Mizuno Wave Rider 21

9.5
9.5 score
[Editors rating (9.5)] = Runnerclick score (9.5)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

If there are less than 10 user reviews for the product in total, the weight of user reviews is decreased from 50% to 25% to make sure that new products are not rated too high.
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Editor rating: 9.5 / 10
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Mizuno Wave Rider 21 Review Facts
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Though it’s not as recognizable as other athletic companies, Japanese-based Mizuno has gained an extremely loyal following thanks to its carefully engineered lines of sports equipment and activewear. For well over twenty years, the brand’s Wave Rider footwear line has been its most popular series of running shoes. Each new release takes into account what runners are looking for the most and works to incorporate these desires into the new design. Over the years, each model has increased substantially in lightness, breathability, and support. Though these features never waver and continue to improve over time, it’s obvious that the Wave Rider 21 has prioritized comfort over everything else. With added heel cushioning, a removable sockliner, and improved airflow, a comfortable and responsive stride is offered to runners of all levels.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Supportive cushioning

-Lightweight feel

-Breathable comfort

-Provides pain relief

-Efficient traction

Cons

-Limited color options available

-Does not fit true to size

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Just like its predecessor, the Wave Rider 21’s outsole is comprised of two different materials. The brand’s specialized X10 carbon rubber covers the heel to increase durability and reduce damage caused by impact. The forefoot contains blown rubber, which is air injected and more lightweight, to provide greater flexibility and create added cushioning and energy transfer. Flex Controllers are incorporated into the sole’s tread pattern to improve range of motion. Reviewers were pleased that Mizuno kept this feature, as they commend it not only for its durable traction but also for its added responsiveness.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The bulk of the Wave Rider 21’s midsole is constructed of U4ic. Created by Mizuno, it’s 30% lighter than the brand’s other midsole materials yet just as soft and durable. Its heel wedge, on the other hand, is made of U4ixC, to further enhance cushioning and absorb impact. Two additional technologies are put in place for an improved run. The Cloudwave is a thermal plastic wave placed in between the midfoot and heel wedge for greater energy transfer. SmoothRide consists of a curved platform that eases the foot's motions and promotes a more natural stride. Unlike previous models, this version features an anatomical sockliner for greater support and responsiveness.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Most of the changes to the Wave Rider 21 have gone to its upper. It now features the Dynamotion Fit design, which combines a number of different features that allow it to completely follow the foot’s every movement. Engineered mesh now takes the place of triple mesh, permitting greater breathability and a better overall fit. As the foot moves, it stretches and bends easily to accommodate the runner and ensure greater durability. The brand's logo features prominently on the shoe’s lateral side, providing additional structure without weighing it down. This is aided further by a synthetic heel clip at the back. The lacing system provides a secure yet unrestricted fit, thanks to its flex eyelets. Finally, additional heel padding is featured on this model for even greater comfort and protection.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Wave Rider 21 has an average weight for a running shoe, with men’s sizes being 10.2 oz and women’s at 8.7 oz. As with the previous model, reviewers have noted how lightweight this one feels throughout the day. Despite the abundance of advanced features built into the shoe, all of them are carefully engineered to have as little mass as possible. Natural movements never feel impeded or weighed down, and runners can confidently go about knowing that they are properly supported yet unrestricted.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

While all Wave Rider models feature a breathable wear, this feature has been enhanced slightly with the 21st version. The triple mesh that was previously used has been swapped out for more engineered mesh, which offers enhanced airflow and a more comfortable fit. Though this seems subtle, many reviewers have noticed an improvement in this shoe’s ventilation. Hotspots are better targeted, especially at the forefoot and heel, and a drier and more comfortable wear is provided.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Without any doubt, a comfortable wear is the Wave Rider 21’s greatest selling point. Thanks to its cushiony midsole, breathable upper, and extra heel padding, runners feel completely supported and at ease whether they’re at the gym or running a marathon. As an added bonus, many reviewers noted that their chronic pain was relieved while wearing this shoe. Men’s sizes are also offered in three different widths: narrow, medium and wide. Women’s, on the other hand, are only offered in narrow and medium. Despite these options, most reviewers have recommended going half a size up when purchasing these shoes.
Style
Style

Style

Those who loved the look of the Wave Rider 20 are very happy to see that its successor has kept most of this shoe’s style. There are some notable differences, however, such as a more prominent logo and larger heel clip. Some reviewers are also a bit disappointed that this model is offered in fewer colors than previous versions. Furthermore, some consumers claim that the color options they purchased looked noticeably different from photos featured on the product listing.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Though there aren’t many online details that describe how durable the Wave Rider 21 is, this feature can easily be controlled depending on how it’s used. Those who purchase this shoe for regular gym sessions or basic jogs will find that it lasts considerably longer. While it can easily withstand long-distance runs, buyers should be mindful of the terrains they travel on. Though this model can easily hold up to roads and sidewalks, it is not designed for hiking or trail-running. Not only will the sole wear down more quickly, but its mesh upper will also begin to tear apart after only a few months of use. As with all footwear, proper maintenance and correct usage are the keys to making this shoe last longer.
Protection
Protection

