Our verdict

The 27th edition of the Mizuno Wave Rider is back one more year in our lab, aiming to wow both its longtime fans like us and newcomers to the series. Its improved cushioning, responsiveness, and built-to-last outsole make it once again a dream for heel strikers. However, while it offers top-notch quality at a fair price, in our opinion, those who are forefoot strikers or are in search of an ultra-lightweight daily trainer might not find it to their liking.

Pros

  • Exceptionally reliable
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Plush cushioning for extended runs
  • Highly durable outsole
  • Excellent grip and stability
  • Reasonably priced at £150
  • Performs well in all weather conditions
  • Versatile across a range of speeds

Cons

  • A bit on the heavier side
  • 13.2-mm drop may be a drawback for forefoot strikers

Audience verdict

91
Superb!

Who should buy

In our view, the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is a great pick for several types of runners:

  • Heel strikers looking for a dependable, all-around shoe for daily runs and some faster paces.
  • Beginners to running who need a comfy, long-lasting shoe at a fair price.
  • Wave Rider series enthusiasts who appreciate the unique features, especially the feel of the Wave Plate in the heel.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27

Who should NOT buy

Most runners will be quite pleased with the Mizuno Wave Rider 27, but we think it's not for everyone. With a 13.2-mm drop, this shoe isn't the best fit for forefoot strikers. In our view, better-suited options like the Hoka Clifton 9 or the Adidas Adizero SL are available, offering a lower drop and more comfortable ride for forefoot strikers.

If you're planning to do a lot of speedwork, the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 might not be the shoe for you. Other shoes like the Mizuno Wave Rebellion or the Hoka Mach X, as we discovered, offer better performance for those speedy workouts, providing the necessary agility and responsiveness.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 parts

Breathability

When we first laid eyes on the jacquard mesh upper, it looked breathable to us. After running it through our lab's smoke test, it scored 4 out of 5—which is good, but not top-notch.

Mizuno decided to go with a thin mesh for the upper, but they skipped adding any ventilation holes. You can see this in the video below thanks to our powerful light.

That means air has to work its way through the entire mesh to get out, causing hot air and moisture to escape at a slower, steady pace.

To get a better view on this, we looked closely under the microscope.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 microscope

What we discovered confirmed our suspicions: there really are no ventilation holes, and the jacquard mesh doesn't help airflow that much. 

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 mesh

On the inside of the upper, we found no extra fabric for added comfort or protection. A good call, since that would've messed up the airflow even more.

Test results
Wave Rider 27 4
Average 3.8
Compared to 229 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

So, you're wondering if the lack of ventilation holes in the Wave Rider 27's upper makes it more durable, right?

In our dremel test, we found that it does help—but only to an extent. The shoe scored a 2 out of 5 for durability, which isn't bad... but also not amazing.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Toebox durability
Test results
Wave Rider 27 2
Average 2.4
Compared to 163 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The WR27's heel padding also underwent our standard Dremel testing.

The outcome was quite impressive. Unlike many other shoes we've evaluated, the WR27 achieved a perfect score of 5/5, placing it in an elite category.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Heel padding durability
Test results
Wave Rider 27 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 159 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

We flipped the shoe over to examine its outsole, a crucial part of any daily training shoe. Will it hold up to our expectations?

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 outsole

The rubber fully covers all the high-wear areas of the shoe, while some foam is exposed to reduce weight. Additionally, there's an eye-catching cutout that highlights the Pebax-based Wave Plate.

In our lab, the first test involved measuring the hardness of the rubber that Mizuno uses. We found that it scored an 83.0 HC, which is a bit higher than average. This suggests it should offer good durability. Next, we'll put that to the test.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Outsole hardness
Test results
Wave Rider 27 83.0 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 280 running shoes
Number of shoes
52.1 HC
Outsole hardness
93.0 HC

Outsole durability

We're thrilled with the results of our final Dremel test on the Wave Rider 27's outsole.

A mere 0.6 mm indentation remained after our examination in the lab, beating out most of the competition. We're confident this outsole will easily last for over 500 miles for most runners.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Outsole durability
Test results
Wave Rider 27 0.6 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 141 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We measured the rubber on the outsole and found it to be thicker than average at 3.8 mm. This extra thickness adds another boost to the shoe's durability.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Outsole thickness
Test results
Wave Rider 27 3.8 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 299 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Although this shoe weighs in at just under the 10-oz mark at 9.8 oz, it's worth noting that daily trainers are getting lighter every year. This puts the Wave Rider 27 on the heavier end of the spectrum, despite being 0.5 oz lighter than the WR26.

If you're looking for a lighter shoe and are willing to sacrifice some durability, consider the ASICS Novablast 3 instead.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Weight
Test results
Wave Rider 27 9.84 oz (279g)
Average 9.35 oz (265g)
Compared to 300 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

It looks like Mizuno is sticking with what works for them—they've used the same successful formula as in the previous Wave Riders. This time, we measured the heel height at 38.3 mm, which is only 1 millimetre higher than last year's model (37.3 mm).

This is plenty of heel cushioning for any runner, including heel strikers who weigh a bit more.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Heel stack
Test results
Wave Rider 27 38.3 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 299 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

In our measurements, the forefoot stack height came in at a fairly typical 25.1 mm. However, it's clear that Mizuno took a different approach with the forefoot compared to the heel.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Forefoot stack
Test results
Wave Rider 27 25.1 mm
Average 24.9 mm
Compared to 299 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

Combining a high heel with an average forefoot naturally results in a steep heel-to-toe drop. This is precisely what we expected from a proper Wave Rider.

