Facts

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 normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low 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: 10.2oz
Women: 8.7oz
Heel to toe drop
Men: 12mm
Women: 12mm

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.

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

9 reasons to buy

  • Plenty of users stated that the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 was sufficiently cushioned.
  • Several runners expressed that their feet felt supported during their runs.
  • A majority of testers said that the shoe was comfortable.
  • A good number of runners observed that the materials used in the manufacturing were of high quality.
  • The Mizuno Wave Rider 21 felt lightweight, which resulted in a relaxed and steady cadence, based on several reviews.
  • Many testers were glad that the midsole was very responsive.
  • The upper’s ventilation was commended by one reviewer. He said that his feet were kept dry and comfortable during runs.
  • One user narrated that his back pain went away while running with the shoe. He usually did not get a similar experience with other running shoes.
  • The outsole had good grip, one runner said.

4 reasons not to buy

  • One runner felt that the new colors were more muted compared to the ones from the previous version.
  • Other users were not appreciative of the limited colorways
  • Some testers said that the toe box initially felt narrow. They had to break the shoe in to get a more comfortable fit.
  • Most runners suggested going a half size up.

Bottom line

The Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is a neutral running road shoe that has focused on upgrading its comfort and in-shoe feel, while still providing most of the benefits delivered by its predecessor. According to many of those who have tried it, it proved to be a dependable shoe for gym workouts, daily running, or marathon training.


Rankings


Ratings

4.8 / 5 based on 103 ratings

5 star
86%
4 star
10%
3 star
2%
2 star
0%
1 star
2%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, 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.

85 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews

  • 92 / 100 by RunRepeat • Joseph Arellano • Level 4 expert

    The Wave Rider 21 can competently fill all three roles: daily performance trainer, race day fast shoe, and protective post-race recovery shoe.

  • 90 / 100 by Below The Knee Shoes • Mike • Level 3 expert

    I really like the smooth and responsive ride, which I attribute to the wave plane that has been refined now for well over 20 years to grow out a cushion and a supportive platform for high-mileage runners.

  • 75 / 100 by Road Trail Run • Peter Stuart • Level 5 expert

    These are not the shoe for me. I couldn’t get any rhythm or joy running in them. There’s too much shoe for me and they feel like they work against my stride. It’s a bummer.

  • 85 / 100 by Road Trail Run • Dave Ames • Level 4 expert

    At the $120 price point this is a solid daily trainer for anyone looking for a solid smooth shoe. It’s perfect for easy recovery days and your long runs, but also felt decent (I was skeptical) when kicking it uptempo.

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These are visual presentations, not reviews


Updates to Mizuno Wave Rider 21

  • Most of the updates were made on the upper of the shoe. The material was swapped from the triple mesh zone to the slightly tweaked engineered mesh. The change resulted in better ventilation and fit anterior fit.
  • Additional padding was placed in the heel area of the upper to provide extra cushioning and protection to the Achilles heel. The pad prevents irritation as well as minimizes pressure and impact on this part of the foot upon landing.
  • Lastly, a premium anatomical sock liner was provided to boost the comfort from within the shoe. Because this sock liner is soft and follows the natural curves of the underfoot, the runner will experience a more pleasant in-shoe environment.

Mizuno Wave Rider 21 size and fit

The Mizuno Wave Rider 21 comes in standard sizes. Those interested to purchase the shoe will be able to utilize their usual preference in running shoe lengths. Regarding width, male runners will be able to choose from medium and wide widths (D and 2E). Females, on the other hand, will be able to choose from medium and narrow widths (B and 2A).

Outsole

On the outsole is Mizuno’s X10 carbon rubber. This type of rubber covers the heel area at the bottom of the shoe. The heel is a zone which receives impact when landing. Because of the X10’s presence in that section, durability becomes more pronounced.

The forefoot, on the other hand, is covered with blown rubber. This material is air-injected, making it lighter and more flexible than traditional outsole rubbers. Blown rubber enhances the shoe’s cushioning and helps dissipate the force the foot garners. It also aids in providing the runner with the right amount of responsiveness and energy return.

To make the bottom of the shoe more flexible, Flex Controllers were incorporated into the design. These controllers function as miniature wave plates placed on high flex areas underfoot. They allow the shoe to move together with the foot with ease.

Midsole

Most of the midsole is made up of a lightweight material called U4ic. It has been specially formulated to be 30% lighter than Mizuno’s other midsole materials. Despite being light, it retains its soft response and performance. It also aids in shock absorption and in delivering a resilient ride.

Runners will have a highly responsive ride with the U4ixC Heel Wedge. It’s very similar to the U4ic technology, only that it delivers a softer, pillow-like experience underfoot. This wedge enhances the cushioned feel on the heel and assists in distributing the impact felt by runners upon landing.

The Cloudwave is a redesigned thermal plastic wave that runs from the heel to the midfoot. More specifically, it is sandwiched in between the U4ic midsole foam and the U4ic Heel Wedge. Its primary purpose is to deliver a softer and smoother ride while giving more energy back.

SmoothRide is a curved platform design that creates a rocking chair motion with every stride. It promotes natural movement by smoothening and easing the accelerating and decelerating actions of the foot during the running session.

A premium anatomical sock liner was introduced to the inside of the shoe. It acts as an additional layer of cushioning. It plays a small role in adding a bit of responsiveness to the ride while providing the underfoot with optimal comfort.

Upper

The upper of the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 bears the Dynamotion Fit design. The upper combines different features that allow it to emulate the movement of the foot during the gait cycle. This mirroring response is mainly due to the stretch mesh with which this shoe is covered. As the foot stretches, twists or bends with each step so do the mesh material. It also delivers ventilation as it allows air to pass through effortlessly.

Making the mesh sturdier is Mizuno’s logos which have been embedded on the lateral sides of the upper. They ensure that the midfoot receives minimal structural support. The logos are made of light synthetic materials, so they don’t add to the weight of the shoe.

A complete lace-up closure system allows the shoe to keep the foot in place. Tightening the laces will help prevent the accidental shoe removals during runs. What’s interesting about the laces is that they go through flex eyelets that permit the upper to move freely with the foot.

Comfort has also been extended to the heel with the addition of heel padding. It delivers cushioning and protection against irritation and shock during the foot-strike.