Do you need a cushioned daily trainer that is not squishy? Do you want a shoe that will last?
Do you want a no-nonsense shoe that gets the job done? If the answer to any of these questions were yes, then this would be a great shoe to add to your running collection!
While this shoe is not exciting in terms of design or technology, it more than makes up for the function of the shoe. It’s utilitarian, like a jeep.
If I were to use an ice cream analogy, it is less like a rocky road and more like vanilla. Who doesn’t like vanilla?
I have run in a previous version of this shoe, and it is very similar to the non-knit version, except I like the knit upper. I put a lot of miles in this shoe on various surfaces, and it performed well in all the different tests I put it through.
It was comfortable on shorter runs, long runs, and everything in between. I will be using this shoe for months to come. But let’s break down the specifics!
Construction & design
According to Mizuno, the midsole on the Wave Rider is a U4IC (pronounced euphoric) with a U4icX Strobel layer to add to the cushioning. It has a full rubber outsole, wave plate, and the waveknit upper.
That’s a lot of waves! The midsole is not too thick, and the complete rubber outsole was one of my favorite things about the previous versions since I can take the shoe on a variety of surfaces, knowing that the shoe could handle it.
The tongue and ankle collar are nicely padded, but not too stuffed. This is similar to previous iterations, but I like the material along the collar a lot better than the other versions as it just felt silky and comfortable.
The entire upper is solid construction, and there aren’t a lot of overlays that can make the shoe feel too hot or worse, create hotspots. The Waveknit material was a nice update and felt stretchy, but not sloppy. I was a fan of the upgrade to the Waveknit material.
Performance & durability
The step-in comfort of the shoe when I first put it on was nice. I immediately liked the way that the knit upper hugged my foot.
I also like the way that the ankle collar was padded, and the heel cup was sturdy so that my foot felt very secure in the back. As someone who has had foot problems in the past, I really like it when the shoe feels secure to my foot. I feel confident in my runs and not worry about it.
Even though my foot felt secure in my heels and locked down through the midfoot, I felt like I was still able to wiggle and splay my toes in the forefoot. Overall, the upper is well balanced, and it complements the cushioning of the midsole.
The way that the midsole feels on the run is what you would expect a running shoe to feel like:
- Moderately cushioned
- Flexible in the forefoot
- Springy and responsive
- Good traction in the outsole to protect the midsole
I found that the shoe felt great on my long, plodding runs as well; my tempo runs at a slightly higher pace. When I had to hurdle over dog droppings, move laterally to avoid small animals or sprint for the traffic light, the upper didn’t feel sloppy, and the cushioning of the midsole felt great.
The only thing I noticed is that the bottom felt like it slapped the pavement a bit on some of my runs. I am not sure if it was due to the drop in the shoe, or because of the rubber outsole.
Whatever the cause, I didn’t find that it affected the performance/comfort of the shoe. Additionally, the rubber outsole is still in good shape after all the miles that I put on it.
In short, the shoe performed to my expectations, and I am happy with the durability thus far.
- Knit upper is stretchy and comfortable
- Good cushion that is not too squishy
- U4IC cushion feels springy
- Rubber outsole provides good traction and adds to the overall durability
- Felt more stable than prior versions
- Built like a tank
- Sizing is not like prior versions, go with your actual foot size
- Plastic plate didn’t seem to add to the ride
- Shoe felt like it was slapping against the pavement a bit
- Looks like a tank
I enjoyed running in and testing this shoe. I am glad to have this version in my closet and plan to use it for a variety of runs in the future.
I have worn at least eight versions of the Mizuno Wave Riders in the past. They were my “go-to” shoe for years. This is my first time back to the shoe but in the knit version: the Mizuno Wave Rider WaveKnit 3.
Reasons to buy
The knit version of this Wave Rider is so comfortable you almost feel like you have slippers on when you are running.
The snug fit on the upper part of the shoe hugs your feet, and the foam composition of the shoe is plush and responsive. It rivals the old non-knit version in comfort.
The shoe is quite stylish. I would describe the color of a seafoam color, which is not too bright, so it matches most all my running wardrobe.
The midsole of this shoe is a bit stiff, but I didn’t notice any issues with that as it gave support when needed. It is comprised of U4ic cushioning for that support and softer feel.
The shoe is flexible and lightweight. Opposed to other shoes, the Wave Knits allow my foot to have more range of motion while not feeling like I am lugging around a brick on my foot.
I have high arches, and the arch support is perfect. The arch in the shoe supports my arch while not overbearing. It hits my foot at the right angle, but I can see how it could work for normal to low arches as well.
The heel to toe rise is 11”. Having had some Achilles tendonitis in the past, this is certainly appreciated.
No pain on this run! I noticed that with this shoe, I didn’t have the pain after the run that I typically do with a lower heel to toe drop shoes.
It is great for hills, flats, and even trail runs. I ran on tons of terrains with the same type of feel.
The laces were easy to tie and did not come undone throughout my runs.
Reasons not to buy
In my opinion, if you want to hit those low splits in a pickup run, this is not the shoe. It is a bit bulky and non -responsive. I would use this shoe for longer runs and recovery runs for that reason.
I haven’t taken this shoe hundreds of miles yet but wonder if it will hold up. With a knit version I’ve seen in the past stretching would be a reason to hang up these shoes earlier than later.
I wonder if the upper knit will pull apart or stretch over time. This certainly would affect my narrow feet and ankle support. The sole looks like it would hold up, however.
