (below) than lateral side (above) to provide support and to serve as a bit of the overall stability control.
Also, the material above the toebox utilizes a directional weave – it stretches laterally for comfort, but does not stretch front to back (from the toe to the laces) to provide structure.
On the run this translates into a fit and feel that is both very plush (as the material itself is quite soft), but at the same time quite secure. It’s a very comfortable upper, but I never felt any lack of control on the run. Sam mentions in the ‘Pros’ section – almost perfect true to size and spacious. That’s an apt description, as I was initially worried that the toebox looked a bit pointy, and I only had just a bit more than ½ thumbs width up front. But I never felt bothered at all by either the pointiness or the length. There’s a “just right” mix of stretch to the upper, without any squeezing of the foot.
Lace and mesh lining are made from recycled PET
Bryan: I was initially concerned that the shoe would be bottom heavy at first, given the sheer bulk (and width) of the midsole, which is made out of three components, a top layer of Enerzy foam separated via Mizuno’s signature Foam Wave from the bottom layer of U4ic EVA. Note also that Enerzy is 17% softer with 15% more rebound than U4ic EVA.
Note that the usage of Foam Wave is asymmetrical, with fewer more angular ‘waves’ on the medial side (below) than lateral side (above), with walls of outsole rubber over the white U4ic EVA foam in the rear half to provide stability without the need for traditional posts.
When flipping the shoe outsole up, one will notice the cutout in the rearfoot showing off the star of the midsole construction, the Enerzy Core foam, which is 293% softer with 56% rebound than standard U4ic EVA.
The “core” of the midsole (visible as the red foam in the cutout) aptly uses Enerzy Core, which is 293% softer with 56% rebound than Mizuno U4ic EVA
It reminds me of walking around in a department store as a kid looking temptingly at plush toys that say “Press Me’! Upon pressing into the Enerzy Core foam, I could immediately see how special it is. It is immediately noticeable that it is uber soft and responsive.
On answering my opening concern of the section, the shoe instead feels very well balanced and lighter than expected. It is also extremely stable with a wider platform than in the Horizon 5 (+2mm in the forefoot and +3mm heel). What was surprising was the sheer amount of time it took to break into the shoe, given the immediate softness of Enerzy Core and the virtually zero break in time I experienced in the Enerzy foam in the Wave Rider 25. The Horizon 6 felt dull and almost slappy, given the wide platform, until around 20 miles/32km to finally wear in and show its true character – a smooth and easy ride. I think these issues are most likely caused by the outsole rubber placement and design more than the midsole itself..
Asymmetrical Foam Wave design, with fewer more angular ‘waves’ on the medial side, with walls of outsole rubber over the U4ic EVA foam in the rear half to provide stability, pronation prevention and support..
Mike P: It’s really quite incredible how soft that red “Enerzy Core” material feels to the touch. I almost can’t believe that it’s used in any meaningful proportion, but I’m not one to start cutting up new shoes to verify. It’s worth noting that in addition to the asymmetrical orientation of the foam on the sidewalls of the shoe – the orientation of the red core foam is also asymmetrical. The much softer red foam is oriented more on the lateral sides of the midsole, not centered under the foot. I don’t blame you if this seems very complicated, so I’ve included the spec diagram below.
Left : Horizon 6 Right: Sky Wave 5 / 6 actually neutral shoes
The bottom line is that it does work. As a forefoot/midfoot striker, I do notice a smoothness to my lateral midfoot landings that I wouldn’t expect for a shoe of such “magnitude”. If anything, the midsole design definitely blunts the effect of having so much thick outsole rubber, which normally would provide harsher landings. This is my first time running in a Mizuno shoe, so I’m not entirely up to speed on their full catalog – but I’d love to see how this midsole design would feel without the higher rubber walls on the medial side. But that’s no knock on this shoe, as it’s part of the stability design.
Sam: We often think of midsole constructions in terms of flat “layers” one on top of the other, medial posts or firmer foam, outer carriers foams with internal cores of other foam (Craft, and new Topo Specter), plates, or air units( Nike). Here we have essentially a multi dimensional construction of 3 different foams plus those rising medial outsole elements all in Wave geometries of differing angularity to serve different purposes. While seemingly, and actually, complex the system works brilliantly providing a soft yet stable lateral landing, pronation control if you need it but out of the way if you don’t and a notably smooth transition. There is plenty of cushion here that is never mushy soft or over firm.
Bryan: Continuing from the midsole section, I suspect my extended break in period is caused by the outsole rubber placement. First things first, and asides from this issue, the X10 rubber is durable and offers great traction, and Mizuno has done well to provide extensive coverage, which is apt for an everyday trainer and also serves to provide stability throughout the wide midsole platform.
Now back to the outsole placement, the forefoot appears to be well designed with flex grooves to promote flexibility on toe off. However, these flex grooves end prematurely as there are no flex grooves from the midfoot onwards towards the rear, bar the cutout that runs down the middle, presumably for some weight savings as well as to show off the Enerzy Core foam used. I suspect it is this reason that I experienced a long break in period.
