113 users: 4.5 / 5
2 experts: 94 / 100
Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 10.4oz / Women 9oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 12mm / Women 12mm
Arch support: Neutral

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/100 by Gracie Bernard, posted on .

The WaveKnit R1 is a new Mizuno running shoe, sold generally around the £100 mark. They feature a knit upper, and this is one of the only pair of trainers I have been able to wear sockless (the other being the Adidas Ultraboost Uncaged).

The Waveknit material is newly being used by Mizuno to provide a lighter weight shoe, and greater breathability and hold.



So far, I have predominantly used them for slightly shorter distance road running (around 5-12km). I have, however, also used them while running on some dry forest paths this summer, and for some work on the track where the light design gave them steady speed while doing 300 to 1000m plus reps.

I have swapped the original laces for lock laces, as I prefer running in them than the normal tie up laces.


The main design feature of these trainers is the new Waveknit material used. This gave the shoe stretch while providing a snug, sock-like fit.

I found that the knit material used provider greater breathability, compared to when I ran with Mizuno Wave Rider 21. I particularly liked the wave design, and I loved the fuchsia colour choice of these shoes as I felt it really makes me stand out while running.



The fit of the Rider 1 is very different from that of the Wave Rider 21, with it being a lot snugger.

The extensive heel cushioning makes this shoe feel very supportive, especially around the ankle, but not too ‘chunky’. I have found these shoes incredibly comfortable, especially having run sockless in these.

The only thing I would say is that compared to the support provided to the heel, I have found that the forefoot is lacking a bit of cushioning, especially just under the ball of my foot where on longer runs, I notice that the impact is absorbed less under this point of my foot.

These shoes have been particularly great for me due to the slightly wider fit, which really suits the shape of my feet.


Sole and durability

The durability of these shoes is amazing!

Different to many knitted trainers the upper knit has not started to fray (thus far), although it is a fair bit thicker than the upper knit of other trainers with this feature.

I’m also pleased that the sole has maintained its grip after running on (fairly gentle) forest paths. As always though, I imagine after a few more months of wear, the shock will be absorbed slightly less through the midfoot/forefoot where the sole is slightly thinner.



I have mainly worn these on the road, and it is safe to say I am so far very pleased with their performance.

The heel drop is 12mm, which is fairly large in comparison to other trainers I tend to wear, however, I surprisingly didn’t notice this as much as I thought I would when I started running in them.



Unlike other shoes that have the upper knit feature, these shoes felt more substantial and solid, and I have already worn them for a 5k road race where they were perfect.

I have also tried them on a couple of track session where I have done 300-1000m+ reps, and also on a dry forest trail. They have provided great speed and felt particularly light and bouncy. 


I am fully in love with the Mizuno WaveKnit R1. It's great for all-around running on the road.

So far, the only issue I have had with them is the slight lack of support under the ball of the foot, however, apart from that, it has been perfect.

I think these are one of Mizuno’s best trainers to date and would definitely buy another pair for everyday running training.

Gracie Bernard | Level 2 expert Verified
Hi, I’m a competitive runner and triathlete and like to race between 800m to 5km, as well as swim and cycle. I have always loved to run but only started doing it competitively about three years ago. I like to train on the roads, but I also like to race cross country, with my favorite event being the nationals each year. My favorite brands are definitely Nike and Mizuno, but I also always like to try out new kit when I have the chance and the right shoes that work for you.

  • The Mizuno WaveKnit R1’s upper wraps the foot snuggly. It acts like a second skin, allowing the foot to move freely and comfortably during runs. It doesn’t weigh the shoe down nor does it produce hotspots as it is lightweight and highly breathable.
  • The midsole has its own cooling system called Intercool. It runs the platform’s full length. Its main purpose is to reduce the heat from within the shoe and release the humidity that builds up during runs.
  • Also on the midsole is a component called Cloudwave. It is a redesigned plastic wave that delivers a good amount of cushioning, as well as a ride that feels springy with plenty of energy return.
  • The WaveKnit R1 also uses PeBax Rnew which is a thermoplastic elastomer made from renewable resources. The material is lightweight and supplies plenty of energy return. It is also shock-resistant and is meant to have enduring elasticity.

The WaveKnit R1 is available in standard running shoe sizes. Runners can easily get a pair using their usual size measurements. The same goes for the width. It is available in standard width for both male and female runners.

The outsole was designed with Mizuno’s Smooth Ride Engineering. It’s a design that uses both the outsole and the midsole to produce a rocking motion. It minimizes acceleration and deceleration as the runner transitions from one phase of the running cycle to the next. The motion results in a ride that’s smoother.

On the heel part of the outsole is a carbon rubber compound called the X10. The material is robust, delaying the breakdown of the high-wear area it's covering. It was also meant to supplement the traction upon heel strike.

Blown rubber covers the rest of the areas on the outsole. It complements the cushioning provided by the midsole platform. It also enhances the responsiveness felt by the runner while in motion.

Flex Controllers, or more commonly known as flex lines, were introduced to areas that require the most movement. From its name, they aim to make the outsole more movable allowing it to move together with the motion done throughout the running cycle. The lines also slightly reduce the weight of the shoe.

Mizuno’s U4ic material makes up the midsole. This technology is a compound that delivers cushioning that’s similar to the AP+ - another Mizuno midsole material. The difference between both is that the U4ic is approximately 30% lighter without sacrificing performance. This midsole technology is also featured in the 2nd version of the Mizuno WaveKnit.

The U4icX material which delivers a comfortable and cushioned ride was made into a heel wedge. The material produces a higher rebound compared to other compounds. By only making it a wedge on the heel, it makes runs feel more energetic and springy.

Sandwiched in between the two midsole materials mentioned is the Cloudwave Technology. The component enhances the springiness delivered by other features. It also slightly elevates the level of cushioning the midsole delivers.

The material the Wave Technology is made of is special. It’s called Pebax Rnew. The material is a thermoplastic elastomer made of renewable resources and castor oil. It contributes to the reduction of global warming.

The midsole has its own ventilation system called Intercool. It runs the platform’s full-length, helping reduce the heat and humidity that builds up inside the footwear while the runner is in motion.

The upper is made of a material called WaveKnit. It adapts to the shape of the foot, acting as a second skin. It’s also lightweight and breathable, allowing heat build-up to escape and keeping the inside environment cool and dry.

To enhance the cushioning, the U4icX, the same material on the midsole, was made into a Strobel Lasting board. It was, then, stitched to the midsole and the upper for a better underfoot feel.

A Premium Anatomical Sockliner helps provide a more natural fit from within. Because the insole is anatomical, it follows the natural contour of the underfoot, providing runners with that extra bit of coziness directly beneath the foot.

The upper was constructed using the DynamotionFit technology. Motion capture and biomechanics technology were used to produce a shoe blueprint that works with every phase of the running cycle. The result is a fit that feels customized.

Size and fit

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True to size (70%)
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Same sizing as Mizuno WaveKnit R2.

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How WaveKnit R1 compares

This shoe: 91
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $130
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 10.4oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.