I’ve been looking for a Gore-Tex shoe for a while now. There aren’t that many on the market that aren’t trail shoes. I’ve had road running shoes that had pretty good drainage systems, but I’ve also had road running shoes that just absorbed all the water and took ages to dry after a run in the rain. If the road is really wet or it’s really pouring down with rain, good socks alone are just not going to cut it. So, that’s why I wanted a pair of running shoes with GTX, for those runs on rainy days.
I really liked the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 and they happened to have a shoe with Gore-Tex that was very similar to the Rider 23, the Mizuno Wave Rider GTX. It is basically the Wave Rider 23, but with a few changes. It is also a neutral running shoe and has the same 12 mm drop as the Rider 23.
One of the differences compared to the Rider 23 is the upper. As the name of this shoe already suggests, it has a Gore-Tex mesh upper. Gore-Tex is supposed to be waterproof and breathable. Well on a warm day, this shoe definitely isn’t very breathable. It’s a hot shoe.
The upper makes a slight rustling noise when you move, a bit like the rustling of tissue paper that you find in shoe boxes. This doesn’t go away after you break in the shoe, the rustling sound remains. It’s a bit annoying, but if it gets me a waterproof upper, I’m willing to stick with it.
The midsole is basically the same as that of the Wave Rider 23. There are two foams in the midsole. For the most part the midsole consists of U4ic foam and then there is the softer U4icX. And then there is the wave plate in the heel. The combination of the wave plate and the U4icX in the heel make this a suitable shoe for heel strikers.
The outsole is the other part that is different in the GTX version. The outsole is a bit thicker and the lugs are a bit more aggressive to give you better grip on wet roads. It is made out of X10, which is a carbon rubber which is very durable and has good grip.
The flex grooves looked less deep than on the Rider 23, so I expected the GTX to be less flexible, but didn’t really notice a difference in flexibility between the two.
The sizing is a bit tighter than in the Wave Rider 23, probably due to the different upper. They fit, the length is fine, but it might have been better to go half a size up.
I get blisters on my achilles from this shoe, probably because in the Rider 23 the inside of the heel is made out of one piece of fabric, while in the GTX there is stitching one third of the way down and there is a seam down the middle. These seams are probably the reason for the irritation. I’m not sure why Mizuno has done this, since it’s not there in the Rider 23 and I doubt it was really necessary for the Gore-Tex. The shoes feel a bit heavy, heavier than the Wave Rider 23. Probably because of the extra rubber on the outsole.
I must say I had to get used to the idea of just being able to run through puddles in the beginning. I generally run around them if I can, since with some of my other running shoes, my feet will get soaked and I might get blisters. With these, you can just keep running straight through the puddle and you won’t notice. You can walk through wet grass and it’s no issue. Rain, no issue. Once I got used to that idea, I loved it.
Which still makes me wonder why not more running companies have road running shoes with GTX in their collections. The only other that I know of are the Brooks Ghost GTX and the New Balance 880 GTX.
On the one hand I really like this shoe. The Gore-Tex works great, you can just keep going through the rain and the puddles and the Rider is a great shoe, but some of the changes they have made compared to the Rider 23 weren’t really improvements.
The fit of the Rider 23 is better than that of the GTX and the Rider 23 feels a bit softer in the midsole compared to the GTX, but that might be due to the difference in outsole. The forefoot in the GTX is a bit wider, but the shoe overall feels a little bit shorter and tighter than the Rider 23. The midsole is still great and it’s still a great shoe for heel strikers, but a few adjustments would make this shoe even better.
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