Mizuno Wave Rider 23
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Mizuno Wave Rider 23 Performance Review

What You Need To Know

    • Midweight shoe at 9.6 oz. for a size 10.5
    • New mesh upper, same Pebax Wave Plate
    • Falling-forward 12mm drop
    • If you run in three Mizunos a year, you’re automatically inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame

The “Waves” have been crashing on me this year. I will name 2019 as the year of the Mizuno in my road running logs. Heck, I may convert them to surfing logs at this point.

For the most part, I have been pretty pleased with how they’ve rolled, and the Wave Rider 23 is no exception.

This year’s model of the Wave Rider has not changed much. It’s basically the 22 but with a new upper. That said, Mizuno must have a good reason to keep the rest of the package virtually the same.

The new upper is a softer more secure fitting mesh. It also claims to be a more breathable option than in the past. A two-layered approach allows for a sockliner on the inside to keep the shoe snug against your foot and a vented mesh on the outside to provide a little more structure and breathability.

As is the Mizuno tradition, the Pebax Wave Plate is the star of the show in the Wave Rider 23. It offers a very responsive ride (not quite like the spring-loaded Waveknit C1) and lives sandwiched between the soft U4ic midsole and U4ic heel wedge. The U4icX lasting board adds a touch more cushioning to the firmer ride.

The Wave Rider 23 steps on the scale as a “midweight.” It’s pretty average coming in at 9.6 oz. for a size 10.5. What’s not so average is the 12mm heel-toe drop. It is quite noticeable but not necessarily in a negative way. As a daily trainer, it’ll have a select audience, but worth the look.

Mizuno Wave Rider 23 side

The Good

This is not an outstanding shoe in any department, but in my mind, that’s just fine! It’s basically a consistent daily trainer. It is neither heavy nor light and offers a good amount of underfoot support and cushion.

Responsiveness is the name of the Wave Rider 23’s game. Each stride comes with a firm push by way of the Pebax Wave Plate. It was definitely most noticeable during faster-paced runs or track workouts. I was pleased that the Wave Plate did not soften too much as I broke the shoes in with more miles— it is a pretty integral part of this shoe. I mean, it’s also a piece of plastic.

In all of the Mizuno’s that I have tested, the upper has always received praise. I find this mesh upper to be true to its claims as breathable and snug. It’s on the thicker side (yet thinner than the Wave Sky Waveknit 3), but pays off with overall comfort while running.

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Mizuno Wave Rider 23 upper

The Bad

Really, I only have one complaint about the Wave Rider 23 that has to do with a few different features. This shoe has kind of an awkward ride.

I think I have pinpointed it as a combination of a 12mm drop, the very firm waveplate, and really soft U4ic midsole in the forefoot. I am a midfoot striker, and if I wasn’t, I would be forced to be one in this shoe. From initial contact to toe-off there is just an odd sensation. The ride rolls too quickly from hard heel/midfoot to a pillowy forefoot. It is a heavy contrast and took some getting used to. As the miles rolled on, this experience mellowed out, but it was still noticeable.

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Mizuno Wave Rider 23 outsole

Mizuno Wave Rider 23 Conclusion

Some of the best trainers are “nothing special” and the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 falls in that category. This is a reliable trainer to get you through anything from a track workout to a long run.

Be forewarned— the waves are kind of choppy with a unique ride that rolls from really firm in the midfoot to soft towards the toes. Overall, the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 is all right.

You can pick it up at Running Warehouse for $119.95.

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Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultrarunner living in Estes Park, CO, with his wife and daughter. He and his wife both love running the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. When not running, Taylor is a Kindergarten/1st grade teacher, running coach, and youth leader for his church.

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