- 95/100 by Fleet Feet
- 94/100 by JackRabbit
- 86/100 by Phidippides
- 84/100 by Solereview
- 90/100 by Running Shoes Guru
- 88/100 by Believe in the Run
- 95/100 by Doctors of Running
- 95/100 by Heart Runner Girl
- 88/100 by Shoe Guide
- 80/100 by Running Warehouse
- 88/100 by The GloRun
- 95/100 by Mizuno
- 92/100 by Organic Runner Mom
- 86/100 by Proven Shoes
This is the first Mizuno shoe that I’ve ever tried and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Before you start running in a shoe you have certain expectations about how a shoe might be, that’s the whole reason why you consider that shoe and might try it on.
The reason I never tried Mizuno before is because based on the looks of their shoes I thought they would be quite stiff and quite firm and that’s not the type of running shoe that I like.
But once in a while, you have to try something new and after testing lots of brands I knew I had to try Mizuno. And obviously, you should never judge a book by its cover.
Plus, this is the 23rd edition of this shoe and there must be a reason why there are so many editions, it can’t be a bad shoe if you make it that far.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is a neutral road running shoe and has a 20 mm forefoot stack and a 32 mm heel stack giving it a 12 mm offset which is the same offset as in the previous model.
These days that’s a bit on the higher side of things, but it wasn’t that noticeable in this shoe.
They have changed the upper compared to the previous version.
The Wave Rider 23 has a double engineered mesh upper, it is quite breathable, but since it is a double layer that is quite tightly knit it does provide a bit of warmth during the colder months.
There is some padding in the heel and tongue, but it isn’t as plush as some other running shoes out there.
The midsole of the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is the same as that of the 22nd edition of this shoe.
It is made up out of two foams, the majority of the midsole is made out of Mizuno’s U4ic foam and besides the U4ic foam, they also used their softer U4icX foam as part of the midsole in the heel area.
The U4icX foam makes this shoe more suitable for heel strikers. There is also a thin layer of U4icX as a top layer directly under foot.
And obviously, we shouldn’t forget the plastic wave plate in the heel which helps with stability and shock absorption.
The outsole of the Wave Rider 23 has also remained the same compared to the 22.
It has the same reinforced rubber outsole as the previous edition. It gives nice traction and is durable. I’ve logged about 100 kilometers in these shoes and I still don’t see any wear on the outsole.
I had my regular running shoe size and they fit me just fine. The fit is quite snug, the upper does hug your midfoot quite a bit, but in a nice way.
I did a 15k race in this shoe without any trouble. No hotspots and just a pleasant ride. It’s not a shoe with exciting new technologies or interesting sounding materials, it is just a good shoe.
It is not a very flexible shoe and although it is a neutral running shoe it does give you some light stability due to the TPU plate underneath the midfoot.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is pretty comparable to the Brooks Ghost 12. The Brooks Ghost 12 has a bit more medial support than the Wave Rider 23, but the Wave Rider 23 has a softer heel than the Ghost 12.
The midsole underneath the forefoot is a bit softer in the Ghost 12 than in the Wave Rider 23. The upper of the Ghost is a bit more plush than that of the Wave Rider. Both are good everyday trainers and can be used by different types of runners.
Which one is the better of the two depends on personal preference. Both are good for heel strikers, although personally, I think the Wave Rider is a bit better for heel strikers than the Ghost.
I was surprised by this shoe and its comfort. It is a good shoe for heel strikers because of the plush landing due to the wave plate and the foam in the heel being a bit softer.
The wave plate gives the shoe a bit of a firmer feeling, but the softer foam in the heel compensates for this. I didn’t have any hotspots in this shoe and could easily log some longer distances in this shoe.
It’s a good everyday trainer which could also be used for some longer distances. The biggest difference compared to the Wave Rider 22 is the upper. If you liked the 22, you’ll like this version too.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These shoes were worn on mostly roads and paved trails, a few wet surfaces, and even some packed dirt trail. All pictures of the shoes were taken after about 20 miles.
The pair of Wave Rider 23’s I have are citadel-glacier gray, which is a medium gray color. I went online and found they also come in purple and red, green and gray, and all black.
I liked the color of the shoes. They are not too light, so they didn’t get very dirty. I like darker running shoes.
These shoes have dual compound midsole using U4ic and U4icX technologies for unrivalled responsiveness and exhilarating runs.
These shoes were incredibly comfortable to run in. I ran on mostly on roads, and paved trails, but I did also run on some packed dirt trails as well. In all these runs, the shoes provided a lot of cushioning.
