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.
Size - Men's 9.5
Weight - 9.4 oz
Drop - 12mm
Stack - 32mm
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.
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.
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.
- Light and responsive
- The cushion is sufficient but not over the top
- Very nice heel to toe turnover
- Holds on water weight more than desired
- 32mm stack feels a bit tilted
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.
The last version that I laced up helped me log the miles and speed work required to notch my sole overall marathon championship five years ago.
Conversely, I almost didn’t even try them on because previous models had been too heavy and rigid to provide the forgiving feel and comfort required for such an arduous task. With this in mind, I was very eager to give this latest version the benefit of another go around as I conclude my latest training cycle.
Upper & Fit
From the outset, it is easy to see that the main update to this recent iteration is the upper. It boasts of an engineered mesh that is both breathable and very comfortable.
The shoe required almost no break-in period and felt very supple along the heel collar and through the lateral forefoot, two main places that can be troublesome for medium to large framed runners as well as those with wider feet, as this shoe does not generally come in multiple widths.
Like most Mizunos in my personal experience, they seemed to run about a ½ size short. If I were to give it a good comparison, standing in the shoe initially reminds me of the feel of the old school Brooks Ghost 5, a shoe that is on my Mount Rushmore of trainers.
The heel counter certainly has some structure to it but does not feel overly rigid or restrictive to natural ankle movement. After 55 miles of wear, it is maintaining its integrity well, with no wear spots nor pilling on the fabric. This is a tremendous feat for the miles I have logged in the extreme heat of late summer in southern Iowa.
As a matter of fact, the plush upper and heel materials leave the foot feeling caressed rather than chafed. It is immediately apparent that some great attention was paid to ensuring that the upper wicks moisture well enough to compensate for the added weight to this shoe compared with previous models.
On this note, the only downfall to the upper is just that - unnecessary weight.
While the bird logo is ever present on the lateral border of the Mizuno brand, this year (and it appears for the past 3 models of this shoe) the designers elected to place a stitched on piece of TPU or similar material at the midfoot as the logo on both the lateral and medial sides of the shoe.
While minuscule on its own, this superfluous design cue, combined with other curious choices, has the cumulative effect of tipping the scale of the shoe overall to the double-digit mark on the scale (almost 10 oz. for men's size 9 compared with around 9 oz just a short 5 models ago).
While previous models and competitors opting for a more modern welded or 3-D printed logo, it is interesting that this throwback has made a reappearance again on this model.
Midsole and Insole Cushioning Systems
One thing that stunned me with the Wave Rider 22 is that it has changed in terms of the overall proportion of cushioning and structure. The last model that I donned almost had the feel of a racing shoe on shorter speed sessions.
As mentioned earlier, the shoe has put on some weight, gradually gaining nearly a full ounce per shoe in recent years. The tradeoff is noticeable: while the shoe does feel heavy on long distance runs, the extra foam and Cloudwave support plate technology in the heel of the shoe cradle the foot more smoothly and with a less stark perception of ground reaction force for those with a naturally heavy heel strike.
For those with a more midfoot or forefoot strike (myself included) the 12mm heel to toe offset, coupled with the well-apportioned heel padding, can become overpowering when working through pure speed workouts on the track or for race pace days. I liken the shoe in this way to a midsize luxury sports sedan. It looks great and feels like a $50,000 machine, but you don't expect it to bury the needle or go 0-60 in any big hurry.
In terms of overall feel, the insole maintains the tradition Mizuno holds for very ample, yet beefy insoles. The Dynamotion Fit insole has already started to mold to my foot and when heated up and moistened by the first mile or two, it feels like a Tempur-Pedic mattress immediately underfoot, a friendly mediator between the runner and Mizuno’s legendarily firm midsole and arch support.
Where there are shortcomings here again is the cumulative effect of added weight. While the upper wicks quite well and stays moderately dry, the insole and strobel are noticeably less permeable and weigh one down after a good lather has been built in the workout.
With the presence of the Wave plate, it would be great to see some sort of moisture relief ports built into the strobel and midsole to allow a sort of additional drainage to address the shortcoming à la Asics’ Gel Noosa.
Outsole & Durability
The outsole of the shoe also holds true to recent form with Mizuno’s premium line of running shoes, with SmoothRide blown rubber compound in the forefoot and X10 carbon rubber compound in the heel for greater durability.
Thus far, I have noticed no appreciable wear and tear to the shoe. In fact, despite being used for track, treadmill and one 10 miles out on gravel and pavement, the sole unit looks almost as it did right out of the box.
The presence of flex grooves in the forefoot and a de-coupled heel unit give the shoe some flexibility but feels much more structured than the Riders of old. Much as previous models have, the shoe almost gives off the air of being a go-between of neutral and stability trainer.
Where this shoe really showed great comfort and feel was in the workplace. As a worker in the field of Physical Therapy, I primarily stand on either tile or hard concrete masked with a very thin carpet. Having worn these shoes for over two weeks in, they are truly a shoe that has helped fight the daily fatigue of standing long hours with the wave plate lending a helping hand to firmly grip and support the arch when the day gets longer than expected.
In the same vein, as a walking shoe, the Ride 22 felt superb underfoot when using a more heel to toe gait pattern as opposed to my habitual forefoot land and release that tends to fall more in line with my running stride.
In terms of overall appearance, the shoe is also holding up structurally quite well in the toe box and toe cap, which has been a recent problem for me as a father of three pushing a jogging stroller with a rather stiff foot controlled parking brake.
Like a broken record, the only thing that could make the shoe better would be a less is more approach with the carbon rubber in the heel (which is quite large and usually only placed in the heel rather than the full length of the outsole for weight savings).
In terms of versatility, the overall design of the shoe is impressively chameleon-like.
With a style reminiscent of the MetaRun from Asics, this shoe exudes an aura of class and panache with understated colorways and contrasting accent colors (there is also a black with gold trim version for the Steelers or Hawkeye fan in you) that look as sharp on the roads as they do at the bar after 5, in the halls at work or at school.
They also seem to hold their color quite well in the upper due to the muted tones. In contrast to previous years, those seeking a bright and flashy number may need to look elsewhere for this year's model has strayed away from multiple colorway options (Although the Rider 21 boasted a vibrant Team USA-like edition and the Rider 20 featured a lime and gray number that looked pretty sharp and stands out in the crowd).
For those of us with a relaxed enough dress code for athletic footwear, but who need a modest color scheme, this shoe is up to the task of providing long lasting support in a professional looking package.
- Generous fit in the forefoot and toe box for a tapered lasted shoe
- Superior heel cushioning, firm arch support, and overall feel to the foot
- Versatile color schemes ideal for going between work and play
- Above average breathable and quick-drying upper
- At MSRP $119.95 it is a bargain for those wanting premium cushioning and stability for a neutral shoe
- Very stiff feel and limited flexibility, even for a traditional-style neutral trainer
- At 12mm offset, the shoe has one of the highest offsets still offered in the industry
- Decreased moisture management performance from insole to the midsole and beyond
- Limited colorways and lack of vibrant colors may turn off those seeking to stand out from the pack
The MizunoWave Rider 22 has evolved from its roots as a sporty middleweight champ into a premium, high mileage trainer with above class features and durability ideal for those seeking maximum protection from the ground.
For the purpose of this review, I’d like to thank Mizuno for providing me with a pair of the Wave Rider 22. No additional compensation was provided and the review process objective over the course of a normal life cycle of my daily training shoes.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
Good to know
- 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.
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.
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.