Mizuno Wave Rider 25 Review Analysis (2021)
Last update: January 2022
The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 is a comfortable, versatile and durable running shoe. This new version comes with softer and more springy cushioning.
The Mizuno collection gets an upgrade with the new Enerzy foam. The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 especially benefits from this evolution with a more modern and lighter design.
While some Rider models suffered from a lack of responsiveness, testers note that this shoe offers a slight bounce and a smooth run. The feel is still classic but very pleasant. Testers also report that the cushioning is softer than ever before.
The upper is thinner and more breathable while providing a snug foot lockdown without floating. Besides, the materials used are more environmentally friendly than in the past.
In terms of durability, while the Wave Rider 24 was disappointing, runners remark that the outsole of the Wave Rider 25 is very sturdy and does not get damaged easily, even after multiple long runs. Also, despite the generous amount of rubber to achieve this result, the platform remains flexible and pleasant underfoot with the use of deep flex grooves (Flex Controllers)
The only weak point of the Wave Rider, according to runners, is the thinness of the sole under the forefoot (20 mm) and the high drop of 12 mm. It’s a characteristic that has not changed since the beginning of the series and seems somewhat outdated in 2021.
All in all, the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 is a very good running shoe with a classic design for a comfortable and smooth ride. It’s for you if you’re looking for reliable running shoes suitable for daily workouts and long runs.
Read our full review of the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 for more information.
- Great comfort
- Lighter than before (270 g)
- Robust, mileage-proof design
- Very nice cushioning with softer foam and a slight bounce
- Versatile running shoes
- Good lockdown
- Thin forefoot stack height, according to some testers
- The high drop of 12mm
- Not the sleekest looking shoe out there
Mizuno Wave Rider 25 Complete Review Analysis
Novelist Haruki Murakami confides in his disguised autobiography, What I talk about When I Talk About Running (a great book to read if you get the chance), that he runs in Mizuno. Not out of a sense of patriotism (the brand is Japanese) but because their shoes are reliable and straightforward.
They have no gimmicks, no sense of style, no catchy slogan…Yet, the soles of these shoes have a solid, reliable feel as you run.
We’ve seen more enthusiastic endorsements, but the fact that Murakami has been running in Mizuno shoes for several decades speaks volumes about his attachment to the brand.
Despite its sober marketing, Mizuno launched its new foam last year with great fanfare: Mizuno Enerzy. With a better energy return and lighter, it brought a breath of fresh air to the Wave Rider series.
This 25th model follows suit with an even lighter design and a bit softer cushioning without compromising the signature classic ride of the shoe.
Similar in appearance to the Wave Rider 24, the midsole changes somewhat. It features a new Mizuno Wave plate with an improved design and uses a more environmentally friendly material: PEBA (a type of plastic) made from castor oil.
With 32 mm heel stack height and 20 mm forefoot stack height, the Wave Rider is a cushioned shoe with a comfortable stack.
However, according to the testers, the forefoot feels a bit thin. Also, the heel-to-toe drop is objectively high (12 mm). Thus, it would seem logical to increase the cushioning and reduce the shoe’s drop to 22 mm under the toe. At the same time, this is one of the shoe features that gives it its classic feel so that Mizuno wouldn’t change its formula understandably.
The Enerzy foam was very popular with runners. It was already present on the WR24 as a heel wedge, but now it equips the entire midsole of the Wave Rider 25! The top layer is compression molded, while the bottom foam uses an injection process. Simply put, the goal is to combine comfort and long-term durability. The U4ic (the brand’s historical foam) seems to be gradually taking a back seat. Also, Enerzy is lighter, giving a more lightweight build: the shoe weighs 270 g/9.5 oz compared to 280 g/9.9 oz last year (men’s model).
Foot lockdown (upper)
The upper, like the midsole, goes green. So to speak, because it’s blue … Well, let’s just say it uses eco-friendly materials to reduce the negative impact of the shoe on the environment.