Mike P: Bryan brings up a good point about how the flex grooves are situated. One thing I noticed about the shoe, as mentioned earlier, was a very smooth lateral landing and roll into the midfoot, But then it seems to transition into a bit of a harsher heel touchdown. I initially chalked that up to it being designed as a “motion control” shoe. That may well be part of it, but Bryan’s observation got me thinking that the outsole could also be contributing to that feel. It’s possible that it was an intentional part of the design to have less flex in the midfoot/heel area – in order to control foot motion (i.e. pronation). But I think having a few breaks or flex grooves in the outsole around the midfoot would really help the transition and smooth out the ride from front to rear (or rear to front for heel strikers). The platform is wide enough and there are enough other stability elements where I don’t think it would negatively affect the overall “stability” nature of the shoe.
Sam: A primary imperative of the Horizon 6 is all around durability and the outsole is copious and should provide many many miles of use. Unlike my colleagues, and as more of a heel striker I found the rear outsole fine and not in the way at all for transitioning from heel landings to midfoot. I did find, even after the required break in, and here there is some, that the front rubber is noisy and seems to dampen front response and agility.
This may be deliberate to ensure the forefoot is as stable as the rest of the shoe but I wish for a bit more pop and snap at toe off and more longitudinal decoupling to break up the wide front bars..
Bryan: Looking past the moderately unpleasant ride during the break in period, the ride is stable and smooth, and the Horizon 6 sure does run lighter than its actual hefty weight. In terms of its ‘running weight’, it feels similar to the Asics Glideride 2 that is 1.5oz / 43g lighter. The ride is not as soft as how the Enerzy Core feels when pressing into it, but the Enerzy Core foam definitely complements the Enerzy foam used in the upper half of the midsole. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the ride is soft, but it certainly is cushioned and protective. Combined with the brilliant upper, the ride is in simple terms, easy going. Fans of maximal shoes would likely enjoy the Horizon 6.
Mike P: The shock part of this shoe for me was how much I enjoyed the ride of the shoe right off the bat, as well as how “fast” they actually were for me. Don’t get me wrong, I did not even attempt any intervals or speed work in these. But as an easy/recovery day shoe, I found myself having a hard time keeping my pace down. I typically do my easy runs by RPE with occasional heart rate checks (I don’t show any pace fields on my watch for those runs). After my runs in the Horizon 6, I was surprised to see that I was hitting the faster end of my easy pace range, at very low RPE/HR levels. This was confirmed by high EF (Efficiency Factor) ratings in TrainingPeaks – not just for a single run, but over the course of several runs in the Horizon 6.
As I touched on briefly in the outsole section, I do think the shoe could use some improvement for me in the transition from forefoot landing to heel touch-down. I wouldn’t call it a harsh landing, but the motion control for me as a forefoot/midfoot striker is definitely felt. But I’d say the sensation is not as intrusive as some other motion control shoes – which can feel quite restrictive and even jarring. Overall, the ride is as smooth (and fast) as a nearly 12 oz motion control shoe can possibly be.
Sam: What an incredible ride, and from such a “big” shoe no less! I tend to heel strike at slower paces and do not prefer support/stability shoes that is for sure. I have tested many, reluctantly, if I must be honest. If blind folded and unaware of the construction and support purpose due to the smooth and quite soft and rebounding well supported landings for sure I might have guessed the Horizon was a heavy duty neutral trainer and certainly a smoother more friendly trainer than the Wave Sky.
They were a bit stiff and slappy (if very well cushioned) upfront for the first few runs in quite a contrast to the rear of the shoe. After about 15 miles, and I weigh about 164 lbs, the front became less noisy and smoother flowing but, in my only knock on the ride, I think the front rubber could be tuned down in firmness and better decoupled. This might be a small tradeoff in durability and front stability but in any case I think the Horizon 6 will be among the most durable shoes out there with leading mileage expected.
I have run the Horizon 6 for slower recovery type runs and some moderate pace daily training runs. As with Mike, during every run I was surprised that I was running faster and with less effort than expected or planned. The soft Enerzy Core, biased to the lateral side, is clearly felt with a sensation of the heel ever so subtly tilting laterally and thus “away” from the medial side thus keeping me away from needing or feeling the medial support of wrap up outsole, more angular wave geometry of the midsole, and at the lowest level the extra U4ic on that side.
Sounds complicated right? Well the result is remarkably smooth and effective with a distinct well modulate land and transition forward. Not only very stable and consistent but also surprisingly fast for such a big shoe at 11.6 oz /330g in US9.
Bottom line the weight is what it is but there are those days when we want to cruise smooth and stable from slow pace to moderate and with no speed agenda and also not have the sensation of dragging the shoe and legs along through each stride. None of that here at any pace expect fast, not the shoe’s purpose,
The Horizon 6 delivers for sure with a pleasant, smooth and surprisingly energetic ride feel that is all of a piece very stable with no “sharp edges” from landing through midfoot with the forefoot a bit more lumbering and noisy than I might prefer.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Bryan: It seems like Mizuno are doing a great job at innovating and improving their shoes model-on-model. I found the Horizon 6 to be a good shoe that does the job; it is a functional and stylish maximal daily trainer that offers an easy, stable ride. Perhaps the only recommendation ride wise is that I wish it was a little softer and bouncier a la New Balance’s Fuelcell or Asics’ FFBlast foams. I feel that Enerzy Core would be similar, but its true characteristics of being soft and bouncy did not shine through the midsole’s construction. In addition, whilst the shoe runs lighter than it weighs, the shoe nerd inside of me wishes it weighed under 300g / 10.58 oz! Overall, still a shoe that maximal fans should consider in their rotation.
