Summary

We spent 10.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • People were generally happy with the aesthetics of the Mizuno Wave Rider 22, stating that the colors and design were visually appealing.
  • The underfoot cushioning system was considered to be very comfortable, some consumers noted.
  • The width profiles of both the men and women’s versions accommodated medium-sized feet, based on a handful of reviews.
  • Several purchasers commented that the general durability of the components was dependable.
  • The gripping capability of the outsole was sure and precise, according to a couple of runners.
  • A lot of reviewers agree the Wave Rider 22 is a supportive shoe.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The toe box of the Wave Rider 22 is not roomy enough for some of its users.
  • A couple of wearers feel the shoe is bulky, especially because of the puffy-looking collar.
  • The overlays on the upper tended to press into the fabric and cause irritation to the foot, some testers reported.

Bottom line

The Mizuno Wave Rider 22 was well-received. This update to the long-running series of neutral shoes was deemed worthy of the Rider name, mainly when it came to its general quality and efficacy on the roads. People loved the visual design, the agreeable fit profile, and the sturdy build of this footwear. Inversely, some structural elements of the shoe were criticized for its weight, small toe box, and uncomfortable overlays. Overall, the Wave Rider 22 is deemed to be a remarkable running shoe with reliable functionalities.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
Top 7% most popular running shoes

Expert Reviews

85 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 87 / 100 |

    Wave Rider 22 - Sit back and enjoy the ride...

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    Nothing says "back in the day" like the Mizuno Wave Rider 22. When I pulled this shoe out of the box, my first impression was that of the running shoes that I cut my teeth on in the mid-1990s. However, make no mistake, this shoe is no throwback.

    Having spent the past couple of years running in shoes that ranged from 6mm drop to 0mm drop, stepping into the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 was a refreshing change. The classic feel of the 12mm drop was reminiscent of some of the first running shoes that I wore from Saucony and Nike, however, the differences were noticeable and welcomed.

     

    Stats

    Size -  Men's 9.5

    Weight - 9.4 oz

    Drop - 12mm

    Stack - 32mm

    Fit/Feel

    The Wave Rider 22 has a really nice feel to it. Having run in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 a few years back, I was anticipating a similar ride. However, the Wave Rider 22 is much lighter and this is noticeable from the onset.

    The Wave Rider 22 also feels more responsive and in touch with the road than the Wave Inspire 12. The anatomical sock liner creates a super comfortable fit and feel.

    As Mizuno states, the Wave Rider 22 has more cushion than the Wave Rider 21 did, and this is obvious from the beginning. The shoe has a soft feel when you put it on, but it isn't loose or sloppy. The Dynamotion fabric's stretch gives the shoe a comfortable broken-in feeling right out of the box. This innovative fabric advancement is an especially nice touch.

    The 32mm stack height gives the shoe a high ride, but this isn't apparent by the look of the shoe. The height of the shoe did feel a little tall at first, and I did worry about it potentially being laterally tippy, but this turned out to not be an issue. The level of cushion makes this feel like a good everyday trainer, and less like a racing flat than some of the earlier models leaned toward.

     

     

    The ankle collar and tongue have ample padding. I liked this feature because it allowed me to tighten the shoe very snug without creating discomfort or pressure points from the lace cage pressing down on my foot. As a result, the heel counter felt very secure in this shoe.

    The toe box and general mid-foot feel is snug. This holds true for Mizuno´s general design trend of a narrower shoe. With that said, I did not feel cramped in the shoe one bit.

    The flexibility of the woven upper mesh lets the foot do what it needs to do without getting too sloppy. These shoes feel fitted, but not restrictive. Mizuno offers the shoe in a wide (2E) option so those of you that run wide might consider this.

    Function

    The softer feel of the Wave Rider 22 is credited to Mizuno´s proprietary U4icx technology that is touted as providing cushion without sacrificing responsiveness. The shoe holds true to its claim. I found the shoe to run with a soft feel, but not so liberal that I couldn't feel my connection with the road surface.

    The Wave Rider 22 delivers a smooth ride with a nice heel to toe transition. I´ve run a little over 100 miles in these shoes and am consistently impressed with the fluid feel that they have on the road.

     

     

    The Wave Plate technology works to disperse the impact of foot fall. The visible hard plastic plate is unnoticed when running and for heel strikers it will come as invaluable, lessening the impact on your ankles, knees and hips alike.

    The rigid plate extends into the arch of the shoe and offers welcomed, extra support. I also think that this will help to alleviate midsole breakdown over time.

