Summary

We spent 9.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • The redesigned upper of the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is well-appreciated by many, which they described as both comfortable and breathable.
  • A lot of users agree that the Wave Rider 23 is lightweight.
  • The sole unit of the shoe provides ample cushioning and support, says one reviewer. Another claimed that it offers just the right level of firmness to keep the shoe from feeling mushy.
  • Several wearers report that the Wave Rider 23 gives a secure and accurate fit, which meets their expectations.
  • Some testers report that the shoe promotes natural movements and allows a comfortable experience in both running and walking activities.
  • The midsole “feels like a cloud,” according to a couple of reviewers.
  • The tongue stays in place despite being a separate detail that is not connected to a cleatie structure, a user claims.

1 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of reviewers think that the updates in the Wave Rider 23 are not significant enough for buyers to upgrade.

Bottom line

For its 23rd version, the Mizuno Wave Rider remains consistent and reliable in providing a running companion that can withstand many miles on the road. Users were especially impressed with the improvements in the shoe’s structural elements, as well as the performance it delivers. Comfort, support, and fit were some of the winning points of the shoe. Fans of the previous edition of the shoe will love the Wave Rider 23, but maybe not if they expect a highly remarkable change.

Facts

Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 10.2oz | Women: 8.5oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 12mm | Women: 12mm
Fit: Medium heel, Medium toe box, Medium forefoot
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: Jogging
Material: Mesh upper, Rubber sole
Features: Breathable
Strike Pattern: Heel strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Heel height: Men: 32mm | Women: 32mm
Forefoot height: Men: 20mm | Women: 20mm
Release date: Aug 2019
Brand: Mizuno
Width: Men: Normal, Wide, X-Wide | Women: Normal, Wide
Price: $120
Colorways: Pink, Grey, Black, Green, Blue
Size
Small True to size Large
Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Toebox
Tight Roomy
Flexibility
Stiff Flexible
Breathability
Warm Breathable
Cushioning
Firm Plush
Durability 8/10
Comfort 9/10
Traction 7/10
See more facts

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.

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88 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews

  • 91 / 100 | Jeff Binder

    Mizuno Wave Rider 23 - Keep riding the wave!

    More photos

    Mizuno continues to build upon its great tradition with its latest model of the Wave Rider. This is a sharp-looking shoe!

    I immediately was drawn to the latest color schemes; this shoe, in particular, is sporting a charcoal gray body, with a silver Mizuno logo, and white outsole—I can definitely wear these out casually as well as while running.

    I’m traditionally more of a stability shoe runner, so this neutral shoe will be a good opportunity to see how it compares to other stability models as well, including the beloved Mizuno Wave Rider 15.

     

     

    Out of the box one can tell that this is a sleeker shoe than most stability shoes and its predecessor; noticeably lighter with a lower profile, yet still maintaining a similar stiffness and durability.

    Not much has been dramatically changed according to others following the Wave Rider 22; it seems that the 23 will be simply an improvement in the details of an already great tradition of a model, but the sleeker profile is attractive.  Let’s put it to the test!

    First 50 miles performance

    I was super excited to get out on the roads and trails with these shoes. Right away I notice a lighter, sleeker, and closer to the ground feel than the Wave Inspire, which is a friendly change. I was impressed with the reputed Wave technology; it allowed for a noticeable structure to the shoe, while also feeling light and free.

    I was able to get out mostly on the roads with these shoes in hot, dry conditions, and occasionally I was able to jump on some dirt and gravel trails, including a twenty-mile run. Verdict: the shoe performed wonderfully!

    There was plenty of stability for me even during the long runs, and I thoroughly enjoyed the comfort and lighter feel of these neutral training shoes. The neutral daily running/trainer designation for these shoes is spot on; passing with flying colors!

    Upper

    The upper of the Wave Rider 23 picks up where many of the Wave family leave it; the shoe is well constructed with some noticeable fine-tuning to allow for even more of a  lighter feel.

     

     

    From the tongue of the shoe to the ankle/heel collar, to even the laces, the shoe has been adapted for a lighter and sleeker feel and look, while not losing the durability that makes these shoes so great.

    The dual-layer mesh outer has a subtle look, while also allowing for maximum breathability.

    Midsole

    The Wave tradition continues to build upon its reputation for responsiveness and durability with the Wave insert and the U4IC & U4ICX midsole.

     

     

    What comes out is a comfortable, responsive ride, plenty of stability for those putting in the long miles, and yet plenty of giddy-up for those wishing to stretch the legs with some faster times.

    The 12mm heel drop is way too much for me, but it doesn’t necessarily inhibit my forefoot stride and is plenty of padding for a heel striker.

    Outsole

    The outsole of the Wave Rider 23 has plenty of grip and traction for just about any surface.

     

     

    The X10 and Smoothride technology provide a shoe that is able to handle hot pavement, wet roads, gravel, mud, and just about anything in between.

