Mizuno Wave Rider Turns 20

Last week I was invited to a Mizuno Media Night event by my friend Michelle Clarke, Mizuno’s Brand Building Specialist who also happens to be an incredible athlete with a long list of accolades! The event was located at Energia Fitness, which includes a retail store on the first floor and a studio space on the second floor where classes are held on Yoga +Core, Kettlebell, Spinning, and Crossfit.

The event was a birthday celebration of sorts for the Mizuno Wave Rider 20. The “20” signifies the 20th iteration of the well-known training shoe; however, it was the lucky invitees who would be receiving gifts!

Those who know me well know I’ve only run in one brand of shoe since I started running, but I’ve heard amazing things about the Wave Rider, so I was happy to attend and show my support. Prior to the event, I was asked to choose between a kettlebell or crossfit class; apparently it wasn’t enough to to strut around the store in the Wave Rider 20, we had to work up a sweat wearing them as well!

Upon entering Energia Fitness, we were greeted with goody bags containing a pair of Wave Rider 20s and a few other Mizuno products we would learn more about later in the evening. Prior to the event, I did some research on the Wave Rider 20 and was very excited to learn they came in red! When I opened the box, I was greeted by a really cool looking shoe, but was surprised to find out the men’s shoe is orange with black highlights (the women’s show is red with white highlights)! I quickly scanned my running closet in my head to determine if they would match with anything I owned!

Photo courtesy of IG/RunningDesigner

I’ve only ever run in shoes with a 4mm and 8mm offset (the offset, also known as a ramp, heel to toe drop or “drop” for short, is an indication of how much taller the heel of a running show is than the forefoot). The Wave Rider 20 has an offset of 12mm and it was one of the first things I noticed when I slipped my feet in. The second thing I noticed was how comfortable and soft they felt. For comparison, with the exception of the noticeable difference in the offset, the feel was very similar to my go-to marathon training shoe and the weight was almost exactly the same. We soon found out the Wave Rider 20 was not yet released in Canada and we were the first to own a pair!

The men’s version of the Wave Rider 20 weighs in at 9.6 oz, while the women’s version weighs in at 8.3 oz.

Once everyone arrived, we split up into two groups. Half of the group went upstairs to test out their new shoes in a crossfit class, while the rest of us were joined by Larry Abbott, another Mizuno Brand Building Specialist, who walked us through the history of Wave Rider and spoke in great length about the features of the Wave Rider 20.


The Wave Rider got its start in 1998 and has grown in popularity ever since. Interestingly enough, Mizunos’ wave technology has been around since 1997 and I saved you the trouble of asking how wave technology works by quoting ShoeMetro:

At its most basic level, Mizuno Wave Technology is simply a way of forming the midsole of the athletic shoes, whether they are men’s Mizuno shoes or women’s Mizuno shoes. In short, Mizuno Wave Technology is literally the use of wavy midsoles. Traditionally, midsoles use flat materials so that when you walk, you feel the most impact in the parts of your feet that really push up against the floor. For most people, that is the big toes, the balls, and the heels of the feet.

There are several types of wave plates depending on the type of Mizuno running shoe you purchase. The Wave Rider 20 features a new type of wave technology called “Cloud Wave.” This new plate boasts the following improvements from the previous iteration:

  • 9% softer/more cushioning
  • 8% more lively response

There are a number of additional features in the Wave rider 20 including an updated U4ic (see what they did there?) full length midsole which provides both a softer landing zone and a livelier response. The triple zone engineered mesh increases breathability, movement, and hold.

Following the introduction of the Wave Rider 20, Larry spoke about Mizuno’s Breath Thermo technology. A few runners in attendance were wearing Breath Thermo apparel, but this was the first time I heard of it. Breath Thermo is essentially a yarn which produced both a warming effect when you sweat and a wicking effect to ensure you stay dry. To demonstrate how Breath Thermo works, a sample was placed in our hands and a few drops of water were added. We were then asked to close our hands and I instantly felt the yarn warming-up in my hand!

Included in our goody bag was a Breath Thermo headband, gloves, and socks! We were also provided with additional samples of the Breath Thermo yarn which I brought home to amaze my son.


Following the demonstrations, we were treated to snacks and headed upstairs to the studios for our kelltebell class. I’ve never attended a kettlebell class and was not sure what to expect. The class started off easy enough, but then things got serious. Before long we were swinging kettlebells, throwing medicine balls, and performing burpees (I had never attempted a burpee prior to attending this class!). My quads were very sore from running the TCS NYC Marathon three days prior, but I tried to tough it out the best I could. After being told I wasn’t squatting correctly, I finally caved and pulled the soreness card.
The class was really intense and the Energia Fitness instructors and co-founder, Lea and Jon, were absolutely amazing! I may need to step-up my strength training game to include more kettlebell exercises (as Bruce Dickinson said, “We need more kettlebell!). Burpees I can live without.

Thank you Michelle, Larry, and the good people of Energia Fitness for inviting us to this awesome event. I couldn’t lift my arms for two days and muscles I never used before were really sore!

The event certainly opened my eyes to other running options and I’ll definitely be adding the Wave Rider 20 to my rotation! Now I need to locate some matching running apparel!


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