Nice to Meet You, Mizuno: Getting to Know the Wave Rider 18

I think I may have mentioned this within my last few posts, but moving to Philly has brought with it a ton of change, and my running has changed because of it.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 12.25.17 PMThe first change was more physical; new routes, new roads, and old running sneakers. In regards to the latter, I knew that my sneakers were shot long before Philadelphia became my home, but moving to a different city ain’t cheap and I was reluctant to spend any more on new kicks. As for the former, I feel lucky to have stumbled upon so many running routes that, already, feel like second nature. My mornings in Philly have become a true delight.

The second change was emotional, and to be honest, I’ve been somewhat slow to adapt. That said, when I was given the opportunity to test out a new pair of sneakers — from a brand I’d never yet worn at that — my excitement spilled over from physical gain to emotional relief. Yes, running sneakers have the power to do that to me. I’m simply that impressionable.

New sneakers. New start.

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It helped that these sneaker–Mizuno’s Wave Rider 18–were exceptionally awesome and probably the coolest looking shoes I’ve worn yet.

As mentioned, I had yet to wear the Mizuno brand during my running “career” — seven or so years of three to five-mile almost-daily excursions, oftentimes rain or shine. That they were neutral was even more appealing. I made the switch from “corrective” sneakers to neutral shoes after learning that it’s possible to over-support your gait by wearing non-neutrals past their due. That actually happened to me. Don’t make this same mistake.

With the mornings getting darker and darker, it’s become increasingly difficult to will myself out from under the covers, into my shorts, and out the door. The first morning of wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider 18s, I couldn’t get out quick enough.

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The day itself was perfect — just the kind of day meant for trying cool new shoes. Sunny in an almost blinding way. Cool, but not so much that it called for leggings or gloves. Ideal for–you guessed it–a photo shoot.

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So obviously, these look pretty awesome. But the real question for any runner is, of course, how did the actual run go?

The Fit

The Wave Rider 18s actually have an incredibly comfortable fit — somewhere in between light and airy yet with full, cushioned support. As the company writes, the shoe itself “hits the ‘sweet spot’ for a variety of neutral runners.” After a single adventure, I couldn’t agree more.

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Something else that’s important to me is that the heel of the sneaker doesn’t come up too high. Sneakers with high backs tend to blister my Achilles leaving me, by the end of the run, stinging and raw. Not these puppies. In fact, in the brand’s own description of the sneaker, I found they hit the nail on the head.

The new Wave Rider 18 provides the ideal balance of fit and performance, making it the choice for runners seeking a smooth ride in a sleep, lightweight daily running shoe.

The Run

I’ve been having trouble finding a solid pair of sneakers since I graduated from my Asics two years ago. (These were corrective. I’ve struggled to identify a neutral shoe since.)

After about two miles in Mizuno’s Wave Rider 18, I wanted to kick myself for not having tried or discovered the brand sooner. They were like floating of freaking air thanks to special technology that delivers maximum responsiveness and an improved underfoot feel. As the say, the sneaker provides “just enough” support. This couldn’t have been more true.

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My first run in the Wave Rider 18s took me from my apartment in Rittenhouse Square to the Philadelphia Art Museum (you know, that one Rocky famously climbed years ago). From there, I hopped onto the Schuylkill River running trail and kept on trucking. Past the boat houses. Past the calm waters. Right to the bridge, where like so many other mornings since I’ve moved to Philadelphia, I turned around and began my run back home.

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By the time I made it back to the Chestnut Street bridge–whether I’d typically re-enter the city to go back home–I still wanted more. That’s how comfy these kicks were. 7AM, and I was still hungry for the run.

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To extend my morning ever so slightly, I continued southward on the new Schuylkill River Extension — an incredibly lovely offshoot of the path that runs along the water. It’s not the longest trail, but it easily added a mile more onto my morning. Plus, it happens to be breathtakingly beautiful.

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So, there you have it folks. I’m not quick to fall for any sort of running gear, but the Mizuno Wave Rider 18s have me hooked. If you’re thinking of trying a pair out yourself, don’t hesitate to leave a question in the comments below. I’m happy to offer up my honest opinion.

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Question: Are you a fan of Mizuno running sneakers? Have you switched from non-neutral to neutral sneakers (or the other way around) at any point during your running career?

Disclosure: Mizuno sponsored this post by providing sneakers and compensation. All opinions are my own.


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