Mizuno Wave Rider 20 GTX

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

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Mizuno Wave Rider 20 GTX Review Facts
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One of Mizuno most famous technologies is their special wave plate, which provides stability and responsiveness. The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 GTX is one shoe that features this technology. Notably, the Wave Rider 20 GTX is not exactly the same as the Wave Rider 20 and does feature some minor differences which will be covered in this review.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Durable outsole

  • Wave plate protection

  • Heavily water-resistant

  • Flexible

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • A bit pricier than the regular Wave Rider
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Wave Rider 20 GTX is one aspect that has been improved upon from the original Wave Rider 20. The GTX uses a slightly different blend of rubber, dubbed the “all terrain outsole”. This makes it more suitable for a variety of different surfaces and terrains, as the name suggests. The material itself is a particular carbon rubber that is present near the heel area. A different type of blown rubber is used in the front of the shoe for a bit more flexibility and slight cushioning, which is a nice touch. Finally, the outsole has a controller designed to make the outsole flex a bit better. The use of this and the two different rubber blends culminates in an outsole that is fairly durable, comfortable and provides good traction overall.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole in the Wave Rider 20 GTX is made up of a special material called U4ic. This material is one of Mizuno’s main technologies, and is present in many of their more popular models. The foam is functionally similar to most foams like EVA, in that it provides cushioning and protection from different impacts. The U4ic foam is lighter than most foams, however, according to Mizuno. Additionally, Mizuno claims that this foam is both responsive and durable, two key traits for a good midsole. A very similar material is placed in the back of the shoe, though this version is lighter, as its purpose is to provide light cushioning under the back of the foot. The midsole also contains Mizuno’s main claim to fame in the shoe department, the Mizuno Wave. This is a wave plate, which is formulated to minimize shocks from each step, and make for a more comfortable and springy stride. The midsole is overall quite strong in the Wave Rider 20 GTX, and it does its job well.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the Wave Rider 20 GTX is mesh. The use of mesh is a great choice, as it allows air to flow in and out of the shoe, promoting breathability, while also allowing for good range of movement. It can do both of these because of its woven nature. The upper has a Gore-Tex membrane as well, which does a very good job of keeping water out of the shoe, while not inhibiting the circulation. This is another of the differences between the Wave Rider 20 and the Wave Rider 20 GTX. Another difference is the reflective material, which helps with visibility at night. Lastly, the upper contains an Ortholite liner on the inside. These have become more and more common among many popular shoes, but the liner still is nice for some extra cushioning and bacteria and odor prevention. The upper of the Wave Rider 20 GTX is quite impressive.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Wave Rider 20 GTX weighs in at right around 10 ounces. This is pretty average on the weight scale, as many trainers tend to fall around this range. For the protection offered by the Wave Rider 20 GTX and also the extra features it has, the weight is pretty decent, though not really exceptional by any standards, especially for those who prefer lightweight shoes.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Breathability is very good throughout the Wave Rider 20 GTX. This is particularly impressive, especially when considering that the Gore Tex membrane covers the upper and manages to not limit air flow. The main piece that contributes to breathability in the shoe is the upper. Like most modern running shoes, this one features an upper that is made with a mesh design. Mesh uses lightweight materials and weaves them together. The advantage to this is a material that protects and stabilizes the feet well, but also allows for good airflow in and out, thanks to the tiny holes left behind. Though this is pretty much the only piece that influences breathability, it definitely is adequate, and there should not be too many issues with excessive sweat buildup or odor.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Comfort in the Wave Rider 20 GTX is pretty good, mostly thanks to the upper and the midsole. The upper adds to comfort through several of its features. The mesh is very comfortable, as it allows for a good range of movement, and also facilitates circulation throughout the shoe. Both of these factors are pretty big for comfort. The Ortholite liner within the upper also provides a tiny bit of extra cushioning and comfort. The midsole’s comfort comes from the U4ic foam and the Mizuno Wave. The U4ic foam is functionally pretty similar to EVA foam, and it provides ample cushioning under the feet while running, making for a smoother and more comfortable ride. An added bonus is that this foam is a bit lighter than standard blends of EVA, preventing the shoe from being overly heavy and uncomfortable as a result. The Mizuno Wave helps to absorb shocks and impacts, and makes the overall stride smoother. This, of course, helps with comfort a good bit.
Style
Style

