December 5, 2013

Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 17s

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

Guess what came out today? The new Mizuno Wave Rider 17s! Normally, I wouldn’t follow the release of a new shoe, since I tend to wear the same models and get upset when a shoe company retires a design I liked in favor of a slightly updated one (that is often very different). However, in this case, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample of the Wave Rider 17s prior to launch day, and so today I’ve been intrigued to see what all the shoe pundits have had to say and how their impressions compare to mine.


You might remember when I reviewed the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras back in July, and I was really happy with the results. Although the ultralight shoe doesn’t provide me with enough support for marathons, I’ve really enjoyed wearing them on shorter runs, and have even gotten used to the pop of neon color they add to my gym outfits. However, the Mizuno Wave Riders are meant to be slightly more supportive than the Sayonaras, and I knew that a lot of people use the combo for a one-two punch: Sayonaras for short distance, Wave Riders for long. I liked that idea, and so was excited to give these a try!

Right out of the package, I loved the colors. Lately, sneaker shades have trended toward neon, and I know I still don’t have great fashion sense, but I miss the days of white sneakers with an accent color. (You know, the better to immediately get dirty). The Wave Riders that I was sent came in a super cute white with purple accents – just my style! However, the seamless heat-bonded support makes them still look very modern (and keeps them much more lightweight) than the sewn overlays used in more traditional/old school shoes like those I usually wear for long runs. I like that the look of the shoe is simple and doesn’t make me “trendy” with too much neon, but it also doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing granny sneakers from the 1990s.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17s Neon
If you do like neon, though, Mizuno makes the Wave Rider 17s in other fun color combos like this one. Is that enough neon for you?

The Wave Rider 17s are extremely flexible, and I was able to bend them in half just like the Sayonaras. Both the Sayonaras and the Wave Rider 17s have the same “U4ic midsole”, which is supposed to “provide resiliency and a smooth ride at a fraction of the weight of traditional midsoles” – which explains how these long distance shoes are able to clock in at a puny 7.8oz. That’s less than an ounce heavier than the short distance Sayonaras (7.1oz), but still much lighter than the Asics GT-2000s (8.8oz) or Brooks Adrenalines (9.4 oz), which are both of my current long run shoes. The material is also much more breathable, so your feet won’t get as hot in them. (With the current ice storm in Dallas, that’s a bit of a negative right now, but I know I’ll be really grateful for the breathability come spring.)

Once I put the shoes on, I noticed a big difference in the fit and feel compared to the Sayonaras. They didn’t quite feel as form-fitted, mostly because they weren’t quite as cushy. I actually found that to be a good thing! They felt like they had a bit more stability, while still definitely being ultralight shoes that I’d kind of compare to something like Vibram Five Fingers in that you need to work up to using them for long periods of time because they’re going to make your foot feel the ground more. Unlike the completely minimalist Vibrams, though, they definitely offer some support, and I thought they offered a bit more than the Sayonaras.

Weight Lifting in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17s
The light weight / thin sole also makes them excellent for weight lifting… and they match my new purple top perfectly. Small favors 🙂

While the heel drop of 12mm is about the same as most of my other shoes, the sole itself felt much thinner, and I really liked it. I learned from Mizuno that it’s because of a new “blown rubber” material that they’re using for the outsole, which cushioned without any bounce or give. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like I was running right on the ground instead of on a platform, except with enough cushioning that I wouldn’t hurt my foot if I stepped on something. Really neat and very different-feeling than any other shoe I’ve tried – I think Mizuno totally succeeded in making a shoe that helps you “become one with the ground.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m quite ready to wear them for a marathon immediately, since I’d be worried about injury going that far in a shoe that’s so different from my normal long distance one. But as I did with the Sayonaras, I’d love to start by trying them for a shorter race like a 10K or a half marathon. I think these would hold up a lot better than the Sayonaras when I’m running long, and I love the idea of a lightweight shoe that still offers enough support for distance.

That said, I’m also impatient, and I don’t have any short races coming up anytime soon. Maybe I should just go for it and wear them in Sunday’s MetroPCS Dallas Marathon? (If it still happens with the ice storm.) I’m still undecided…

Disclaimer: Mizuno provided me with shoes and compensation for an honest review, but I was not pressured to write a positive review and all opinions expressed in today’s post are mine alone. 


4 thoughts on “Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 17s”

  1. I put 150 miles on my current pair of Wave Riders and then retired them to my closet to only be used for goal marathons. Love me those shoes. I think I have bought 4 pairs of that line – after my local running store hooked me up the first time.

  2. Can’t wait to try them myself! I’ve burned through 4 pairs of wave riders this year and a pair of sayonara’s. I wore 2 of the wave riders for a shakeout run then a marathon so went for it out of the box. And never any issue! I know Dallas is not happening (so sad!) but thought I would let you know!!

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