Gear Review! Mizuno Wave Rider 20

77aea463-002e-4f4c-b64a-ca9f2704f34f-jpg-_cb527093862_It’s November which means that Mizuno has come out with the newest shoe in the Wave Rider series, the Wave Rider 20!  As they’ve done before they tinkered with a few things… as they inevitably do. They’ve even marketed it as “The Newly Refined Wave Rider 20. Mizuno’s softest, smoothest, most responsive Wave Rider yet.” All I can think is “Eek! I hope they haven’t ruined my beloved shoes!


Now if you’ve followed me from the start you’ll remember that I did a review of the Wave Rider 19 several months ago and that I’m not a particular fan of “squishy” or highly cushioned shoes.  I like to be able to “feel” the road beneath me and have some flexibility in my sole. So the touting of the 20 being softer really worried me at first. After doing a few runs in them and my half marathon for the season I can say that they are definitely softer and more cushioned but not in a typical way. In order to enhance the cushion of the shoe without changing the entire structure Mizuno made two key changes.

midsole-shoeFirst, they took out the old, thin, almost cardboard like midsoles and replaced them with
their all new U4ic (pronounced “euphoric”) midsole material.  This runs the length of the shoe but most importantly it added additional cushion specifically to the heel crash pad. The new midsole material is supposed to “provide a softer, more responsive feeling with better durability and a longer life.”  Though I was seriously skeptical I had to say that the designers sucessfully added just enough cushion without turning my shoe into a marshmallow!  My feet definitely approved.

waverider-cloudwaveThe second change was to Mizuno’s patented Wave Plate technology.  In the 20 this has been updated to the newly named Cloudwave. The cloudwave geometry provides a softer, smoother ride with more cushion on initial heel impact & better guidance in the transition from heel to forefoot.cloudwave-wr20

They essentially made the plate more convex, or bowl-shaped to better accomodate the heel and cup it more.  I haven’t really noticed much of a difference from the glide of my foot from heel to toe but I do think my heel sits down into the shoe better with less movement.

engineeredmesh-featureThe last change to the Wave Rider 20, which has no bearing on the cushion, is the newly redesigned upper featuring their “Triple Zone” engineered mesh. I like the new upper in both its look and the breathability.  It has much less of a “knitted” look than the upper of the 19 did which I really like.

In the past few releases Mizuno has done an initial release of colors with the launch and then releases one to two more colors the following February. This time they will be releasing three additional color options – one in December and two more in February. There are a total of 3 color combinations available now for  women, listed as pictured: Baton Rouge/ White, Blue Atoll/ Silver, and Gunmetal/ Fuchsia Purple.  Mine are the Baton Rouge


The three additional colors for women are Liberty/Black/Electric (Purple/Pink) for December, and for February – High-Rise/Turquoise/Liberty (Gray/Turquoise/Purple) and
White/Norse Blue/Solar Power which I have a sneaking suspicion will be a silvery shoe.

For guys there are also three colors available now: Clownfish/ Black, Blue Depths/Silver, and Light Grey/Black.

I was able to find at least one additional color for men to be released later, a yellow and blue version and I’m sure there will be at least one more but I wasn’t able to find any info online.  I’ll update you once I’ve been able to take a look at the catalog.

Here is what the Mizuno website has to say about the Wave Rider 20:


Mizuno is transforming running once again with the Wave Rider 20. In the 20th iteration of our most beloved shoe, we’ve included entirely new Wave plate technology for a softer, smoother ride with an even more responsive feel.

The Wave Rider 20 maintains Mizuno’s classic fit while also featuring a breakthrough in Triple Zone engineered mesh that provides breathability, movement and hold throughout the run. After 18 years of continuous refinement, our latest Wave Rider is guaranteed to exceed all expectations.

Key Features:

  • An all-new, redesigned cloudwave plate provides an overall softer, smoother ride
  • Articulated U4icX heel wedge creates more cushion
  • Top midsole foam incorporates a new U4ic foam compound that makes this version of the Wave Rider 33% more responsive and durable than previous models
  • Engineered mesh increases breathability, movement & hold
  • Softer heel collar helps avoid irritation without losing heel fit
  • Ramp: 12mm
  • Retail Value: $120.00

So far I like the changes that came with the latest version of the Wave Rider. I’ve logged about 30 miles on them and the added cushion and differences in the wave plate haven’t been a problem.  It was definitely a different feel to previous versions but once they’re good and broken in you’ll feel right at home if you’re a loyal Wave Rider. The 20s still have that signature Mizuno fit and feel that I’ve come to love but the latest changes bring the Wave Rider a little closer to a shoe that a wider range of people would enjoy.

Whether your a loyal Mizuno fan or just buying your first pair I would definitely recommend checking them out at your local Fleet Feet or other running store before you purchase them.  From me though, they get two thumbs up and lots of miles to go!

Happy Running!



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