I am in the market for some new running shoes and the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 has caught my interest quite a bit. It is the latest edition of the Wave Rider shoe series made by Mizuno and it is advertised with having quite some improvements compared to version 16 of the Wave Rider. The Wave Rider is a long distance running shoe and since that is my “kind of game” I will be giving this shoe a fair shot, but before I get there I wanted to provide a review of this shoe and then at a later time see if this shoe lives up to the promises.
What’s new with the Mizuno Wave Rider 17?
Many running shoes improve slightly from year to year. Other’s disappear from the market because they simply not good. Some shoes build up a big following and the Mizuno Wave Rider seems to be one of those. It is now available in its 17th year and this shoe has a large fan base. I read a lot of running related blogs and forums and this shoe name has been showing up many times over the last few years. When I ran my last half marathon about a week ago I noticed several people wearing this shoe for the race. So, to build up a large fan base for a shoe it needs to be good and it needs to improve from year to year. Here are some of the items where the Wave Rider has seen changes from edition 16 to edition 17.
Mizuno has worked a lot on improving the midsole for the Wave Ride. #17 uses Mizuno’s new midsole labeled “U4IC”. This new midsole delivers optimal shock attenuation and durability– which represents a major update from the 16. The new midsole also feels much softer compared to the midsole used in previous models. The new midsole is about 30% lighter in weight compared to the Wave Rider 16. As a runner you should notice the difference immediately and anything with less weight to run in is a good thing.
Forefoot & Heel
The new designed blown rubber forefoot and heel section (lateral edge) of the Wave Rider 17 now feature a more rounded out design. This will make for a smoother and more dynamic landing experience while running.
At one point Mizuno had introduced a seamless upper which originally came from the Mizuno Wave Precision 12, but that shoe line has been discontinued for whatever reason. However, the idea of the seamless upper lives on and has been transferred to many other shoe lines at Mizuno – including the new Wave Rider 17. It almost feels like a second skin or a sock when wearing the new Wave Rider.
An important piece for every shoe designed for long distance running is the amount of cushioning. After all, a really long run puts a lot of stress and pressure onto the foot and a well-cushioned shoe is needed to absorb the steady impact of running. Fortunately Mizuno has not changed the overall amount of cushioning underneath the foot. This has been a concern for me lately with the Nike Pegasus running shoe that I have been using. It feels like it has less cushioning or the cushion is wearing out sooner and hearing that Mizuno has not made changes to the Wave Rider 17 is a big reason for me to try this shoe.
The Toe Box
Mizuno has worked some magic into the toe box for the Wave Rider 17. I compared different views of the 16 and 17 and the new Wave Rider 17 definitely features more room in the toe box, but at the same time it is not too wide. As a runner you want that snug feeling in your running shoe, but not at the cost of feeling crammed in and to eventually get blisters. Mizuno has done a great job from what I am seeing.
Who is this shoe for?
The Wave Rider 17 is labeled as a neutral running shoe and it has been specifically designed and engineered to handle particularly high mileage runs. Of course it also works great on the shorter training runs, but you will definitely feel the benefits of this shoe when going on runs of half marathon distance or longer. I definitely hope that this shoe is made for me really – while the Nike Pegasus running shoe has been my running companion for many years, I did get the feeling that the latest incarnations were not as good as the ones before. I had also tried a different Nike running shoe at one point, but had to retire it early because my feet started hurting from that shoe. I am really looking forward to give this WR17 a try and see if the description I provided above in this review fits the bill. Now I just have to find a good place to buy them – either locally where I can try them on or online, but from a place where I can return the shoe if necessary. The shoe comes in 3 different styles as shown on the pictures above. I am not a fan of the dark slate cabbage color, but the other two look great. Ideally I am probably going to order the white/grey-ish looking version as I often use “retired running shoes” as my day to day shoes for a while. Those shoes are not good for running anymore, but work great when going to the store or around town.
PS: There is also a great blog post on Mizuno’s website about finding the right shoe. I thought this is actually perfect for reading if you are in the market for a new running shoe just like I am.