I've been rocking with Mizuno since their 15th Anniversary of the Wave Rider and experienced the ebbs and flows with the brand. Through each iteration there were design tweaks I liked and some, ahh, not so much-I loved the snug upper fit of the 15's and its responsive ride.
The yellow/imperial 16's with the blue/Anthracite running bird was a hot color scheme for me. And then there was the 17's with the introduction of U4Ric Sole that showed promise, but with the changes in the upper I lost interest in the Wave Riders series-and only picked up one pair instead of doubling up like I did with 16's and 3 pairs of 15's.
When the WR 18's Dropped I had some reservations and wasn't anxious to ride the wave, however after talking with Jeff a Mizuno rep and trying it on in my LRS, I considered giving the WR 18 another look. "Rider 18 is going to knock it out the park", Jeff said-who was a main wear tester for the WR 18 and was already on his 4th pair. Ok Jeff may be bias I thought, after all what's he going to say: "the shoe is going to suck". Even with Jeff's ravings of the WR 18 I picked up the Sayo 2 instead and then a week later caved in and got the WR 18. Jeff was right Mizuno hit a home run with the updates in the Wave Rider 18
|Experience the transformative power of the WR 18|
That's one "rad shoe" with an ombré color treatment, while Mizuno wasn't first to market with graduated color, in my opinion they killed it! I was glad see Mizuno return to a traditional breathable mesh upper and symmetrical sewn on running bird to aid in securing your midfoot.
The stunning design was inspired by the word Hado which is gaining popularity these days, people use it to express the vibration of person or place. Hado represents the life force that exist in all of us and had the power to create powerful transformations.
So what is Hado? According to Mizuno: "The intrinsic vibration energy that exist in all matter which can create powerful transformations. The new WR 18 is designed to maximize and balance forward momentum, which can result in positive change both internally and in the world we run in".
Immediately after trying on a pair of WR 18 I noticed the departure from the WR 17's in the sockliner midfoot and heel, once both shoes were laced and I stood up it felt like the base of the shoe was wider than its predecessor.
The undercarriage was overhauled in the WR 18 which improved the ride of the shoe in my opinion. I took the WR 18 with me on vacation and it performed well on the narrow roads in Barbados with its varied terrain.
The WR 18 weighs in at 9.2 oz in a men's version and 7.8 oz for women, its lighter than the Saycony Ride7, Brooks Ghost 7 and Asics Cumulus 16. But it still offers cushioned support and a quick toe off.
Members of the WR tribe will be pleased with the updates to their favorite shoe, I found the WR 18 to be firm and cushioned, a happy marriage that allowed me to relax at a slower pace and not worry about support when I picked up speed heading down hill.
The changes to the WR puts it in the Top 5 Shoe Updates of 2014. The modifications to the upper should resolve the issues some runners experienced with the WR 17's.
Mizuno continues to produce a solid daily trainer that can double as a race day shoe for distances ranging from a 5k to the marathon.
If your looking to transform your training runs and make a powerful statement on race day consider lacing up a pair of WR 18's.
Final note on the WR 18 relates to the sizing. I was able to comfortably fit into a 11.5 in the WR 17, with a thumbs width in the toe box, but had to go up to 12.5 to get the same fit in the WR 18-something to consider if you're making an online purchase.