Article by Sam Winebaum
Mizuno Wave Rider 27 ($140)
For its 27th edition, the Wave Rider, Mizuno’s workhorse neutral trainer, gets a well executed upper update and a slight weight drop of 0.3 oz to 9.51 oz / 269g in my US8.5 sample. A very respectable weight indeed as we have a max cushion grade 38.5mm heel with as always a Wave plate (bio based Pebax Renew) leading forward 12mm in drop to the 26.5mm forefoot. Trust me don’t worry about the drop if you do some heel striking as most do as with the deeply decoupled heel and wave plate you are led forward smoothly even at slower paces and there is plenty of cushion upfront.
There are no called out or noticed changes to the lively protective Enerzy Foan midsole, bio Wave Plate, or outsole although during my A/B run with the Wave Rider 26 on the other foot the forefoot ride was a tiny touch softer in the 27, or so it seemed maybe with the rubber slightly softer. Always focused on the details and quality, as with every Mizuno I can recall, they weigh to the gram the same left and right (a rarity for sure in the industry) and one should expect excellent durability.
Versatile, durable, a great value at $140
Very effective geometry including Wave plate to move the shoe forward off landings, even at slower paces.
Quite dynamic and highly protective midsole foam
Upper 90% recyled materials
Despite Enerzy foam being relatively light, I hope Mizuno eventually moves to a yet more dynamic, lighter supercritical foam.
Approximate Weight: men’s oz 9.75 oz / 276g (US9)
Samples: men’s 9.51 oz / 269g US8.5 WR 26: 9.81 oz / 278g US8.5
Stack Height: men’s 38.5mm heel / 26.5mm forefoot, (12mm drop spec)
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
The upper i(90% recycled materials) is an engineered Jacquard mesh with a gusset tongue. The mesh is soft, very pliable and said to be highly breathable. Soft ,pliable thin Jacquard mesh uppers often can get sloppy and here Mizuno did something very clever. As shown below on my narrower right foot the distance between sides of the shoe is greater than on my wider left in a similar mesh upper.
As the laces have less stretch and the width of the opening can be controlled, I actually have a more secure midfoot hold for my narrower foot than in the 26 with my wider foot. It also appears the toe box of the 27 maybe a bit broader but, if it is the case, it is barely felt as such as the midfoot is more secure. All very clever and truly “fine” tuning!
The heel collars are revised with a bit less padding and not as wide an opening. The rear hold is improved with less give side to side and this helps direct the foot forward in line with the direction of travel better. This was quite clearly noticed.The fit is perfectly true to size with wide sizing also available.
The midsole is Mizuno’s Enerzy Foam. No change in foam from the 26 is called out or that I could detect. It is important to note that with the 26 the Wave Rider got 2mm more midsole stack height to its current 38.5mm heel, 26.5mm forefoot which carries forward here.
The midsole is not overly soft, has a nice mellow rebound and outstanding vibration attenuation. I find it a near ideal daily training foam as it is highly protective, more than adequately energetic and decently soft without being mushy.
The Wave Rider includes Mizuno’s Wave technology, greenish yellow about 2/3 way to the outsole in the pictures. Think of this bio based plastic (bio based Pebax Renew)heel to midfoot plate as a combination of slightly stabilizing and rear of the shoe focused directed propulsion.
The plate is a bit more prominent on the medial side (photo above) but in no way is there is stability shoe feel, yet there is touch of guidance stability that I welcome as a neutral runner.
In combination with the deep decoupling groove and relatively narrow rear landing (unlike many 2023 shoes such as the latest Nimbus), I never feel, no matter the pace, that the heel is “in the way”or blocky.
At the front we have nice flexibility. Recall we have a 12mm drop but quite frankly the shoe for me, at least a slower paces, feels more like 8-10mm as things move forward so smoothly. I tend to heel strike at slower paces and all was good. I don’t think mid or forefoot strikers have to worry much as we have a very decent 26.5mm of stack upfront and a mostly full coverage outsole. Unlike say the highly front compressing ON Cloudsurfer, the forefoot does not feel thin or bottomed out or overly firm as say the Pegasus tends to feel.
