Puma H Street vs Mizuno Wave Universe 3

The Puma H Street and the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 are very popular minimalist running shoes for forefoot running. Both are zero drop, super lightweight, highly flexible and makes a perfect racing flat. However, I prefer the H Streets over the Universe 3s for many reasons.

Puma H Street vs Mizuno Wave Universe for forefoot running shoe
Left, Mizuno Wave Universe 3. Right, Puma H-Street.

Puma H Street vs Mizuno Wave Universe 3

The Puma H Streets are not as lightweight as the Universe 3s, but the H Streets have a thinner, softer outsole that provides greater sensory feedback from the ground.

Puma H Street thinner than Mizuno Wave Universe 3
The outsole of the Universe 3 is thicker, causing you to feel more of the shoe and less of the ground.

Despite a thinner outsole, the removable insole of the Puma H-Streets offers more cushioning than the Universe 3 which does not come with a removable insole. However, the upper is more breathable in the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 and the toe box is wider compared to the Puma H-Street.

Mizuno Wave Universe 3 wider toe box than Puma H Street forefoot running shoes
Mizuno Wave Universe 3 (right) has a wider toe box than Puma H Street  (left).

The Universe 3 is lighter than the Puma H Streets which is surprising since the Universe 3 has more technology built into the shoe. However, the Puma H Street has a more natural fit that complements the structure and movement of the foot whereas the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 is more curved shaped as shown below:

Mizuno Wave Universe 3 curved outsole forefoot running shoe review

As mentioned briefly, the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 has more technology in the shoe than the Puma H Street. For example, the outsole of the Universe 3 is of an elastic thermal plastic material that forms a wave pattern at the heel, shown below:

Wave plastic material of heel in Mizuno Wave Universe 3 forefoot running shoe review
The purpose of the wave-plastic material at the heel in the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 is to allow vertical deformation during heel strike.

I am a forefoot strike runners, therefore I avoid shoes tailored for heel strike runners. I was unaware that the Universe 3’s were designed for heel strike runners!

The Winner is…

Puma H Street over Mizuno Wave Universe 3 forefoot running shoe

For the best minimalist running shoe for forefoot strike running, I choose the Puma H Street over the Mizuno Wave Universe 3. The design of the Puma H Street is very simple -no ‘shoe technology’ or fancy material, no ‘junk’ between you and the ground, thereby giving you a more natural feel.

The Puma H Street is also more flexible due to the lack of protective constructs. And, I like that the outsole of the Puma H Street is not curved like the Mizuno Wave Universe 3’s. The sole is softer, more flexible, and molds to your foot better than Universe 3’s.

The plastic material of the outsole in the Universe 3 obstructs the feet from sensing the ground. We all know that sensing the ground with proprioception is an important component to running properly on your forefoot. Since the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 were designed for heel strikers, it would make sense that the shoe would contain more shoe technology.

Durability

I have run in the H-Streets for over a year now, running every day, averaging 13 km, and the structure of the shoe has held up remarkably. Plus, I live in Canada where the winters are fierce, and despite running through sleet, slush, and snow plus the salt on the roads, the Puma H-Streets have proven to be exceptionally durable.

Above, is me running in the Puma-H Streets. The smaller heel makes it easier for me to achieve a proper forefoot strike as compared with the Universe 3. The H-Streets are also thinner which increases my joint attention and motor planning to help me land properly.

I would classify the Puma H Street as a barefoot running shoe. And, I would closely approximate the H-Streets with the Vibram Five Fingers for their enhancement of proprioception.  In fact, for forefoot running learners who prefer not to go barefoot,  I would recommend the Puma H Streets for exercises for proprioception improvement.

More From Run Forefoot:

Bretta Riches

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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