Since 1998 Mizuno has been rolling out an annual release of their franchise neutral trainer, the Wave Rider. Much like the Saucony Ride, Nike Pegasus, Brooks Ghost and so on, the Wave Rider is a do it all daily training running shoe.
Complete with an engineered mesh upper, a mix of U4ic and U4icX foams, with a parallel wave plate, the Wave Rider is a softer ride for a Mizuno shoe made for neutral runners.
Mizuno Wave Rider 22 General Info
As the Wave Rider changes from year to year the key changes from the 21st version come in updates to the midsole for a softer and smoother ride as well as an updated upper for adjusted breathability.
Upon seeing the Wave Rider 22 for the first time the trainer appeared to look very similar to the Wave Rider 21.
Much like the 21s, which similar to the 20s, the Wave Rider 22 hits a sweet spot for its cushioning, being softer than most Mizuno options while maintaining a mix of the the firm feeling of the plate.
Not heavy under the foot the Wave Rider 22 is suitable for daily training and longer distance races.
While the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 has already been described as softer, especially in the heel due to the the mix of the foams in the midsole, the Wave Rider 22 is still firmer than other daily training shoes offered by other companies.
The softer feeling is more in comparison to other Mizuno options and last year’s Wave Rider 21.
Mizuno Wave Rider 22 Sole Unit
The Mizuno Wave Rider 22 sole unit is made up of a mix of U4ic and U4icX foams. A majority of the sole unit is the U4ic foam with a heel area of the U4icX foam.
The U4icX heel creates a softer more cushioned feeling under the heel. In the midfoot and heel of the trainer is the parallel wave plate which adds firmness and a touch of stability within the shoe.
Atop of the sole directly under the foot is a thin layer of the U4icX foam spanning the entire foot. This also contributed to the softer than most Mizuno shoes feeling.
The outsole of the Wave Rider 22 appears to be unchanged from the 21, providing traction and durability.
In the midfoot the Wave Rider has less foam and outsole to expose the plate in the midfoot. This allows for some flexibility and also keeps the weight of the trainer relatively low.
The outsole of the Wave Rider 22 contains X10 rubber in the heel for added durability, especially with heel-strikers as this shoe will appeal to.
Mizuno Wave Rider 22 Upper Info
One of the issues we had with the Wave Rider last year was the upper being almost too breathable. Mizuno heard the complaints and made changes to the upper by incorporating a full length engineered mesh with a thick sockliner.
The redesigned upper creates a plush cushioning around the midfoot and heel areas while giving the toebox more room.
Between the plush tongue and the thicker midfoot areas of the upper creates a less breathable and much tighter fit around the midfoot.
Due to the plush nature of this upper cushioning, most runners would be okay sticking true to size with the caveat that the fit will feel tighter in that area than in other shoes.
Mizuno Wave Rider 22 Conclusions
With a popular and successful shoe on its 22nd version there is a lot to consider when thinking about the Wave Rider 22.
For one, how does it stand out as a running shoe and then how has it improved or regressed since the last couple of versions of the same shoe.
As a stand alone shoe, not considering previous versions, the Mizuno Wave Rider 22 is a solid go-to everyday shoe.
The Wave Rider 22 will provide a firm snappy ride for a variety of paces and give enough cushion for most runs.
Runner’s who are neutral but need a small touch of support over long runs or prefer a firmer ride under their foot would be benefited by checking out the Wave Rider 22.
Compared to the Wave Rider 21; to see the issues from last year being addressed is incredibly promising.
When there are only minor changes made from one year to another the choice of those changes are important to see the direction that the shoe is undergoing.
The Wave Rider 21 had an upper that was too breathable and could be considered too firm especially over long distances.
Promisingly so, the two key changes made from the 21st to the 22nd version of the Wave Rider was using more of a mix of U4ic and U4icX to make the cushioning softer in the heel, and creating a more substantial yet breathable upper.
Of these two changes, I believe Mizuno hit one of these well and just missed the mark in the other.
The midsole, specifically in the heel, is softer and does not cause too much fatigue in the foot from the firm plate over the course of longer runs.
The upper however is constrictive and went too far to the other end of the spectrum from the Wave Rider 21.
An interesting option that is 10 dollars more expensive than the Wave Rider 22, $130 vs $120 retail, is the WaveKnit R2.
The WaveKnit R2 is essentially the Wave Rider 22 with an all knit upper while maintaining the midsole and outsole.
Having not run in the WaveKnit R2 personally I cannot blindly advise to purchase them over the Wave Rider 22; however I believe that they are worth considering and trying on your own if the Wave Rider 22 is intriguing to you.
We purchased a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 22 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.