Mizuno Wave Rider 26 review

7 expert score
0 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 24th January by Olivia Yoder Ultrarunner, personal trainer and soccer coach.
35 other reviews

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Verdict

The Mizuno Wave Rider 26 is a good neutral running shoe. It’s not a shoe that will catch your eye but it will get the job done. Did I love the shoe? No. Did I get from point A to point B with comfort? Yes. Overall, it’s a solid shoe that's worth the money.

The pros

  • Very durable
  • Locked in heel counter
  • Secure upper

The cons

  • Runs slightly small
  • High heel to toe drop may not be for everyone
  • Stiff

Where to buy

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Rating breakdown

Build quality
Sole unit
Value / Price

Facts / Specs

Wave Rider 26
Previous model
9 oz (255 g)

Heel drop
10 mm.
Carbon plate
Plate in other materials


Buy half size bigger
Heel fit
Midfoot fit
Toebox fit

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Amount of cushioning
Medium cushioning
Some stability


Daily training  
Long distance racing
Ultra distance racing

Who should buy the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 ?

This shoe is for the runner who wants a neutral running shoe that is more narrow, has a firmer feel, and is durable. Ideally, I would use this shoe for runs that are anywhere from 1 to 10 miles. These runs would be at a moderate pace.

Who should not buy the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 ?

This shoe is not for the runner looking for a racing shoe or a shoe that will keep their feet completely comfortable for longer distances. They fall short once your legs start to get fatigued on those longer distances.

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Introduction

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

It’s a daily trainer with no bells or whistles but gets the job done.

Traditional is the word I keep seeing when describing the Wave Rider 26. Mizuno plays it safe with this updated version.

The quality is easily known when you look at them. It does have a 12mm heel drop that might not be for everyone. It runs extremely narrow and is a firm-fitting shoe.

I would recommend sizing up a half-size. They weigh 8.3oz. Not too heavy but not extremely lightweight either. It falls into the typical daily trainer price range.

You’ll pay around $140. Although, I have seen them on sale on a few websites for $84 and $93. For the durability and all the features this shoe offers, I would say that the price is right and is validated.

A shoe from a different brand that has some similarities is the Saucony Triumph 20. Both are close in price for daily trainers, have comfy breathable uppers, and great choices for heel strikers. If I had to pick which pair I liked better it would be the Saucony Triumph 20.

When comparing a shoe of the same brand, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 18. They will both give you a good balance of stability and responsiveness.

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 First Impressions

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

My first impression when I opened the box was that I thought they were the Mizuno Wave Inspire 18s. They look very similar to one another and they felt alike.

When I first placed my feet into them I could immediately notice the 12mm heel drop. It’s a good mix-up to have in my running shoe rotation.

Another thing I noticed was how tight the upper was around my midfoot and toe box. I usually always wear a size 8 but these were very snug and as I mentioned earlier, wished I would have gotten them a half size bigger.

I received the color DIRECTOIRE BLUE-WHITE, not a huge fan but Mizuno has done a great job with offering them in many other colors that will surely please everyone’s taste.

My first run was a 6-mile run on the sidewalk and blacktop. By the time I was finished, I couldn’t wait to take them off.

My feet were very constricted. It took me a good 3 runs to break them in. Once that was completed, I could start to notice what they had to offer.

Each stride was met with comfort and a good balance of snappiness. The high heel drop in this daily neutral trainer makes me think of models I have worn many years ago. It’s not a bad thing at all.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and get original models with the basic technology from 20 years ago. This shoe gives you that type of feel but with newer technology that goes with the time.

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Upper

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

The upper is plush and overall extremely soft.

It’s made from recycled mesh that gives your foot a great secure feel but also enough flexibility to let your foot not feel constricted.

It’s a little thicker in material, which has been keeping my feet warm during the cold winter runs. Lately, it’s been raining and my shoes have gotten wet. The upper dries very quickly by the next morning when I take them back out for another run.

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

Around the ankle, there is just the right amount of padding. The tongue is gusseted and is also cushioned enough to make sure there is no discomfort when making sure your laces are locked in place.

Speaking of laces, they are flat and stretchy, which makes them stay put when tied up. One of my favorite areas of the show would be its built-up heel counter.

Absolutely no slipping of any sort. This heel counter works alongside the Wave Plate to give the shoe stability.

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Sole Unit

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

Jumping on board with other companies becoming more environmentally friendly, Mizuno has made the new wave materials emit 25% fewer CO2 emissions than normal PEBAX. I love seeing this.

The midsole of the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 is where some upgrades were made to this model.

This series is usually considered in the stable neutral category and this latest edition falls right in line. The new technology allows for multiple ways the shoe will help guide your feet.

The MIZUNO WAVE plate is said to disperse energy from impact to a broader area providing a stable platform and superior cushioning. The wave plate runs the full length of the shoe.

Compared to past models this plate feels like it’s extended even further than other Wave Riders. I don’t think that’s the case, it just feels that way to me.

It’s a stiff shoe that can be attributed to this but also allows enough flexibility to have a clean toe-off. I do like how firm the ride tends to be because of this. There’s no worry about my feet moving side to side. The shoe is rockered and you will notice this through the forefoot and less in the heel.

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

MIZUNO ENERZY (FOAM) is versatile in its ability to offer some softness while maintaining the firmness you need to fully feel all of the shoe’s performance capabilities.

The X10 Outsole is made up of durable carbon rubber that will allow for longer wear. I can vouch for this because I have worn my pair for well over 100 miles and there is little to no wear on the outsole.

I have worn them in all types of conditions and experienced no slipping. They grip the ground in all the right places.

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 Conclusions

Picture of Mizuno Wave Rider 26

My conclusion of the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 is that if you like a pillow-like soft training shoe, this might not be the best option.

It runs pretty firmly. But, the run of the shoe is very comfortable.

You can’t forget about the 12mm heel drop either. If you are a heel striker or have calf problems, this would be a good choice. And if you are a midfoot striker they may give you an unstable feel and cause unwanted pressures on your hips or knees.

After I got past breaking them in, I ended up enjoying them. There are far more pros to this shoe than cons.
What you will pay for is a highly durable shoe that will go the distance and be a great go-to daily trainer.

How does the Wave Rider 26 compare?

Asics Novablast 3
Mizuno Wave Rider 26
Brooks Ghost 15
Expert score
User score
Best price
Retail price
8.9 oz
9 oz
9.8 oz
Heel Drop
9 mm
10 mm
12 mm
Recommended for
Daily training
Daily training
Daily training
Cushioning type
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Medium cushioning
Highly cushioned
very stable
some stability
very stable
buy half size smaller
buy half size bigger
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Mizuno at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.
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Reviewed by Olivia

This review was written by Olivia Yoder on 24th January.
Lives in Marietta, Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and dog. Olivia is a personal trainer and soccer coach. She has been running for 10 years and competes in various distances. For the past few years she has been concentrating on the ultra distances. She never would have thought that one sport would change her whole outlook on life like running has.

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Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

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