Style

Mizuno shoes are pretty much standard when it comes to style. Mizuno tends to follow a more traditional running shoe style, similar to brands like Brooks or Asics. The Wave Rider 20 GTX has a pretty clean and straightforward design, which is nice, but it seems to be difficult to find different colors for the shoe. The standard is a very bright green and orange combination, which is definitely flashy and attractive, but might be a bit much for those who prefer darker shoes. Different and darker colors definitely are available, but finding them might not be easy. Overall, the Wave Rider 20 GTX is stylish in a pretty standard running shoe way and probably is less suited for day to day use.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Durability in the shoe mainly stems from the upper, the midsole, and the outsole. The upper is durable because of the Gore Tex membrane around it. This membrane protects from water, dirt, debris, and the elements in general, allowing the mesh upper to take less damage and have a longer lifespan. In the midsole, the U4ic foam is the main piece contributing to durability. The U4ic foam is extra durable and good at takin impacts over long periods, according to Mizuno. Finally, the outsole’s combination of all-terrain rubber and blown rubber allow the bottom of the shoe to last for many miles.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Protection is quite good throughout the Wave Rider 20 GTX. The main factors in this are the midsole and the upper. The midsole does a great job protecting the feet with its U4ic foam and its Mizuno Wave. The U4ic foam cushions impacts and shocks, protecting the feet from long-term damage due to running. The Mizuno Wave does the same functionally but compounds the protection. Together, these also help to minimize the chances for twists and sprains by stabilizing the stride. The upper contributes once again with the Gore Tex membrane. This piece protects the feet from external elements like water or debris.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

When it comes to responsiveness, the Wave Rider 20 GTX is not super advanced, but is definitely not terrible either. The main factor contributing to responsiveness is the U4ic foam present throughout the midsole. This foam is pretty good at returning energy, but it does not separate itself very much from other popular foams. Apart from this foam, the shoe does not do much else to promote responsiveness either. For many, the responsiveness of just the foam might be enough, but for those that prefer highly responsive shoes, the Wave Rider 20 G-TX might be a bit underwhelming.
Support
Support

Support

The main factors that help with support throughout the Wave Rider 20 GTX are the upper and the midsole. The midsole supports the feet through the aforementioned U4ic foam and Mizuno Wave. These both cushion and shield the foot from the bottom, providing ample support while running. The upper supports the foot through the comfortably snug feel of the mesh. It sits on the feet without being overbearing, but manages to keep the feet well secured still.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The Wave Rider 20 GTX is a pretty versatile shoe and should see success on most terrains. One difference between the regular Wave Rider 20 is the presence of the Gore Tex membrane and the all-terrain outsole. These make the shoe a bit more suited towards trails and other non-city terrains, as the shoe can comfortably provide protection and durability on them. Overall though, any commonly ran on terrains should be fine for the Wave Rider 20 GTX.
Price
Price

Price

This shoe is definitely a bit on the pricier side, compared to the average running shoe. Though not grossly expensive, there is a noticeable price gap between the Wave Rider 20 GTX and other popular trainers. Those on a budget might want to look elsewhere, but it is a pretty good purchase still for those who don’t mind the slightly higher price tag. It is worth noting that the regular Wave Rider 20 is also a decent bit cheaper, and is a nice alternative for those that don’t mind giving up the extra features.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Traction in this shoe is pretty solid, though, again, not exceptional. The all-terrain outsole is the main factor that helps with this. This special blend of rubber is designed to be more functional on non-city terrains, and does a good job of gripping onto surfaces like dirt and grass. Unfortunately, not much else promotes traction in the shoe, which is a bit disappointing. Some lugs to assist trail running and hill climbing, in particular, might have been nice, but omitting lugs does make the shoe a bit more city friendly. Overall traction is decent and should be adequate in most cases.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The upper and the outsole of this shoe are its main contributors to flexibility. The upper is the big one, contributing with its mesh design. The mesh is inherently flexible thanks to the way that it is woven. The outsole adds to the flexibility of the shoe with its special controller and the blown rubber in the heel. Flexibility is pretty good overall.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Stability in this shoe is pretty good thanks to the midsole. The U4ic foam comes in again, providing good cushioning and shock protection. Protecting the feet from shocks helps to stabilize the stride very well. The Mizuno Wave technology does much the same, as it redirects harsh impacts. This also helps to make the stride more smooth overall, and more stable in turn.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The drop on these shoes is about 12mm, which is actually a bit on the higher end. Many newer running shoes are starting to favor lower drops, in tune with a more minimalist style, but the Wave Rider 20 GTX is one shoe that doesn’t follow this trend. That said, the upper probably shouldn’t be a major point of contention for the shoe overall.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

- U4ic midsole foam
- Mesh upper with Gore Tex membrane
- Ortholite liner
- All terrain and blown rubber outsole
- Mizuno Wave technology
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Wave Rider 20 GTX is a very well rounded and well-equipped shoe overall. The technology offered is quite good, and the shoe can perform well on most terrains as a result. The price tag is definitely a bit of a sour spot, but for those that don’t mind it, the shoe is definitely worth it. If the price tag is a dealbreaker, the regular Wave Rider 20 is another strong choice for a slightly lower price.