Mizuno Wave Rider 24 vs 25 – A New Identity

mizuno-wave-rider-24-vs-25

In today’s comparison, we’re going to be comparing the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 vs 25.

The Wave Rider 25 may look a bit similar to the Wave Rider 24, but it is a very different shoe.

The midsole is totally different, the ride is totally different, the fit is different, and the upper has been updated.

There are some shoe iterations that are slightly different that you could be still happy in either shoe.

However, the ride and feel of the Wave Rider 25 is really different from Rider 24 and I guess only one shoe is going to be good for you.

Let’s find out what I mean by that…

Related: Mizuno Wave Rider vs Brooks Ghost

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 vs 25

mizuno-wave-rider-25

The Wave Ride is essentially the neutral daily training shoe from Mizuno. It has been around for a very long time and it’s one of Mizuno’s most popular road running shoes.

It’s important to note that there are two different versions of this shoe. The first version is called Wave Knit and has a knit upper, and then these versions that we’re taking a look at today are just the regular mesh Wave Rider 25 and Wave Rider 24.

The Rider 25 still performs really well while staying true to what we’ve had in previous versions. However, while the 25 is similar in a lot of ways to the Wave Rider 24, it does have a lot of new updates.

Mizuno-wave-rider-24

The ride and feel is different and the fit has been improved.

For people who haven’t tried Mizuno because they’re too firm or aggressive a little bit, the Wave Rider 25 is a lighter-weight Mizuno option that is no longer considered firm.

So, for people who like the Wave Rider series, you are getting another trusty Wave Rider because the 25 still keeps a lot of its roots. It still has that smooth ride that it has always had, but it just softens up and gets a little bit more flexible upfront.

Without further ado, these are the differences you really need to know…

Related: What Are Neutral Running Shoes?

Mizuno Wave Rider 25 vs 24 – Differences

Quick Specs

First things first, the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 is going to cost five dollars more than the Wave Rider 24.

You can check today’s price here:

Mizuno Wave Rider 24
Mizuno Wave Rider 25

In terms of weight, the Wave Rider 23 was 10.2oz (289g), the Wave Rider 24 was 9.6oz (272g) and the Wave Rider 25 is now 9.5oz (269g).

As you can see, the Wave Rider series is shedding weight from version to version, which is very cool for fan favorites. The Wave Rider is pretty par for the course for a daily trainer, especially like a premium daily shoe such as this.

In terms of stack height, you’re going to get 36 millimeters in the heel and 24 in the forefoot.

brooks-ghost-vs-mizuno-wave-rider-stack-drop

If you’re new to the Mizuno Wave Rider series, the 24 and 25 have a massive 12mm drop.

When you have such a large drop, your forefoot is going to sit higher than your forefoot, and if you’re not a heel striker or if you’re not used to run in such a shoe, this might cause some issues. 

But if you appreciate that high stack height or drop, this shoe will be right up your alley. The higher drop might really help people with insertional aggravated Achilles.

Even though it’s a 12-millimeter drop shoe, the foam on the 25 compresses and so it actually feels a little bit lower.

Which Enerzy Midsole is better?

mizuno-wave-rider-25-midsole

This is where Mizuno made most of their updates and I think this is the biggest update that impacts the Wave Rider 25 the most.

Both the Rider 24 and 25 feature the Mizuno Enerzy foam which was debuted in the Mizuno Wave Rider 24. Enerzy is a little bit softer than the previous U4ic midsole. That said, it’s not the softest running shoe out there.

Mizuno-wave-rider-24 (1)

On the Rider 24, Mizuno uses Enerzy just on the heel area, but now with this 25th update, the midsole is made up completely of Enerzy foam heel to toe.

So, it’s the first time that the Wave Rider series has gotten a full Enerzy midsole, which certainly changes how this shoe feels. Enerzy foam reminds me a lot of Nike’s React foam in that they are both very soft but they don’t return much energy.

This foam is just really compliant, really squishy, and really bouncy. It’s not like a sink-in softness, but it certainly is soft under the foot.

Both Riders have a separate wedge of injected Enerzy foam which is located under the Wave Plate in the heel. This is firmer and more durable than the softer compression-molded Enerzy foam on the top layer.

So the Rider 25’s midsole is no longer that snappy, firm, and responsive ride.

But how is this softer Enerzy midsole going to affect the performance of the Wave Rider 25?

Which shoe performs better?

With the 25th edition, the Wave Rider is no longer in the firm category and the forefoot is now super flexible, which might be a deal-breaker for some runners.

