Facts

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Terrain

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Arch support

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who need arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

Price
$120
Weight
Men: 9.2oz
Women: 7.8oz
Show more facts

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

Summary

We spent 7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • The general consensus from a good number of reviews show that the 18th version of the Rider is a comfortable shoe.
  • It is a value for the money investment.
  • Many comments focused on the spacious toe box for plenty of toe splay.
  • It has excellent arch support.
  • The Rider 18 is relatively lightweight for a neutral trainer.
  • A handful loved the pop coming from the midsole.
  • The heel to toe transition is quick, according to several runners.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Quite a few runners saw the soles of the Rider 18 getting separated from the upper.
  • Several disliked the firmness of the ride.
  • Some were disappointed because it required a break-in period.

Bottom line

One of Mizuno’s most popular lines goes back to what worked for them in this version of the Rider. With a more form-fitting upper, runners will get to experience again the superb arch support, firm and responsive cushioning, and efficient movement through the gait cycle. This is a very solid option for those looking for a high-mileage trainer that has noticeable stability and shock-absorbing features.


Rankings


Ratings

4.6 / 5 based on 726 ratings

5 star
75%
4 star
17%
3 star
4%
2 star
3%
1 star
1%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

Experts are running shoe geeks, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

81 / 100 based on 12 expert reviews

  • 75 / 100 by RunRepeat • Lovebel Talisic • Level 1 expert

    Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is a lightweight shoe that offers durability and adaptive fit. This shoe is ideal for runners who are looking for a firm ride.

  • 90 / 100 by Solereview • Solereview • Level 5 expert

    The Wave Rider is a firm riding shoe which plays both the neutral and motion control card.

  • 85 / 100 by Competitor Running • Brian Metzler • Level 5 expert

    Firm but responsive ride that runners have been accustomed to for many years, only with a more nimble ride. It feels slightly softer in the forefoot during toe-off.

  • 50 / 100 by Runner's World • Runner's World • Level 5 expert

    While testers appreciated the midfoot fit, several complained about rubbing or slipping around the ankle, and many rated the ride as "average."

  • 89 / 100 by Salt Marsh Running • Jason Saltmarsh • Level 4 expert

    I was thankful for the solid outsole grip as I navigated the winter roads, and I like the reassuring stability of the shoe.

  • 80 / 100 by Running Shoes Guru • Thomas Caughlan • Level 4 expert

    The transition of this shoe from heel to toe-off is one of the best in the business, and I’ve always found that the Wave Rider really appeals to heel strikers who are looking for a firm but responsive ride.

  • 93 / 100 by Running Maven • Derek Oxley • Level 3 expert

    If your looking to transform your training runs and make a powerful statement on race day consider lacing up a pair of WR.

  • 90 / 100 by The Running Shoe Review • Nick • Level 3 expert

    I like to run a little more forefoot, and this was a little troublesome in these due to the relatively high heel, but the shoe makes up for it by being light enough to still use for faster runs.

  • 70 / 100 by Holabird Sports • Greg Jubb • Level 3 expert

    Mizuno is taking its flagship neutral-cushioned shoe and going back to the basics.

  • 90 / 100 by Run And Become • Bhauliya Moss • Level 2 expert

    I put them on and hardly noticed I was wearing shoes, generally with a brand new pair of shoes they take a little while to feel like ‘my shoes’. With these I didn’t have that issue at all.

  • 85 / 100 by Run to Munch • Run to Munch • Level 1 expert

    Great neutral shoe for short, long and everything in between runs. I even use them on easy trails.

  • 85 / 100 by Running Warehouse • Justin • Level 1 expert

    The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 generates a firm and fast feel that will hold up to high mileage training while offering one of the lightest options in its class.

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Updates to Mizuno Wave Rider 18

  • Mizuno itself admits that the previous model was sort of a hit and miss so it had to go back to what gave the line so much success in the past. In the Rider 18, the same springy or curved forefoot utilized in versions past, is featured. This gives the shoe a much better transition going forward.
  • The outsole gets a little boost as well where durability goes. Mizuno adds a little more rubber in the heel and forefoot sections. It also means a little more cushioning to handle impacts. Changing the outsole pattern is another significant modification in the latest incarnation of the Wave Rider. From large and circular pattern, it has been changed to the rectangular-shaped configuration. The change also results to numerous fair-sized cut outs, which result to better flexibility.
  • Going back to an earlier model of the Wave Plate is also in dealt in the 18th version of the Rider. Because it is designed to be firm, runners can get more stability and a little pop in this shoe.
  • The upper, however, gets a majority of the changes. A loose fit was a major factor in losing that Rider magic before, so Mizuno did away with the welded and printed overlays for a more substantial and stitched version, including the Runbird logo. Mizuno ditches the seamless one-piece version for a two-piece design for more structure and hold. Located in the upper is a new eyelet row overlay for enhanced durability.
  • Overlays in the heel has been removed to feature a single patch with a tiny reflective material. Despite the overlay being removed, the heel counter continues to be firm. The overall result is a much better heel and midfoot hold. There is improved locked down feel in this shoe.
  • To compensate for the firmness of the sole, a premium insole can be trampled upon by runners.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 size and fit

The fit of the Rider 18 has changed relative to the earlier model. A relaxed feel in the heel and midfoot is a bit noticeable, but there are no longer any security concerns as the enhancements ensure a functional lockdown in these areas. The roomy forefoot gives runners a more comfortable fit for long runs. Medium and wide are the available widths of this shoe. Sizing runs true in the Wave Rider 18.


Outsole

The Rider 18 uses numerous rectangular-shaped rubber configurations. It gives the shoe more flex. Mizuno covers the heel with its ever-reliable X10 carbon rubber for more durability and traction. The forefoot uses softer blown rubber with a slightly more aggressive pattern than the rest of the outsole.


Midsole

Reverting to past model of the Wave Plate does the trick for the 18th instalment of the rider. It brings back the trademark torsional rigidity and firmness in the cushioning for more shock attenuation and responsiveness. Adding to the firmness of the ride is the U4ic midsole foam.


Upper

A two-piece upper with minimal, but more substantial overlays covers a large part of this section. The mesh is highly-breathable while the overlays enhanced the midfoot security. Mizuno places a small logo on the heel for some reflectivity with a hidden heel counter holding the heel in place. The tongue and collar are well-padded for improved comfort.