If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll have noticed that I love trying new running shoes. I vary my shoes depending on what I’m training for, or the workout of the day – track vs. distance. But I started to notice over the past couple of year that the shoe I keep going back to for the races that matter are Mizuno Wave Riders. About this time last year, I reviewed the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 and told you that they were awesome. I considered them my Goldilocks of running shoes, and that feeling didn’t wane as I took on more running and triathlon training. Despite running in a few other shoes, I ended up stocking up on the Wave Riders, and they got me through many races including a full IRONMAN. So I was thrilled when I tried the Mizuno Wave Rider 21.
Mizuno knew they had a good thing with the Wave Rider 20, and they decided to make a few updates. I’m not a technical shoe guru – I tend to say things like “the part on the left bottom” – so I can’t quote technical specs and you can find other reviews for really detailed specifications. I can only tell you my honest experience. And I’m glad to say, I’m really enjoying running in them.
As with the previous version of the Wave Rider, they were comfortable for me to run in out of the box. They felt a little stiff in the upper part, but the running was great and the stiffness actually translated into support.
I did eventually swap the insoles for my custom orthotics because that works best for my Morton’s Neuroma just to play it safe. I try not to mess with that neuroma since me and Morton are getting along great right now. I don’t want to piss him off and end up unable to run. He’s punished me before and right now, we’re in a good place.
I found the new version of the Wave Riders really similar to the Wave Rider 20s in terms of cushioning, which was great since I loved the way those shoes feel when I hit the pavement.
The cushioning is a nice mix of comfort and responsiveness, and it’s still pretty lightweight – it is actually a lighter shoe than the Mizuno Wave Rider 20. Shoe weight has been important to me after a long time running in heavy shoes in the past.
One difference I found is in the shape – the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 has a slightly more angled profile on the outer top edge. Despite that angle, it has a roomy feel, and nothing rubbed on my toes. No issues.
Here’s a photo of the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 and 21. The new Wave Rider 21 is on the right, and my most recent pair of Wave Rider 20s is the middle (black) shoe. It didn’t have much wear before I received the 21s in the mail. Then the ones that have taken a beating are my old Wave Rider 20s on the far left, which I probably wore for too many miles. You can see that the new version is pretty similar overall, though, with some nice updates.
One such update that you can notice in the picture above is that the shoe is more breathable with a different style of mesh. I can’t wait to see how this plays out with warmer running days.
You can also really tell the difference in the liner that I mentioned above.
It’s also a bit more “cut” in the shoe opening around the ankle. You can see it in this back view of the three shoes, even how the side of the foot opening is cut a little deeper and sharper. I like this since I have had shoes rub on my ankles in the past.
I’ve been loving running in the new Mizuno Wave Rider 21, and plan to keep running in them as I train for spring races! And eventually I can start stocking up on these like I did with their predecessor. Must have all the colors!
Again, I’ll share my advice on switching running shoes since I do it often:
- If you’re training for distance (for example, a half or full marathon), make sure you have enough room in the toe box. I always go up a half size but some people need to go up a full size.
- Wear the new shoes on a few shorter runs before trying them on a long run. I had a blister nightmare once with a shoe years ago and will never forget it! It’s not a matter of “breaking in” a good running shoe, but to make sure that it’s not rubbing in a weird spot and that it works well for you before hitting the pavement repeatedly for a long time in the new shoe.
- Wear your favorite running socks, don’t switch these too! And be sure to bring them to try on the shoe if you go see it in person.
What are you training for right now? Are you doing long runs?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mizuno. The opinions and text are all mine.