Mizuno first introduced its Wave technology all the way back in 1997. In nature, the wave is able to spread and dissipate energy very efficiently, which inspired Mizuno’s engineers to apply the wave concept to running footwear. The technology they developed has a three-dimensional, rigid structure that is designed to move impact forces away from the foot and into the shoe. The wave design also allows the shoe to spread the overall impact more evenly across the length of the foot to smooth out the ride.
There are a number of Wave Plates designed for specific purposes:
- Parallel Wave: This design is built to evenly disperse impact forces throughout the midsole. It is geared toward neutral runners and can be seen in models like the Wave Rider 16 and Wave Enigma 2.
- Infinity Wave: Shaped in a horizontal figure eight pattern (or the infinity symbol from which it gets its name), this design features large open cavities for maximum vertical deflection and cushioning. It’s featured on premium neutral shoes including the Wave Creation 14 and Wave Prophecy 2.
- Composite Fan Wave: This design features an additional, higher-density plastic plate on the medial side of the midsole to enhance stability and control overpronation. Find it in the Wave Inspire 9.
- Resin Wave: Found on lightweight performance models like the Wave Universe 4, the resin wave is essentially painted onto the midsole, where the firmer layer of hardened resin helps to disperse shock.
Pronation support also can be added to the Wave design by changing the geometry on the underfoot plate. In this approach, the swell of the wave on the medial side is made larger and more structured than the lateral side. This slows the rate of overpronation without giving the runner the distinct feeling of having a bulky post underneath the foot.
Though the core principle of using the wave shape to dissipate impact force is a key design element of Mizuno shoes, we expect Wave technology to continue to evolve in the coming years as the company remains on its quest to offer lighter weight, highly runnable footwear.