Road Trail Run: Mizuno Wave Mujin 9 Multi Tester Review: At home on virtually any trail

Article by Jeff and Allison Valliere, Renee Krusemark and Jeff Beck

Mizuno Wave Mujin 9 ($150)


Jeff V:  The Mujin 9 is a trail shoe from Mizuno designed to tackle harsh terrain comfortably.  It is a sturdy shoe with good durability and an outstanding Michelin outsole.  Due to its weight, it is best suited to hiking or slower running. It is the first Mizuno trail shoe available in the US in several years.


Outstanding outsole for harsh/winter conditions/traction: Renee/Jeff/Allison/Mike P/Jeff B

Comfort: Jeff/Allison

Protection: Jeff/Allison

Durability: Jeff/Allison/Jeff B

Stable at steady at slow speeds Mike P


Overall weight: Renee/Jeff/Mike P/Jeff B

Comfort/ride underfoot: Renee/Mike P/Jeff B

Heel design: Renee/Jeff/Allison/Mike P/Jeff B

Very harsh/stiff from the midfoot through to the heel Mike P/Jeff B


Estimated Weight: men’s 11.9 oz  / 337g (US9)  /  women’s 10.39oz / 295g (US8)

 Samples: men’s 13 oz  /367g (US10), 11.64 oz / 330g (US8.5), 13.26 oz / 376g (US 10.5)

                 women’s 10.39oz / 295g (US8), women’s 10.5oz / 299g (US9)

Stack Height: men’s mm 39mm heel (measured) / 31mm forefoot (8mm drop spec)

Combination inner 4mm+ lugs, outer 6mm lugs

$150. Available now including at our partner Fleet Feet HERE

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Renee: The Mizuno Wave Mujin 9 is a trail shoe meant for “comfort in harsh conditions.” My first impression was the outsole definitely has a “harsh condition” focus although the “comfort” aspect might be missing for me. With a skew of other trail shoes to review, the Mujin 9 wasn’t the shoe I reached for on a daily basis. My women’s size 8 weighs in at 10.39oz/295g, which is heavier than my GTX trail shoes. The outsole does give the shoe some benefits, so it’s not all bad-news-bears for the Mujin 9. If you need an outsole for harsh conditions, the Mujin 9 might be a contender.

The upper is a breathable mesh material that has some weather-resistant properties thanks to the placement of overlays. I ran in below -0 ℉ temps with wool socks and the toebox has breathability, although it works well in cold conditions with the right socks. The heel/ankle is supported with a TPU panel. For me, the heel hold was a bit stiff and it felt more like a hiker than a running shoe. I didn’t get the best fit within the foot opening because of the lace placement. The upper body lining textile is 90% recycled content.

Jeff V:  When I was first presented with the opportunity to test the Mujin 9, I was eager, as they look fast, well treaded and were listed as 8.1 oz in a men’s US 9.  When I pulled them out of the box however, I was stunned by the weight.  I had to double check that there was not more than tissue paper stuffed in the toe, double checked the name of the shoe and revisited the spec sheet.  I then put them on the scale to confirm I wasn’t having an off day in my assessment abilities and sure enough, they weigh 13 oz / 367 grams in my US men’s 10.  Once over that shock, I had to concede that they are actually quite comfortable and protective feeling, with good cushion and a secure, well held upper.

Fit is true to size and the heel and midfoot are well held for me.  The toe box is adequately roomy for longer days, yet well held.  Breathability feels to be average, not overly airy, but not hot either, admittedly hard to tell as I have been testing in January, but they are not allowing in a lot of cold air.  Lacing is comfortable and secure and I like that there is a generous lace garage that I can tuck the laces into on top of the tongue.

The upper is durably constructed and protective, perhaps even a bit overly so from the midfoot back as there is a lot going on.  As Renee mentions, the heel counter is very stiff and overbuilt.

Allison:  I too was surprised by the weight, but overall I like the look and quality build of the Mujin.  They feel quite comfortable and protective, well cushioned and have an aggressive outsole.  Fit is true to size in my US women’s 9 with good room in the toe, a secure midfoot and heel.  As mentioned, the heel is overbuilt and stiff, but has not caused me any trouble.  Lacing is secure and I too appreciate the lace garage.  Breathability is average.  While the upper is somewhat thick and protective, I did not require any break in period.  I mostly hike in them and find the upper to be adequately secure and comfortable for that purpose and have also had no trouble with foothold running.

Jeff B: The weight is the most striking thing when you first put on the shoe, and I was immediately reminded of the Xodus ISO 3 I reviewed in late 2018; just an absolute beast of a shoe that feels a bit over engineered for just about every terrain. As usual, Mizuno’s top notch fit and finish is on display here: my left and right shoe are 1g apart on the scale and the materials are as good as they get. Sizing is true, both in length and width. Their execution is seemingly never a miss, but the design of this one has some issues.

My colleagues describe the upper well. The toebox has nice room, without approaching sloppiness, and the upper materials are middle ground in most ways. Breathable but not too thin, comfortable but not plush. 