I also walked about 50 miles in these shoes in a warehouse. Normally, after an 8-hour shift, my feet are sore. But, when I wore these shoes, my feet weren’t sore at all. These shoes will probably become my work shoes when I’m done running with them.
Mizuno made these shoes durable. I have run about 200 miles in them and have walked about 50 miles in them in a dusty, dirty warehouse.
Although the cloth part of the shoe is a little dirty, the bottoms don’t look very worn at all. They seem like they are going to last for many more miles, which is great.
The longer a running shoe can last, without falling apart or losing its cushion, the better.
The shoes have a 12-millimeter drop. I am used to the 4-millimeter drop in my Newton Fate 4’ that have way too many miles on them. Thus, it took some getting used to.
After about 10 miles, I didn’t even notice the drop. But, I did feel and see, based on my Garmin Watch statistics, that it did cause my stride to shorten about 0.2 of a meter.
At first, I thought these shoes ran small. I got a 7, and they felt a little tight in the toe area. But, as I ran more and more in these, they begin to feel less and less tight.
The shoe seems to have a tighter and stiffer toe box than most at first, but it will lessen up the more you run or walk in them.
I did think the Wave Rider 23 ran true to size width-wise, I have a narrow foot and was able to get the shoe narrow and tight enough for my foot. So, I would say they run true to size.
Overall, I would give these shoes a 90 out of 100. I did like them, but prefer my Newton’s.
I don’t have very many negative things to say about them other than the stiff toes box at first and the 12-millimeter drop shortening my stride a little bit.
The Wave Rider 23 has many positive aspects. They come in multiple color combinations—because who doesn’t love options when it comes to running shoe colors. They also ran pretty true to size, and they have ample of cushioning.
After a bit of let down from last year’s Wave Rider 22, I am very happy to say that the king of road runners is back!
If you are a previous owner of Wave Riders, the majority of the fit will come as no surprise. After five pairs of Wave Riders, I have come to expect a very minimal break-in period for these shoes.
This is 100% true with the Wave Rider 23. These shoes are comfortable out of the box. I will say that, much like a fine wine, they will continue to get even better with age. They feel great on mile one and even better on mile 100.
Wave Riders have always been a great fit for anyone with a wide forefoot. The Wave Rider 23 is no exception. The toe box is extremely roomy, so your toes have all the space they need to be comfortable on long and short runs alike.
The tongue is plush and wraps around your foot with ease. There is nothing harsh or uncomfortable about it. Whether you like your shoes a little tight or a little loose, the tongue will remain comfortable mile after mile.
The upper is a synthetic knit that has a bit of give to it. This is nice because it allows the shoe to truly conform to your specific foot shape.
My biggest gripe about the Wave Rider 22 was a series of seams around the midfoot that caused some blistering on runs that were longer than about 15 miles.
That is no longer an issue with the Wave Rider 23. I have yet to receive any hotspots on my feet from these shoes.
The Wave Rider 23 has the same level of cushion and bounce that you would expect from the Wave Rider family. The level of cushion is perfect for me. It is not as extreme as, let’s say, Hoka One One.
At the same time, it is far from minimal. The balance achieved by this shoe will protect your feet from excessive fatigue and abuse while still allowing you to perceive the road.
The amount of bounce is perfect and will help every footfall feel energetic from the beginning of your run until your least step.
These are hands down, my go-to shoes for long runs. The cushion and bounce make my feet and legs feel strong from beginning to end. The upper protects my feet from hot spots.
Also, they tend to last a REALLY long time (see Durability below). It is a no-brainer: you will be hard-pressed to find a better long-run shoe.
Now, that being said, let’s talk about speed work. The shoe is remarkably light for a standard 12 mm drop shoe.
This helps prevent the level of leg fatigue that many runners experience when running in shoes that are not on the more minimal end of the running shoe spectrum.
This makes them perform quite well on speed or tempo workouts. I use these shoes for all of my road running workouts and feel as though they perform equally well on my speed work workouts and long runs.
Finally, let’s talk about how tough these shoes are. I have put right around 100 miles on my Wave Rider 23 as of today. As you can see in the picture below, the outsole is almost completely unscathed with a very minimal amount of wear and tear.
The upper is in great shape. There are no holes, snags, or other various forms of damage that tend to arise with a knit upper. The midsole still has the same amount of bounce that it had on my first run in these shoes.
All in all, you can barely tell that they have been used, let alone used for 100 miles.
My previous pairs of Wave Riders have lasted about 350 miles before needed to be replaced. Based on how the Wave Rider 23 is holding up, I would say these will last at least that long if not a little longer. These shoes are tough. Period.
