Over the past couple years Mizuno has gone a few different directions with the Wave Rider, their ever-popular neutral trainer. The Mizuno-faithful crowd will be pleased to hear that the 18th edition has reverted back to the feeling of more popular versions opposed to the recent iterations.
With the Wave Rider 17, Mizuno went with the concept of making this shoe as light as possible. In theory this mindset was sound, in application many thought it didn’t quite hit the mark. The new seamless upper designed with purely welded overlays reduced lots of material in the lack of stitching. This in turn, as expected, dropped the weight of the shoe significantly. Unfortunately some people found that the upper had less of that classic snug Mizuno midfoot that many people had fallen in love with over the years. A new underfoot foam compound was also engineered to be softer and lighter at the same time. Since this new material seemed to defy laws of physics, it was dubbed “U4iC” (Euphoric) technology.
All in all, a solid showing by Mizuno but many felt there was room for improvement.
The reconstructed Wave Rider 18 took the positives from the 17 and improved by going back to their roots. The underfoot is nearly identical, relying on lightweight, springy cushioning and the signature Wave Plate technology to keep your energy smoothly traveling forwards. The big change this year was in an overhauled upper. Taking pointers from the Wave Rider 16 and prior, stitches were added back onto the shoe to keep your foot nicely locked in place. This new fit will hold snug but comfortable and still allow the toes and forefoot to splay and relax without restriction for maximum comfort. The mesh upper materials were also changed; more of an open-air mesh was used. Since the fit is constructed as such, some may notice that it is a bit of a less-generous fit. That’s not to say it is narrow, just that some with a wider foot may notice a little squeezing width-wise. However, the upper has proved to fit a higher instep vary well. As with prior versions of this daily trainer, there is strategically placed high-density carbon rubber on the underside of the shoe. This outsole is created to give the shoe the longest possible life without sacrificing the feather-light feel.
A few things are for sure; the new Wave Rider 18 by Mizuno is lightweight, responsive and stylish. This is a shoe designed for runners with neutral biomechanics.
Staff member Melissa has been running in the Wave Rider for years. She said, “This is my favorite running shoe. Light, responsive. I can use it for anything from long runs to speed work. I love it!”
A few similar shoes would be the Brooks Defyance, Asics Pursue, and the Adidas Boston Boost.