I’ve tried the Wave Rider 23 and the GTX version before, but Mizuno has given their running shoe line-up a pretty big overhaul. So I’m curious to see how the 24th version of this shoe turned out.
The Wave Rider is the iconic neutral daily trainer by Mizuno. This version has a 20 mm forefoot stack and a 32 mm heel stack, giving this shoe a 12 mm drop. This is the same stack height as that of the previous version.
All the big running shoe brands are currently coming up with new revolutionary materials for their midsoles and so did Mizuno. The Wave Rider 24 features their new Mizuno Enerzy. In the previous version the majority of the midsole was made out of Mizuno’s U4ic foam and the softer U4icX foam as part of the midsole in the heel area. The Mizuno Enerzy foam is supposed to be 17% softer and 15% more responsive than the previous version of this shoe. In the 24 the midsole is made up of the U4ic foam as the overall midsole and there is Enerzy foam underneath the wave plate in the heel.
The 24th version of this shoe still contains the iconic wave plate, but this time the wave plate is made from a plastic made from castor beans to reduce the carbon footprint of this shoe. I always appreciate it when a brand tries to make their products more environmental friendly. The wave plate is supposed to help with stability during landing, but they’ve made it a bit shorter in this version which helps with the responsiveness of the shoe.
One thing I did notice in this version is that it’s a bit noisy when you walk or run in them. Not sure if that’s the outsole or the wave plate or a combination of the two, but you can hear your footsteps in this shoe. Not a huge problem, but if you want to surprise someone, you might want to wear different shoes, otherwise they might hear you coming.
The outsole is made up out of two types of rubber. There is a more durable carbon rubber in the heel and a softer blown rubber underneath the forefoot to enhance the cushioning and responsiveness in the forefoot. I do find the forefoot to be softer than that in the 23 even though it’s supposed to be the same foam in the forefoot, so maybe the outsole has something to do with it. The outsole seems to hold up pretty well.
Mizuno has also revamped the upper. The upper is an engineered air mesh. It is pretty breathable and the upper is stretchier than that of the 23 and the 24 is also a bit more modern looking than the previous version. It also has a gusseted tongue which should help keep the tongue in place.
There is medium padding in the heel and tongue, the same as in the previous version of this shoe and fitting for a daily trainer. The upper is quite minimal with no weird overlays or gimmicks. It has an internal heel counter and a pretty flexible toe bumper.
The Wave Rider 24 is a great neutral shoe, especially for heel strikers. The rubber is more durable in the heel and the Mizuno Enerzy helps you with a softer landing as well as more energy return. It fits true to size and is a good every day trainer. The 24th edition of this shoe is quite the update, it’s lighter and softer, but at the same time if you liked the previous versions of this shoe it’s not a completely different experience than the previous version. Yes it has a new foam, but at the same time most of the midsole remains the same. You’ll still recognize the Wave Rider, it’s still the reliable and stable running shoe that’s been popular for 24 years.