Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 Review

In today’s rapidly changing footwear scene it is rare to see a trail running shoe go through seven iterations. What is even more uncommon is for that shoe to stay close to its roots and not deviate from the original concept. While most running shoe companies are out radically updating uppers and heel-to-toe drop, it is nice to see someone riding the horse that got them to where they are.

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 ($105) sticks to the classic trail running shoe formula: good tread, reinforced upper, standard road shoe heel-to-toe drop, underfoot protection, and fitting true to size. This sturdy kick is based off of Mizuno’s lightweight trainer, the Wave Elixir, and it provides a great feel on road and trail. At 11.2 ounces with a 11 mm drop it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has an audience as I see versions of this shoe at every race I’m at.

For a more in depth overview and up close look, check out the video below.

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Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 Review Transcript

Hey and welcome to Trail Trials:  the video review section of iRunFar. I’m Travis Liles. In this video, we’re going to take a look at the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7.

In its seventh iteration, the Mizuno Wave Ascend adds some really nice updates. What we’re going to do now is to get up close and personal. We’ll take a look at the upper, the midsole, and some of the new features and tread patterns here on the bottom. Then, we’ll come back at the end with some overall impressions.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Upper
Let’s start out by talking about the upper on the Mizuno Wave Ascend. Mizuno categorizes it as having a Dynamotion upper – which basically means there are a lot of things here in place to give you a good secure ride on your foot. Some of those things you’re going to see right away are those bands that you’re going to find on each side of the foot. They’re going to help you secure that foot down. They’re going to lock that forefoot in place and keep your foot from sliding around. That was one of the features I really liked about this shoe. I felt like it had a really good, secure fit, so if you’re on nasty terrain or somewhere off camber and you really want that foot locked in, this shoe did a really nice job of it. However, even with that, you have a good, open toe box. A lot of times that’s not the case. A good open toe box, with it being mesh, it lets those toes wiggle around and no weird bands over the top of your foot that might impede or pinch on your toes.

Up front of the toe box, we have some overlays you’re going to see to really round out the toe area. At the very tip or the apex, we’re going to have a hard piece of rubber to keep that real direct impact from taking too much of a hit on your toes.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 - medial upper

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7’s medial upper.

There is a mud guard all the way around the base of the shoe meaning that that mesh – though it does attach directly to the midsole – there’s an overlay on top of it which is going to add some structure that’s going to keep your foot in a little bit better. It’s also going to give you a little more height stepping in puddles and those sorts of things. You do have a lot of mesh on this shoe. I’ve ran a couple times with this shoe in the rain, and I felt like water could get out; it wasn’t in there sloshing around.

As we move around the shoe, you can really see some more overlays. We have overlays along the upper laces that extend into the back which give a nice tight sort of structure here that’s going to help lock your foot in a lot better. Then around the back, you have a very standard heel. There’s a heel cup in here – it is hard material – but a nice comfortable soft, almost stretchy nylon-feeling interior in here for your foot, hopefully keeping blisters and those kinds of things from popping up.

The laces are a little bit stretchy, which is nice because they kind of bunch up on themselves, but they’re not that sausage shoestring that we’ve seen before. On the inside, we do have that gusseted tongue that doesn’t roll all the way up to the top. It goes roughly to where your tongue loop or lace is here in the middle. So we’re gusseted all the way down keeping the junk from getting inside. As you would expect on standard types of road shoes or even trail shoes anymore, of course you have removable insoles in case you want to put anything in there.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Midsole
Let’s move onto the midsole. The midsole, as you can see, is kind of one single color here. It’s single density, but what Mizuno does differently than other shoe companies is that they use this thing called the Wave Plate. You can see that silver plastic here and on the other side. The idea of the Wave Plate is, versus having a different chunk of foam in here that’s harder and is a more hard transition from one type of foam to the other, they use this Wave Plate that is varying densities based off of how much pronation control you want. This is for mild to moderate over-pronators. You can see that by the Wave Plate and the height of it.

Then in the back, if you look at the heel, you can see it’s thicker on the inside of the shoe than it is on the outside – meaning when you land, if you’re someone who over-pronated, you’d be in here. This shoe, because of the stack height being taller, is going to push that over to the side. What’s nice is this is good cushy foam. You’re not looking at Hoka-type foam, but this is soft and really takes a lot of the impact from rocks – I felt it did a nice job of absorbing. Of course, the downside of that is going to be the feel of the trail. Obviously you need to weigh those types of options.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Outsole
When we move to the bottom, this is where Mizuno really made some nice changes, I thought. They added in these really thick “Xs” that extend from the toe all the way to the back in varying patterns. Those are going to give you a lot better traction, of course. Then on the outside or the perimeter of the shoe, you have some angled lugs, angling forward in the front and angling backwards in the back. There are two different types of densities. The black rubber is a harder compound, so that’s probably going to last longer. Also, it’s in your hit points that you’re going to have for your foot. Then the interior type of rubber is smoother and not quite as dense. It will have a little more give to it when you’re climbing and those sorts of things, but it’s not super loose or anything like some lugs are. Overall, it’s a really nice tread pattern on the bottom. Overall, is what you’ve got is 11.2 ounces or 11.4 ounces (depending on where you see it) shoe with about an 11mm drop that can definitely take a beating out on the trail.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 - Outsole

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7’s outsole.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Overall Impressions
The Mizuno Wave Ascend definitely doesn’t fall in line with the current trends of super lightweight, low-profile, minimal type of shoe. This is a mid to heavy weight shoe:  lots of protection, good grip, good overall features, and what I really like about it is that it’s something that is a good hybrid shoe. If you’re somebody that travels, you can throw this in your suitcase. It transitions well on the road and it transitions well to trail also, so you don’t have to pack two different pairs.

