The Wave Rider is Mizuno’s hallmark shoe and the brand celebrates its 20th edition in style.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 is an everyday trainer, not too fancy but with all the cushioning and protection a runner needs, and checks in at under $170. There aren’t many shoes – minus the likes of the Nike Pegasus and Asics Gel-Kayano – that have been around for 20-plus years meaning that the Wave Rider has been one of the industry’s best with continued refinements.

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Those familiar with the shoe will know that the Wave Rider has traditionally had a livelier feel compared to most most competitors. Fortunately, the Wave Rider 20 feels like just the right balance between the ultra-cushioned shoes, Hoka One One for example, and a lightweight trainer.

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The brand describes the Wave Rider 20 as its “softest, smoothest, most responsive Wave Rider yet.” Only those who have been running in the shoe for years can confirm that but compared to last year’s model, the Wave Rider 19, the 20 is definitely softer while maintaining its responsive feel, which inherently has a certain level of stiffness to it.

Testing out the “clownfish-black” colourway, one prominent feature is the plastic plate that is embedded in the heel. Appropriately named Cloud Wave for its design, the plate extends from the heel through to the midsole giving the shoe a stiffer feeling. U4icX cushioning surrounds the plate and provides runners with a wide landing area without the “clunk.”

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The weight, 9.9 oz. for men and 8.3 oz. for women, is pretty typical of an everyday trainer for runners to get in some easy and longer runs in the winter. A lightweight trainer may compliment a runner’s shoe collection rather than using the Wave Rider during shorter workouts.

The basics

Price: $164.99
Type of shoe: Neutral cushioning
Weight: Men’s: 9.6 oz.; Women’s: 8.3 oz.
Drop: 12 mm
Availability: In stores now.

The mesh looks two-fold (it’s triple-zone in fact) as, at least on the clownfish-black colourway, the outer material is a different colour than the main structuring of the shoe. CR sees this as being advantageous during the winter months with a little added material if you’re in a colder climate. The reinforced material eliminates any of the earlier problems the shoe had regarding material ripping on the inner and outer edges of the toebox.

The shoe runs true to size though there are narrow and wide options when ordering the shoe online. The variety of options gives runners who are committed to a certain brand a bit of flexibility if they want to give the Wave Rider a shot.

The shoe comes in three colourways for both men and women. Each model is two-toned keeping the look simple. Local reps hinted at a possible limited-edition colourway that is expected to be launched this spring. Depending on personal preference, a bright shoe may prove beneficial in the winter because of its visibility. At the same time, vibrant colours can quickly accumulate stains. That’s just a small sacrifice for rewarding your legs with the Wave Rider cushioning.

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