Wave Rider 13
The Wave Rider 13 is Mizuno’s flagship neutral trainer. It provides a more responsive ride than the bulkier Creation and a more cushioned ride than the lower Precision. The shoe is built to handle just about anything.
The Mizuno “wave” is a plastic piece sandwiched inside the midsole to spread impact and push-off forces. The plastic retains shape as the midsole slowly compresses above and below. The heel of the shoe is, like many shoes now, shaped a bit like a horseshoe underneath. The heel midsole has a few tunnels of air traveling through the shoe for reasons we can only hope are designed to improve performance. These holes are the first spots that show “wear” on the shoes, as they flatten down a little after only a few runs. Even at 50 miles, it has a visible contrast next to a new pair. The horseshoe underneath shows a rare view of midsole compression from the inside. The midsole here distinctly shows the wrinkling compression as the shoes accumulate miles.
The outsole rubber is pretty standard, as in it has its own cool name to distinguish it from others on the market, but lasts just as long as any of the others. Its “X10” rubber gets the job done in the heel area. The forefoot is a combination of the rubber and what looks almost like the midsole. The rubber design includes many spots for grip and rock stopping from heel through toe.
The Wave Rider 13 includes a top-of-the-line smooth material inside the heel collar. Socks move easily across the surface without causing significant friction. The interior of the mesh upper holds the foot according to where the shoe flexes, creating what Mizuno calls a “Dynamotion Fit.” This minimizes hotspots on the foot, as the upper and midsole are ready to move in the same way as the foot.
The midsole is initially a balance between firm and soft. As the shoe compresses, the midsole becomes more flexible and the softness can be felt underfoot. This may make the shoe extremely comfortable for faster running, but probably at the cost of worthwhile cushioning. High-impact runners will experience this faster and get a smaller life out of the shoe (perhaps less than 200 miles). Low-impact runners are likely to enjoy the versatility of the shoe for a long time before the softness becomes excessive (up to 400 miles).
The bottom of the shoe allows for good forefoot flexibility. The middle of the bottom is a hard plastic piece to provide a little bit of stability, but only really so that the forefoot of the shoe can be highly flexible without jeopardizing the overall balance. The plastic bridge in the sole transitions into the forefoot over a very small foam tongue. This helps the heel-to-toe transition, as the plastic underfoot does not obstruct the forward roll. Midfoot strikers would also find the forefoot to have plenty of rubber to get a grip of the road at impact.
Heel strikers are unlikely to lose any balance as a result of the horseshoe design under the heel, but may notice a difference as the heel midsole begins to compress or when the X10 rubber starts to wear thin. The compression and wearing may flatten the heel and increase the surface area at impact, but the foot’s transition forward will no longer be making the best use of the wave once showing significant wear.
The heel has been known to catch rocks of about 2 inches long inside the horseshoe. This can be really annoying until the rock falls out or it gets manually removed. It’s rare enough to almost be humorous. Oh, and those sticky/gumball things from trees can get stuck in the sole of the shoe. This doesn’t make you roll an ankle, but most people will want to remove the object.
The soft material in the heel collar is a step above the rest, though not necessarily friendly to those who wish to run without socks. This is one of the most comfortable running shoes available. Trying it on is like trying to eat just one potato chip, as the first impression is irresistible.
“SmoothRide Engineered, Composite Parallel Wave for superior shock absorption and dispersion with a great transition to boot. SmoothRide Engineered, solid rubber forefoot outsole design for durability and flexibility.”
I rarely put more than 500 miles on a specific model of shoes. I’ve managed to do this with the Mizuno Wave Rider 13, as I currently have my third pair resting in the barn. That’s good and bad. The shoes don’t seem to last as long as I might like, but they perform too well during their prime, so they have my loyalty.
The first run I did on my first pair was a 14 miler. They performed at 100% without a break-in. For my second pair, I ran an easy 4 miles in them and then my second run in them was for 26.2 miles. The inauguration ceremony for my third pair was a 15 miler. The shoes are built for running. When I wake up in the morning, I have every confidence that the shoes are more ready than I am.
I remember staring at my newly bought second pair. The air tunnels through the heel midsole were twice as big in diameter compared to my old pair. I felt like this vindicated my decision to purchase a new pair before a marathon. After the marathon, at a total of 30 hard miles on the shoes, the air tunnels in the back of both shoes were squashed to just about the same mis-shapen diameter. I worried that the marathon aged the shoes 100+ miles in one run. I wore the shoes for more runs, though, and they performed well despite the visual snafu.
My log probably shows 300 miles on my first pair, 250 miles on my second pair, and 50 miles on my current pair. Some people could get this mileage out of a single pair of shoes. A super-light and efficient runner could probably get more out of these shoes than I, as well, but I really doubt these shoes could ever last over 500 miles. The foam compresses in the heel and near the plastic midfoot bridge. The forefoot goes soft, albeit flexible. The shoe stops providing any cushion on road and the plastic midfoot bridge starts hitting rocks all the time. Based on my experience, I just can’t see the shoe getting very high mileage without losing function.
I started naming these shoes. I’ve bought 3 blue pairs, so they’re hard to distinguish. I wrote “Achilles” on the back heel of the first one. I then added Aeneas to the second and the third is tentatively called Agamemnon, but I haven’t had to write it, as I can identify the shoes by their absence of a name. I’m not sure I’ll make it to Zeus, but I haven’t yet found a pair of daily trainers this versatile while still having cushion.
The shoe is sometimes soft, but only enough to give the necessary flexibility to go fast. The midfoot and forefoot grip well when cruising at high speeds. The heel isn’t the best when crashing along, but anybody wanting to do that should look at the Creation, not the Wave Rider. If an at-all light and neutral runner asked me for a recommendation of a cushioned shoe that would hold up over a semi-long run at a brisk marathon pace, I would point right to this shoe. Other shoes provide this kind of support or that kind of racing speed, but the Wave Rider gives you the option of having a bit of both on a daily basis.