Verdict from 6.1 hours of research from the internet

1490 users: 4.6 / 5
51 experts: 83 / 100

9 reasons to buy

  • The overall visual aspect of the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 was greatly appreciated by a number of runners.
  • Many testers felt that it was adequately lightweight.
  • Several consumers were able to use this shoe for different types of activities, like exercising and racing, and they stated that was responsive and agile enough for such purposes.
  • The breathability of the upper unit pleased those who have tried it because their feet didn’t feel too warm, even when they were wearing the shoe for long periods of time.
  • An expert reviewer lauded the flexibility of the platform because it gave an energized pop during the toe-off.
  • The underfoot experience was soft and comfortable, noted by a runner.
  • The inclusion of the U4icX cushioning technology made the mid-sole more robust and efficient, a tester observed.
  • A reviewer noted that the foot-chamber and the platform had a slightly wider nature than its predecessors, which meant that it made the fit more accommodating.
  • Some heavyset testers stated that this shoe is a great option for those with heavier weight profiles.

5 reasons not to buy

  • A few runners were disappointed because the upper fabric wore out quickly on them.
  • Some users mentioned that the cushioning felt too firm for long-distance runs.
  • A reviewer complained that this shoe’s toe box was too large and that its heel was too loose.
  • A tester felt that the upper was a bit too plush that it made his feet sweat.
  • Some runners reported that seams in the interior wall of the shoe didn’t make the cover system as smooth as desired.

Bottom line

Many runners wrote that the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 was a worthy addition to the popular series of road running shoes. Some of them even added that it was able to surpass many of its predecessors. For them, the upper, the midsole and the outsole were well-designed. On the other hand, there were those who didn’t acclimate well to it, stating some concerns with its width and how it performed for them.

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Our reviews

/100 by Cristian Filimon, posted on .

I own two pairs of Mizuno Wave Rider 20, both of them with over 1000km in training and racing.



I started to use them back in the summer of 2017 (yellow pair) and spring of 2018 (red pair). I still count on them these days as spare/rotation shoes, but only for recovery and easy runs up to 10km.

Testing conditions

  • Use: Daily running and competitions
  • Terrain: Flat and hilly roads, light trails and sand
  • Weather conditions: +35°C down to -20°C, heat, rain, sleet, snow
  • Distance: 5 km up to a marathon
  • Intensity: Recovery, easy, steady, tempo, speed and long runs
  • Pace: Between 4:30-6:30 min/km


I used the yellow pair for the following races:

  • Transmaraton 2017 – half-marathon on hilly roads
  • Bucharest International Marathon 2017 – city marathon on flat roads
  • 1st December Marathon 2017 – park marathon on flat alleys



I used the red pair for the following races:

  • Sand Marathon 2018 – marathon on a sandy beach at the Black Sea
  • Cluj-Napoca International Marathon 2018 – city marathon on flat roads
  • Brasov International Marathon 2018 – city marathon on flat and hilly roads


Size and fit

I have wide feet, and before I bought the first pair, I did a little research here on to find the "perfect" fitting road running shoes for me.

With other brands, I usually fit in 27.5cm. But with Mizuno Wave Rider 20, because of a wider forefoot, I fitted perfectly in US 9/UK 8/27 cm, D – regular size.

From heel to toe, they have soft heel fit with excellent grip. It has an almost perfect fit in midfoot and forefoot and very spacious toe box.

Overall, I did not have any issues regarding the size and fitting of Mizuno Wave Rider 20.


In the photo below, you can observe that the sole's condition is relatively good. It has normal signs of wear even after using the shoes over 1000 km per pair.



This confirms that Mizuno used a good quality rubber for the outsole.

The forefoot outsole is made of blown rubber with two flex grooves used for separation, which makes the shoe easier to bend. Durability level of the forefoot blown rubber is acceptable.

The rearfoot outsole is made of X10, a durable carbon rubber that is harder than the rubber used in the rearfoot. It also has a crash pad groove under the heel.

There is a long cavity between the rubber-mounted columns under the heel. Durability level of the rearfoot carbon rubber is very good.

Meanwhile, the midsole is made of dual-density, compression-moulded EVA foam, cloudwave plate inserted under the heel. It also has a 12 mm heel drop.

The forefoot is firm and not responsive. It has a very poor rebound because Mizuno uses regular EVA foam for its midsole.

On the other hand, the rearfoot is medium soft and mildly responsive because of the U4icX. It is a softer foam used in its midsole. For heel striker, this is a plus.

In other words, cushioning is not distributed equally from toe to heel.

The Wave plate design makes the shoe very stable and the heel compression even. Thus, it offers perfect support for both the ankle and foot arch.


The upper is a combination of engineered mesh, synthetic leather, and molded urethane, which all contributes to perfect breathability and flexibility.

The shoe uses a traditional lace-up closure that offers a personalized fit. The laces are soft and semi-stretching.



Meanwhile, the tongue is not-sleeved, well-padded and has an inner sleeve, which reduces tongue slide.

The sock liner gives extra cushioning. It is also removable and washable.