If you like that, I think you’re really going to like this shoe, but that can give some people some problems.

It’s certainly on the spectrum of soft to firm, but it sits a little bit on that softer end of the spectrum. Compared to the Wave Sky 4, the Wave Horizon and the Wave Inspire and found the Wave Rider 25 to be the softest lightest Mizuno shoe to date.

I did not expect this because the Wave Rider series is normally really firm. I really like the previous firmer midsole because it makes the Rider 24 feel snappy and more stable so I could do different workouts in the shoe. 

The 25 is definitely more relaxed, which is going to be good if you’re looking for a cushioned long-mileage shoe. With the 24, I could do high mileage in it although I get beat up a little bit, but the 25 is much more forgiving and long runs are really good in it.

The 25 is still a shoe that I use for all my mileage like easy runs and fartleks, but it took me a bit to figure the midsole out. So, while toe-offs are a bit aggressive in the Rider 24, they’re softer and super smooth in the 25.

With the softer Enerzy, you just kind of sink into it a little bit more, which feels really nice. However, when you’re really trying to push off, the softer midsole combined with the forefoot flexibility really decreases its performance on the really high end of speed.

Again, the Wave Rider 25 can pick the pace up, but if you’re not used to softer shoes, it’s going to take you a little bit to figure it out.

So, for me, the Wave Rider 25 still works for daily miles, still works for some tempo runs, but a little bit less for like harder fartleks and things like that.

Overall, I think the Wave Rider 25 is best at daily paces. The Enerzy midsole is responsive and will respond to the forces you put into the ground if you pick up the pace, but the shoe does feel a little bit clunky or flexible when trying to push the pace in it.

Which is more flexible

Again, the Rider 25 is just a very different shoe from previous Riders. It’s more relaxed, the forefoot is much more flexible, and there’s not a lot of toe spring.

In terms of flexibility, you get three flex grooves that only go partially across the forefoot. So the Ride 25 is certainly more flexible through the forefoot than the previous versions but still rolls really nice.

If you’re used to the Wave Rider series, flexibility in the Rider 25 is something you should be cautious with especially if you have limited toe mobility.

So, if you have rigid toes and you need a shoe to assist you through your toe-off, this probably isn’t your best option.

But for most people with normal toe mobility or some people that actually want a flexible forefoot, which is kind of hard to come by in today’s carbon plated and stiff shoe realm, the Wave Ride 25 is going to be your shoe.

Probably the only other comparable shoe that I can think of is the Saucony Kinvara which is just a little closer to the ground.

Wave Plate

In addition to the Enerzy foam, you get something called a Wave Plate because this is the Wave Rider after all. It does appear that they have revamped the Wave Plate a little bit as well.

This is basically a curved plastic plate that sits in the heel area to allow for better energy dispersion as you go through your ride. However, it does not extend into the forefoot, which could have helped with the flexibility of the Wave Rider 25.

It’s actually the same kind of Wave plate they had in the Mizuno Wave Rider 23. Mizuno changed it a little bit in the Wave Rider 24, but apparently, people didn’t like it as much and so they changed it back to what it was in the Wave Rider 23 for a more optimal experience.

They’ve also thickened the plate on the medial side of Wave Rider 25, which I think really made a difference in stabilizing this softer foam.

So, everywhere from the heel up through the midfoot, the plate still provides a really nice amount of stability but it’s not obtrusive in any way.

But the problem with the Rider 25 is the rearfoot feels firm and rigid because of the Wave Plate while the front feels really soft and flexible. This may lead to a very disjointed and inconsistent feeling ride for some runners.

Let’s see which Mizuno Wave Rider is more stable…

Which is more stable?

Every single Rider has always been like some of the most stable neutral shoes we’ve tried. Part of that definitely comes from the firmer Wave Plate that runs through the midsole.

Because the Wave Rider 25 is softer underfoot because of the full-length Enerzy platform, your foot does have some demand put on it to maintain stability on the platform itself mainly in the forefoot once you get out of where the wave plate sits.

However, the plate does still lock the foot in really well.

So, for people who need forefoot stability, the Wave Rider 25 isn’t really going to offer that as much. Although you have some flaring through the sole to provide some stability, because of the softer platform, it’s not the most stable shoe that you could find through the forefoot.

Additionally, I think something that docks it on stability a little bit is how clunky the heel is. I think the heel just takes away a little bit of the smooth transition that can make the ride a little bit more stable.

However, what Mizuno did really well is the new design of the Wave Plate. They closed all of the connections between the Wave Plate and the foam, which provides no areas for excess movement there. 

