If you've read any of my previous reviews on Mizuno shoes (Mizuno Wave Sayonara and Mizuno Wave Inspire 9) you'll know that I've not got on with previous versions of this shoe. However, I've always wanted to, as they are good shoes, so I was excited to try these out, before they are released to the public.
Right out of the box, they are light. Very light. The new midsole found on the Mizuno Wave Sayonara is present and is holding up its promise of being 30% lighter than previous foams. Mizuno have had a mass overhaul of the range, and the shoes themselves look great, drawing on Mizunos Japanese heritage. Aside from looks, thre are a few nice features that are instantly visible. The lack of overlays is an imprvement on the previous shoe, and rather than using stitching, the use of heat welded overlays is becoming standard now, which is great for comfort, weight and structure. The smooth ride tabs underneath have also been replaced by a bevelled outsole, that wraps around the sides of the feet a touch, supposedly offering a more stable and more flexible shoe, so we'll see how this has affected things. They certainly do feel flexible though. The wave plate has also been reengineered make it lighter, but more stable, so again, this is something I look forward to if it works.
The midsole is made of Mizuno's new compound called U4ic. Pronounced 'Euphoric' it is supposedly 30% lighter than AP+ (their previous high end foam) however should offer the same level of cushioning, and having made the Mizuno Wave Sayonara my shoe of choice, can atest to this. It is very light, and with a or substantial midsole in the Wave Rider, the difference is noticeable. Holding a Wave Rider 16 in a size 9.5 in one hand, and this shoe in an 11 in the other, the new Rider 17s still feel lighter. The wave has been tweaked slightly to offer better stability and impact absorption, so we'll wait and see how it feels.
The upper is made up of mesh, with heat welded overlays for added security with fewer stitches. The uppers are slightly more substantial than the Sayonrs, but not hugely so. The lack of overlays is astonishing for a high mileage shoe, and looks to be bordering on a race shoe, even though it is not. The feel very comfortable, however do have some internal stitching, so are no suitable for wearing barefoot. They'd feel slightly wider around the toes, although this could simply be that the uppers are more flexible, so wrap the foot in a more comfortable way.
The outsole is one of the bigger change here. The Smooth Ride tabs have disappeared, and instead a bevelled outsole has taken its place. The outsole now curves up the lateral side of the foot, enhancing stabilty, and allowing for a more flexible shoe. Its an interesting idea, and I can see the benefits of it, but whether it works is yet to be seen.
The new Wave Rider 17 is a surprising shoe. I have not gotten on well with previous versions, but this one I can actually see myself using. It was certainly more stable, and as a very slight over-ponator, this was appreciated. Having compared footage to the previous shoe when I heel strike, there s a big difference. I suspect it is a combination of all the upgrades, rather than one aspect specifically that has improved this, and it barely feels like a Wave Rider. However, previous should not be put off by this, as the changes have only improved things, and they ae more comfortable than ever. The only thing I found difficult was forefoot running. This was mostly due to the fact that I've become used to the effortless-ness of the Wave Sayonara, and that I had not butterflyed the laces, so there was a slight heel slip. However, on changing the laces, it became a little easier. I would not recommend these for efficient forefoot runers, but as a transition shoe, or a heel striker, these are superb. They're hard wearing enough to be used as a trainer, and light enough to be a racer. Mizuno has once again become the go to brand for light shoes, somthing they'd been slipping on slightly in the recent past, so this can only be a good thing for them.