This is a sponsored post. I received the shoes for review and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own… along with the 2:00:12 half marathon finish time that I ran last weekend wearing them.
Last month at RnR Philadelphia, I raced my final miles in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17. It was a shoe that I mostly used for runs less than 10 miles and I had recently completed two half marathons in them in a single month (9/7 and 9/21). It was a great way to say goodbye to a shoe that had treated me well — they raced strong and deserved a grand finale.
Little did I know, that I would soon be racing in the Wave Rider 18. Through Fitfluential, I was able to test out the latest version of the Wave Rider and I jumped right into them with a couple of training runs. Last weekend, I let them loose at RnR LA and ran the 13.1 mile race wearing the popular neutral shoe by Mizuno.
Changes in the 18
When I first opened the box, I loved the gradient (are we calling it Ombre now?) treatment from silver in the back to black in the front. Other color-ways are available for both men and women. I know that color and looks are not the FIRST thing you should focus on when choosing a running shoe, but it is our first impression and you’re lying if you say it isn’t a factor (even if it’s a little bit).
The second thing I noticed was that the shoe felt “softer” on the outside. I’m going to do a terrible job of describing this, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say. The mesh material on the outside of the shoe, specifically on top of the toe box, felt softer than the 17s. Both the 17s and the 18s have an almost mesh-like material that encase the shoe, but the 18s felt smoother, almost softer allowing the shoe to bend a little easier. The 17s didn’t feel stiff, but in comparison, I feel like the material in the 18s is more flexible.
When I slipped them on, I definitely noticed that they were more comfortable than the 17s. This may go back to the “more flexible” thing I mentioned above, but these slipped on more smoothly and felt more supportive. It’s still a neutral shoe, so when I say supportive, I mean it in a way that it was hugging my feet. The shoe holds the same weight as the 17s (9.2 oz for mens, 7.8 oz for women) which means Mizuno did a good job of NOT adding any weight to this year’s model, but I definitely felt a difference in the comfort level.
Still Racing Strong
What remains the same: Mizuno stayed pretty true to form with the transition from the 17s to the 18s. The same ideal balance of fit, performance and “smooth ride” show up again in the latest model. The patented Wave Technology still provides the support and the Dynamotion Fit gives the shoe the same durability that you’ve come to expect from Mizuno.
I ran the half marathon with no issues and since the 13.1 was NOW the farthest distance I had run in the shoes, I was placing a lot of confidence in Mizuno staying true to their quality of the Wave Rider tradition. As I have stated previously, I rely on a more supportive shoe for longer distances, but the Wave Rider will remain a staple in my shoe rotation for runs up to 13.1 miles. For half marathons I’m typically looking for a “lighter” shoe to test my speed and since my form still holds strong for that distance, a neutral, smooth-riding shoe gets the job done.
If you are a fan of the Wave Rider 17s, you’ll fit easily into the 18s and enjoy some of the new features. I’ll definitely be using these for mid-week training runs up to 10 miles and can easily see them being used for future half marathons.
Have you ever raced in a Wave Rider?
Do you use different shoes for half marathons vs. full marathons?