Mizuno Wave Rider 16 Product Review

Short Take

Responsive and smooth, and now lighter than ever, the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 is a dependable daily trainer for the neutral runner.

Big Updates

  • New Upper Mesh: A more open mesh improves breathability and offers a more adaptive fit.
  • Softer Heel Cushioning: The VS-1 foam in the heel is replaced with SR Touch foam for a softer initial impact.
  • Lighter Weight: This update is down in weight, shaving over an ounce in the Men’s version (10.0 oz size 9) and half an ounce in the Women’s (8.4 oz size 8).

Road Test

Mizuno’s Wave Rider is a well-known franchise in the running shoe world, and has long been a go-to option for runners who get a kick out of a responsive ride. The shoe now enters its 16th version, and with this update we see a few changes that make for a better running experience.

The upper of the Rider 16 utilizes a new open mesh, and testers reported increased breathability over its already breathable predecessor. In addition, the upper has become more flexible around the toebox and the base of the midfoot thanks to the removal of several overlays, allowing it to conform to the shape of the foot through the gait cycle.

Though the midsole may appear to go unaltered in the update to the 16, running in the shoe revealed slightly softer cushioning under the heel. A layer of VS-1 foam has been replaced with a lower density SR Touch material, resulting in a softer feel and increased protection upon the initial impact at heelstrike. For those who land mid-to-forefoot, the change in material is not noticeable.

For the neutral runner seeking a reliable daily trainer, the Rider 16 will continue to be a popular option, and with a big decrease in weight, Rider loyalists will have good reason to remain faithful.

Runners Say

Allie

“Minimal changes in this update of the Rider; I think fans of the 15 will find much to love in the 16 as well.”

Taro

“To me, the heel fit felt a bit wider than in the Rider 15. In the 15 I felt a snug, secure fit, but in the 16 I experienced some slippage.”

Matt

“I’m not a fan of the small Mizuno logo on the medial side of the upper; it seems as if it was placed as an afterthought. That’s a minor aesthetic flaw on an otherwise great looking and great performing shoe.”