Even though the waist of the shoe is narrow on the outsole, this plate sits out a little bit wider and so you’re actually kind of sitting on top of that keeping the shoe stable, again, from the heel through the midfoot.

Again, we’re talking about a neutral shoe that isn’t supposed to have any formal elements of stability like a posting or anything like that.

However, it does provide a really stable ride due to the way that they integrate this plate, the thicker amount of foam around the wave plate, and the wider platform.

If you need more stability and want to stay in Mizuno, I highly suggest looking at the Wave Inspire. The Inspire is a little stiffer and a little heavier but definitely more supportive.

So in terms of stability, the Wave Rider 24 is more stable than the Wave Rider 25.

If you’re looking for more, make sure you check these great stability running shoes

Which shoe fits better?

Related: Mizuno Shoe Size Chart

The Wave Rider 25 does feel a lot better than the Wave Rider 24 in terms of fit.

The Wave Ride 24 for me was a little bit off in fit. It fit pretty long and wide and it fit almost a full half size up at least.

The good news is the Wave Rider 25 goes back to the fit of my favorite Wave Rider ever, the Rider 23. I can definitely say the Ride 25 is back to being a little bit more streamlined.

The biggest difference between the Rider 25 and the Rider 23 is that the 25 does widen a little bit through the toe box, which is helpful for toe splay.

In fact, the 25 feels just a teeny bit snug at first, but then the upper starts to relax and you have a little bit more room.

The 25 certainly fits true to size and I would not go up or down in size. Mizuno shortened it a little bit from the Wave Rider 24. And if you had the Wave Rider Wave Knit 24, the mesh Wave Ride 25 will fit fairly similar. 

The upper is really stretchy in the toe box and so it’s accommodating to different foot types. I didn’t have any hot spots or heel slipping and I did not have to lace lock the heel at all. It was very secure through the midfoot.

Again, I loved the fit on the top and I hope they keep it consistent like this. I think they have a really strong shoe.

The fit does feel a lot better than the Wave Rider 24. The mesh is a huge upgrade. It just fits better all-around and you have a nice hold over the midfoot. It has a nice wide toe box through the front.

Related: Do Mizuno Shoes Run Small or Big?

Which is more versatile?

The Wave Rider 24 and 23 were really versatile trainers and I could do hard workouts in them easily. Despite the weight, they just have some snappiness to them in general. They also could do casual daily miles and recovery runs.

The Wave Rider 25 still fits that bill. But I would say the one area that it shines a little bit less is on that higher end of speed.

I think the 25 is a suitable shoe for relaxed easy runs because the forefoot has no snappiness to it and it makes it very difficult to pick up the pace, which makes the shoe not very versatile.

If you like your Wave Riders snappy and firm, then you won’t enjoy the Wave Rider 25. But if you prefer a softer more flexible ride for many relaxed runs, then the Rider 25 will be right up your alley.

Which is more durable?

After 100 miles, the outsole in both shoes is still doing good. 100 miles on these babies and they’re still doing really strong. That’s impressive.

I was worried the full-length Enerzy midsole would wear quickly because it’s very soft in the forefoot, but it ended up holding up just fine.

I had no problems with the upper at all and the Enerzy midsole still feels exactly like it did the first day, which is very cool.

So, if you’re looking for a very high-mileage shoe that’s going to last you a long time, this is it. 

Again, durability is really good on both shoes. Good job Mizuno.

Which upper is better?

mizuno-wave-rider-25-upper

The upper on the Wave Riders is pretty standard but done very well. It’s a two-layered engineer mesh, and as you get further back, the rest of the upper is a pretty tight woven engineered mesh.

The upper does feel a little bit more like a premium upper where it’s a little bit on the thicker end compared to some of the previous versions.

You do get some ventilation in the toe box area but nothing too crazy. I wouldn’t say it’s the most breathable just because you don’t have any large ventilation areas other than just the toe box area.

In hot temperatures, the upper can get a bit warm just because it’s thick, but it’s really not that bad.

Mizuno-wave-rider-24-upper

My favorite Wave Rider upper was the Wave Rider 23. The mesh was very lightweight and still held well. I feel like the upper on the 24 and 25 goes up in thickness a little bit, which is great if you’re in cold climates, but running in hot conditions makes the shoe a little bit warm.

The upper is a little bit more dialed in but also a little bit plusher, more premium, and a bit more breathable in the 25 than the 24.  

Other than that, both uppers are great, but the 25 is better in terms of comfort and fit.

