Mizuno Wave Rider 18

8.5
8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.5)] = Runnerclick score (8.5)/10

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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review Facts

Mizuno tells us to “Realize the Power Within” with the Wave Rider 18. Since 1906, Mizuno has believed in contributing to society through the advancement of sporting goods and through the promotion of sports. This is so important because sports provide diverse values as well as play a vital role in helping people lead prosperous and comfortable lifestyles. Mizuno based the design of the Wave Ride 18 on the intrinsic vibrational life-force energy that exists in all living matter. This life-force is called Hado and is believed to have the power to create powerful transformations. 

Building on the original and popular Wave Rider design, the refined toe-spring of the 18 and the upgraded premium sock-liner, are providing runners with a resilient and responsive journey. The 18, also features optimal forefoot flexibility, a lightweight U4ic midsole and Parallel Wave technology in the heel, all working together to bring a smooth and effortless ride. 

Pros
  • Made of vegan materials
  • Wave technology that makes for a lightweight and smooth ride
  • Mesh upper allows maximum breathability
  • Better toe protection in this model
  • Great fit with an accommodating toe box
Cons
  • Some runners felt that there was too much rubbing or slipping around the ankle. (This appeared to be corrected by purchasing 1/2 a size smaller). 

  • The forefoot lacks some cushioning.

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The Wave technology was developed by the Mizuno engineers based on the way the nature deals with impact forces. They studied sounds waves, tidal waves, and other waveforms, that spread and dissipate energy really rather quickly. The synthetic and non-marking carbon rubber outsole is durable and tacky. And, of course, I don’t mean “tacky" as in style, I mean “tacky" as in being able to get good traction. Mizuno continued with the proven flex grooves on the outsole as well. In addition, the blown rubber in the outsole helps to reduce the shoe’s weight.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Wave Rider 18 is considered a “mechanical midsole”. As your foot touches the ground, the Wave technology actually reduces and redirects the impact forces away from your foot. Mizuno has returned to using the wave plate technology, rather than Pebax (which is what they used for the heel cushioning in the last verison). This may be the reason for the slight increase in weight of this shoe. However, runners will tell you, it is worth it. The wave plate is a plastic plate that runs through the midsole of the shoe. It is most visible in the heel and is shaped like the waves of the ocean. Heel-strikers will love this shoe. However, for runners who land mid-foot or forefoot, the plush heel cushioning doesn’t really get appreciated, as the midsole material in the forefoot is considered very firm. The patented U4ic midsole was designed to assist you in achieving the coveted Runner’s High. The engineered polymer is light, responsive, and cushioned, making this shoe one of the most comfortable shoes in the Mizuno line.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Most of the changes from the last version occurred in the upper. Mizuno decided to utilize a two-piece upper to create an “adaptable fit”, meaning that the material is flexible and "gives" with the foot as it moves. Runners with larger and wider feet seem to be delighted with this feature. The Wave Runner 18 is considered to be the best-fitting shoe so far in the line. It also features nicely padded tongue and heel collars, flexible and well ventilated dual mesh, as well as a few overlays making this a great shoe for warm weather running. The ideal heel fit and secure midfoot make the upper feel just like a part of your foot.
Weight
Weight

Weight

This is a lightweight shoe with most of the weight being in the heel. A size 9 men’s shoe weighs 9.2 ounces; the size 11 is 10.6 ounces. Women's weigh an average of about 7.9 ounces. Mizuno received some past criticisms for changing the popular Wave Rider design from the fairly stripped down neutral version into something much more substantial. Now, because Mizuno has returned to the stripped down version of previous Wave Riders, runners are getting great cushioning and durability, but in a lightweight trainer. Hardcore Mizuno fans consider the Wave Runner 18 to be a lightweight, responsive, and high-milage machine. The U4ic midsole compound provides high comfort and performance while being extremely lightweight. In fact, it boasts to be 30% lighter than the compound used in previous models. This lightweight U4ic midsole and the Parallel Wave technology in the heel work together to make each run as smooth and flowing as possible.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 features a lightweight mesh upper with only a few overlays in order to maximize breathability. These features make this an ideal shoe for warm weather running.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Mizuno’s goal is to make shoes that feel so comfortable and as if they are a part of your body so much so that you don’t know where your body ends and your shoe begins. Most runners report feeling that this shoe fits as expected, even for those with a high arch. If you prefer a snug fit, you may consider stepping down half a size. The toe box is generally wide-enough to wear toe socks, correct toes, or other kinds of toe separators if needed. However, this is not likely if you have a wide foot. Runners are reporting an improvement from the Wave Runner 17s due to excessive toe damage seen with that model. It appears it was due to the construction and angle of the bottom set of eyelets. Mizuno has now redesigned that piece for the 18s.
Style
Style