The overlays and toe bumper aren’t overly obtrusive, until you get to the heel, which is massively overbuilt. 

The tongue is nice, and the lace garage is better executed than most – you can actually tuck the knot inside the garage, which is a step up over most of them I’ve experienced.  


Renee: The upper gives me “hiker” vibes, but the midsole not so much. The full length “Mizuno Wave” foam is meant for “max cushion,” but it does not feel like a max cushion shoe even though its overall stack height checks in at 39mm heel / 31mm forefoot. The drop is 8mm, which encourages a fast take off from the forefoot. I found the midsole to be firm, but not harsh. I don’t think the cushion works well as a long run shoe for me, at least not when comfort is wanted. I had one great speed workout in the shoe on the snow and some ice, and my forefoot was sore near the end (7 miles total). That said, the responsiveness was felt, which is surprising for such a heavy shoe. I think, in part, the shoe works well for speed because of the outsole’s outstanding traction and grip on harsh terrain. 

Jeff V:  I found the midsole to be adequate to provide good cushioning and protection, but am not sure I would put it in the Max category despite its specs.  It is made up of an top layer of dark blue U4ICX pretty standard firm EVA with below softer Mizuno Enerzy foam

That said, while on the firm side, I found them to be plenty well cushioned for day to day training and long days on the trail at moderate to slower running paces, or hiking, offering good support.  Responsiveness is actually surprisingly good, but that is much stifled by the overall weight of the shoe.  13 oz is a lot to push for a running shoe in 2023.

Allison:  I find the Mujin to be very well cushioned for my use and preference and protective underfoot.  Because of the weight of the shoe, I prefer to hike in them, but they are reasonably responsive for hiking and slower paces.

Jeff B.: The midsole is what stands out in this shoe, it’s the big miss for me. Jeff and Renee both nailed it – despite its height it really doesn’t have max cushion performance. Maybe it’s a nod to Mizuno shoes of the past, incredibly firm was their calling card for years, which definitely has its place for some folks. Also, I’m right with Allison, it’s more of a hiker than a runner, between the weight and firm midsole.


Renee: If you notice a pattern here, the shoe isn’t my favorite but the outsole is a hero. The forefoot width is listed as 120mm, which helps with stability. 

The lug design is outstanding for what I ran through, which included a mix of icy/slushy gravel, mud, snow, packed snow, and some ice.

I ran a 7 mile workout with 2 miles of warm up followed by 1/5 mile fast, 1/5 slow x 6. I ran 1/4 mile “sprints” x 5 afterward and was able to reach a pace under a 5 minute/mile on packed snow (fast for me). I had a lot of confidence in the outsole’s traction to hold a fast cadence and long(ish) stride. Getting speed workouts in winter on snow isn’t easy, and for as much as the shoe is not my favorite, the outsole should be commended. 

Jeff V:  Renee sums the outsole well and I agree that it is the best part of the Mujin.  The lugs have an aggressive and effective design to provide bite into all soft to semi soft surfaces and the Michelin rubber compound is sticky, giving very good grip on rocky slab, in the wet and difficult conditions.  I have run snow, slush, mud, ice, dry trail, rocky slab, loose off trail and never felt a slip or waiver in confidence.

Allison:  Agreed, the Michelin rubber outsole is sticky and the lugs are well designed for very good grip.  I have hiked through a lot of varied conditions and the Mujin provides excellent grip all the way around.

Jeff B: Yup, I’m in the same camp. This outsole is something else, and incredibly grippy. The lug layout is aggressive and the Michelin rubber is also tacky, but also durable. It’s incredibly thick with a combination of 4mm and 6mm lugs plus the wrap up sides, and I have to imagine it plays a decent-sized part in making the shoe so stiff, and heavy. 

Other full slab rubber outsoles incorporate some open slits to allow for some flexibility – none exist here beyond a few small ones upfront.


Renee: The shoe is heavy and the midsole is firm, so the ride is not what I consider to be long-run comfort. For shorter runs through harsh terrain, the shoe works well because of the outsole. The ride is compromised for me because of the over-built heel and placement of the top lacing. The heel hold feels more like a hiking shoe to me. The forefoot strike can be fast, but at 10.39oz in a women’s size 8 the ride and weight don’t mesh well for me. 

Jeff V:  The ride is smooth and protective, stable, predictable, but the weight of the shoe really slows it down. The slower the better in this case.

Allison:  Smooth, stable, predictable and comfortable, but best suited to slower paces and hiking.

Jeff B: Jeff and Allison both used the word “predictable” and I think that’s the best description. The moment you put this shoe on, you know exactly how it’s going to ride. The protection is decent, but the cushioning is unlikely to blow you away.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Renee: The Wave Mujin 9 has a great outsole for winter and sloppy conditions. The weight and heel hold feel more like a hiking shoe to me, and the underfoot cushion doesn’t provide the comfort I’d need for long efforts at any pace. For shorter runs, the weight and heel hold are counter productive. At a lower drop, with a lower and more flexible heel hold, the Mujin 9 would work better for me. I don’t want to discount the shoe because of the great outsole, but the midsole and upper make the usage of the shoe less appealing than other trail running shoes.