    One concern is that there doesn’t seem to be a super thick sole, so this is something I will compare with others when we get into the higher mileage of the shoe’s life.

    Conclusion

    I’m really happy with the Mizuno Wave Rider 23, a wonderful neutral daily running shoe that continues upon the celebrated tradition of the Wave family.

    For someone that favors more structure and stability in their run, for someone that seeks a responsive, low profile ride, or for anyone in between, I would highly recommend this shoe for the runner looking for a reliable, fun ride.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 90 / 100 | Nicole Pritikin

    Mizuno Wave Rider 23- Cushy comfort

    The Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is the first Mizuno shoe I have ever worn. If you haven’t tried this brand, you need to. They are amazing—super plush, well designed, durable and comfortable. 

     

     

    Breaking it down here...

    Fit/comfort

    Immediately when you put on these shoes, you will notice the softness. The tongue is extremely padded, about ¼- ½ inch of soft padding.

    There are no scratchy parts of the tongue to rub on your foot. The heel cup is made of the same super soft, thick padding as well, again, no weird seams to rub and cause blisters.

    The heel cup and the tongue are both made from a super fine knit, polished knit material.  It is almost silky to the touch and very smooth.

    It is notable that even after close to 75 miles on these shoes, the padding on both the tongue and the heel cup remains just as plushy as when I got them. It didn’t get crushed or matted down by use.

    Onto the toes and laces...as I slid my foot in, I was delighted. There’s actually room for your toes. I find that in most running shoes, my toes feel a bit trapped.

    That is not the case in these shoes. They run very true to size, and with my typical running shoe size, my toes were not jammed at the top and had plenty of room to wiggle or move forward for downhill runs.

    Also, the cloth used to cover the toes is super soft and pliable. Unlike some Asics I have recently worn where it feels like a hard dome pressing down on your toes, this felt like a nice light covering that moves with your foot.

    The upper is made from a silky, shiny, finely knit material with plenty of ventilation holes for breathability. The material has a little bit of stretch it in, which helps to accommodate big toes or wider feet. These shoes are comfortable when you put your foot in.

    You don’t have to think, hmm, “Does this shoe feel ok?” because it is one of those that you slip on and say, “Wow, it feels great.” Laces stay tied and tongue stays in place while running.

    After a run, I had no hot spots on my feet, no places where something burned or felt off.

    Durability

    I feel the Mizuno Wave Runner 23 excels in durability. The padding under the footbed is extremely comfortable. After 75+ miles, it hasn’t compressed in any notable fashion anywhere and still feels soft and springy to the touch.

    The sole showed no signs of wear at all.  The heel cup padding looks and feels brand new. I am also very impressed with the mesh upper. It never gets snagged or torn on rocks, twigs, branches or bushes.

    My dogs even managed to grab one of these shoes one day for a “chew toy” and they didn’t make even a dent in the mesh with their teeth.  

    Honestly, I’m very impressed with the padding inside the Mizunos.  I’m used to a different brand of shoes where the padding starts out super soft but gets compressed very quickly. 

    The padding in the footbed, tongue and heel cup of the Mizunos has not compressed even a little bit. They look and feel just the same as when I got them.

    Design

    The Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is a nice looking running shoe.  The design on the side is reflective, and the knit mesh is sleek and a bit shiny.  They coordinate the colors of the top mesh with a pattern inside the heel cup.

     

     

    The color I tested is actually the only bright color this shoe is made in. The other colors are all tone on tone neutrals—a black on black, gray on gray and olive green/gray color. 

    It doesn’t have a huge hulking heel, so it can pass as an everyday shoe while performing as a fabulous training shoe when needed.

    Performance

    I was hesitant to begin testing these because I had started getting pains in my heels, indicative of minor plantar fasciitis. However, the pain went away when I started running in these shoes.

    I’m not saying the shoes cured the plantar fasciitis, but I do think the padding in the heel, and possibly even switching from my older running shoes to these, did help the situation.

    In terms of how they feel when running, I wore them on dirt roads, paved roads, and a treadmill.  They excelled on both the dirt roads and paved roads.

    For a nicely padded shoe, they do not feel like bricks on your feet and provide plenty of bounce and spring.

     

     

    Small pebbles on the dirt roads never got lodged in any part of the sole. The sole provides plenty of traction on dry and wet roads, dirt and asphalt.

    In addition, the mesh is tight enough on the upper that rocks and moisture never got into the shoe. I enjoyed running outdoors with them and preferred the Mizuno Wave Runner 23 to my typical running shoes.

    On the treadmill, I had mixed feelings about the Mizuno Wave Runner 23. They felt a bit heavy and “slappy” on the mill, as if they were slapping down on the treadmill as I ran. 