Style

The men’s Mizuno Wave Rider 18 comes in a variety of colors, including Black/Silver, White Dress Blue, Chinese Red/Silver, and Turkish Sea Silver; and some with interesting names like Black/Orange.com and Surf the Web/White. The women’s come in a variety of colors as well, including Blue Atoll, Blue Atoll/Silver, White/Fuchsia Purple, Wild Aster White, Black/Silver, and Cayanne/Black.

This is a vegan shoe, meaning it is made without any animal ingredients or byproducts. It also excludes any materials that were tested on animals, as well as materials traditionally used in making shoes, such as leather, wool, fur, and some glues.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Many runners report a long shoe-life with the Wave Rider 18. This is likely due to the durable non-marking carbon rubber outsole. The life of most running shoes is between 300-500 miles. The range variation depends on the type of runner you are. For the neutral runner, The Wave Rider 18s should give big bang for the buck. With the Wave Runner 18s, Mizuno went back to earlier versions of this line, like the more curved toe and the bouncier Wave plate, as well as the plastic piece that runs through the midsole and acts as a shock absorber. New features to the 18s include a more structured upper that hugs the midfoot and added durability in the form of more rubber on the sole.
Support
Support

Support

The Wave Rider is Mizuno’s go-to neutral running shoe. Inspired by nature, the Wave has a unique midsole technology that provides both cushioning and support. The Wave plate technology is popular with Mizuno fans because of the inherent stability it provides. The plate acts similar to cardboard that you can bend and fold easily, but not twist side to side. Some runners report feeling that this shoe has helped ease knee pain on long distances, sciatica, and plantar fasciitis. One runner reported feeling these shoes are the best he has found to support his feet on his 70-80 mile a week runs.
Price
Price

Price

This reasonably priced running shoe can be found at even lower prices now that the Wave Riders 19 and 20 have been introduced.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This shoe is made for the road. It lacks the components necessary to make it on the trail. However, as a road running shoe, the Wave Runner 18 provides everything you need. This neutral shoe manages to provide a great deal of road protection in a fairly lightweight package. Note: These shoes are not really designed to offer protection during bad weather. If you are running in these and it is raining or snowing outside, you may want to run inside that day. Not only are these great for running, the Wave Rider 18s are great for work. Especially for those who need a lightweight and comfortable shoe because of long days on their feet.
Drop
Drop

Drop

With a heel profile of 35.2 mm and a forefoot profile of 22.2 mm, the drop is 13.0 mm. While this is just over the traditional heel-to-toe drop of 10-12 mm, this is a lightweight shoe and most runners don’t seem to notice the extra drop. In fact, according to a research study conducted in 2015, a higher drop may be better for heel pain from plantar fasciitis, Achilles, or posterior tibial tendonitis. However, for runners that are used to a minimalist shoe, this drop will likely feel clunky.
Key Features of the Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Key Features of the Mizuno Wave Rider 18

Key Features of the Mizuno Wave Rider 18

•Parallel Wave Technology which provides firm but responsive heel cushioning and a smooth transition

•Wave Plate Technology, as well, for heel cushioning

•Adaptive Fit upper that gives with the foot as it moves

•Padded tongue and heel collar

•Durable non-marking carbon rubber outsole

•Lightweight U4ic midsole

•The substantial drop of the shoe may help with reduce heel pain for runners with Plantar Fasciitis.
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Mizuno develops products and services that make the most of the value of sports. This company not only supports sporting activities by offering better sporting goods but also helps to spread this throughout our daily lives. Mizuno will continue making people around the world happy through the power of sports. The Wave Runner line is the longest running line of any shoe on the market since its introduction in 1998. The Wave Rider 18 is the ideal balance between performance and fit. It is perfect for runners who desire a stylish shoe that will give what they need in a daily trainer. The incredible underfoot system creates a harmonious fit that works with the runner at every stride. The ideal heel fit securing your mid foot makes this lightweight shoe feel just like an extension of your foot.