The Mizuno Wave Rider Waveknit 3 would be great for those starting to do a 5k or Half Marathon. It is versatile and has a broad range of distances.
It would also be great for someone recovering from ankle injuries or just putting in some nice quality miles during the week.
I would suggest a quicker, more responsive shoe if you are hitting some intervals or pickup/fartlek runs that you are trying to hit those fast splits.
I can see how this shoe will be popular when it hits the shelves because of the immediate comfort and well-supportive arches.
The sizing is perfect for me. Here is a sizing chart relative to other shoe brands for help when sizing for your foot.
This shoe is not too short or long, and the toe box is a bit wider while hugging the midfoot and supporting the ankle. Some shoes are too wide all over, but this shoe seems to have it all right with the fit!
To be honest, there weren’t many significant changes to this new model over the previous model. However, the small changes that were made plus the continuation of the previous year’s quality makes this Mizuno Wave Rider WaveKnit 3 even more impressive.
The price range remains between $120.00-$130.00 depending on where you shop. This is a good value for the money being spent. You will definitely get your money’s worth from this shoe.
The first change I noticed was the look. Right out of the box, this shoe looks impressive with its slimmed-down upper that contains two layers of mesh gel. This gives the shoe a streamlined feel.
There is not a lot of excess padding around the outside of the ankle, which contributes to that sleek look from heel to toe. The laces are flatter than on previous versions, which also reduces any excess bulk.
All of these changes contribute to the cleaner overall look of the Wave Rider.
I found it also to be a bit more rounded than the previous model I tested, which for me is great, and it provides just a bit more overall space in the toe area.
The mid-sole on the Wave Rider remained the same as the previous year with no changes to report. The upper is constructed with a softer, more breathable type of material that fits well even for those runners with wider feel.
The tongue is lightly padded and not connected to an internal booty or other support. During longer runs, I found that it didn’t shift and stayed in place well.
I was a bit concerned about the tongue being a bit thinner than the previous model. However, it turned out to be a non-issue.
When laced-up, there was enough padding in the tongue that you do not feel the laces across the top of the foot.
There is also less padding around the ankle collar than in previous models. However, less padding does not mean less protection. There is plenty of padding in the ankle collar area to protect that area.
As you can see, I also changed out the factory insert. I always need a bit more support than the factory insert provides.
So, no matter what brand of shoe I use, I always change out the insert. The factory inserts I have used in the past just don’t provide the support needed.
The heel cup holds the heel in place for a more secure fit without being too snug. The flex grooves in the forefoot provide a smooth heel to toe transition.
This shoe is true to size with a bit of a narrow toe box. The narrowness is not so bad, but on longer runs could become a factor depending on how much your feet swell.
Overall, the ride is stable, consistent and smooth, which is great considering it has a 12mm heel to toe drop.
The weight of this shoe is a moderate 9.6oz, which is average and makes it a great trainer for middle distance and speed work.
Is this the right shoe for you? Well, if you are a runner with a neutral gait and want a mix of cushioning, durability and great foot support without being excessively springy or soft, this may be the shoe for you.
The Wave Rider is great for everyday training runs whether they are medium or short. You’ll find they also work well for tempo runs or longer intervals.
Overall, I would give this shoe a rating of 7 out of 10. Rest assured if you purchase this model, you will have made a great investment in your running as this shoe should stand up to many miles on the road.
Good to know
- The Mizuno Wave Rider WaveKnit 3 is the newest update to Mizuno's WaveKnit family. This neutral running shoe contains the same technology as the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 through all parts of the outsole.
- The Wave Rider WaveKnit 3 features an updated knit upper that provides a more supportive design. The Waveknit upper technology offers a dynamic fit, allowing the foot to move and flex naturally.
- The premium sockliner included in the running shoe is designed to provide additional comfort and protection to the foot.
The manufacturers of the Wave Rider WaveKnit 3 has retained the shoe construction that is signature to the WaveKnit series. It was designed using the standard shoe measurement, making it true-to-size for most runners. The shoe also features the traditional lacing system for a more customized fit.
The outsole section of the shoe utilizes a blown rubber material that offers reliable protection against abrasion and superior traction on various surfaces. This rubber compound also enhances the cushioning through its spongy configuration.
X10 carbon rubber is placed in the heel section for enhanced traction. This component is a highly durable rubber that protects the platform in high impact areas and provides more traction during the heel strike.
Flex Controllers are positioned in high flex areas on the outsole. They are responsible for increasing the shoe’s flexibility and reducing the overall weight.
The midsole unit of the Wave Rider WaveKnit 3 features the dual-compound SmoothRide technology that combines the U4ic and U4icX for a springy ride. U4ic is a unique midsole compound that offers lightweight comfort, while the U4icX is an evolutionary lightweight midsole that offers a high rebound.
Cloudwave is composed of a redesigned elastic, thermal plastic wave than runs from the heel to the midfoot section. This technology provides a well-cushioned and springy ride.
Mizuno Wave technology is also integrated into the shoe. This midsole cushioning offers a stable ride and maximum shock absorption to reduce the risk of injuries. This material is strategically placed where stability is needed.
The knitted upper uses the DynamotionFit technology to provide an optimal fit, preventing the heel collar from buckling while the user is walking or running. This stretchable material is placed in heel collar and forefoot sections.
Providing a natural fit and softer feel is the Premium Anatomical Sockliner. This material is placed beneath the foot for excellent cushioning.
A U4icX Strobel Lasting board is incorporated in the shoe to provide a more comfortable underfoot feel.