    I alternated these with a pair of my typical running shoes on the treadmill and found myself preferring the other pair to the Mizuno for indoor runs.

    The Mizuno felt heavier and flatter. However, whereas my feet always feel sore after running in my other shoes on the treadmill, when I ran in the Mizunos indoors, I had no pain in my feet or soreness afterwards.

    Responsiveness

    For a highly cushioned shoe, the Mizuno Wave Runner 23 are very responsive.  The cushioning never feels mushy. You will get enough spring from the padding for a nice firm transition and take off.

    Again, the durability of the cushioning is notable. First, there is no break-in period and second, you won’t feel a change in the bounce from the first run to the 21st or beyond.

    Overall 

    These are shoes that I will continue to wear for both short and long training runs.  I’m curious to see how long they will hold up but my guess is 300 miles or more.

    I’m blown away by the initial comfort of these shoes and the durability.  That my heel pain went away after wearing these was an unexpected bonus.  

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 95 / 100 | Fleet Feet | | Level 3 expert

    We think the Wave Rider 23 is a great running shoe for neutral runners and heel strikers who need a shoe that will get them comfortably through their training cycle.

  • First look | Road Runner Sports | | Level 1 expert

Become an expert

  • The Mizuno Wave Rider shoe series has set a standard as a neutral running shoe with a laidback appearance yet delivering a responsive ride. In its 23rd iteration, the Wave Rider continues to hold this caliber. The noteworthy improvements of the Wave Rider 23 include a fresh, modern aesthetic and a cleaner look.
  • Most of the shoe’s updates are found in the upper, which is where a big part of the shoe’s appearance takes form. With fewer details and overlays, the shoe boasts of a slimmer, more streamlined structure. The new design allows the Wave Rider 23 to feel more comfortable on foot. There is also less padding and stitching around the shoe for a sleeker image from heel to toe.

The Wave Rider 23 retains the construction that is signature to the series. It follows the standard running shoe dimensions, making it true-to-size for most runners. Wearers who have high-volume feet or prefer more in-shoe room could go a half-size up. When it comes to width options, the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is available in Medium and Wide for both the men’s and women’s versions.

Mizuno’s proprietary X10 outsole material continues to be present in the Wave Rider 23. Located under the heel, this durable carbon rubber provides the necessary traction during footstrike for an efficient transition phase. The material also promotes flexible and natural movements.

Meanwhile, the forefoot area is covered with blown rubber, a material softer than carbon rubber. Its plush quality lends an extra layer of cushioning and also increases the responsiveness of the sole unit. 

A set of “miniature wave plates,” called the Flex Controllers, can be found in the lateral area of the outsole. The Flex Controllers work with flex grooves to promote a flexible, fluid motion that results in a powerful step. This feature also helps in reducing the weight of the running shoe.

The midsole of the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is an intricate system of materials and technologies that work together to create a smooth, lightweight platform that can easily withstand the demands of running. It includes elements such as the U4ic and U4icX foams, the SmoothRide Engineering, and Cloudwave Technology.

The U4ic is a full-length foam that acts as the main cushioning component of the Wave Rider 23. This lightweight material gives the shoe its shock-absorbent quality that aids in a responsive ride, as well as prolonged durability.

Paired with the U4ic is a variant of itself, the U4icX, which is found in the heel area of the midsole. Serving as additional cushioning, the U4icX provides a softer platform that helps with the impact during footstrike. 

Aiding the U4ic and U4icX foams is the Cloudwave Technology, which comes in the form of a convex-shaped thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) unit that goes from the heel to the midfoot. It enhances the springiness of the midsole while delivering a plush, cloud-like feel to the underfoot.

The Wave Rider 23’s SmoothRide Engineering offers power and flexibility as it allows for fluid strides that almost feel like a rocking chair’s motions. This technology makes use of a set of grooves that produces smooth and sustained acceleration and deceleration rates. For comparison, the SmoothRide technology is also found in the Wave Inspire 15, which is a stability running shoe from Mizuno.

Two layers of engineered mesh make up the structure of the upper. Such a construction endorses optimal comfort and ease of movement. The mesh coverage has a close-weave design to prevent debris from entering the shoe.

Like its predecessor, the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 utilizes Dynamotion Fit technology in the upper, allowing it to be stretchable and adaptive. This feature lets the upper wrap around the foot naturally, thus reducing irritation. With Dynamotion Fit, the shoe flexes according to the movements of the foot. 

Beneath the mesh are supportive reinforcements, one in the toe area and another at the midfoot (which also acts as the eyelets of the shoelaces). Aside from structuring, these elements also aid in the durability aspect of the shoe.

A lightly padded tongue provides comfort in the midfoot area, and it also minimizes the potential irritation caused by overly tight shoelaces. 

There is a synthetic heel counter that retains structure in the rearfoot area. It also works in holding the foot down to keep it in place during running.

Comparison