     

     

    The Wave Rider 22 had great grip on wet roads and paved pedestrian paths. On a 5 mile run in the rain, the shoe did not fail me around corners. However, the ample padding in the upper collar and tongue held onto more water than I would have liked, making the light shoe a bit heavier for the last few miles of that run.

     

     

    I also gave the shoes a test run on the treadmill. The Wave RIder 22 performs well on a variety of surfaces from the pavement, to asphalt, to the pedestrian path and treadmill belts.

    I am excited to have this shoe to train in this fall and winter. It will be my choice for the coming fall 5K races and thematic fun runs around the holidays.

     

    Durability

    After a little over 100 miles in the Wave Rider 22 shoes, I have been really pleased with how well they've held up. The woven upper mesh is very breathable yet extremely durable. The weave of the fabric is supple enough that the typical stress points that are constantly flexed seem to be unfettered by the movement.

    The sole of the shoe is in great shape and does not seem to be wearing down abnormally in any one spot. The extra layer of X10 carbon-rubber on the back of the sole is extremely durable and positioned right where it counts.

     

    Pros

    • Light and responsive
    • The cushion is sufficient but not over the top
    • Very nice heel to toe turnover

    Cons

    • Holds on water weight more than desired
    • 32mm stack feels a bit tilted

    Overall

    The Wave Rider 22 is an all around great shoe. It is light and responsive, yet has enough cushion to deliver a comfortable ride. It is best described as a neutral trainer that is a good shoe for mid-distance to longer distance base training. The heel to toe transition feels very smooth and natural.

    As a road specific shoe, the Wave Rider 22 has the feel of a light racing flat but the cushion and versatility of a shoe built for long distance training. The look of the shoe is classic, stylish and the color choices are very tasteful. The Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is well worth the MSRP of $120.00.

  • 93 / 100 |

    Thoughts on Mizuno Wave Rider 22 after 80+ miles

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    I have to be upfront and say that the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is my go-to shoe for running at all distances. 

    I have been rotating in other shoes, but I always reach for these shoes in my closet whenever I am going out for a run. They are a great all-around shoe, providing just enough cushioning for the long runs and enough responsiveness/spring/snap/pop (no crackle) for your tempo runs and speed work.

     

     

    It just feels smooth and really comfortable whenever I put it on. I have never worn Mizuno before and I am very glad that I found this shoe since I will be snatching up another pair or two.  

    Upper

    The upper is a dual layer mesh material. The area around your toes is a very breathable and flexible material. This is really important if you live in a hot climate or if your feet tend to get hot and sweaty on your runs. 

     

     

    I also like that it is not restricting so my toes can splay within the shoe when I am running.

    The upper around the middle of the foot is a very sturdy synthetic material. It maintains the flexibility that really gives your foot a nice squeeze, like a bear hug. The nice and padded tongue make tying your shoe like a hug from a teddy bear. 

    The heel cup does a job of keeping your foot cradled in and the padding along the collar help keep that bear hug throughout the foot and ankle. If you have a hard toe off when running, it could cause some rubbing on the back of the ankle.

    I can’t say how well the plate works, but the midsole foam material is wonderful! 

    Midsole

    The centerpiece of the midsole is the wave plate in the middle of the shoe. It runs through the heel to the midsole. I have not done a lot of research, on this, but it appears to absorb Impact and return the energy.

     

     

    I can’t say how well the plate works, but the midsole foam material is wonderful. Since I am a midfoot striker I got tremendous energy return from the midsole and just enough cushion to make my runs snappy, but comfortable.

    The midsole is definitely the best part of the shoe for me, but if you are looking for stability, that’s not this shoe. Since it doesn’t have a very wide platform, it doesn’t offer any sort of stability that you get in other shoes. If you are a true neutral runner, this shouldn’t be too big of a problem.

    Outsole

    The rubber outsole on this shoe is substantial. I have used this on the road, single track trails and loose gravel and the outsole held up well in all of those conditions. It's grippy and thick but the shoe doesn’t feel super heavy because of it.

     

     

    I feel that I will probably get 500 miles out of this shoe because I haven’t seen any breakdown on the outsole. In fact, it still looks new after 80+ miles running. 

    Weight 

    At about 8-9 ounces, this shoe was a lot lighter than I thought it would be with the dual layer upper and the plastic wave piece that is integrated into the midsole. When running, the shoe doesn’t feel clunky or like is weighing your feet down.

