Mizuno experienced the old adage “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” when they revamped their flagship neutral trainer, the Wave Rider 17. While the drastic changes to the shoe may have had some loyal Wave Rider wearers shaking their heads, runners and walkers trying the shoe for the first time seemed to like the lightweight design and responsive feel. When updating to the Wave Rider 18, an effort to appease the wearers of previous editions while remaining true to Mizuno’s quest of providing a lightweight and durable neutral trainer took precedence.
According to Mizuno, the Wave Rider 18 is built on the legacy and roots of previous designs, with key trademark features such as the ideal heel fit and secure mid-foot as well as the parallel wave plate that disperse impact forces away from the foot. What is new for the Wave Rider 18 is an update to the sock liner for premium comfort and resiliency as well as a refined toe-spring for better transition in stride.
While all of these updates sound like great things, we wanted to get the shoe on the feet of some of our staff to give it a thorough testing. We asked three runners to give their opinions and here is what they had to say:
A former Mizuno wearer on staff who had transitioned to a different shoe for a few years, was eager to see if the newest Wave Rider was anything close to what her previous models had felt like. Here was her feedback: “I like them. The heel feels like the older model and the improved sock liner is comfortable. I had problems in previous editions with the toe box but there was plenty of room in these and I have had no hotspots or issues. They are light and responsive but still feel like they have enough cushion for long runs.”
A long-time Mizuno loyalist on our staff who has run in the Wave Rider for many generations was happy to see some of the updates from the Wave Rider 17 to the Wave Rider 18. “The upper is more like the Wave Rider 16 (2 generations ago) but an improved version. They went back to having overlays on the upper because the seamless fit on the 17 was causing some fit issues. The sole feels softer than the 17 and the wave plate is more responsive and less rigid. Overall I am happy with the 18.”
A non-Mizuno wearer on staff who prefers a softer ride had positive things to say about the Wave Rider 18 as well. “The ride is a little firmer than I am used to, but once I had run a couple of miles in them they feel really good. The upper fits very well. I like some room in the forefoot, and one of the problems I have had in the past with Mizuno is they run a tad narrow but I was pleasantly surprised with the fit.”
So, shop local and come to Big River Running to try on a pair today!