Review Mizuno *Waverider 18* 2015

My TRAINING SHOE choice for 2015.

My RACING SHOE choice for 2015 (Half Marathon distance)

There is now a Waverider 19 review (here).

It’s always great to have a nicely fitting pair of new running shoes on your feet. As you know, you and they are going to have a very close relationship for the next several hundred miles or more.

You can get them <here>.

When picking a travel partner I tend to pick one that I know  I will get on with. So, on that note, last week marked the arrival of the super new Mizuno 18 Waverider and here is my review.

I have LOTS of pairs of Waveriders. Here are some shots of just 4 of them, the Waverider 15, 16, 17 and 18 – in that order.

As you can see the soles of the 15 & 16 were near identical and last year’s 17 marked a big change. Whilst last year’s shoe (17) was lighter AND FASTER than previous incarnations to me it sometimes lacked a bit on the traction front. OK these are never going to be fell runner shoes but with all the rain and mud earlier in 2014 I felt a bit more grip would have been nicer. Well the ‘tread pattern’ on the Waverider 18 this year has addressed that. A much simpler pattern with more grooves.
In terms of side-on aesthetics I never really liked the 15 (purple). It was too meshy (yes, that is a word). Ignore the colour if you can, just look at the designs as it was obviously available in many colours. I loved the 16 (yellow) and 17 (white). The 18’s aesthetics I’m less sure about (tho it’s not that important to me really) and will better be able to judge how they look once I get them covered in mud!

Having said that the 16, 17 and 18 all have a strong leather-like toe-protecting cover at the front, with the 18 omitting some tiny holes in the cover. I suspect that will make little difference.

Turning to the rear we see more obvious differences. Indeed each year there are significant changes. The newer 18 is possibly lighter in the heel (I can’t really say) and possibly also may be slightly weaker from a compression of putting the shoe on – although I use loose elastic laces and so I can’t see that happening for me. Ankle stability is obviously critically important in a running shoe. I can’t imagine that Mizuno have made the shoe worse in that area, indeed the strength appears to be inside the heel construction (which I can’t really show in a photo!)
Turning to the toe perhaps there will be better breathability in the 18 compared to last year. Although that wasn’t a problem for me in any case.


Here’s another close-up of the heel. Nice little leather-like logo!

So just looking at the shoes there is some progression in the heel structure and cover material and tread pattern.

Here are the ‘official’ Features & Benefits:

  • Refined lasting with modified toe spring: Creates a flowing, smooth toe off
  • Newly enhanced sock liner works in perfect harmony with U4ic: Provides a soft yet responsive feel
  • Redesigned forefoot outsole and increased outsole thickness: Offers more durability and softness
  • Pebax Parallel Wave: Delivers a more efficient, effortless transition to the midfoot

Although there is weight saving in the sole I weighed the 17 vs the 18 and they were effectively the same at approx. 285g per shoe (the 18 is a tiny-tad heavier).

So. Should you go out and buy one? Hopefully you’ve seen that the 18 is an evolution. So if, like me, you liked the previous incarnations then you are good to go with the 18. Indeed the fit and feel of the 18 compared to the 17 is almost the same. I would say you could buy a pair online using your current size without even trying them on and it will be fine. HOWEVER that is an important point as last year the same comment/recommendation from me was NOT the same ie the 17 was a different fit to the 16 and you SHOULD have tried it on before buying. As I say you can buy one of these online with little fear of it not fitting in the same way as last year’s might not have fitted.

EDIT: LONGTERM VIEW: Still comfortable and still relatively clean :-). The sole is not wearing out at all. Seems much longer lasting than the 17. Other than that…GREAT !

Here are some videos:

The first explains more about the detailed changes I alluded to, above:


If you love the old, you’ll love the new Waverider 18. If you haven’t tried Waveriders then give them a go if you need a fairly neutral, fairly cushioned training shoe and also as an occasional racing shoe especially over 10k where less supportive racing flats are less appropriate than this type of shoe. These remain my ‘training’ shoe of choice for 2015 and my Half Marathon ‘racing’ shoe of choice.


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13 thoughts on “Review Mizuno *Waverider 18* 2015

  1. Hi @the5krunner, you seem to have a pretty similar view about Wave Riders to myself, which led me to wonder… If these are your ‘training’ shoe of choice for 2015 and your Half Marathon ‘racing’ shoe of choice, what would be your 5k and 10k racing shoe of choice?

  2. Hello
    I’m currently using wave rider 15. I like it and run 10km/week. Do you think I can purchase the wave rider 18 comfortably in the same size online? Did you change size going from 15, 16, 17 to 18? Are you still liking the wave rider 18 after have used 15?

      1. try an find someone who sells New Balance and get them to suggest a specific shoe based on how you run on the treadmill in the store. i’m not so familiar with asics. I even got a pair of sketchers recently-nice and cushioned for my more sensitive days!

  3. When referring to the 18,you mentioned something to the effect of, “nice little leather logo on the back”. Just an FYI it is not leather. Mizunu is one of just a small handful of companies that prides itself on making sure they uno not use any animal products or testing on animals. In other words they are one of just a handful of the slightly bigger companies out there that are Vegan based.

  4. So my 18’s need replacing, and Im not keen on getting an old stock pair from Italy . What have you gone for to replace your’s? thanks.

    1. 19 and 20 ;-). reviews on this site

      i’ve changed how i run somewhat and now use more neutral shoes for midfoot striking. wave riders are for heel strikers really if you want to benefit from the waved plate.

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