Mizuno Wave Rider 18 vs. 19 – Detailing the Differences

Written By: Jeremy N

Part of Mizuno's mission for runners is to make sure runners are performing to their best potential.

Mizuno has taken pride in being able to provide quality sports shoes and equipment since 1906, and this practice still remains consistent within the company. In order to help runners reach their best potential, the company develops their running shoes using cutting-edge research and technology. 

The end goal of the development is to ensure the shoes become part of the runner and that every run is sensational and full of energy.

Mizuno has made changes to the models of their most popular shoes. This article compares and contrasts two shoes from the same line but different model numbers: Wave Rider 18 and 19.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Overview: 

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 18 Running Shoe, 12 B(M) US - White/Fuchsia Purple

The Mizuno Wave Rider series is the longest line of series in the runner's shoe industry, and Mizuno calls version 18 the best in the Wave Runner series.

Version 18 of the Wave Rider is most runners first introduction the Wave Rider technology, which is known for heel cushioning and smooth transitions. This technology gives the shoe durability while maintaining a lightweight feel.


According to  Mizuno, the Wave Rider 18 balances fit and performance. It is designed to provide runners a responsive and strong run. Mizuno designed this version to make it feel like part of the foot by supplying an ideal heel fit with and secure midfoot. 

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 18 Running Shoe, 12 B(M) US - White/Fuchsia Purple

Along with the wave plate technology, it features a U4ic midsole that gives forefoot flexibility for a smooth run. Toe-off is effortless with the refined toe spring. Every foot strike has rebound with the added, upgraded sock liner. 

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 18 Running Shoe, 12 B(M) US - White/Fuchsia Purple

The wave plate technology replaced the Pebax, which was used for heel cushioning for the past several versions. Although one of the benefiting factors is a lightweight feel, version 18 is slightly heavier than the last model (9oz vs. 8.6oz).

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 18 Running Shoe, 12 B(M) US - White/Fuchsia Purple

Multiple runners have stated that they do notice the heavier weight, and do not consider this as lightweight. Most runners do agree is the transition from heel to toe is the best. The transition is beneficial for those who are heel strikers.

For runners who land midfoot or forefoot, feel that the shoe feels bulky and stiff. What this means for this particular runner is the heel cushioning does not get used. Regarding the flex grooves on the sole, runners agree that it still does not make the shoe flexible.


Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 18 Running Shoe, 12 B(M) US - White/Fuchsia Purple

 There were changes made to the upper construction of the shoe also. The two-piece upper creates a customizable fit. The mesh upper is made to have some give to it, and runners with larger or wide feet can benefit from this.

The Wave Runner 18 is also ideal for warmer weather because it has ventilated, dual mesh as well as padded heel collar and tongue and very little overlays. 


  • Larger forefoot and laces do not cut into toes
  • Great for high arches.Better ankle support than version 16
  • Comfortable during the break-in period
  • More cushion in the heel
  • Versatile and good for any physical activity
  • Superb shock absorption
  • Great value for style and quality
  • Ample stability for larger runners


  • Mesh seems too thin
  • The fit is narrow
  • The heel sits higher
  • Feels like walking on plastic because of the hard sole
  • The opening is smaller, which makes it harder to put the shoe on
  • Durability issue with sole coming off


 In Summary:

With customer comments in mind, there are some conclusions that are drawn in order to pinpoint who could benefit from this shoe.

First off, it is an ideal choice for those who do have foot pain due to the ankle support and superb shock absorption.

It is also for individuals who have narrow feet due to the fit.

Lastly, this version is meant for those who have underpronation issues because of the heel sitting higher.

Mizuno Wave Rider 19 Overview: 

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 19 Running Shoe, Fuchsia Purple/Silver, 7.5 D US

Not much has changed between version 18 and 19. Both shoes have the wave plate technology, and they are both labeled as neutral shoes.

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 19 Running Shoe, Fuchsia Purple/Silver, 7.5 D US

Both versions also have a 12mm heel drop as well as the flex grooves on the soles. Though, there are some subtle changes made to version 19.



The changes have to do with support, comfort, and overall fit. The midsole has been upgraded to the U4icX in order to provide a "cushier" feel and enhance support.

The U4icX is 30% lighter in order to provide better shock absorption. 

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 19 Running Shoe, Fuchsia Purple/Silver, 7.5 D US

The overlay of version 19 is more rounded than version 18 in order to increase comfort between the big toe and pinky toes. Lastly, the outer sole is thicker as stated in the overview.

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 19 Running Shoe, Fuchsia Purple/Silver, 7.5 D US


  • Many runners agree the fit is overall comfortable and perfect
  • The toebox is roomy, and the laces do not make the foot feel constricted
  • More colorful design choices
  • The upper mesh area wraps around the feet without irritating the skin
  • The collar is softer than the previous version, and it does not dig into the ankle
  • Fabric and material do not break down too soon unlike the previous model
  • The underfoot cushioning system carries the feet well and does not create discomfort, and the ride is still comfortable during long runs
  • Runners states it seems there is a little more boost within the gait cycle in this model
  • The traction was well-received.


  • There is an annoying popping sound coming from the midsole when the foot lifts off the ground
  • Some runners report calf and toe cramping due to the midsole
  • Heel area was a bit loose, and it caused some accidental shoe removal

Conclusion: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 vs 19

These comments proved that Mizuno took the areas that need improvements in version 18, and made adjustments accordingly.

Version 19 is more of a neutral road shoe than version 18, whereas version 18 fit individuals with more narrow feet.

It gained more popularity than the former models because there are more designs to choose from.

 As of right now, Mizuno went through 20 versions of this series. They continue to strive for excellence and provide runners with shoes that become part of them.

They continue to compete in this industry by manufacturing running shoes using cutting edge technology.

Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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