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Wave Rider

Introduced: 1998
Retail Price: $110
Weight: 12.8 oz.
New Features: First Wave Technology Shoe

The original Wave Rider was not the smash hit you might have thought. Referred to as the "KISS boot" by Mizuno insiders, this edition held all of the trademarks of a running shoe you would typically seen in stores in late nineties— the speckle print, heavy mesh overlays, and festive elements. Failure breeds success though, as proved in the Wave Rider sequel shoe.

Wave Rider 2

Introduced: 1999
Retail Price: $100
Weight: 11.5 oz.
New Features: Redesigned Parallel Wave, First Open AIRMesh Upper, Runner's World Magazine - Editor's Choice Winner

The Wave Rider 2 was a game changer. After the less-than-successful OG Wave Rider did little to leave a good impression on American runners, Mizuno made a point to create an extraordinary sequel shoe. The success came from the re-designed Wave Plate in the midsole, that created a "mushy", comfortable ride by taking vertical force and applying it to a horizontal plane to reduce shock, which also carved out materials to reduce the overall weight of the shoe.

Wave Rider 3

Introduced: 2000
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.8 oz.
New Features: V-S 1 added to forefoot for increased energy absorption and superior cushioning; X10 added to ousole.

Following the success of the WR2, the 3 focused on building a better, more pronounced upper. Small changes were made to the midsole from the former model, but the "Grilled Cheese" design for the most part stayed the same.

Wave Rider 4

Introduced: 2001
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.8 oz.
New Features: VS-1 in both heel and forefoot, Mizuno Intercool added to remove heat and humidity buildup, BioLock upper heel fit system

The Wave Rider 4, also referred to as the 2001, was the first time Mizuno incorporated a ventilation system with ports and holes to channel humidity down through the shoe and out of the bottom to regulate temperature, protecting feet from blisters and other injuries caused by trapped moisture. The system, a precursor to adidas' Climacool, was called Intercool and used for many following generations of the Wave Rider.

Another new feature to the 4, the BioLock heel fit system, was a one-time detail. 'Less is more' was the lesson learned from this added lacing innovation, installed as a pull system that, in the end, just added bulk to an otherwise sleek upper.

Wave Rider 5

Introduced: 2002
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.6 oz.
New Features: New Upper Design

The Wave Rider 5 debuted a new upper design but kept their running fan base happy with the same Wave Plate technology and Intercool system.

Wave Rider 6

Introduced: 2003
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.4 oz.
New Features: New Midsole and Outsole Design, Runner's World Magazine - Best Update Winner

Mizuno struck gold with the Wave Rider 6, sleeker and faster than previous models with a major replacement from the plastic Wave to the composite Wave for a softer heelstrike. The forefoot cushioning got some extra beef with added support of extra VS-1 material and a thicker midsole, making runners feel more stable than ever before.

The Wave Rider series from the 2 to today's 16 has stayed consistent with a 12mm heel to forefoot drop and a static drop (compressed measurement) of 6mm. The innovative 6 was no different, though this model solidified the Wave Rider fan base that Mizuno continues to cater to today.

Wave Rider 7

Introduced: 2004
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.4 oz.
New Features: More Ventilated AIRMesh, Softer Collar Lining and Tongue Backing

Each innovative model (the 2, the 6) was followed by a shoe that built off of the success of the former with few tweaks here and there. The 7 made runners happy with a more open AIRMEsh material and a softer interior feel.

Wave Rider 8

Introduced: 2005
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.0 oz.
New Features: Introduction of SmoothRide Engineering, AP Midsole, Decoupled Outsole

The Wave Rider 8 solidified what the 6 had originally brought to the table. Where the 6 had a more abrupt ride from heel to toe, the 8 updated the midfoot to forefoot experience with smoother build. The ride featured a more caterpillar-like feel, letting runners transition smoothly from heel landing to toe off with flex grooves in the forefoot and a more responsive midsole made of "AP" (for accelerated polymer) for an softer ride.