Renee’s Score: 7.5/10 (- 1 heel design, -.50 underfoot comfort/ride, -1 weight)


Jeff V:  I like the Mujin 9 just fine for family hiking and day to day use, especially because of the amazing outsole, but I do not feel at all inclined to run in them and it would be hard to recommend them over say a Brooks Cascadia, Caldera or even the budget priced Divide, all of which are lighter, more responsive, run well, but hike great too.

Jeff V’s Score: 8.4/10

Ride: 8 – ride is good at slower paces

Fit: 9 – I find them very comfortable, secure and true to size

Value: 6 – Value is not great, as versatility is limited at this weight.  They are durable though and I think would last a long time.

Style: 7 – they look fine, not exciting, but not ugly either

Traction: 9.5 – very good traction, the best aspect of the Mujin

Rock protection: 9.5 – never have had a ding or zinger, quite solid underfoot


Allison V:  The Mujin is a nice shoe for hiking or really slow runs, with good protection, a comfortable upper and good cushioning.  Traction is outstanding and the quality/durability is very good.  My biggest complaint is the weight.

Allison’s Score: 8.5/10 (-1 for weight, – .5 as cushioning could be better)


Jeff B: Mizuno created an absolute trail beast that can be at home on virtually any trail – just not at any speed. It’s massively overbuilt, making it one of the best trail hikers out there, but also one of the worst trail runners too. That hurts its versatility, but if you want the do-it-all hiking shoe, that’s actually lightweight compared to other hiking boots, you could do a lot worse.

Jeff B’s Score: 8.4/10

Ride: 7 Fit: 10 Value: 6 Style: 8 Traction: 10 Rock Protection: 8



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Peregrine 13 (RTR Review) and Peregrine ST (RTR Review soon)

Renee: The Peregrine 13 is a much more user-friendly trail daily trainer. The drop is lower, the cushion is more comfortable, and the weight is dramatically lower. The only advantage of the Mujin 9 is the outsole traction. The Peregrine 13 ST outsole with shed mud more easily and works better on ungroomed, soft terrain. For slush/ice/muddy gravel, the Mujin 9 outsole works better, although I’d still overwhelmingly choose either Peregrine. Sizing is similar.

Jeff V:  Agreed with Renee.

Jeff B: I only have the 13 ST but Renee’s comments are spot on. Especially with the more comfortable cushioning and substantial weight difference, and despite the Mujin traction advantage, the Peregrine is a much more versatile shoe.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Kiger 8 is a more flexible trail shoe and it’s good for speed workouts. The upper is comfortable and the underfoot has more cushion. I had issues feeling the plate under my forefoot in the Kiger 8; however, between the two shoes, I’d choose the Kiger 8 for any run. The Mujin 9 outsole is far better for harsh terrain. Sizing is comparable, although the Kiger 8 runs slightly longer. 

Jeff V: Agreed with Renee again, though for longer days, more rugged terrain where more protection and traction are needed, I would go with the Mujin.

Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Cascadia is lighter, more responsive, has better cushioning and runs much better, but also hikes quite well giving more versatility.  It is also $20 less.  The Mujin might have a slight edge in traction though.

Jeff B: I’d agree with Jeff, except for the word “might”, the Mujin definitely has much more traction for me, but the Cascadia is a much better shoe in every other regard.

Brooks Caldera 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Caldera 6 is way more cushioned, is lighter, very quick for the size of the shoe, has an amazing upper, is more breathable and runs as well as it hikes.  Mujin does have a more robust outsole for rugged trails and overall more durable/competent off trail and more technical trails.

Brooks Divide 3 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Divide 3 is the best shoe you can buy for $100 and surpases the Mujin in all aspects, except for maybe the outsole.

Saucony Xodus Ultra (RTR Review)

Jeff B: The Saucony similarly doesn’t feel as cushioned as the stack and construction would make you anticipate. The Mujin has the traction win, though not by much, the Saucony outsole is really good, and the Saucony’s midsole is much more dynamic. Overall the XU is much lighter and more versatile.

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Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Allison Valliere is a 5th generation Coloradan who is passionate about the outdoors and has been hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and running in the mountains since she was young.  She has completed all but 5 of the Colorado 14ers (a dozen or so in winter), has many hundreds of year round ascents of 14ers, 13ers and other peaks in Colorado and the West.  Allison has also traveled the world and trekked to over 18,000 feet in the Himalayas, to high altitudes in Ecuador and has worked for the National Park Service mapping plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California .  Her almost daily routine involves runs/power hikes in the foothills above Boulder, or 4-5 mile flatter runs at 8-10 minute mile pace if schedule necessitates.  But what really keeps her on her toes is working as a nurse and taking care of her 12 year old twin daughters who are also growing to share her love for the outdoors.

Renee is a former U. S.Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

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. 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’.

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