Mizuno Wave Rider 20 running shoe review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 20 shoes for reviewing as part of Fitfluential influencer program. All opinions are my own.

Just because the year is ending, doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up the running shoes and call it a season of eating cookies and hanging on the couch. Of course, who am I to say that - I’m enjoying 75-87 degree days here in Costa Rica. Truth is I am a total coward when it comes to running in colder than 50 degree weather. With holidays just around the corner, this’ the season of gifting - and runners on your list will be overjoyed to get new gadgets and gear to enjoy their favorite sport. Whether you are shopping for yourself or your loved ones, running shoes are always a good choice in my book!

I was excited to try out the new Mizuno Wave Rider 20, as I was in need of a new pair of running shoes after training for, and running the Eindhoven Marathon. I trained in my Brooks Launch 2, and Mizuno Wave Sayonara, and ran the race in Hoka Huaka trail.

Mizuno Wave Rider 20 - Loved the box and package presentation
Happy runner girl with new Mizuno shoes in hand

From the beginning of my running ‘career’, or better yet, the beginning of my relationship with running shoes, I was a sworn Brooks girl for years. I loved the Pure collection, and tried wearing every one of the four shoes in it. Pure Flow was my favorite and I wore it for a few seasons, including in my first marathon and half Ironman triathlon. Unfortunately, as fast and sleek that shoe might be, it’s also way too light, lacking in cushion as well as support needed for longer distances. I became injured after a few races, and with time switched to shoes with more, well, everything, to be protected during longer runs and races.

Taking new shoes out for a test run in flat Miami streets
Silver and gray running shoes go with everything

I tried Mizuno by chance the first time, also reviewing one of their shoes, and was pleasantly surprised. I had tried them before many times, but always opted out of purchasing in lieu of Brooks, Newton or Hoka. But after the first try, I became a Mizuno lover and before Wave Rider 20, was running in Sayonara as previously mentioned, and liked them a lot. They are a tad lighter but also less cushioned than Wave Rider.

I remember trying the Wave Rider some 3-4 seasons ago, but they felt too heavy or bulky then. I was running shorter distances at faster speeds than now, and preferred a minimalistic feel. Now that I’ve tried them, they fit just right for my current training. After putting a few dozen miles on them, I haven’t had absolutely any issues with my feet, knees or hips that would suggest the shoes aren’t right for me.

It’s worth mentioning that I used to work in a running and triathlon specialty store a few years ago, and was a good form running coach at the time, preforming gait analysis on a daily basis. It’s one of those things that will never go away - I still see pronating feet and heel striking everywhere! But I can confidently say I do know a good shoe when I see one, and I know well what fits me and my needs.

Wave Rider turned out to be a great workout sneaker too
I'm super lucky - I get to take my dog Zen to the gym with me!

Being that I do have some experience in the field of running shoes, I am more than happy to share it with you!

My advice:
When purchasing running shoes, get a gait analysis, at least the first time. It’s imperative that every runner knows whether they have a neutral, pronating or supenating gate. One foot may be different than the other, and a good analyst will be able to tell all those little details. It’s also good to know whether you have high or low arches. Most people think low arches or ‘flat feet’ automatically mean pronation, but it isn’t so. Since your gait and arches change during your life, getting an analysis relatively often is the best way to go.

Finally, measuring the exact size of one’s food, including the width, is important when picking your running shoes. During my time analyzing running gates, I was shocked by how many people wear the wrong size, specially women! Feet actually change in size during our lifetime, and can grow up to 1 size during pregnancy, without reverting back to the original size. It’s normal one isn’t the same shoe size at age 45 as they were at 18.

I saw many women (and men) very attached to a certain shoe size, for women usually way smaller than they are, and for men bigger. It’s related to our body image. Although feet are not a reflection of one’s weight, beauty or other bodily features, people seem to believe they should be wearing a certain size. Most women thought they were a size 7 to 8, and I would find many would wear up to 2 size a shoe too small, which is incredibly unhealthy. If you have cramps and aches in your feet, and sometimes have holes in the front of the shoe, they might be too small.

A general rule of thumb is purchasing a running shoe that is a half to a full size bigger than your bare foot size. Main reason for that is our feet swell during running, specially longer distances and warmer temperatures, as well as when we are dehydrated.

Therefore, the shoe shouldn’t fit to a T, but have between a half and one and a half thumb of space in front of the toes, when the heel is pushed all the way back. If you have wide feet, then best choice is a wider shoe in shape as well as size (D for women, and 2 to 4E for men). People with wider feet tend to compensate by buying a longer rather than wider shoe, ending up with an imperfect fit.

Beautiful day for a run with a visiting friend in Costa Rica
Just check out that sunset

Mizuno Wave Rider 20 is:

  • A neutral shoe - good for neutral and supenating feet. Because all Mizuno shoes have a plastic plate at the heel, that stabilizes the foot, they can be used for very mild pronation, or people like me who have one mildly pronating and one neutral foot.
  • Medium to high cushion - for people who need some protection from the pavement. It’s generally healthy for our joints, specially knees, to have some cushion on the road.
  • Good for medium to long distances. That depends on one’s training and running experience, but generally good for runs 6 miles and up. I am not 100% sure if I would wear them for a full marathon, I think I will still stick to my Hokas for more protection.
  • Medium to high drop - these are not minimalistic running shoes. Forefoot to heel drop ratio is used to determine a type of a shoe. Shoes with 0 to 4mm drop shoes are minimalistic or racing flats, great for shorter distances, faster races and fast runners. Rider has a 12mm drop, which makes it a training a longer race shoe.
  • Good for heel strikers - because of that relatively high drop, the heel is more cushioned for heel striking. I train to run more on my mid foot than heel, which is generally healthier on the joints, and do it my Riders, but I can tell that the heel is a tad heavy.

Happy runner with happy feet!

I’m in training for the A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale, FL on February 19th 2017 - wish me luck! I’ve been running primarily in my new Wave Rider 20, and it has been great so far. What’s your next race? And what’s your current favorite running shoe?

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