Bryan’s Score 8.65/10
Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value (including durability): 8 (15%) Style: 9 (5%)
Mike P: It definitely helps to keep an open mind when reviewing shoes, especially from brands you have little to no experience with. My experience running with the Horizon 6 was definitely way different from what I expected. This shoe absolutely fits into the category of “runs lighter than its weight”. So don’t be scared off by that. As an easy/recovery day shoe, the weight is mostly irrelevant, and ride and feel should be paramount. I would say if you lean towards a very soft or ultra-cushion feel for your easier runs, this one may exactly fit the bill. I’d say there’s just enough softness to keep the ride smooth and efficient, without venturing into mushy and slow territory. Mizuno has also taken great care integrating stability elements into the overall shoe design rather than relying on a single stiffening element, post, or firmer section of foam. This results in a smoother stability feeling rather than the typical restrictive effect. I was pleasantly surprised by the Horizon 6, and will keep a closer eye on future Mizuno offererings.
Mike P’s Score: 8.9/10
Ride: 9 – Surprisingly pleasing, efficient, and “easy day fast” for me
Fit: 10 – Soft & plush upper, yet secure – everything you want in a trainer
Value: 7 – Should be very durable, but no getting around it – $170 is high for a non-super shoe
Style: 7 – Lots of waves, stitching, and rubber going on – has that chunky trainer look
Sam: Mizuno is not often front and center of the buzz but they really really have improved and stand tall in “bread and butter” trainers first with the superb Wave Rider 25 and now with the stability Horizon 6. The intricate geometry of multi dimensional layers of foam and rubber blends almost flawlessly to deliver a highly cushioned, smooth flowing ride that is adaptable to just about any runner type and not just those needing pronation control features. All of this complexity is for all intents invisible in feel with no sharp edges
The stretch woven upper does exactly what it is supposed to comfortably support and lockdown the foot and especially on the medial side with as with the ride a wide range of foot types accommodated. The outsole should last darn near forever with its front in my view needing some softening or more decoupling as in a minor negative it is in the way of all of the rest of the goodness.
I sometimes score a shoe “for what it is” even if it is not my type or preference. Heavy duty and heavy pronation control shoes are in no way my preference but here..the ride was surprisingly delightful and I keep reaching for the Horizon for easier runs even with many others in the test cue.
The rubber upfront could use some tuning and the medial 3D support stitching over the bunion area might be a touch softened/ reduced even if toe box volume and the upper stretch is more than fine. Yes the 11.6 oz weight, even if not noticed as much as expected, is up there and in another shoe would be a very significant negative but less so here because of the ride and purpose.
The pricing at $170 is sort of like the weight, up there for sure but in this case I expect tremendous durability overall and also given the friendly and for me somewhat versatile ride I think the Horizon 6 is a very solid value.
I would recommend the Horizon 6 as a fine option for beginners, for those seeking to increase their mileage significantly, for heavier runners, for sure for support/pronation control leaning runners, and for all runners of all types seeking a durable, fun to run, heavy duty trainer for easier miles.
Sam’s Score: 9.29 /10
Ride: 9.3 (50%) Fit: 9.3 (30%) Value (including durability): 9.3 (15%) Style: 9.1 (5%)
The consistently high scores across all categories say to me one carefully and well executed shoe
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
Mizuno Wave Rider 25 (RTR Review)
Bryan: The WR25 is more of a ‘traditional’ every day trainer with far more flex, narrower platform and a lower stack. I found the ride of the WR25 more suitable to my liking, and it is far more capable of going quicker. Aside from the 12mm drop (vs the 8mm in the Horizon 6), the WR25 is one of my favorite daily trainers, and would pick it for just about any run over the Horizon 6.
Sam: The Wave Rider 25 was one of the best all around daily trainers of 2021 for me. Lighter by almost 2 oz its 12mm drop was a bit much but for sure it got you forward and moving fast, easy, and stable regardless of pace. The Horizon 6 is yet more cushioned and in some ways smoother running and softer but its weight is felt in comparison to WR25. For Mizuno fans they could make a nice pairing of WR25 daily trainer and Horizon 6 recovery and slow and easy.
Mizuno Wave Sky 5 (RTR Review)
Sam: Very similar shoes in terms of stack height and drop the Sky is about 0.7 oz lighter and “more” neutral but is still inherently stable. It has the same foams: Enerzy Core, Enerzy, and U4ic but the U4ic is directly underfoot whereas in the Horizon Enerzy is in that location. I much prefer the Horizon lay up of foams and find Horizon smoother, softer and easier running although heavier.