Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 26
The Mizuno Wave Rider 26 offers a seamless blend of supportive and energetic cushioning, which makes it one of our favorite neutral running shoes of 2022.
The latest version of the bestselling Mizuno Wave Rider is equipped with Mizuno’s signature Wave Plate, which disperses shock evenly throughout your foot for a balanced stride. The Wave Rider 26 also features a thicker Mizuno ENERZY midsole than the previous version.
Fleet Feet reviewers tested the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 during easy miles, long runs and strides. Here’s everything you need to know.
Mizuno Wave Rider 26
Mizuno Wave Rider 25
8.3 oz (W), 10 oz (M)
8.1 oz (W), 9.7 oz (M)
Neutral, moderate cushion
Neutral, moderate cushion
Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Offers Engaging Ride
If you enjoy a firm, stable ride, the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 is for you. The latest update offers a rigid Wave Plate and a peppy foam in the midsole to balance out the feel.
What’s a midsole? Learn about the parts that make up a running shoe.
The Mizuno Wave Plate sits inside the midsole and is the anchor of most Mizuno running shoes. This stiff, wave-shaped plate absorbs shock as you land and propels you forward as you take off. The plate is wrapped inside a thicker layer of Mizuno’s ENERZY foam, an EVA-based midsole compound, that feels responsive and supportive.
“I enjoy the firmness of the cushioning in the Wave Rider 26,” Nate says. “The ENERZY foam provides a nice, snappy bounce off the ground. This shoe feels like an everyday trainer with an extra little kick to keep you rolling smoothly.”
The latest version of the Mizuno Wave Rider ups the ante with more midsole ENERZY foam than the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 – two millimeters, to be exact.
“The cushioning of the shoe feels nice and firm, and it’s comfortable and well-shaped,” Alex says. “The ride feels pleasant throughout my run, and the shape of the wave plate keeps my strides flowing along smoothly.”
The outsole is covered with an abrasion-resistant X10 rubber, which offers excellent grip and traction on the road while preventing uneven wear on areas that take the most pounding, like the lateral heel and forefoot.
“I like that the Wave Rider is firm enough to propel me forward, with just enough flexibility in the forefoot to avoid feeling stiff,” Kate says. “The feel is pretty similar to the Wave Riders that we know from the past, but the updated foam and overall materials continue to make small improvements.”
Mesh Upper Provides Secure Fit
The Mizuno Wave Rider 26 offers a smooth upper that’s made with recycled materials, part of Mizuno’s commitment to sustainability.
“The toe box feels extra roomy and comfortable in the Wave Rider 26, which I appreciate,” Alex says. “The upper is soft and breathable. I really enjoy the low heel collar that reduces rubbing on the back of my heel.”
The inner mesh lining and shoelaces are made with recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials, a lightweight recyclable plastic. Padding around the heel collar and a gusseted tongue provide a plush step-in feel, while long laces make it easy to cinch down the fit.
“These shoes fit true to size,” Caroline says. “The soft, breathable upper gently hugs my foot and the smooth laces are long enough to tie the marathon loop, although I didn’t experience any heel slippage in these shoes. The tongue is plush and padded, and there’s plenty of room for my toes to wiggle around.”
Reflective Mizuno logos shine on the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot for extra visibility during dark runs.
Mizuno Wave Rider 26 vs Wave Rider 25
If you’re a fan of the Mizuno Wave Rider 25, you’ll probably enjoy the latest version, too. The Wave Rider 26 maintains the same stable ride and smooth transitions as the previous version, with a touch of added cushioning in the midsole.
It’s worth noting that the Wave Rider 26 is slightly heavier (.2 ounces for the women’s and .3 ounces for the men’s), likely due to the added ENERZY foam, but reviewers didn’t notice a difference.
Overall, reviewers enjoyed the tweaks to the Wave Rider. It says true to form as a moderately cushioned neutral trainer that provides a supportive, engaging ride.
“If you like your shoes to have a solid, stable feel without too much squishiness in the way, this is a dependable trainer to reach for,” Kate says.
What is the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Best For?
Thanks to a rigid Wave Plate and ample ENERZY foam in the midsole, the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 provides reliable cushioning for the bulk of your daily training. Reviewers enjoyed wearing the Wave Rider 26 for easy miles, long runs and walks.
“The silky smooth step-in feel, solid yet snappy cushioning and perfectly contoured fit make this a daily trainer worth paying attention to,” Nate says.
If you want to try on the Mizuno Wave Rider 26, head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height. Not only does the outfitting experience provide you with the right shoes and insoles, outfitters can make recommendations on apparel, accessories and nutrition to help you reach your goals.