In conclusion, the Wave Rider 23 is a durable shoe that provides next-level comfort to runners of all levels of skill and expertise. While the shoe is built for long runs, it can also be used with ease in speed and tempo work.
The price point of the Wave Rider 23 allows runners to experience a premium running shoe that does not break the bank.
This is my fifth pair of Wave Riders. After experiencing the Wave Rider 23, I can guarantee that it will not be my last.
If you are looking for a very durable shoe with a lot of heel support, the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 might be your shoe!
The shoe definitely took a little time to “wear in” before I felt like I could go for a run. I noticed the chunkier and more cushioned heel right away as well.
Upper & comfortability
Rider 23 was stiff at first when I put them on. They were fine after I went for a couple of walks as they stretched and loosened up to fit my feet.
These shoes did not run true to size in my experience. I am typically a 7 in women’s, and in these, a size 7.5 was just right. I first ordered the size 7 because that is the Mizuno size that I have worn in the past (Wave Rider 20).
The upper unit feels light, but may be too narrow for some runners. I believe that this is why I had to order a half size up.
The toe box was lower and more narrow than I have experienced with Mizuno in the past. This may be fine for some runners, but I typically like a little more wiggle room by my toes.
Rider 23 offers plenty of support and yet are very light with an average amount of energy return. These could be used for tempo runs, speed workouts, and regular training run alike.
Drop & cushioning
This model has a 12 mm drop for the women’s shoe and is under 9 oz for the women’s model.
These shoes offer a lot of support in the heel with a decent amount of cushioning. I would recommend this shoe for a heel-striker.
Runners could feel comfortable using these shoes for any type of running from day-to-day easy runs to tempo runs to racing.
I would recommend this shoe for any running distance because of its durability, making it especially great for longer runs!
Outsole & durability
The shoe has excellent durability. I have worn this shoe for over 200 miles, and there is still a feeling of support.
I also felt the same amount of energy return as when I first ran in these. It is rare to find a racing and training shoe that is this durable!
The shoe has proven to be versatile for me as I wear them for many different types of runs. It has a light, but durable feel.
Rider 23 doesn’t seem to have many color options, and the mesh is closer woven than previous models. But, the shoes are breathable.
Though durable, some runners may not like the heel cushioning if they have more of a mid-foot or neutral footstrike.
- Extremely durable, yet light
- Perfect for any length of run
- Great heel support
- Great for all types of training runs
- Lightweight upper
- These shoes may be too narrow in the front for some runners.
- These shoes may not be best for those who are midfoot/forefoot strikers.
- The cushioning in the heel may bother runners if they are not used to it.
- The sturdiness of the shoe may bother runners if they are used to more flexible, neutral shoes.
These shoes are perhaps the most durable and sturdy shoes I have ever trained in! However, I did not like the stiffer feel. The heel cushion was not ideal for me as I am a midfoot striker.
These shoes could be great for a runner who has had trouble with plantar fasciitis or Achilles issues or simply for runners who like a sturdier shoe in general.
Although the shoes were sturdy, they were also very light. I like these shoes the best for easy training runs.
I choose these primarily for easy and recovery runs as they made my legs feel fresher the next day than when I wore neutral, more flexible shoes.
However, I was disappointed to see that there were not many color options beyond neutral choices. Regardless, it will go with more running and work outfits.
I feel as though these will last me through many miles and will support me through many long runs. Although I will choose different shoes for my workouts, these will be great for recovery runs!
Good to know
- 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.
How Wave Rider 23 compares
3 shoes (0.32% of shoes)
4 shoes (0.43% of shoes)
16 shoes (2% of shoes)
18 shoes (2% of shoes)
52 shoes (6% of shoes)
102 shoes (11% of shoes)
245 shoes (26% of shoes)
241 shoes (26% of shoes)
197 shoes (21% of shoes)
62 shoes (7% of shoes)
114 shoes (12% of shoes)
270 shoes (29% of shoes)
274 shoes (29% of shoes)
170 shoes (18% of shoes)
61 shoes (6% of shoes)
37 shoes (4% of shoes)
10 shoes (1% of shoes)
1 shoes (0.11% of shoes)
2 shoes (0.21% of shoes)
1 shoes (0.11% of shoes)
6 shoes (0.77% of shoes)
16 shoes (2% of shoes)
41 shoes (5% of shoes)
114 shoes (15% of shoes)
198 shoes (25% of shoes)
212 shoes (27% of shoes)
134 shoes (17% of shoes)
47 shoes (6% of shoes)
12 shoes (2% of shoes)
3 shoes (0.38% of shoes)
1 shoes (0.13% of shoes)