Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 27

The men's Mizuno Wave Rider 27 sits sideways on the ground.

Picture this: you’ve walked into your local Fleet Feet, gone through the outfitting process and found your perfect fit. You’ve worn your trusty pair of shoes for so many training miles that they’re a little worse for the wear. It’s time to get a new pair. No big deal, you’ll just pick up another pair of the same ones, right? If you’ve been wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider, you can breathe a little easier knowing that, despite the updates, it still offers the same fit and feel you’ve grown to love.

“When I worked at Fleet Feet Tucson, we’d have so many people come in and say they had found a shoe that they really love, but then it was changed,” says Kate. “The Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is a great shoe for those runners who find a shoe they love and hope it never changes.”

Mizuno’s best selling daily trainer has offered a consistent experience over the past few years while still managing to remain sleek and modern. A rigid plate embedded in the midsole, referred to as Mizuno’s signature Wave Plate, disperses shock evenly throughout your foot while Mizuno’s ENERZY midsole foam cushions every stride.

Fleet Feet reviewers put the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 to the test to see how it fits, feels and performs. Here’s everything you need to know.

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Rider 27

Weight 8.3 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)
Heel-to-toe drop 12 mm
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 38 mm/26 mm
Category Neutral
Surface Road, track
Comparable to... New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13, Brooks Ghost 15

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

A pair of blue Mizuno Wave Rider 27 sits atop a grey background.

Mizuno rides the wave without rocking the boat

You’ve heard the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and Mizuno designers seem to have taken this to heart when updating the Wave Rider 27. After all, why ruin a good thing? As we mentioned above, the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 stays true to its roots as a firm yet flexible option among neutral daily trainers that have been getting softer and squishier in recent years. Plus, Mizuno has been serving up plated shoes since before it was cool.

Mizuno’s Wave Plate, a firm, Pebax plate embedded in the midsole, serves up a snappy ride while the surrounding layers of ENERZY foam, an EVA-based midsole compound, add a touch of softness to round out the feel. The combination of plush foam and a firm plate give the Wave Rider a smooth, balanced feel.

“The cushioning in the Wave Rider 27 reminds me of memory foam,” Max says. “The foam has some comfortable give to it, but it doesn’t rebound immediately.”

And because the shoe doesn’t feel quite as marshmallow-y soft as some other brands, reviewers noticed it felt plenty stable, too.

“This shoe runs buttery smooth,” Nate says. “I like feeling balanced and stable. And I like that there’s just a tiny dose of pep in my stride…but not too much!”

The outsole is made with an abrasion-resistant X10 rubber, offering excellent grip and traction on the road while preventing uneven wear on areas that take the most pounding, like the lateral heel and forefoot.

Smooth, air-mesh upper delivers a welcoming hug

The upper and tongue of the men's Mizuno Wave Rider 27.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is topped off with a soft, breathable air-mesh upper that wraps comfortably around your foot, keeping you securely in place.

“I love how the shoe wraps snugly around my foot without feeling too tight, just like it’s giving you a nice hug,” says Mandy.

Not the death-squeeze kind of hug from your Great Aunt Mary, more like the warm, gentle hug from an old friend. Soft padding in the heel, ankle collar and tongue dial up the plush factor for maximal comfort.

“While the Wave Rider 27 has a firm underfoot feel, it also has plenty of cushion built into the shoe,” Kate says. “The upper, in particular, has just enough padding in the tongue and heel collar to keep my foot comfortable and hold everything in place. The padding extends all the way down the heel cup.”

Some reviewers noticed the shoe felt a touch narrow in the toe box, which is why we recommend it to runners and walkers who have narrow, low-volume feet, meaning your feet don’t take up much room within the shoe. If you’re not sure about the width of your feet, 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.

Mizuno Wave Rider 27 vs Wave Rider 26

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Rider 27

Mizuno Wave Rider 26

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)

8.3 oz (W), 10 oz (M)

Heel-to-toe drop

12 mm

12 mm

Stack height (heel/forefoot)

38 mm/26 mm

38.5 mm/26.5 mm

As we mentioned before, not much has changed in the latest version of the Mizuno Wave Rider. It features almost identical tech specs to the previous version, besides shaving off 0.1 ounces from the men’s model and reducing the stack height by half a millimeter. But reviewers wouldn’t have noticed these changes if not for the tech specs, since the ride and performance feel identical.

“The latest version of the Wave Rider feels incredibly similar to the last two versions I’ve tested,” says Caroline. “It has firm cushioning with a flexible ride so that my heel-to-toe transitions feel nice and smooth. I took these on a 5 mile easy run and my feet felt great.”

If you enjoyed the Wave Rider 26, you’ll likely enjoy this latest iteration, too.

The women's Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is propped up against a grey wall.

How does the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 compare?

We took a look at some comparable shoes and how they stack up against the Mizuno Wave Rider 27. Here’s what we found:

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Rider 27

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13

Brooks Ghost 15

Weight

8.3 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)

8.4 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)

8.8 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)

Heel-to-toe drop

12 mm

10 mm

12 mm

Stack height (heel/forefoot)

38 mm/26 mm

27 mm/17 mm


25 mm/13 mm


Price

$140

$140

$140

The Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is Mizuno’s moderately cushioned neutral trainer, just like the New Balance 880 v13 and the Brooks Ghost 15 are in their respective brands. The Wave Rider is one step below the Mizuno Wave Sky 6 in terms of cushioning.

Reviewers agreed that the Wave Rider 27 and the 880 v13 both have a decidedly firmer feel than most neutral trainers, while reviewers had mixed opinions about the firm-to-soft ratio of the Ghost 15. All three shoes deliver a straightforward and dependable experience. They might not have all the fancy bells and whistles of max-cushioned or carbon-plated shoes, but you know what to expect when you slide them on.

Who is the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 best for?

Thanks to a rigid Wave Plate in the midsole, the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is an excellent choice for runners who enjoy a firm ride. While the shoe is categorized as neutral and doesn’t offer the level of support that most stability shoes do, reviewers felt the firm midsole and structured upper offer an inherently stable ride.

Reviewers also recommend this shoe to people who are on their feet all day, whether for work, family obligations or volunteering to time a 6-hour swim meet, like Mandy.

“The foam in the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 reminds me of memory foam,” says Max. “It has some give to it when you press on it, but it takes time to bounce back and rebound. That’s what makes it good for standing on your feet all day.”

Because the Wave Rider 27 offers a slimmer last with a more structured upper, it’s a great choice for runners with narrow feet or those who just like to feel extra support throughout the midfoot area.

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