My pros

  • Breathable and flexible
  • Spacious toe-box and forefoot
  • Supportive and cushioned rearfoot
  • Supportive forefoot
  • Hgh-mileage lifespan

My cons

  • Forefoot not responsive
  • Interior not so smooth

My recommendation

Mizuno Wave Rider 20 can be used on flat roads, hard soil trails, and even on treadmills. It can be used for easy/medium-paced runs up to marathon distances.

So, if you are looking for a mid-weight and high-mileage, neutral running shoe, Mizuno Wave Rider 20 can be a good choice to consider.

It has medium soft cushioning, suitable for all-round use. And, if you have a wide forefoot, then these shoes are perfect for you.

There is also a GTX version available: Mizuno Wave Rider 20 GTX

Cristian Filimon | Level 1 expert Verified
My name is Cristian, 40 years old, happy husband and father, working as a civil engineer and self-coached amateur runner. I started running in early 2017 with a clear goal of improving my physical condition and losing some weight. After 4 months of running, I participated in my first running competition, a flat road half-marathon here in Bucharest, Romania. Since then, I have become addicted to running, training, and racing. My favorite race is road marathon, and I manged to finish 9 marathons up to date. My PB is 03:21:31 @Sibiu Marathon 2019.

  • The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 is the next iteration in a long-running series of shoes for those who love to take to the roads. Through the years, the iterations of this model have taken leaps in terms of design and weight. This version has a significantly toned-down look that’s definitely unique from its predecessors, but it’s still visually appealing. It doesn’t have a lot of complicated features on its façade, but it has several technologies that work in order to make the running experience more comfortable and precise. It’s now also more lightweight than its predecessors.
  • The upper unit of this running shoe makes use of fabrics that ensure a secure and anatomically accommodating fit. Stretchable materials conform to the shape and movement of the foot during the running session. Air is able to enter the foot-chamber quickly because of the breathable nature of these fabrics. Unlike its predecessors, only a minimal amount of overlays was stitched onto the main fabrics, but they’re still able to provide a snug coverage.
  • The underfoot platform of the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 is flexible and agreeable to the natural movement capability of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle. Flex grooves and flex controllers work together in order to make the running experience more natural. Runners get a rocking chair-like motion when taking each step, which is actually helpful in achieving a smoother and more responsive ride. The main foam components provide reliable and long-lasting cushioning.
  • The outsole unit utilizes two rubber compounds, both of which deliver dependable traction over the roads. They cause the underside of the shoe to hold onto the ground with ease and sureness. The heel area features a more durable material, while the forefoot section has a more responsive one that permits a bit more cushioning and flexibility.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 has a standard running shoe length. Regular measurements were used for the sizing schemes of this model. The available widths for both the men and women’s versions are medium and wide, which means that it can accommodate those with wider foot-dimensions.

X10 is a high quality rubber compound used in the outsole unit of the Wave Rider 20. It’s made from durable carbon rubber. Placed in the heel section, it delivers traction and protection from impact and surface abrasion. Aside from the Mizuno Rider 22 shoe, this outsole element is also used in other popular Mizuno running shoes.

Blown rubber is a more responsive compound. It delivers some more cushioning and flexibility to the runner. It’s aptly placed in the forefoot section, the area where the foot bends the most as it tackles the toe-off phase.

Flex Controllers in the outsole provide reactive flexibility without adding more weight.

The U4ic is a foam technology that delivers responsive cushioning and shock absorption. It’s made from durable materials, so it won’t break down easily.

The U4icX is a softer and a more lightweight iteration of the U4ic. Placed in the heel area, it aptly cushions the landings and gives a soft feeling to the underside of the foot.

The Mizuno Wave Plate is made from an elastic material. It runs from the rear of the platform to the mid-foot section. It delivers a springy ride and it adds some more cushioning.

The Smooth Ride technology makes use of a network of grooves, which work together with the mid-sole components in order to make each step smoother and more comfortable. It essentially allows the platform to take a rocking chair-like motion when transitioning from the heel to the toe.

The Ortholite Sock Liner provides some more cushioning to the immediate underfoot. It has antimicrobial and anti-moisture capabilities, which cause the interior of the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 to be cleaner and healthier.

The Triple Zone Mesh is an upper technology that delivers breathable support and secure coverage. Air is enabled to easily enter the shoe in order to keep the foot cool and dry. The fabric wraps around the foot with ease and sureness, but it doesn’t irritate the skin.

The Dynamotion Fit utilizes a stretchable material in order to adapt to the motion of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle. It doesn’t work against the runner because it stretches itself to accommodate the slight changes in the shape of the foot while it is moving.

Size and fit

True to size based on 1175 user votes
Small (9%)
True to size (88%)
Large (2%)
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Same sizing as Mizuno Wave Rider 24.

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Size comments

This is my second pair of Mizuno Wave Riders and they fit perfectly and I love the wide toe box.. - Amazon

How Wave Rider 20 compares

This shoe: 93
All shoes average: 86
54 98
This shoe: $120
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 9.6oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
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.