Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Running Shoe Review
The Mizuno Wave Rider 17 is one of the lightest neutral-cushioned, traditional trainers that I have ever worn.

The Fit of the Shoe

Mizuno prides itself on a "nothing there," slipper-like fit. Using light materials and Smooth Ride Technology, their goal is to give the runner a sensation that there is nothing on their foot—causing the runner to focus on the run, not his or her foot. Classically, the Wave Rider has been a popular choice among those looking for a more tailored fit. So, when Mizuno used to classify the cut of their shoes as "glove-like" or "slipper-like," I considered it a euphemism for "narrow." In my experience, neutral runners with a narrower foot frame found the Wave Rider to be highly comfortable; however, when it came to how the brand fit me, I haven't always been the biggest fan.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 17 changed that.

One of the key updates from the Rider 16 to the 17 lies in the upper. Mizuno has replaced stitched overlays with bonded films and are also using a more open and breathable mesh. The result? A highly flexible shoe that feels like it has more room in the toe box. To me, the Rider 17 didn't feel as narrow as past versions of the shoe and still ran true to size.

The Feel of the Shoe

The first thing I noticed about the Rider 17 was the weight. We weighed in a men's size 9 at an incredible 9.1 ounces. Much of the trimmed weight stems from the new U4ic (pronounced “euphoric”) midsole compound that offers ample cushioning at a lighter weight. Switching from stitched overlays to the bonded film overlays in the upper contributed to the featherweight feel as well.

The Rider 17's lightweight appeal truly had an impact on my run. I noticed splits as much as 15 seconds faster per mile compared to heavier neutral models. Were this model released a decade ago, they would have been classified as a lightweight trainer. For that reason alone, I was very pleased with Mizuno’s latest offering.

In terms of cushioning, the shoe is somewhat firm, but Mizuno has always focused more on providing a light and responsive ride in their core trainers. The forefoot cushioning suited my needs, but I felt as though the heel was firmer than I'd like. Additionally, the arch (particularly towards the heel) felt very prominent—aggressive, even. The shoe has a 12mm drop from heel to toe, so if you’re used to a shoe with a lower offset, you may find your foot pitched at a slightly steeper downward angle.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 review

The Bottom Line

With regard to traditional, neutral trainers, The Mizuno Wave Rider 17 is light enough to make a difference in your daily training. I certainly upped the tempo on my runs. Likewise, it is substantial and cushioned enough to last the normal lifespan of a every day trainers.

If you're looking for the plushest ride possible, the Rider 17 may not be the best fit. However, if a lightweight ride with great responsiveness is your cup of tea, I suggest you give Mizuno's latest offerings a try.