Protection

As with its predecessors, the Wave Rider 21 cannot do a lot to protect the runner from the elements. While it does provide fair traction on wet surfaces, its upper is not water repellant and is not designed to withstand rough terrains. What it can do, however, is cushion the foot and work to reduce pain and the likelihood of long-term injuries. The materials constructing its outsole and midsole work together to provide high levels of shock absorption and energy transfer while giving the foot a soft yet sturdy base. Furthermore, its breathability reduces the likelihood of blisters and infections created by excessive sweat.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Aside from the optimal comfort it provides, the Wave Rider 21’s other great selling point is its responsive nature. Its durable rubber outsole not only provides strong traction but also works with the shoe’s midsole to ensure optimal shock absorption and energy transfer. The combination of the Cloudwave feature and SmoothRide technology within the midsole encourages a natural range of motion as well as an added boost to each step. The engineered mesh constructing its upper adds further responsiveness by increasing breathability and a greater stretch with each movement.
Support
Support

Support

The Wave Rider 21 provides the perfect amount of support for basic jogs and long distance runs. As the dual-rubber outsole provides a strong yet lightweight foundation, its separate midsole materials work together to ensure optimal cushioning and energy return. Additional heel padding not only gives greater comfort but also works to reduce pain and the likelihood of long-term injuries. The shoe’s lacing system makes use of flex eyelets to provide a secure fit without being too restrictive. These features are aided even further with the inclusion of an anatomical sockliner, keeping the foot in place as the runner moves around.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

As a road running shoe, the Wave Rider 21 is designed specifically for use on everyday terrains. Because it takes the bulk of the impact, the heel is constructed of X10 carbon rubber for increased durability against asphalt and concrete. Those who participate in marathon running have praised this shoe for its sturdiness as well its ability to safely carry them across wet and dry terrains. Some reviewers have said that this shoe’s tread pattern could easily work for several types of outdoor sports. Unfortunately, the shoe’s mesh upper does hold it back from being fit for use on more rugged landscapes.
Price
Price

Price

Across all online retailers, the Wave Runner 21 has the same $120 price tag as its predecessors. Though this may seem expensive to some, especially to those who are new to running, it’s actually quite reasonable once they dig a little deeper. Many similar models with the same amount of advanced features can easily run for much higher. The cost is also quite low when compared to Mizuno’s other running shoes. Reduced prices still can be found on Amazon and eBay, as long as buyers check the listing reviews before making a purchase.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Though it is not intended for high-intensity outdoor sports, the Wave Rider 21 still provides a surprisingly high level of traction. Just like its predecessors, this model keeps the runner secure and stable on all everyday terrains and even provides a strong grip on wet surfaces. Those to participate in marathon running felt that these shoes kept them moving along safely even during sudden weather changes. However, the construction of its upper limits the number of uses it could offer.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Thanks to its outsole’s two rubber compounds, the Wave Rider finds the perfect balance between firmness and flexibility. While the heel’s X10 carbon rubber stays strong and durable, the blown rubber that covers the forefoot provides greater flexibility and lightness. This is aided further by the addition of Flex Controllers within the tread pattern. The shoe’s various midsole materials add to this feature by providing durable cushioning that supports the foot without being cumbersome. The upper further enhances flexibility with an engineered mesh upper that stretches and bends along with the foot’s movements.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Wave Rider 21 is a shoe for neutral runners and, therefore, does not offer any corrective features. That said, it works to ensure a completely stable run and keeps the foot locked in place without feeling restrictive. Both its outsole and midsole take on the tasks of shock absorption and energy transfer, thereby ensuring smoother and more controlled movements. The removable sockliner is curved to better fit the foot’s shape, keeping it from wobbling. A lacing system, heel clip, and padding around the collar maintain a secure and structured fit.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Compared to the average running shoe, which has a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm, the Wave Runner 21’s drop comes in at 12mm. This is primarily due to the extra heel padding that’s offered. Most runners enjoy this, as it means enhanced cushioning and a more comfortable stride for runners of all levels. However, those who prefer a low-drop platform won’t be satisfied with this shoe.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-X10 carbon rubber and blown rubber outsole
-U4ic midsole for lightweight cushioning
-U4ixC heel wedge absorbs impact
-Cloudwave feature for greater energy transfer
-SmoothRide technology promotes natural motion
-Dynamotion Fit design for greater airflow and enhanced fit
-Fewer color options than previous models
-Different width options available for men and women
-12mm heel-to-toe drop
-Does not fit true to size
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Whether they are light joggers or frequently participate in marathons, runners of all levels look for certain qualities in their footwear. Breathability, strong and durable traction, a sturdy support system, and cushiony comfort are always their top priorities. It’s quite obvious that Mizuno took all of these requirements into account when they designed the Wave Rider 21. With a lightweight feel and added heel cushioning, this model keeps runners completely secure and comfortable in their movements while reducing the likelihood of long-term pain. It is not without its disadvantages, however, as many reviewers have recommended buying them at least half a size up. Still, once they have found their perfect fit, it’s safe to say that a number of buyers will easily be converted to the Mizuno brand when it comes to their perfect athletic shoe.