I’m usually not a new shoe pioneer, but I jumped at the chance to try the Wave Rider 20 and I purchased it the first day it was in stock at my local running store. I was lucky that Hollie was working, so we got to chat a bit about running and life and she helped me choose my shoe color.
I decided to try the Wave Rider 20 because I was coming off two solid weeks of cross-training to rehab a nagging injury in my right leg and I wanted to hit the reset button on my running. The Mizuno Wave Rider is the shoe I started running in 8 years ago. (My first Wave Rider was the 11!) It’s a classic, high-cushioned, neutral shoe. The Wave Rider had always been good to me, but it went through some design hiccups in its 17th-19th editions, when I switched to training primarily in Asics and, occasionally, Hokas. However, the Wave Rider 20 generated a lot of buzz in the running community, promising a return to the classic Wave Rider experience, with a plusher, more forgiving feel.
I was slightly nervous to hop back into my old shoe after two years, but I’m really glad I did. I feel the Wave Rider has the perfect amount of cushion for me (a lightweight, mid-high mileage road runner), and it’s played an integral role in my recovery.
I’ve run about 100 miles in the Wave Rider 20. Here are my initial impressions:
COST: I had been training in the Asics Gel Nimbus, which runs $150 for a brand new pair. The Wave Rider costs only $120. I bought this particular pair for just $98, with the community discount I receive at my local running store + another discount they so generously offered for taking a few extra days to stock the shoe.
FEEL: This is the softest Wave Rider I’ve ever trained in, but it’s still extremely responsive, so you don’t feel like you’re “sinking” into the cushion. The Wave Rider 20 strikes the perfect balance between soft and springy.
WEIGHT: At 8.3 ounces, the Wave Rider 20 is significantly lighter than the Gel Nimbus 18 (9.2 ounces). That might not sound like a huge weight variation, but every ounce really does add up when you run quite a few miles. I haven’t raced in the Wave Rider 20 yet, but I think it will work nicely as a training and a racing shoe.
VENTILATION: Whenever I wear my Asics in the rain, they feel like (sinking) boats after the first puddle I hit. It’s uncomfortable to run when there’s water in your shoes; it’s also not smart, because it can irritate your feet and cause/aggravate injuries. I took the Wave Riders out in the rain yesterday and they really did live up to their name. Puddles are less of an obstacle when you’re wearing a shoe that so easily and quickly drains excess water.
None so far. I’m that happy with this shoe.
Questions for the Internets:
Do you run in Mizunos? If so, which model?
What’s your favorite color running shoe?
What’s the first running shoe you ever tried?