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Mizuno Wave Rider 17: Guest Review by Tyler Mathews

waveriderI have a shoe rotation that includes minimalist, performance, racing flats, and traditional trainers. Of these, I put the bulk of my mileage on traditional trainers – I use them on all of those long, slow, boring runs that nobody really cares to hear about. I typically put in around 80 miles a week, with only about 20-30 of those being quality. This leaves about 50 miles per week for me to log on cushioned trainers. That means I get an average of about 2 months out of a pair of trainers, so I’m always looking for a new favorite to keep me company on those runs when I’m half asleep and daydreaming about breakfast. That’s how I came upon the new Mizuno Wave Rider 17 (these were provided for review, free-of-charge, by

I have had a pair of the Wave Rider 16s for a while, but only logged a handful of miles in them as I was spending more time in other shoes that I found more interesting. The 16s seemed heavy and underwhelming, so I was only slightly excited about trying these new 17s. What I did not realize was how dramatic of a change Mizuno had made in this update. Let’s compare the two models on a few key metrics:

Wave Rider 16 
Weight – 10 oz
Stack Height – 28mm heel, 16mm forefoot
Heel-to-toe drop – 12 mm

Wave Rider 17
Weight – 8.6 oz
Stack Height – 31mm heel, 18mm forefoot
Heel-to-toe drop – 13 mm

You’re reading that correctly, Mizuno dropped the weight considerably in the Rider 17. Out of the box, I immediately noticed the 1.4 ounces of weight that Mizuno managed to shave off of these shoes. This was apparently made possible by Mizuno’s new U4ic midsole material (something they are incorporating in several of their new models), which Mizuno claims is lighter and just as cushioned as their previous midsole compounds.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17

Based on the specs, the new midsole does add a very slightly steeper offset, and makes for a somewhat taller shoe all around, so don’t expect to feel more ground contact. Although the heel-to-toe drop is one of the largest of all my shoes, I did not feel that it caused me to break form throughout my easy runs. More than likely (I have not had my stride analyzed), I have a slight heel strike when I’m running slow and easy, so it’s useful to have a heavier duty rubber outsole on the heel. Like most traditional trainers, these shoes do not have much torsional flexibility in the midfoot (I cannot twist them by hand).

One concern I had with this shoe was how stiff the forefoot felt with its rubber outsole. This left the balls of my feet feeling beat up after the first couple of runs. Thankfully, I stuck it out and found that the more I wore the shoes, the more flexible the forefoot became. I asked a Mizuno rep about this, and they agreed that there seems to be a “sweet spot” of about 50 miles when the shoes break-in.  The Wave Rider 17s now give my toes the ability to bend backwards as they like. I’m happy to report that I have had no pain in my feet in over a week while running in these shoes almost exclusively.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 sole

photo (1)

Model comparison – Wave Rider 17 on left (blue), Wave Rider 16 on right (yellow)

The upper of the Wave Rider 17 is a soft mesh construction that is very breathable and very comfortable. I felt that there was plenty of room in the forefoot for my toes to move freely.


Much lighter than most traditional trainers

Very soft, breathable mesh upper

Shoe becomes increasingly flexible with continued wear


Large heel-to-toe offset could cause issues for those sensitive to a high-drop shoe

More shoe than some runners prefer

Long break-in period to achieve desired flexibility (took ~70 miles until they started becoming comfortable for me)

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 white


Overall, I’m very happy with the Wave Rider 17. I believe that Mizuno has done a great job in maintaining the aspects that people have come to love about this classic shoe (cushioning, solid construction, comfortable fit), while making a tremendous update with the new midsole. Many shoe enthusiasts describe the perfect running shoe as one that disappears on your foot while running. While the Wave Rider 17 is still a traditional, cushioned trainer, it is a certainly a good step toward this. These are now on my short list for favorite traditional trainers.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 17 is available for purchase at

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About Tyler Mathews

Tyler Mathews is a runner from Austin, TX. He recently ran 2:55 for his first marathon in Houston, and is logging 70+ miles per week. To learn more about Tyler, check out his blog Running Toward Dreams>. You can find Tyler on Twitter and Google+.


