Back in October 2016, I ventured over to a new Dicks sporting goods store that opened near my home. I browsed around, and found a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders in my size on the clearance shelf. Usually this shoe has a model number, but this pair didn’t. That should have been my first clue. The second clue was that they were on clearance and thus super cheap. I had good success with the much older Wave Rider 14 model and was looking forward to using the Wave Rider again. So I bought the pair at Dicks and excitedly got started running in them.
First couple runs with the new shoes were OK, but then things went south in a hurry. I did a run one day, using the same route and pace that I’ve done a million (well, many) times. Several hours later, I developed sharper and sharper pain in my repaired left ankle, so much so I contemplated going to the ER. The next day, I could put no weight on it without jolting stabs of pain. It slowly subsided over the next week or two.
At that point in October and November, I didn’t yet suspect the shoes, so I resumed running in them, and the same thing happened a couple times. It did not happen when I used my New Balance shoes, nor my tried and true (and super beefy = stable) Adidas Trail Response shoes.
My ankle does not tolerate the cold temperatures, so I laid off running in the winter, cross-trained and awaited warmer spring weather (and avoided running on icy roads due to the late winter storm we had on the east coast of the US). The rest allowed my sore ankle to fully recover.
I used the shoes once more this spring as the weather warmed; once again the sharp pain followed. As before, the pain did not happen with other shoes.
About a week ago in April 2017, I drove to Road Runner Sports nearby, and spotted the “Wave Rider 20” on the shelf. I put them on and took about 3 steps and knew these were good and bought them. Not cheap, about $114, but I knew these were the right shoe. They felt just like the classic and beloved New Balance 850s from long, long ago. I also bought some Wave Rider 19s on Amazon, basically the same shoe and they feel just as good (just cheaper since 19 is an older model).
I looked more closely at the four Wave Rider versions I now had. Models 14, 19 and 20 were very similar, despite the different model numbers. The suspect ones from Dicks did not have a model number, but instead bore some strange marking after the name. I also reviewed the base of the shoe. The suspect shoes were much thinner than the numbered models, and the distinctive Mizuno “suspension” was very flimsy. I wonder if Dicks had Mizuno build a cheaper version (or simply sold a cheaper version) of the Riders.
For once, I am resuming running cautiously with the mindset of coming off a major injury, and am approaching things slowly. I started with regular walking with my girlfriend. I recently introduced walk-runs (starting at 3 min walk, 1 min jog) and have been gradually ramping up the % and total time of running. I am now at 75% of time running, 35 min run time total, and am doing fine with the new shoes.
I am mildly sore for a couple hours after any run, but I think it is more from just resuming running rather than the injury’s flaring again. I ran two days in a row, something I thought was over for me.
Anyway, lesson learned. The 14s, 19s and 20s were more expensive than the pair from Dicks, but the numbered versions don’t leave me limping, considering the ER and on NSAIDs for a week.