The Mizuno Wave Rider 16 is something of a throwback at a time when running shoe companies are caught up in a battle between lightweight minimalist shoes and overly cushioned, and expensive, trainers. Version 16 of the Wave Rider arrives with a standard 12mm heel drop, and it’s blissful in that it is neither too light nor too heavy. This moderately neutral/normal pronation shoe weighs just about 10 ounces in the men’s version.
The Rider has an almost-straight last that provides inherent stability, and it allows for a “straight ahead” running style. The blown rubber forefoot on the Rider provides for luxurious cushioning, while the heel offers mid-range firmness. Although I wish the heel was a bit stiffer, no doubt most running enthusiasts will find it to be just fine as is.
Mizuno describes the Rider ride as uniquely “harmonious,” and they may have fashioned the right label. Neil Diamond’s phrase “beautiful noise” also comes to mind.
I found that the shoe’s high and snug heel collar can irritate the ankle. This is especially noticeable when walking in the Rider; fortunately, it’s not as much of an issue while one is jogging. The extended – longer than usual – wave plate device in the Rider midsole gives it an increased level of firmness compared to most other Mizuno runners. For me, this provides some relief from the high level of cushioning found in so many trainers these days – cushioning that often takes away more from the running experience than it adds.
The shoe’s upper is extremely flexible and comfortable. Let’s hope that you don’t mind seeing the color of your socks through the fabric if you run in the unique white-Chinese red-black color scheme that I selected. (It looks like you’re running in a contemporary tennis shoe.)
The Rider is quite functional as an everyday trainer and occasional road racer. For the majority of runners, the shoe should be supportive and protective enough for runs ranging from a 5K to the half marathon distance. Having said this, runners who prefer a softer and more cushioned ride will likely gravitate to the Mizuno Wave Precision 13. Those who run like gazelles or cheetahs will be drawn to the green apple colored Mizuno Musha racing flat, which offers a touch of stability for distances up to the marathon. Not being part of one of those groupings, the Rider literally strikes the almost-perfect middle ground for me as both a trainer and event day racer. Two pairs might be as essential as one.
If you do pick up a pair or two of the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 running shoe, you won’t need to catch the last train to Clarksville – or Clarksburg. You’ll be able to run there on your own well-covered feet.