Overall: good shoe, solid, it’s going to have its audience. It’s probably not for the minimalist folks out there, but definitely anybody looking for something with a little bit more stability, a lot of support, and a solid all-around general purpose trail shoe – I definitely encourage you to check out the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

If you’ve run in the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 or another recent Mizuno trail running shoe, please let us know what you thought!

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing "Trail Trials with Travis Liles" video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 17 comments

  1. Martin

    Jeez, I started running trails in version 3 of these a couple years ago, in order to 'protect' my feet. Caused myself a severe case of Achilles tendonitis and never wore them again.

  2. Jeff Faulkner

    My second, third, and fourth pair of trail shoes were Mizuno Wave Ascends. v4, v4, and v5. I loved each pair, but I wanted to try the minimal scene and went to the MT1010s. But the Mizunos are great if you need the beefiness.

  3. Loren

    Like Martin above I started out with an older version of these, maybe 4's or 5, and eventually developed a serious Achilles problem too. Used mostly for training and ran one 50k in them but had too eventually retire them to hiking shoes. I really loved them otherwise. Great traction and comfy liners. I recommend them if they work for your feet. Happy trails..

  4. Andrew

    I've worn the ascend 4, 6 and now 7 for distances to 100k and loved them. I do feel the grip with the 7s wasnt as good as 4-6, I don't like the 'x' pattern quite as much but still happy with the shoe overall.

  5. Andrea Telmo

    I've run in the Ascends since v3 and have 30 miles on the v7 so far–haven't tried any other brands/models since these shoes have worked for me. The latest version seems beefier/sturdier than previous versions, but the ride/feel seems about the same to me.

  6. Kim Neill

    Travis, thanks for the thorough review. I think this would be a great shoe with an 8mm drop and 2 less ounces in weight. But those things aside, I'm curious about the shoe flexibility. Would you consider it stiff or flexible?

  7. Travis

    Hey Kim, I would not call this a flexible shoe. It is also not super stiff. It is so in the middle of the two, it is almost hard to describe :) I agree with you. Drop the heel and shave off some weight while keeping the upper fit and the outsole and this shoe would have much broader appeal.

  8. Roy

    While the Ascend is designed for the mild to moderate overpronator, would it still be a good shoe for a neutral runner? I'm hoping Mizuno expands their trail line in the future.

  9. Kat

    I love these shoes, they are my first pair of serious trail shoes and are super comfortable and grippy, I have run several 100km in them now, and they are still performing well, I would definitely buy Mizuno trail shoes again. I am glad to hear so many other people find the Mizuno product excellent.

  10. Rella Faye

    My husband and I are avid trail runners. Up until now, I have just run in my regular road shoes (Asics 2170). Last weekend, we ran a trail race (in the rain) and realized the importance of a good trail shoe (less slipping in the mud). I have a narrow foot, but it seems that no trail shoes come in narrow. I have some muscle problems and pretty old school steering away from minimalist type shoes. I am tempted to try these. I am sure they would be an upgrade from what I am in now. I am just not sure how they would fit. Does it have the classic Mizuno shallow fit?

  11. Mizuno USA

    Thanks for the great review of the Ascend 7, Travis! We have a promo available right now if anyone is interested. Just use code SHIP75 for free shipping on $75 Orders.

  12. Kim Neill

    Rella, you might consider the Saucony Peregrine in women's. I just gave my pair to a friend with very narrow feet and she loves them. The women's model didn't fit my normal width feet very well (I usually wear the men's). I'm trying the Wave Ascend 7 and would not consider it a narrow shoe. Also seems to run a 1/2 size or more too long.

  13. Kim Neill

    Thanks Travis. I went ahead and got a pair, because I found them at a good discount. I find them to be ok, not my favorite, but will wear them in my rotation. I usually wear a men's 10.5 and these were at least 1/2 size too long. Plus the shoe laces are very long and have to doubled or triple knotted. These shoes would definitely rock with a little rounder shape at the toe box, less heel drop and a little lighter. Thanks again for the great review.

  14. Pablo

    I did also had a problem with achilles tendonitis and the wave ascend. I don´t exactly remember which version, might have been the 4. I am a mid foot striker and they really forced me to land on the heel. I did not find them stable. It is a pity because in the shop they felt like a gloove.

  15. Eric

    I am an over-pronator who is comfortable in the Wave Inspires on road
    and the Montrail Mountain Maovhists on trail. The big toe box of the
    MM,s are giving me blisters from all of the toe wiggle room. How do these compare stability wise? I really enjoy the support and fit of my Inspires, which has gotten my interest in these. Thanks and as always great review.

  16. Sean

    I also run in Inspires on road and found these to be awesome. Similar fit and feel, I purchased a 1/2 size larger in them compared to my Inspires.

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