My TRAINING SHOE choice for 2016.
My RACING SHOE choice for 2016 (Half Marathon distance)
For a runner or a triathlete it’s great to have a well fitting pair of shoes for the many hundreds of miles that you will work together for. They could make you run faster and they will certainly play a part in injury prevention. In the case of the Waverider 19 you have the added bonus that some of the colours look pretty awesome (IMO).
CAUTION: These have now been superseded by the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 reviewed <here> for Christmas 2016. Links below for end-of-line sales on the Waverider 19s!!!
If you are a mid- to high-arched runner and you want some light, flexible and fairly cushioned shoes then you’ve come to the right place. The Waveriders suit a wide range of runners.
I have LOTS of pairs of Waveriders, even more than in this picture 🙂 Here are the last 5 models; the Waverider 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 – left-to-right, in that order.
As you can see below the soles of the sole of the 18 and 19 are near identical with the bigger changes happening in the 17. The ‘tread pattern’ on the Waverider 19 is straightforward with sufficient grooves to maintain more than reasonable levels of traction on dodgy surfaces.
Several other brands of running shoes have VERY annoying tread patterns that retain gravel/stones and/or significant amounts of mud in different parts of the sole. Mizuno’s Waverider 18/19 are good in that respect Ie they do NOT have such a tread pattern. The sole and heel are almost always clear of stones and mud but sometimes the centre of the heel can retain mud – in certain circumstances. I’m not overly concerned about that for the type of running that I do.
In terms of side-on aesthetics the 19 is my favourite-to-date of ALL the Waverider iterations. The 18, 17 and 16 were both great but there was just something about the meshy heel of the 18 that I was never sure about, at least from an aesthetic point of view.
The 17, 18 and 19 all have a strong leather-like toe-protecting cover at the front, as shown below; with the newer 18 and 19 omitting some tiny holes in the cover. The 19 also sees a slightly changed shape of the leather-like cover – I suspect these details will make little difference to your running experience!
Turning to the rear we see more obvious differences in the upper of the shoes. Indeed each year there are quite significant changes despite broad similarities in the rear sole construction/layers. Last year’s 18 always LOOKED weaker in the basic mesh construction at the rear. As with many shoes, the reality was that underneath the mesh (and effectively invisible) was the strength and support needed. The new leather-like logo on the 19 shows a more obvious and visible level of support for the construction but, again, I would imagine that this logo component is mostly aesthetic rather than functional.
Turning again to the toe, below. Since taking the photos I’ve covered a fair few miles. There is more breathability in the 19’s mesh construction. Perhaps this might let rain in quicker but what’s 10 seconds compared to 11? You get wet feet either way! The point of the mesh is that on the off-chance that it stops raining or that once you are out of the puddles your foot will dry out more quickly. Which the 19 seems to. So that’s great. Mesh is of course also lighter but I suspect that one form of mesh compared to another form of mesh will have near-identical weights.
Here’s another close-up of the toe area. As you can see from the previous models the sole does not detach from the toes of Mizuno running shoes even after significant, extended usage beyond the normal lifetime of the shoe for running – 4/5 years of running. They must have the superest of super glues.
So, just looking at the shoes there is clearly progression in most aspects of the design – ie other than the tread pattern and basic morphology of the shoe. But let’s take a closer look still. On the image below you can see the black heel section half way up labelled ‘SRtouch’ – this is an advanced, lighter, cushioning and shock-absorbing midsole ‘layer’.
More details too if we look at the U4ic labelled midsole; the white ‘layer’ of the sole (image to the right). This is a light & durable shock absorber.
Inside the shoe, underneath the cushioned insole, you will find the new improved U4ic X strobelboard base. Looks very similar but has a few holes in it. There will be technical improvements to it of course.
The X10 components of the sole are used in the highest impact areas. You can see them on the black parts of the sole (see the image to the right). These supply longer wear characteristic and, apparently, better traction.
The SRtouch is the shock absorbing mid-sole material in the heel; the black layer in the image to the right. This is advanced cushioning material that is lighter, absorbs shock and keeps the transition smooth and fast.
Mizuno also state that many aspects of the shoe are improved ranging from the sock liner to the upper design to the toe-spring
The Waverider 18s were approximately 285g and the 19s weighed in at 270g (officially 260) and the Ramp is unchanged at 12mm. If you suffer continual Achilles problems you might consider a shoe with a higher ramp or use a heel insert/wedge when you buy the 19s.
The women’s version is typically lighter at about 230g.
OK. All well and good. But we both know that I just got most of those technical bits from the official specifications! Whilst the specs do demonstrate that Mizuno regularly updates shoe component structures it doesn’t really tell you and me if they will perform when running and how they feel!
Sizing & Fit
Neutral foot strike, cushioning ride for a performance runner.
Please note that the 19s do come in a wider and in a narrower fit as well as the standard fit. Junior sizes are also made. I would imagine availability of these, more unusual, fits will be limited.
The Waveriders always fit me really well. They are comfortable and suit my running style – these are the main 2 factors IMO. The 19s feel pretty similar to last year’s model. The only difference in ‘fit’ being that they feel like they have more room over the top of the foot (under the laces). Please note that the 18s DID GENUINELY FEEL DIFFERENT IN THEIR FIT compared to the prior models. So if you are going from a 17 or pre-17 to a 19 just buy one. If you are going from the 18 to the 19 go and try one on (which will of course mean you end up buying one from a shop rather than these link…grrrrr 🙂 – UK Link, USA Link)
They ARE relatively light and, as such, are quick. Well, as quick as your legs! I have absolutely no problems with them when ‘off-road’; whilst I don’t regularly run up Ben Nevis they are fine on uneven ground, with the usual caveats. It’s late autumn/fall in the UK and it’s wet and slippery – no problems. Spikes will always make you more sure-footed and faster across wet grass but spikes are rubbish on roads!
So. Should you go out and buy some? If you haven’t bought a pair for a year you’ve probably seen the best of days in your current shoes. It’s time to relegate them to ‘social’ usage. If you liked previous Waverider then I would say just go and choose the prettiest colour and get your credit card out. Just buy the same size as last time, assuming it fitted OK. Remembering that the 18s were a tad tighter in fit.
If I get a PB in the Hackney Half next year then it will be because of these (and the training). IMO they are the best Waverider from the last 6 or so years of my experience. I presume they are better than even older versions. If you need a fairly neutral, fairly cushioned training shoe and also an occasional racing shoe, then these will do nicely – especially over 10k, where less-supportive racing flats may be less appropriate than this type of shoe. Like last year, these are my ‘training’ shoe of choice for 2016 and my Half Marathon ‘racing’ shoe of choice.