The Mizuno Wave Rider 22 Is the Best Wave Rider Yet

Two runners wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider 22

The Wave Rider 22 delivers a softer, lighter, more responsive ride

Mizuno is a Japanese sportswear brand that started by crafting baseballs and baseball garb in the early 1900s. From there, the scientifically-focused brand continued to develop across multiple sports. It was 1983 when running shoes finally made it into the mix. Then, a little over a decade later, in 1997, the first Mizuno Wave shoe model hit the market … and it was less than a success (at least in the American market). But that didn’t stop Mizuno from trying again. And it’s a good thing they did.

In 1999, after a couple years of meticulous R and D, the Wave Rider 2 hit the ground running. In the second iteration, Mizuno reconstructed the entire Wave Plate and extracted superfluous materials. The result? A lighter-weight running shoe that would begin a long line of industry-leading footwear with a strong cult following.

Over the next decade, the shoe slowly evolved, albeit carefully. By 2003, the Wave Rider received awards from running magazine editors and was already a lighter, more responsive, breathable and stable shoe than its predecessors. And, it’s still getting better.

Since then, the shoe has regularly lost weight, changed it's outward appearance and transitioned to more technologically-advanced materials. And this year’s Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is no different. Here’s our review of the brand-new 2018 update of Mizuno’s iconic shoe:

A runner wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider 22

The Deets:

Weight: 9.6 oz. (men’s size 9); 8.3 oz. (women’s size 7)

Heel-to-toe drop: 12 mm

MSRP: $120


It’s instantly comfortable right out of the box, albeit a little firm. But that’s part of the tech behind the Wave Rider’s iconic design. If you’ve worn past models of the shoe, though, you’ll notice the Wave Plate on the 22 feels just a tad softer (we’ll tell you more about that in the next section).

The heel counter is plush and wide, while still offering security for even narrow-heeled runners. The classic tongue and lacing system is simple and efficient to lace and cinch down, and the mesh upper feels light and breezy yet durable. Yep, after just one run, we could tell the shoe is built to withstand the daily training grind.

A note: For wide feet the Wave Rider 22 may fit a bit like a racing shoe thanks to Mizuno’s streamlined last shape. If the toexbox feels snug, don't worry; Mizuno makes the same shoe in "wide."

Runners wear the Mizuno Wave Rider 22


Here's where the cloudwave Wave Plate tech really shines. The heel-to-toe transition is noticeably smoother than previous models, while still offering the firm underfoot feel Mizuno lovers have come to expect from the Wave Rider line.

Mizuno also claims the “increased decoupling of the lateral crash pad creates a smoother ride.” Our testers couldn’t identify that specifically, but the ride was smooth so, hey, we’ll take it!

It’s fantastic on almost any surface, mellow trail included. Only problem: rocks easily lodge under the heel between the Wave Plate and outsole. So, best to avoid gravel roads.

All in all, we’re impressed with the update. It’s lighter, softer, more breathable and more responsive than any Wave Rider models to date.

Shop Wave Rider 22