In our lab, we measured a 13.2-mm heel-to-toe drop. So, if you're lacing up these, get ready for a pretty steep experience. This makes the WR27 a top pick for extreme heel strikers!

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Drop
Test results
Wave Rider 27 13.2 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 299 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

Mizuno played it safe with the insole, choosing an average one. We measured it at 4.7 mm. There's really nothing special about it!

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Insole thickness
Test results
Wave Rider 27 4.7 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 295 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The midsole is mostly crafted from Enerzy, which is a TPE foam that competes well with some top-notch compounds out there like React or Fresh Foam X. We measured its softness in our lab and found it to be 23.3 HA. So, don't expect it to feel like a cloud, but it won't feel like a rock either.

There's also a standout feature inside the midsole—the Wave Plate. It's made of Pebax has been in the shoe ever since it first came out 27 years ago to give extra stability and smooth transitions from heel to toe.

But it's worth noting that the plate doesn't run the full length of the shoe—it stops in the midfoot area. This shows once again that this shoe is really designed for heel strikers.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Midsole softness
Test results
Wave Rider 27 23.3 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 227 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Next up, we measured the toebox, focusing first on the widest part of the upper. We found that, just like with the midsole, Mizuno chose a middle-of-the-road approach.

We measured it to be 99.2 mm, which should comfortably fit most feet. And for those needing a little extra room, Mizuno also offers this shoe in a wide size.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Wave Rider 27 12.9%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 226 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Wave Rider series has always been a reliable daily trainer without any special stability features like TPU overlays or medial posts.

However, we discovered that the Wave Plate makes a huge difference, and this is why we consider it one of the most stable daily trainers out there.

Torsional rigidity

Thanks to the plate, it avoids becoming overly stiff, unlike shoes with carbon plates. We gave it a 3 out of 5 in our twist test, which is pretty much the standard score for most daily running shoes.

Test results
Wave Rider 27 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 278 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is impressively rigid, earning a top score of 5 out of 5 from us.

While this feature contributes to the shoe's excellent stability, it might not be the best choice for people with sensitive heels.

Test results
Wave Rider 27 5
Average 2.8
Compared to 262 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

In the forefoot area, we measured a 113.9-mm platform. This size seems aimed at accommodating as many runners as possible.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Wave Rider 27 113.9 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 300 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel design follows the same idea. We measured it at 90.9 mm, which is pretty much the average.

We believe this width is just right for a shoe that aims to be versatile. If it were too narrow, that could make the shoe unstable. On the flip side, going too wide could result in a ride that feels dull and heavy.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Wave Rider 27 90.9 mm
Average 90.4 mm
Compared to 300 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

One test that really made our jaws drop was the stiffness challenge. In our lab, we found that the Wave Rider 27 needed only 12.8N from us to bend it 90 degrees.

That's nearly a third of what most shoes require from us, making this shoe incredibly comfortable for walking or hitting the gym.

Test results
Wave Rider 27 12.8N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 282 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

After putting the shoe back in the freezer for another 20 minutes, we conducted the stiffness test again. We observed that the result was slightly higher, but still impressively low.

The difference between the two tests is 39.1%, which is below the average. This highlights the great performance of Mizuno's Enerzy foam once again.

Test results
Wave Rider 27 39.1%
Average 36.2%
Compared to 282 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Grip / Traction

The Wave Rider series has always been a reliable daily trainer without any special stability features like TPU overlays or medial posts.

However, we discovered that the Wave Plate makes a huge difference, and this is why we consider it one of the most stable daily trainers out there.

Size and fit

Thanks to the plate, it avoids becoming overly stiff, unlike shoes with carbon plates. We gave it a 3 out of 5 in our twist test, which is pretty much the standard score for most daily running shoes.

Internal length

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Internal length

Toebox width at the widest part

Next up, we measured the toebox, focusing first on the widest part of the upper. We found that, just like with the midsole, Mizuno chose a middle-of-the-road approach.

We measured it to be 99.2 mm, which should comfortably fit most feet. And for those needing a little extra room, Mizuno also offers this shoe in a wide size.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Wave Rider 27 99.2 mm
Average 98.4 mm
Compared to 300 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

We also examined the toebox right at the big toe to get a more detailed comparison with other shoes. We discovered that the measurement stood at 78.8 mm, reinforcing the same idea about its design and fit.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Wave Rider 27 78.8 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 174 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

We noticed that Japanese brands are big fans of gusseted tongues, and Mizuno fits right in with that trend.

This semi-gusseted tongue prevents any undesired movements while running at a fast pace. It's a small but significant detail that makes a big difference on the run, and something we appreciate in a £150 shoe.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Wave Rider 27 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

At just 6.4 mm, the tongue is really well-designed, hitting the sweet spot between lightweight feel and plush comfort.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 tongue

We didn't experience any annoying lace bite or similar issues, no matter how tight we pulled those laces.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Tongue padding
Test results
Wave Rider 27 6.4 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

The Wave Rider 27 doesn't have a heel tab, but for us, it's no big deal. Slipping our feet into these daily trainers is hassle-free.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Heel tab
Test results
Wave Rider 27 None

Removable insole

The insole is removable, allowing us to use custom orthotics or even a preferred insole from another pair of shoes.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Removable insole
Test results
Wave Rider 27 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

In the Wave Rider 27, when it's dark out, the thing lighting up is actually the Mizuno logo! So they're giving us a useful feature and showing off their brand at the same time. Pretty smart!

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 Reflective elements
Test results
Wave Rider 27 Yes