Plenty of durable rubber which is well arrayed with firmer rubber at the rear and softer rubber up front. And as previously said, all well decoupled for smooth transitions from heel landings through toe off.
Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations
The Wave Rider 27 has classic high drop flexible forefoot daily training ride with totally modern materials to increase upper comfort and give the underfoot a smooth flow with plenty of moderately lively cushion. The geometry is superb for basic every day running at slow to moderate paces with a smooth stable flow from landing to toe offs with the Wave plate adding some in the line of travel guidance to this neutral shoe
This is a ride you can truly rely on for just about any daily training run and recovery run although for tempo and faster Mizuno has other options such as the Wave Rebellion and radical Wave Rebellion Pro.
It is not easy to modernize the classics such as the Wave Rider without either potentially alienating loyal runners with “radical changes” or essentially changing the upper and calling it a day, looking at you Pegasus. Here Mizuno tweaked the fit of the excellent 26, a big update, with a new upper that is softer, more breathable, more comfortable and more secure and got a slight weight reduction bonus.
Durability should be excellent and at $140 it is an excellent value. Need a workhorse daily trainer? Are a beginner runner looking for a versatile stable trainer with a touch of lively fun? About to run your first marathon and want a comfortable stable ride all the way? And as I ran today what a great option for a downhill marathon.
Video Review Mizuno Wave Rider 27
Comparisons in Brief (more comparisons coming soon in our multi tester review)
Saucony Ride 16 (RTR Review) is a bit firmer, lighter and more performance oriented in fit and ride.
ASICS GEL Cumulus 25 (RTR Review) is softer, broader in platform and less directed in flow while having a yet more comfort oriented upper that is not quite as locked down.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 (RTR Review) also a neutral with a touch of stability gets a massive increase in stack height and broader rear platform. I found them considerably harder to transition off the heel than the Wave Rider and stiffer up front. The Mizuno provides plenty of cushion and is more traditional in ride but with modern foam and a bit more secure upper than the super plush Nimbus upper.
I have not run the Pegasus 40 (RTR Review) as of yet but based on our review it is a nice upper update with underfoot the same as previous and due for a change firmer less pleasing ride. Both have notably good outsoles with the Nike’s even light trails capable.
Brooks Ghost 15 (RTR Review)
With a 35 mm heel / 23 mm forefoot, 12 mm drop we have 3mm less cushion at the about the same weight. While the heel is about as well cushioned but not as smoothly decoupled with less structure at the rear (no plate in the Ghost), the forefoot feels thinner and softer than the Wave Rider 27’s. The Ghost’s DNA Loft v2 foam is not quite as lively as Enerzy but close. Fit is similar with the identically priced Wave Rider’s upper a bit more polished and secure. A bit more easy going but less directed the Ghost is one of the few (other than the Rider) 12mm drop shoes available. Loyal Ghost fans seeking a bit more support and a bit more directed ride should consider the Rider.
ON Cloudsurfer 2023 (RTR Review) The new Surfer has a midsole foam of about the same firmness but.. has CloudPhase elements which compress in the line of travel for a very smooth flow. Unlike prior ON there is no Speedboard, the often prescriptive full length plate with the Wave plate in the 27 more effective and useful to direct the foot to the flexible toe off. Upfront I found the ON elements to compress too much leading to a thinner, and tiring after 6 miles or so if more dynamic experience than the Wave Rider but..a far less practical one for all around daily training than the Mizuno. Both have superb uppers, among the best in the industry. I would give a slight edge to the ON for its equal security and lighter feel on the foot overall.
The Wave Rider 27 is available now at our partners in the
projectZero (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) color way at $150
with regular versions ($140) coming soon
Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes.RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’.
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