  1. I am really skeptical about those 13 mm heel-to-toe drop. That plus the overall stiffness of this shoes makes it a no go for me.

  2. Really good review, thanks for posting. I also was NOT a fan of the WR16 but I LOVE the WR17. It feels far less board-like compared to the 16 and is as you say much lighter. I’d recommend for the other posters to try the 17s, the 13mm drop feels more like 10mm to me and feels less extreme than on the 16 despite what the numbers say. Mizuno did a great job with these.

  3. Where do I write a review and how many does it take to get a change? I am a Mizuno Wave Rider girl all the way…or at least I was. The 16 was an amazing shoe. I felt like it was made for my foot. I have particularly picky feet and ankles, so lots of shoes do not work for me. But the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 was a dream come true. I was both excited and nervous about the 17. I needed a new shoe about a month before the Carlsbad Marathon and I decided to risk it with the Mizuno Wave Rider 17. Worst mistake ever. The shoe was stiff and constricted the tendons on the top of my foot. I kept running in the, alternating them with an old pair of the 16, thinking that they would break in. They never did and on marathon day I suffered excruciating foot pain that lost me 5 minutes on my overall time. I had to exchange shoes and go to physical therapy to recover from the damage. I want my old shoe back! And it is getting hard to find online now.

    • Hi-just need to add my comment. I had the exact same experience with these shoes. Had to wear my old 16’s for my marathon in October. So disappointing. I feel your pain-literally. Have you found a replacement shoe or tried the 18’s?

      • Thanks for reading, Julie! Since this review, I have become a Skechers Performance ambassador, so I have not had an opportunity to try the 18s. From my understanding, they are similar to the 17, but have a slightly different upper. I would encourage you to give them a couple weeks before deciding whether or not they work for you.

  4. William says:

    I’m just curious whether you still find these to be a good high mileage trainer, or have moved on to other options!

  5. I bought the Wave Rider on whim at a local running store and I’m very glad I did. While there are some things I would change about the shoe, like more forefoot cushioning, there are a lot of things to like. It’s light, has a very comfortable upper and has good flexibility. I’ve had achilles issues for about 2 years which are now much better after running in the Rider. The higher heel drop had really helped me and I can’t tell much difference in this shoe from a shoe that has an 8 m drop. For that alone I’m thankful for this shoe.

  6. Its totally waste of money.
    I spent AU $199 for the worst shoe I ever bought.
    Its worked just 3 month.
    Big shame for the company , before this one I had a reebok shoe and I used that for 2 years (just $119) and even after 2 year it was in a good condition.

  7. Worst shoes I’ve ever run in…. I’ve run in Mizuno Wave Riders (and other Mizuno models) for quite a few years and loved them. When the 17s first came out, just trying them on they didn’t seem right, so I went with a different brand shoe (I won’t mention the brand but I’ve loved them). Looking to add a shoe to my rotation I reluctantly tried the WR 17s… from the first run they felt terrible. My get have been hurting for 100 miles in these and I am about ready to give up on them In fact, yesterday I pulled out a pair of my other brand old shoes with 400 miles on them and they felt better than the WR 17s. Maybe it’s just me/my feet, but whatever changes Mizuno made is not working for me. I’m hesitant to try the 18s now

    • Whelp-I tried them. Same exact experience with the upper. I am super bummed-not sure what shoe to try next! I have loved the Wave Riders for many years-but, no more.

  8. Recommended for: The neutral runner who wants a lighter shoe that still has good cushioning, or an orthotic wearer who just needs a neutral shoe

  9. Very informative review. You make me consider to buy these shoes! :)

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  1. […] Check out the review I did on the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 on Runblogger! […]

  2. […] Mizuno Wave Rider 17 neutral shoes for men and women features – U4ic midsole delivers lightweight, resilient cushioning, Dissolving upper fit with new DMF execution and soft, supple mesh materials.SmoothRide. Engineering for a brilliant run. Lateral Forefoot Sculpting for smooth touchdown and transition. Blown rubber forefront with deep flex grooves for optimal flexibility and cushioning. Read review on Runblogger […]

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