Mizuno Wave Rider 25

A legacy shoe with a vengeance. The Wave Rider has been the hallmark of Mizuno and they had to make it an event by debuting a full length ENERZY Foam throughout the shoe. It was time to try this bad boy before I left the UK. It seems surprising that not many people associate Mizuno with running and it seems a real shame that this is not talked in the same manner as the Nimbus or the Novablast!

Wave Rider 25 Mizuno

Here is my review after running close to 400km with it before I gave it to my brother for him to have a whirl.

Price: 125 GBP (Mizuno EU)

Rotation type: Easy day/Daily Trainer

Weight: 269G (Approx)

Upper: Double jacquard engineered mesh

Midsole: Mizuno ENERZY

Heel/Forefoot: 32/20mm 12mm stack height

Patented Technologies: Mizuno Wave, X10 Carbon Rubber, Smooth Ride

Type of shoe: Traditional Maximalist Shoe

Upper (Dead/Alright/Good/Special)

The Wave Rider 25 features an extensive double jacquard engineered mesh which wraps around your whole foot snuggly. This is done without the use of extensive overlays, or external plastic reinforcements which is quite refreshing. This is in exception to the heel which is pretty built up with a thick heel collar and internally built plastic heel counter. This heel screams out plush and would cater to those runners who would really enjoy that snug fit at the heel.

A downside to that because I am running in the humid sauna of Singapore weather, the feet can get a little hot. From a drainage perspective, the shoe does not absorb water like a sponge so it isn’t that bad if you are running in some light areas with water retention or in a gentle drizzle. But It’s not the most water repellent of shoes, and it can get bogged down with water if the conditions are a little rough. Also, as I have bilateral tailor’s bunions, it does cause a bit of a squeeze. (A personal problem though, it should fit most runners fine)

Midsole (Dead/Alright/Good/Special)

The key difference between the 24 and the 25 is the use of its full length Enerzy foam from the heel all the way to the forefoot. It’s soft, ‘’absorbent’’ and responsive. Literally, everything you want and expect from a plush daily trainer. What’s nice about the configuration in this shoe is that the wave plate seems to complement the softness of the Enerzy foam and gives you that soft and stable feel as you compress the midsole at the heel and the midfoot. I think runners who are striking heavier on the ground would really appreciate this detail.

A small drawback would be that at higher paces, it does not have that oomph you need when going for toe-off. I felt that I really had to use my hamstrings to give me that extra push. So although the Enerzy Foam is wonderful to run in, I think I’ll have to hold back on giving it a special. However, this might be changed if there is some stiffness at the forefoot or maybe a more pronounced forefoot rocker so it really isn’t the end of the world.

Outsole (Dead/Alright/Good/Special)

Outsole of the Wave Rider 25

The wave rider 25 uses a carbon rubber outsole which mizuno dubs ‘X10’. Mizuno proceeds to cover its Enerzy foam at practically almost all impact areas and more. The material is a beast. Even after 300km, there wasn’t that much wear to really fuss about. It isn’t the grippiest of materials so I would not suggest you to run over wet drainage lids and what not. But, it still does its job, giving you enough traction for turns.

Fit (Wack/Alright/Good/Perfect):

The fit of the rider 25 was just acceptable in my usual UK 9. In terms of width, the secure upper and the slightly snugger fit allowed for quite good lockdown on step in and throughout the run. However, as the distances got a little longer, it felt a tad restrictive. I could feel a little pressure on my fifth, which was largely due to my bunionettes.

The length was just a generous thumb space from my big toe to the end of the shoe. Although noticeable, It did not really feel like a problem because of the secure lockdown the shoe had. Those that have narrower feet could consider to go a half size down. But those who have wider feet, should stay with the UK 9.

Ride (Dead/Alright/Good/Great):

Slight Heel Rocker at the back

This is an interesting portion because even though I did mention that the toe-off did not ‘’oomf’’, it still had a great on foot sensation when running. Upon heel strike, the compression of the midsole in combination with the geometry of the heel and the wave plate just feels nice. It is also helped with the presence of a slight heel rocker. It is interesting how they arranged the layers of Enerzy foam in the midsole and the plate at the heel. The first impression that it gave me was that it looked like a well stacked burger and the sensation on the foot was just that. Juicy.

As I transitioned towards midstance and heel off, the plate , midsole and the middle cut out in the outsole gave that smooth spring and guidance which I thoroughly appreciated. As I put more weight towards the forefoot, it felt really shock absorbent and comfortable, something I really appreciated in my longer runs.

So that’s the thing, although yes, the toe-off wasn’t as snappy and responsive as I would have liked for tempo runs but that wasn’t what this shoe is intended for. It is a workhorse, the roll royce engine, the Kalvin Phillips. It absorbs all your miles and still keeps your feet fresh for more ahead. Plus, I still managed to get some good speeds off the shoe. Overall, I had to give it a good rating for the ride.

Stability:

Although not classified as a stability shoe, the shoe runs pretty stable. Going from the top down; the lockdown from the upper is pretty good. It was snug as I was going through the phases of my stride. The presence of the wave plate worked really well with the bouncy Enerzy foam, giving that responsive yet stable experience upon heel strike. The shoe isn’t full ground contact (Think New Balance Fresh Foam More) but the contact on the forefoot is majestic. As you transfer your weight to the forefoot, you can feel that wide and accommodative forefoot base and for me, that is what makes this shoe work. There is also something to be said about the geometry of the shoe and the configuration of its technologies, the ride isn’t wobbly, you don’t feel that you are being tipped over and it handles corners pretty well at high speeds.

