It seems clear that with their two releases into the U.S. market that Mizuno wants a piece of the lightweight performance shoe crowd. Given the Japanese company’s long history on the track, and the game’s emphasis on speed, it makes sense to penetrate that particular category. The Wave Exceed Tour 3 was the first entry we reviewed, and it certainly impressed. Next up is the new Wave Impulse, which brings an even sleeker profile and attention to agile movement.
The DynamotionFit bootie construction, an increasingly popular design, gives the shoe locked-in feel. It’s easier to get on than most, but still takes extra effort. The molded ergonomic sockliner hugs the foot to provide security and responsiveness. In fact, the entire upper has a racer-like silhouette with a narrower cut that’s quite tapered around the forefoot. It suited me, but could be a tight squeeze for players with wide feet. However, the upside was whenever I moved there was zero sliding inside the shoe.
The synthetic leather on the upper felt a bit stiffer than the TPU materials populating many current offerings, giving it some toughness. There’s a decent amount of padded mesh to offset, especially around the collar. It was reasonably comfortable, but did require a short break-in period. Due to the materials and the form-fitting nature of the shoe, air circulation was also a little questionable.
From an execution standpoint, the shoe is clearly built for speed. As stated early, the Impulse is exceptionally lightweight. My 11.5 weighed a spry 14.2 oz. Coupled with the projectile shape, it certainly promoted quick movement across the court. Mizuno’s signature inner Wave plate minimizes court impact and bolsters rearfoot stabilization by keeping the ankle in the right position. Transitions in and out of cuts felt efficient and assured. The outsole has also been designed for a smooth roll-off from heel-to-toe for better court contact and it gave forward dashes in the shoe a running-like experience.
However, underfoot cushioning, especially around the midfoot, was my crossroad with the shoe. It absorbs shock, but it’s on the denser side. The Ap+ wedge in heel elevates it above the forefoot for that racing vibe, but it also created a noticeable disparity between the padding in both locations. The front of my just felt more exposed to court contact. The EVA chunk under the midfoot provided good stability, but there wasn’t much give to it. The sensation was particularly conspicuous on a firm hard court. Repeated wear did get it to soften up and rebound more, but it never attained a “lived-in” feel. From this perspective, Mizuno’s Exceed Tour 3 offered a more pleasing experience.
Ultimately, the Wave Impulse is one of those shoes that feels like equipment. Like a polyester string, it’s more about performance than a comfortable ride. Just as you wouldn’t take a sprinter’s shoe on a 10-mile run, this is a game day shoe built for speedy performance. I think the addition of softer materials and plusher cushioning would make it a superior offering, but there’s a lot to like as is. It’s got a streamlined design and a toughness not generally found in such a lightweight shoe. It’s fast, responsive, stable and ripe for light, agile players with aggressive footwork. If that describes your game, don’t hesitate to try the Impulse.