New Balance 890v4 vs. Mizuno Wave Rider 17 review

New Balance 890v4 is an extremely light and very cushy neutral running shoe for daily runs. Mizuno Wave Rider 17 is a lightweight and high performance trainer with good cushioning.

The New Balance 890v4 and the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 are lightweight neutral cushioning running shoes that should compare well against each other.

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The uppers of the New Balance 890v4 and the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 are very similar in that both consist of a minimal amount of overlays and both have mostly no-sew overlays in their upper.

However, the New Balance 890v4 has a no-sew overlay that wraps the midfoot and connects the midsole to the saddle, thereby giving you a more secure fit around the midfoot than the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, which has mostly very light welded-on films around the midfoot.

On the other hand, the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 would provide a more secure lockdown around the heel, since it has a traditional stitched-on overlay that wraps the heel well in contrast to the New Balance 890v4, which only has a stitched-on overlay at the back of the heel.

The uppers of both running shoes should feel pretty comfortable around your foot and not cause any irritation points due to their mostly stitch-free upper.

The big difference between the New Balance 890v4 and the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 lies in the midsole. While both have midsole foam with cushioning properties – U4ic in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 and RevLite in the New Balance 890v4 – the main difference can be found in the heel.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 17 has a Wave Plate in the heel to provide extra cushioning, shock absorption, and centering of the foot, while the New Balance 890v4 has an Absorb crash pad that runs from the back of the heel around to the lateral side and another piece on the medial side of the heel.

Absorb cushioning is soft and delivers superior shock absorption, so it is not surprising that running shoe lab tests have shown that the New Balance 890v4 has a softer heel than the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 for both men and women. The softness is not by much, though, so you can still see both running shoes as suitable for heel-strikers.

The midsole of the New Balance 890v4 in the forefoot area is a little bit thicker than that of the Mizuno Wave Rider 17. And because the New Balance 890v4 also has thick blown rubber pods under the forefoot, it also turns out to be much more cushy than the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 in the forefoot.

Both the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 and the New Balance 890v4 pride themselves in being light and flexible. This flexibility is mainly due to the outsole construction with deep flex grooves in the New Balance 890v4, and due to the flex grooves with the relatively thin forefoot midsole with no Wave Plate in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 17 turns out to be a little bit more flexible than the New Balance 890v4 for men, and the New Balance 890v4 turns out to be much more flexible than the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 for women. But both are still above average flexible running shoes.

While the New Balance 890v4 and the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 are not meant to provide stability, some degree of stability is delivered through the Wave Plate in the heel of the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, and through full ground contact with a cushy crash pad in the New Balance 890v4.

Because the New Balance 890v4 does not have a separation between its forefoot and rearfoot like the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 does, you can expect to get a smoother transition from heel-strike to toe-off in the New Balance 890v4.

However, do not underestimate the SmoothRide components in the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, which are meant to rock you forward and efficiently guide you through the gait cycle. In addition, the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 was built with performance in mind with its relatively large heel-to-toe drop.

The women's version of the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 weighs approximately 7.7 oz (218 grams) and the New Balance 890v4 for women weighs 6.8 oz (193 grams). The men's version of the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 weighs 9.5 oz (269 grams), and the New Balance 890v4 for men weighs 8.1 oz (230 grams).

If you are looking for a very light and very cushy running shoe that provides a smooth ride for long runs, then the New Balance 890v4 might be worth considering.

And if you are a heel-striker looking for a running shoe that makes you feel fast, then the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 could get the job done.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: Mizuno | New Balance

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