Wave Rider 9

Introduced: 2006
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.1 oz.
New Features: New Upper Design

The Rider started to look fast with the 9 with metallic textures to the upper and a redesigned outsole for increased grip and extra cushioning.

Wave Rider 10

Introduced: 2007
Retail Price: $90
Weight: 11.3 oz.
New Features: Built on Neutral Specific last, VS-1 shape re-designed for increased heel cushioning

Mizuno conducted a consumer study for the creation of the 10 called Kansei Engineering, based off of a Japanese product philosphy that simulated the buying experience for runners shopping for their next great shoe. The study first let customers shop by looking, touching, and feeling then choosing, then by wearing but not running and choosing, and finally by running and choosing. From this study, Mizuno discovered that the no. 1 thing runners were looking for in their next running shoe was a fast look, so the 10 adopted a new look for a faster, sleeker shoe to appeal to customers. Synthetic overlays and dynamic lines achieved this style.

The 10 also introduced individual lasts for a support shoe and a stability shoe, as both needs require different fits.

Wave Rider 11

Introduced: 2008
Retail Price: $95
Weight: 11.2 oz.
New Features: Introduction of dynamotion fit with independent lateral panel, AP sockliner with neutral specific arch shape, Runner's World Magazine - Best Buy Winner

The 11 introduced a new upper not only to change aesthetics of the now ten-year-old shoe, but to improve the level of comfort inside of the shoe mid-run. The brand investigated how the skin of your foot shrinks and stretches with each stride to supply a more flexible, atomically correct fit for shoe-to-foot contact.

Wave Rider 12

Introduced: 2009
Retail Price: $100
Weight: 11.3 oz
New Features: Pebax Rnew Wave Plate - Made with Castor Oil, Runner's World Magazine - Editor's Choice Winner

Taking the prior concept of superior fit to the next level, the 12 supplied a different fit for men and women, supplying a more stable fit for men and a narrow, more flexible ride for women. Along with a Pebax Wave Plate for a weather resistent midsole, the Wave Rider now made with castor oil had reduced its carbon print on the planet.

Wave Rider 13

Introduced: 2010
Retail Price: $100
Weight: 10.5 oz.
New Features: Flex Eyelets, Improved Heel Fit and Premium collar lining, 0.8 oz. lighter

Sharing the midsole from the former 12, the 13 was the best selling neutral runner at its price point as the hardcore Rider fans loved the thin-looking midsole and the lower walls that achieved a racing look and a wrap-like feel.

Wave Rider 14

Introduced: 2011
Retail Price: $100
Weight: 10.6 oz.
New Features: AP+ Midsole, new dynamotion fit execution

With a raised upper for added security from the collar, the Wave Rider 14 got a global negative reaction as the aggressive fit was not what runners wanted from the neutral runner.

Wave Rider 15

Introduced: 2012
Retail Price: $115
Weight: 10.6 oz.
New Features: 15th Anniversary of the Wave and Wave Rider, refined upper fit, new Smoothride execution

Following the failure of the 14, the 15 scraped the entire idea from the previous model, resulting in a lower look and feel with sleek results. Mizuno furthered looking to rebuild brand loyalty by introducing the SmoothRide technology, delaying landing to propel runners forward with more efficiency than ever before.

Wave Rider 16

Introduced: 2012
Retail Price: $115
Weight: 9.9 oz.
New Features: redesigned upper with fewer overlays and lighter materials, same outsole as 15

The latest model of the Wave Rider was released last October in anticipation of the NYC Marathon with a solid response from Mizuno runners. The "just what you need and nothing more" approach resulted in a considerably lighter upper that featured bonded seams instead of the traditional stitched construction, and a notably lighter midsole at 9.9 ounces for a pseudo racing feel. This new look was inspired by the idea of encapsulated energy, taking from the idea of a greyhound mid-gait at full speed. This is represented by sunburst lines surrounding the logo to represent the controlled energy, as well as add some structural integrity around the midfoot area.

Stay tuned as Mizuno looks to the future of neutral runners, looking to go lighter in November 2013 with the release of the Wave Rider 17, a reported 30% lighter AP midsole than today's latest.

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