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Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 24

The men's Mizuno Wave Rider 24 running shoe

The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is an upgrade to the classic Rider platform, keeping the approachable performance while softening its feel.

Reliability, from run to run and from year to year, is what made the Wave Rider stand out. This year’s model includes a few minor tweaks to the upper but also a bigger change to the midsole. Mizuno updated the midsole for a softer feel and smoother ride, but the Wave Rider 24 still delivers a consistent ride and easy fit.

Fleet Feet reviewers took the newest Wave Rider for a spin to see how the updated midsole feels and how it compares to previous generations. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 (mesh upper)

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 9.6 oz (M)

Drop

12 mm

Midsole

U4ic, Enerzy

Category

Neutral

Use

Everyday training

Surface

Road, track

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Fit and Materials

A pair of women's Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Waveknit running shoes

Mizuno this year created two versions of the Wave Rider 24: one with an engineered mesh upper and one with a knit upper, which Mizuno calls Waveknit. The two shoes are built atop the same platform, but reviewers felt like the fit was slightly different due to the different uppers.

Both versions give you a comfortable fit; they’re wide enough for a lot of different foot shapes, and they fit true to length. Like many running shoes with knit uppers, the knit Wave Rider has a more sock-like feel than the engineered mesh upper.

Each reviewer has their favorite version, meaning neither upper is objectively better—it’s personal preference.

“Personally, I preferred the knit upper,” one reviewer says. “ When I put one shoe on each foot and made an instant decision based on comfort, I would buy the knit upper over the standard engineered mesh upper.”

Fleet Feet runners did note different fits depending on their foot shapes. One tester says she had trouble with her foot slipping forward toward the front of the shoe while running downhill; other runners didn’t have any problem with their feet moving in the shoe.

If you’re unsure about your size in Mizuno shoes, it’s worth finding a local running store to try on a pair.

Both the mesh upper and the knit upper look good, too. Again, different reviewers preferred versions, but it’s not out of the question to wear either pair on your run and then out to a casual dinner.

The Wave Rider 24 Waveknit is slightly heavier compared to the stock mesh version, but we don’t think fans of the Waveknit look will mind the difference.

Tech comparison

Wave Rider 24 Mesh

Wave Rider 24 Waveknit

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 9.6 oz (M)

8.5 oz (W), 10.1 oz (M)

Drop

12 mm

12 mm

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Ride and Performance

The heel of the men's Mizuno Wave Rider 24 with the Waveknit upper

The Wave Rider has historically leaned toward the firmer side of the running shoe spectrum. As running shoes trend toward softer foams, though, Mizuno this year used a new foam composition called Enerzy.

Mizuno used the Enerzy foam primarily in the heel. The foam feels soft to the touch, and it makes for a well-cushioned landing for heel strikers. Designers connected the Enerzy to the midfoot, too, to give it a consistent transition from heel to toe. The extended Enerzy also creates full ground contact.

That’s the big change this year. Mizuno says the Wave Rider 24 provides seven percent more cushioning and 12 percent more energy return than previous versions of the shoe.

A full rubber outsole adds long-lasting durability and premium traction, so you can be sure your running shoes will last for a full training cycle.

Mizuno continued using its signature Wave Plate technology. Some other Mizuno running shoes, like the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3, dropped the plastic version of the plate for a cushier Foam Wave, but the Rider holds on.

You can see the edge of the plastic Wave Plate along the shoe’s sidewall. The plate’s wavy shape is intended to disperse landing impact evenly across a broader area to create a smoother transition. Mizuno says it also helps save energy by not allowing you to sink as far into the foam.

The Wave Plate can also be tuned for specific properties, like stability or support. The Wave Rider 24’s version, though, is built for a neutral stride.

The Wave Rider isn’t a blazing fast speedwork shoe, and that’s OK. One reviewer praised it for its approachability.

“Mizuno nailed the ride,” he says. “It’s firm in the forefoot, which I like, and it has a soft, smooth transition. I’ve been a fan of the Wave Rider for a while, and this one is just as good as I expected.”

Mizuno Wave Rider 23 vs. Mizuno Wave Rider 24

The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 doesn’t look wildly different from the Wave Rider 23 when you compare them side by side, but it does feel different under your feet.

Mizuno swapped out the U4icX foam used in the outgoing model for the Enerzy foam in the current one. Reviewers say the Enerzy feels noticeably softer than the ride created by the U4icX.

The look is cleaner this year than last. Mizuno made the Wave Rider 24 with a simple, one-piece upper that only sports a single Mizuno logo on each side. The Wave Rider 23 wasn’t complicated, but it did have a split where the midfoot and heel mesh met.

Mizuno also changed the shape of the Wave Plate. The updated Plate provides more contact with the foot. Rather than the sharper peaks and valleys of the Wave Rider 23, the Wave Rider 24 has flatter waves—again, you can see the shapes of the Wave Plates in the sidewall of the midsole.

There is one other small difference between the Wave Rider 23 and Wave Rider 24: The new model has a full ground contact outsole, while the 23 had a small gap between the forefoot and heel.

Tech comparison

Mizuno Wave Rider 23

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 (mesh upper)

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 9.6 oz (M)

8.3 oz (W), 9.6 oz (M)

Cushioning

U4ic, U4icX

U4ic, Enerzy

Drop

12 mm

12 mm

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Wave Plate

Steeper wave

Flatter wave

Ground contact

Forefoot, heel

Full

Conclusion

The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is a quality update to a well-loved running shoe—a good sign for longtime fans.

Mizuno this year swapped out U4icX foam for its new Enerzy composition. The new foam is softer than in previous models, giving you a cushier landing and smoother transition. Even though the shoe still provides a firm ride, reviewers appreciated the plusher feel than the outgoing version.

Fleet Feet reviewers had different experiences when it comes to fit, so it’s a smart idea to try it on if you can. But with an engineered mesh version and a Waveknit one, every runner can find the right look.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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