Mizuno Wave Momentum 3: Best Volleyball Shoes

Wave Momentum 3 midsole

Mizuno has long been a dominant force in the realm of volleyball footwear, with their Wave Momentum series standing as a testament to their excellence. Renowned for their performance and widespread appeal across all levels of the sport, the Wave Momentum line has garnered immense popularity.

Now, with the introduction of the Wave Momentum 3, Mizuno builds upon this legacy by incorporating several significant enhancements. Does this latest iteration mark the pinnacle of the Wave Momentum series? Is it the ultimate Mizuno volleyball shoe currently available? Let's delve deeper to uncover the answers.

Foam and Cushion

The Mizuno Wave Momentum 3 integrates Foam Wave technology tailored specifically for volleyball athletes. Engineered to absorb impact upon landing and enhance stability and responsiveness during push-offs, this technology offers a balanced blend of cushioning and support.

Related: Best ASICS Footwears for Gym Workouts

While it may not provide the softest feel underfoot, it excels in delivering bounce and stability. Although its impact protection might not be the most exceptional, it typically offers sufficient cushioning to ensure comfort and joint support for the majority of players.

The standout feature of the Mizuno Wave Momentum 3's midsole is the Mizuno Enerzy Core—a puck-shaped foam drop-in positioned under the forefoot area. This core is designed to offer enhanced energy return, resulting in a rapid and lively sensation while wearing the shoe. Strategically placed to coincide with the foot's landing position during the final step of the approach, it significantly enhances the overall playing experience, providing a responsive and dynamic feel.

Lockdown and Stability

Wave Momentum 3 heel

The Wave Momentum 3 brings notable improvements in lockdown and stability. While maintaining the same bootie upper as its predecessor, Mizuno enhanced the heel-lock mechanism and revamped the lacing system for more effective midfoot wrapping.

Additionally, the distinctive wavy foam wall on the lateral side of the midsole serves as a reliable support structure, ensuring secure containment and stability during dynamic movements.

Regarding stability, there's been a significant improvement. In my review of the Wave Momentum 2, I mentioned that although they didn't feel unstable, my ankles would start feeling sore after extended wear. This suggested that my ankles were working harder for stability compared to other volleyball shoes. Mizuno has directly tackled this issue in the Wave Momentum 3.

The forefoot maintains its wide design with an outrigger, similar to its predecessor. However, the heel of the outsole has been slightly widened on both the inner and outer edges. The most significant upgrade is in the midfoot area, where noticeable outrigger-like structures are present on both the lateral and medial sides of the shoe. These adjustments have notably enhanced stability in the Wave Momentum 3.

Outsole and Traction

Wave Momentum 3 sole units

Mizuno consistently delivers excellent traction with their rubber compounds, and the traction pattern on the Wave Momentum 3 has seen some improvements. I tested these shoes on various surfaces, including wood and plastic courts, both clean and very dusty. While I found myself needing to wipe the outsoles frequently on dustier courts, the shoes still maintained traction even without the satisfying squeak.

Safety and Protection

For certain players, the Mizuno Foam Wave midsole might feel lacking in impact protection. While I personally didn't experience any discomfort, I tested these shoes alongside the Nike GT Jump 2, which offers an exceptionally plush feel. In comparison, the Wave Momentum 3 felt noticeably firmer underfoot.

I attempted to switch to other shoes for a comparison that didn't involve the most extreme cushioning setup I've experienced, but most alternatives still felt slightly softer underfoot. This isn't necessarily negative, as impact protection often compromises bounce.

Related: Nike Alphafly 3 Delivers a Deeply Cushioned and Stable Ride

For most players, this configuration is optimal: sufficient impact protection to prevent discomfort in your knees and feet, yet the shoe remains highly responsive. However, if you're heavier or have concerns with your feet, knees, or back, you may prefer a shoe with a bit more cushioning.

As a quick aside, one of the primary distinctions (currently) between basketball shoes and volleyball shoes lies in their cushioning needs. While both require a level of responsiveness, basketball involves more continuous running alongside explosive movements, whereas volleyball predominantly comprises explosive movements.

Consequently, specialized volleyball shoes, particularly those from Mizuno and Asics, typically feature highly responsive foam that offers just enough cushioning to safeguard your joints. However, there's potential for future shoe designs to bridge this gap and cater to both needs.

Related: Don't Mix Up Your Shoes for Training and Running

Summary and Conclusion

Wave Momentum 3 upper

The Mizuno Wave Momentum 3 was already poised to be a sought-after volleyball shoe, but its performance lives up to the hype. With significant enhancements over its predecessor, Mizuno has crafted a shoe worthy of its anticipated acclaim. Whether you're a dedicated Mizuno enthusiast or play on one of the numerous teams sponsored by Mizuno across all levels of the sport, the Wave Momentum 3 is a solid choice that won't disappoint.

  • Product: Mizuno Wave Momentum 3
  • Price: $155
  • Styles & Colors: (Sku # 430319)
  • Usage:
    • volleyball
  • Other Features:
    • MIZUNO ENERZY (FOAM): offer versatility and maintaining softness and resilience
    • Dura Shield: protects toe from damage
    • DynamotionFit Bootie Construction: offer a comfortable, snug fit and maximum stability
    • EVA Midsole
    • INTERCOOL: keep your feet cool and dry
    • MIZUNO WAVE®: disperse energy from impact to a broader area to provide a stable platform and a superior cushioning
    • XG Rubber: offer excellent traction (grip)
    • Removable Sockliner
    • U4icX Strobel Lasting Board: ensure a comfortable underfoot feel
Wave Momentum 3 side overlay