Mizuno may not be a household name in the world of tennis yet, but their tennis shoes are authoritatively making a mark in the industry. The Wave Exceed Tour 4 tennis shoe is designed to be a notch ahead of its predecessor: lighter, faster, and more stable than before. For starters, it boasts significant technological updates. An insole board, called U4icX, is designed to provide a lightweight, comfortable experience. The lightweight PoWnCe midsole cushioning aims to maximize energy return, while the PoWnCe heel wedges have been added for greater stability. 3D Solid technology has also been used to offer a better, more natural fit. Where the last iteration of the shoe was criticized for its weight and narrow fit, the Wave Exceed Tour 4 AC aims to fill in those gaps, and then some. At Tennis Express, we put those claims to test.
I have always been a devout proponent of lightweight tennis shoes. It’s hard to find a shoe that doesn’t compromise on cushioning and comfort for a lighter weight. When I find a pair that’s lightweight AND offers a quick, energetic bounce-off, I don’t let go that easily. As soon as I put the Wave Exceed Tour 4’s on, I knew I was going to like playing in them because of how responsive the cushioning felt. They felt incredibly light without giving up the energy-return aspect, and that was crucial for me. The cushioning was very comfortable, which is something lightweight tennis shoes often lack. That quick, responsive bounce helped me navigate the tennis court better. They felt light and fast, and as a result, I felt more comfortable and confident in my movements.
Many found the last version to be on the narrow side, especially for people with wider feet. While I don’t have wide feet, the fit on the Tour Exceed 4 was on the mark for me. My feet slid in comfortably, and after I used that last eyelet to achieve that locked-in feel, my midfoot felt secure. I don’t particularly care for extra room in my toe-box because it denies me that firm, locked-in grip, and I liked that the shoe didn’t have a lot of extra room in that forefoot section.
The implementation of the heel wedges added more support, so I felt comfortable making those quick-cut movements. The heel section did feel slightly higher when I put the shoes on, and I was concerned that I’d miss the closer-to-the-ground feeling. Surprisingly, on the court, I felt pretty stable. I didn’t feel, at any point, that I was at risk for rolling my ankle. I felt comfortable executing those quick changes in direction without reservations.
Breathability was the only aspect that I felt the shoe lagged behind in. While the shoe is designed to be more breathable than the last version, I found myself missing that airflow and ventilation after 20-30 minutes of playing. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but this is certainly a facet that Mizuno could improve on.
For me, finding a lightweight shoe that doesn’t sacrifice comfort and cushioning has always been challenging. But the Mizuno Wave Exceed Tour 4 AC ticks all three of those boxes. The ventilation wasn’t as impressive as its other features, but the shoe remains one of the best that I’ve played tennis in, owing to its many superior qualities. The women’s version is additionally available in these two gorgeous colors, so you can coordinate with your outfit and truly shine on the court!