Since its introduction in 1997, the Mizuno Wave Rider has improved with each iteration, becoming lighter, more responsive, breathable, and stable; its steady evolution has won the shoe awards and earned it a cult following. The shoe has regularly lost weight, changed it's outward appearance and transitioned to more technologically-advanced materials. And this year’s Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is no different. Here’s our review of the brand-new 2018 update of Mizuno’s iconic shoe:
Weight: 9.6 oz. (men’s size 9); 8.3 oz. (women’s size 7)
Heel-to-toe drop: 12 mm
It’s instantly comfortable right out of the box, albeit a little firm. But that’s part of the tech behind the Wave Rider’s iconic design. If you’ve worn past models of the shoe, though, you’ll notice the Wave Plate on the 22 feels just a tad softer (we’ll tell you more about that in the next section).
The heel counter is plush and wide, while still offering security for even narrow-heeled runners. The classic tongue and lacing system is simple and efficient to lace and synch down, and the mesh upper feels light and breezy yet durable. Yep, after just one run, we could tell the shoe is built to withstand the daily training grind.
A note: For wide feet the Wave Rider 22 may fit a bit like a racing shoe thanks to Mizuno’s streamlined last shape. If the toexbox feels snug, don't worry; Mizuno makes the same shoe in "wide."
Here's where the cloudwave Wave Plate tech really shines. The heel-to-toe transition is noticeably smoother than previous models, while still offering the firm underfoot feel Mizuno lovers have come to expect from the Wave Rider line.
Mizuno also claims the “increased decoupling of the lateral crash pad creates a smoother ride.” Our testers couldn’t identify that specifically, but the ride was smooth so, hey, we’ll take it!
It’s fantastic on almost any surface, mellow trail included. Only problem: rocks easily lodge under the heel between the Wave Plate and outsole. So, best to avoid gravel roads.
All in all, we’re impressed with the update. It’s lighter, softer, more breathable and more responsive than any Wave Rider models to date.