    Performance

    From the second you put these on, they cradle your feet. The 'bear hug' mentioned above is so cozy that you might as well be some boots, but you are not, you are in the nice springy Mizuno Wave Rider 22.

    When I start running in these, no matter the speed, I feel the pop from the midsole. It’s not so pronounced that you feel like you need to log a 5-6 minute mile when you are running in it.

    Pros

    • Midsole provides a cushion on your long and short runs
    • The outsole is durable and substantial
    • Able to transition to different surfaces
    • Upper is well constructed and hugs your foot like a bear, but still providing enough flexibility to allow your toes to splay while running
    • Value for the shoe is amazing since it is so durable

    Cons

    • Doesn’t feel super stable underfoot since the platform isn’t very wide
    • Runs small (I would recommend going a ½ size up)
    • The aesthetics are reminiscent of an orthopedic shoe
    • Upper goes up high and tends to rub against your skin
  • 88 / 100 | Motion Control Running Shoes | Level 5 expert

    The outsoles of the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 and the Mizuno Wave Sky 2 are quite similar in layout and construction, but the Mizuno Wave Sky 2 displays a bit more separation on the lateral side under the heel and the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 displays a bit more segmentation in that same area, so both running shoes are set up to absorb shock well at heel-strike.

  • 82 / 100 | Runner's World | | Level 5 expert

    The midsole is made from two different foams. Directly under the heel is Mizuno’s U4icX compound, a super soft layer that reduces impact when you strike heel first. The rest of the midsole is comprised of U4ic, a slightly firmer but still soft foam that Mizuno has been using across its performance running line.

Become an expert

  • This Mizuno shoe is crafted for those who want to tackle a variety of activities to the next level. The upper area of the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 has a full-length engineered mesh. This updated material is focused on delivering a breathable coverage. It also adapts to a variety of foot shapes which results in a comfortable ride.
  • Like the previous version, the shoe has the same features but with updates in the design of the midsole area. With the modification of this section, a smoother and softer ride is created for the user to enjoy throughout the run.
  • With the perfect combination of a soft material in the heel area and new flex grooves, the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 offers a softer ground impact. Because of this, an agreeable heel-to-toe transition is encouraged.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is a neutral shoe that is engineered for road running activities. The footwear has noticeable upgrades to improve comfort and fit, while still providing most of the benefits delivered by its predecessor. When it comes to size, the shoe follows the standard measurements. The available widths are D - Medium, and 2E - Wide for the men's version and B - Medium and D - Wide for the women's version.

Featured in the outsole of the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is the X10. This material can be found in the heel area of the shoe. It is made up of durable carbon rubber that aims to provide enhanced grip on different paved surfaces. It has also been used in some Mizuno road running shoes like the Wave Inspire 15.

Flex Controllers are strategically-placed in the high flex areas of the outsole. The primary purpose of this technology to act as miniature wave plates. These wave plates are essential for increasing flexibility and reducing weight.

Lying in the forefoot area is the Blown rubber. This component of the shoe aims to increase responsiveness and cushioning.

Utilized in the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is the Cloudwave. This technology is composed of a redesigned plastic wave that is thermal and elastic. It runs from the heel area to the midfoot to create a bouncier and more cushioned ride.

The Premium Anatomical Sockliner is incorporated into the footwear. This material is vital in helping to provide a more natural and customized fit. As a result, a softer underfoot feel is experienced by the runner.

Minimizing the rapid deceleration and acceleration of the foot is the work of the Smooth Ride. This technology is described to be a gender-specific network of grooves that aims to create a smoother heel-to-toe transition.

A more cushioned and lighter version of the U4ic is used in making the footwear. This version is called the U4icX Heel Wedge. With the utilization of this technology, it delivers a softer and more pillowy underfoot feel. This is significant for the runner during the ground impact.

Optimal shock absorption is offered by the U4ic. This lightweight midsole material delivers a resilient ride and improved durability as well.

The Dynamotion Fit is integrated into the upper section of the Mizuno Wave Rider 22. This stretchable material lies in the forefoot area to create an optimized fit. It also has the collar construction that is responsible for preventing the heel collar from bending and twisting under load.

Lying in the forefoot area is the Dual Zone engineered mesh. This component of the shoe is updated to improve response to foot movements. This is significant in providing a distraction-free fit.

Mizuno added the U4icX Strobel Lasting board into the shoe. This feature's primary focus is to deliver a more cushioned and comfortable feel underneath the foot.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com