Mizuno Wave Rider 18 review


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

The Wave Rider 18 is my third model of Mizuno’s flagship shoe (the 16, 17 and now 18 all being in my collection over the last couple of years). After a couple of months in the Wave Rider 18 I can say that the newest version is easily my favorite in the long line of quality neutral running shoes.

I’ve been training for a marathon this fall and have done most of my long runs in another Mizuno model – the Wave Sayonara. But when I first put on the Wave Rider 18 I knew I’d found my new “mileage” shoe. The Wave Rider 18 is easily the most comfortable cushioned shoe in my arsenal of shoes.


While the midsole drop is a little steeper than the Sayonara 2 at 12mm to 10mm, I’ve found it an easy companion to the my other Mizuno shoes (The Sayonara, The Hitogami, and the discounted Wave Evo models). I alternate shoes during training depending on the purpose of the workout. A tip for new runners: alternating multiple pairs of shoes is a good way to prolong the life of all of your shoes over time.

The Wave Rider 18 is a little less steep in drop than the 17 – 13mm down to 12mm. That’s an improvement. 


While the Wave Rider is recommended for runners with high or rigid arches I’ve found that my flat feet have no problems in them. I over-pronate a bit as well, but this shoe has also provided enough guidance for my small frame.

At 9.2 oz the Wave Rider 18 doesn’t feel sluggish on the road. I’ve used mine for some tempo sessions and have been pleased with their responsiveness.

The toe-box provides plenty of room compared to other none-zero-drop shoes on the market. I experienced no hot spots in the new and improved premium sock liner inner. 

From Mizunousa.com:


  • An ideal heel fit and secure midfoot embrace make this lightweight trainer feel like a part of your foot.
  • The parallel Wave in the heel, lightweight U4ic midsole and optimal amount of forefoot flexibility all work together to make every stride smooth and flowing.


  • Refined toe-spring delivers a smooth, effortless toe-off
  • Upgraded premium sock liner provides more rebound and resiliency at every foot strike
  • New outsole design with added durability and shock attenuation


I’ve read a lot of shoe reviews in my years – and many of them are too “shoe techy”. You can always get the technical specs for the manufacturers site. What I always want to know is: are they comfortable? Do they look cool?

In short, yes and yes. The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is ultra-comfortable for anyone still running in shoes with a modest heel to toe drop. The new and improved sock liner is plush. The mesh used in the upper is extremely breathable and pliable. Toe off is springy and as always, Mizuno’s patented Wave plate provides a smooth heel to toe ride.

In conclusion, I’ve been putting modest mileage on this shoe thus far because my primary shoe for the Rocket City Marathon will be the Wave Sayonara 2, but as soon as race day is past I’ll be logging my big miles in the Wave Ride 18. And they’re cool looking enough that I can wear them around town without looking like a “run-nerd”. 

I love you,


*I was given this product for purposes of this review; however, my opinions are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.