The lightweight engineered mesh upper is thin and well ventilated. There are 3D printed overlays in the midfoot, but overall the result is lightweight yet with good structure. The padded heel collar and the gusseted tongue construction comfortably cradle the feet for a superior fit (no pun intended). The heel counter is not too intrusive and contributes to the great stability of the Wave Rider.
The fit is true to size and the toe box is roomy without being loose (so no worries if you have wider feet).
Overall, users note an effective foot lockdown even though it’s more oriented towards comfort than performance, compared to previous versions.
Grip and durability
The outsole of the Wave Rider 24 had received criticism regarding its longevity (sacrilege for a brand like Mizuno that makes reliability its key selling point). It seems that the Japanese brand has revised its copy for the WR25.
Thus, the sole uses more carbon rubber (X10) than before. It used to be mostly under the heel but it now covers most of the platform. The part under the toes also features blown rubber for more flexibility. In addition, the deep flex grooves give a flexible forefoot for a peppy toe-off.
The Wave Rider 25 offers good traction on the pavement, even in rainy weather. Also, the platform is rather wide for full ground contact. While the Wave Rider is a neutral shoe, it’s quite suitable for athletes looking for a stable ride.
We’re back to a more traditional configuration: durable yet flexible for smooth transitions. Testers note that the sole is durable: no signs of wear even after 50 mi/80 km of testing. We expected no less from Mizuno!
The Mizuno Wave Rider is not famous for its responsiveness. As we said in the introduction, it’s a reliable and stable shoe with a classic ride, but the energy return has never been impressive.
It’s confirmed once again on this model. However, according to the testers, the ride is not bland either and definitely has a dynamic feel. They note a pleasant slight bounce, courtesy of the new Mizuno Enerzy foam and Wave Plate. Can you call it a bouncy ride? Maybe not, but we’re not far either.
According to the testers, the new decoupled design of the sole under the heel, combined with the Mizuno Wave plate, gives efficient and smooth propulsion through the different phases of the gait cycle. As a result, the Wave Rider 25’s smooth ride reminisces of a rocker while remaining the epitome of a classic daily trainer. While the previous models were most suitable for your long run at slow to moderate paces, the Wave Rider 25’s responsive ride makes it suitable for uptempo efforts.
In addition, the cushioning is relatively soft for a Mizuno. So you can expect great comfort with a high level of shock absorption on the road. Runners note that the Wave Rider 25 is comfortable enough for longer runs.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 continues to live up to its reputation as the star of daily running. The bet of the Japanese brand on the new midsole foam Mizuno Enerzy pays off with a lighter and more responsive ride. However, the shoe retains a classic configuration for daily workouts and comfortable long runs. The bounce is not incredible but it’s there and there’s even a slight rocker effect with the Mizuno Wave plate.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 makes an excellent choice for beginner runners looking for an undisputable reference as well as for more experienced runners who are after reliable and stable running shoes with a classic ride.
The only complaint from testers is the high heel-to-toe drop of the shoes and the thinness of the sole under the forefoot. A point that is part of Wave Rider’s DNA but that we hope to see change on the following models.
|Heel stack height||32 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||20 mm|
|Weight (men)||270 g/9.5 oz|
|Weight (women)||225 g/7.9 oz|
|Softness (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Outsole||Blown rubber, Flex Controllers, X10|
|Midsole||Mizuno Enerzy, Mizuno Wave Plate, U4ic|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon|
Comparisons – Mizuno Wave Rider 25 vs.:
Mizuno Wave Rider 24
The new model is lighter with softer cushioning. In addition, the upper is thinner and better ventilated without decreasing the effectiveness of the foot lockdown. The improvement is clear, and we recommend that you opt for the 25 if you can.
Mizuno Wave Ultima 12
See the side-by-side comparison.
Mizuno Wave Sky 5
See the side-by-side comparison.
Brooks Ghost 13
See the side-by-side comparison.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, based on our review analysis, we can confirm that this shoe fits true to size. So you can pick up your usual size.
Yes, it is! The Wave Rider offers comfortable cushioning with a slight bounce making it a good choice for longer distances like the marathon.
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.