Running Level (Beginner/Experienced/Elite):

Great stability, not a vastly different type of shoe that most runners would have tried before, and just a great ride. I would be surprised if any runner has too many problems with lacing this shoe and hitting the road. Although, I do want to give a word of caution as it is considered quite a chunky shoe, with 36mm of Enerzy foam in the heel. As with all shoes, please do gradually ease your way into this shoe and especially so if you have been running with Altras or Nike Free runs before this pair.

A shoe for everyone!

Why you should be interested in this shoe:

Mizuno has strictly persisted with its use of the wave plate in its running shoes. Whether it is part of their unshakeable legacy, a technology they firmly believe in or a mixture of both; the use of the wave plate can confer some possible benefits to the runner.
One possible role is in its shock attenuation and stability. This could have something to do with the positioning and geometry of the plate, the material used, and the thickness of it. A study on crash pad design on running shoes by (Sterzing, 2015) (Not exactly the same as wave plates) found that crash pad placement could reduce maximum eversion velocity and provide stability. It could also affect footfall characteristics through a difference in comfort and neuromuscular perception. Mechanisms that could possibly translate for runners running the wave rider.

The stride transition from heel to forefoot is also very controlled and stable to me, and I am inclined to believe that the wave plate is integral in this aspect.

Another thing to take note of is the use of their Enerzy Foam. It is plush with a capital P. If I had to think of an imaginary metaphor to describe running in it, it is like how bowling balls are dropped onto mattresses. The force from the heel and the forefoot do feel enveloped and encased in the midsole material — although of course the drawback is that it sacrifices that snappy feel. There is also something to say on cushioned shoes though, because we do not know whether soft, fluffy shoes are good. We do know that maximal cushioned shoes can increase the vertical impact force of runners (Kumala, 2018), which is what is called the cushioning paradox. However, a recent series of studies by Malisoux et al, showcased that the increase in vertical impact force might have been attributed to low frequency loads that do not show the real picture of impact forces at the heel (Malisoux et al, 2022). Moreover, an earlier study published by (Malisoux et al, 2020) found that harder shoes were associated with higher injury risk. However, this was observed in runners running at lower speeds compared to the Kumala study. Bottom line, we still do not know. Yeah, I know a real bummer. BUT, what it does tell us is that if you are a runner who just likes to run and not breaking national records every other week, a higher cushioned shoe won’t biomechanically affect you adversely. So, if the shoe feels comfortable and you like it, get it. Which is in the Wave Rider 25 — a very good chance that you feel so.

Would you walk in it and use it for daily life? (Yes/No)

Yes. Because it is such a comfy shoe. Walking in it feels stable yet marshmallow-ey. You can imagine how Goku must feel, riding on clouds. And it comes with very nice colourways.

No. Because it’s a little too snug and the upper is thick. Which can be really unforgiving when it’s hot or when it gets wet. (No one likes a wet sock)

Still, a definite shoe you can use after it has served your runs well.

Conclusion:

If you ask me whether I would recommend this shoe? Yes

A good maximally cushioned shoe? Yes

A good tempo shoe? Maybe, tending towards no.

A long run shoe? Yes definitely. 10 miles flew by.

An easy run shoe? I would use it as an easy run day kind of shoe. Although, I think marketed as a daily trainer, there are other shoes out there that could be that daily trainer in terms of versatility. But this still can be your daily trainer.

Is this a comfortable and joyous shoe to run in? Yes

Does it have a step in period? Yes, it did take 50 KM to get this shoe really going for me.

Worth the buck? Yes and it’s on sale!

Personal Thoughts:

So I bought this shoe when I was still in the UK because I was very excited to try out the Wave Rider. The big 25 anniversary of the wave rider was hard to pass up. I think at that time it was 125 pounds? While I might have qualms paying 125 pounds now for a shoe (When there are many other great shoes going for cheaper), its current price of 132 Singapore dollars makes it a steal (Very limited sizes left). If you are looking for just a comfortable shoe to run in, really this is it. I’m also very interested in how the wave plate will evolve in this shoe? Many brands have started to tinker in the componentry of midsole inserts and Mizuno and maybe ON are the only brands left which have not done big changes to them. I guess it really depends on the market and which group of runners they are targeting but it is still an interesting development point for the future of the Mizuno Running Brand.

Disclaimers:

I bought the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 with my own money and am not sponsored or supported in any way. I am largely an amateur runner who does 70km a week with an eye on 5/10km timings currently.

Literature:

Malisoux, L., Delattre, N., Urhausen, A. and Theisen, D., 2019. Shoe Cushioning Influences the Running Injury Risk According to Body Mass: A Randomized Controlled Trial Involving 848 Recreational Runners. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(2), pp.473–480.

Malisoux, L., Gette, P., Backes, A., Delattre, N. and Theisen, D., 2022. Lower impact forces but greater burden for the musculoskeletal system in running shoes with greater cushioning stiffness. European Journal of Sport Science, pp.1–11.

Sterzing, T., Thomsen, K., Ding, R. and Cheung, J., 2015. Running shoe crash-pad design alters shoe touchdown angles and ankle stability parameters during heel–toe running. Footwear Science, 7(2), pp.81–93.

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Warren Song

Warren Song

A Podiatrist who just loves footwear. Currently running with the Endorphin Shift 2, Velocity 1 and 880v11. Follow me! https://www.strava.com/athletes/warrens0ng