- Weight 290g (M) 240g (W)
- Heel-To-Toe-Drop: 12mm
- Type: Road
- Price: £130
RW Summary: The wave plate gives responsiveness at speed while a soft midsole foam is great for easier paces, continuing the Rider’s legacy as a versatile, high-mileage trainer.
- New Enerzy foam through the heel and midfoot feels softer and more responsive.
- Waveknit upper is slightly warm, but still offers a secure lockdown and stretchy toe box.
- Thinned outsole rubber and guidance line improve flexibility, without loss of traction.
Since its launch in 1998 the Wave Rider has developed into one of the mainstays of the running shoe market. Over the 24 iterations Mizuno has played with the firmness of the cushioning, the last of the shoe, the design of the wave plate technology (designed to effectively disperse shock from landing in order to give a smoother ride), but has always managed to produce a shoe that retained its core audience of runners looking for a reliable, high mileage neutral cushioned shoe. This version is no different, despite several changes: the upper has been given a more breathable mesh; there are fewer overlays in the midfoot; and the tongue and heel collar lining have both been tweaked to provide more soft comfort and less pressure.
All new foam
The main change, though, is the addition of Enerzy, Mizuno’s new cushioning foam in the rearfoot which it has very high hopes for. The brand says Enerzy is 17% softer and offer 15% higher energy return compared to its previous best foam: U4ic. What did our testers make of it? They loved it. Every runner gave it the maximum 5/5 score (aside from one who loved the shoe but not the RRP).
Same Durable Grip, Less Rubber
The added bonus of Enerzy foam is that it’s also more durable and withstands ground contact better than the previous U4icX foam. That allowed Mizuno to cut down on the amount of rubber on the outsole. The shoe still uses a decent layer of X10 solid rubber, but has more flex grooves and a deep guidance line where the new foam is exposed to the road; this did make the shoe feel more flexible. Plus, the gap in the rear of the outsole that liked to pick up small stones has been flared out at the edges so debris is less likely to get lodged inside.
Tester Francis Pyatt of Macclesfield Harriers summed things up nicely in feedback: ‘This shoe is a good balance of the things many runners would want in an all-round running shoe. It’s an excellent daily trainer which manages to combine grip, durability and a nice “pop” from the cushioning in a light-ish weight package.’
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