Tongue

The tongue itself is pretty wide, comfortable, and secure and you do get overall moderate padding throughout. Nothing seems overly plush or stuffed. It’s just a very typical fit.

It is not integrated at all with the lacing although I think because it is a gusseted tongue, it shouldn’t be an issue with the tongue moving around too much.

I find the tongue seems to hold on the foot a little bit better on the 24 because I had a little bit of slippage around in the 25.

Heel Counter

mizuno-wave-rider-25-heel-collar

Moving to the back of the shoe, you do get a really big thick internal heel counter that’s nicely padded and very secure. It’s pretty stiff and solid and if you try to move it around, it doesn’t budge.

Mizuno-wave-rider-24-heel-counter

No one had any complaints or issues with the lockdown at all thanks to the solid lacing system and the cushioning around the heel collar.

Mizuno-wave-rider-24-ankle-collar

Outsole

mizuno-wave-rider-25-outsole

The outsole is pretty typical of the previous versions using the same type of super durable X10 rubber that people are used to. You get a ton of rubber coverage and you get three flex grooves that only go partially across the forefoot.

This rubber strip on the outer side of the Wave Rider 25 is meant to stiffen up the forefoot, but when you try to move it around, it doesn’t even put up any resistance.

The reason is that the Enerzy foam is so much softer and more pliable than the previous foams that have been on the Wave Rider even though they did keep this little bit of rubber through the forefoot section.

Mizuno-wave-rider-24-outsole

Moving to the back of the outsole, you’ll get a decoupled setup, and the rubber featured in the heel section is meant to be more durable.

So, if your heel striker, it will last you a little bit longer. It is a harder rubber compared to what’s in the forefoot that will give you a little bit more grip and just be a little bit different setup than what’s in the heel area.

So, I think the heel was probably the least smooth, but it was still really soft. So, even with that little bit of clunkiness in the heel, it still was soft enough to catch me and then rolled really nice and smooth and bouncy through the Enerzy forefoot too.

Overall, I love this full-ground contact outsole which definitely contributes to the stability and a nice transition through there.

Which is more sustainable?

Mizuno are changing some of the construction of these shoes to help reduce their carbon footprint.

They’re using things like castor bean components for the Wave Plate all in efforts to make their shoes a little bit more sustainable.

So, I guess the Wave Ride 25 is a bit more sustainable than the 24.

Cons

We wish the Wave Rider had a little bit more cushioning in the forefoot. Because the Enerzy was so soft in the 25, we felt we got a little more ground feel than we would have liked.

So, we wish they would have basically added just a little bit more cushioning in the forefoot region for some additional protection or just a little more bounce.

The last negative was that it’s not the most breathable shoe ever. You do get some ventilation in the forefoot area, but the remainder of the upper itself and even the tongue isn’t the most breathable.

I know it is a classic daily trainer, but we’re kind of hoping for a little more breathability in it, especially if you’re in some of those hotter climates.

So, if you’re someone who wants something a little more breathable, I would definitely go with a different option just because you only really get ventilation in the toe box area.

I will say for someone who wants a shoe that’s a little bit faster for those tempo runs or something that doesn’t have such a large drop, I would probably go in a different direction because there are other shoes out there that will kind of fit those criteria a little bit better. 

Conclusion

Both the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 and 25 are great all-around shoes and there’s no red flags that keep me from recommending them. 

You get a great lacing system, premium materials, a plush heel counter and heel region, the upper is definitely solid, there’s a ton of rubber coverage on the bottom, and the foam set up with that classic Wave Plate structure is just going to work for a lot of runners.

I do like the way they’re doing the plate. It’s still doing good providing rigidity in the back, but I’m excited to see what they would do with the Enerzy foam in their future versions.

Mizuno always waits to do things because they take their time and they do things really well. So, there’s some very cool stuff coming down the pipeline that we’re excited to share with you soon.

Again, the Mizuno Wave Rider 25 is a really well-performing shoe. It is certainly on the softer end, it has some flexibility, it has a little bit of a chunky heel, but overall, performs really well.

Where to buy the Wave Rider:

Amazon

Mizuno Wave Rider 24
Mizuno Wave Rider 25

Mizuno

Mizuno Wave Rider 24
Mizuno Wave Rider 25

Zappos

Mizuno Wave Rider 24

Runningwarehouse

Mizuno Wave Rider 25

Well, that concludes my Mizuno Wave Rider 24 vs 25 comparison. Thanks for making it to the end of this length comparison. I hope you found it helpful. Feel free to drop your comments in the comments section below.

Until then, keep running and stay safe out there.

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