Facts

Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Use: Jogging
Weight: Men: 10.1oz | Women: 8.5oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 12mm | Women: 12mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Strike Pattern: Heel strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Heel height: Men: 32mm | Women: 30mm
Forefoot height: Men: 20mm | Women: 18mm
Brand: Mizuno
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $130
Colorways: Black
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Rankings

A top rated Road running shoe
A popular pick

Expert Reviews

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86 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 92 / 100 | Joseph Arellano

    Knitpicking: A look at the Mizuno WaveKnit R2

    More photos

    Running Warehouse summarized the Mizuno WaveKnit R1 – the initial version of this shoe as, “An everyday running shoe that offers firm yet reliable cushioning.”

    Does this summary of the R1 model also hold true for R2 (version 2)? See the verdict below.

     

    What is the WaveKnit R2?

    As the Mizuno WaveKnit R1 was an alternate version of the Wave Rider 21 – the same shoe but with a modified upper, so the WaveKnit R2 is the Wave Rider 22 with a different upper. In the words of the manufacturer, “Mizuno introduces WAVEKNIT R2."

    With performance enhancing knitted wave construction on the upper, this innovative material provides a breathable, natural yet dynamic sock-like fit thanks to its unique stretch and hold ability.”

     

     

    The WaveKnit R2 weighs 10 ounces in the men’s version – slightly lighter than the 10.3 ounces for version R1, and 8.7 ounces in the women’s version. Both versions have a 12mm ramp or heel drop.

    The men’s and women’s versions both come in four colorways. I received the Black and Ombre Blue sample, which is stylishly attractive. So much so that’s it's quite tempting to keep the shoe on while going about the day after completing a run or two.

     

     

    As a close relative of the Wave Rider 22, the WaveKnit R2 uses the Mizuno Wave plate system that “combines cushioning and stability.” The R2 also utilizes the U4icX “performance midsole with [an] exaggerated lateral crash pad for a smoother ride.”

    The heel counter is quite firm, but it’s relatively straight and vertical so it does not disturb or rub against the Achilles tendon. (A few models from other manufacturers have produced strangely angled heel counters which are irritating.) And there’s plush cushioning around the ankles to enhance the comfort.

     

    The name

    The shoe is the WaveKnit R2. It says so right on the heel counter. This is the name used by Mizuno and Fleet Feet Sports.

    Presumably, Running Warehouse will also use this name since it listed the original version as the WaveKnit R1. But here’s the strange part… Zappos, Foot Locker, Eastbay, and other retailers list this model online as the Wave Rider 22 Knit. This will no doubt lead to some unnecessary confusion for buyers.

    Mizuno, work it out.

    The fit

    If the WaveKnit R2 provides a sock-like fit, it’s a sock that fits snuggly.

    This is not a problem if you keep in mind that this new model fits a half-size smaller than normal Mizuno sizing. For most this will mean ordering the shoe in a full size up from one’s walking shoe size.

     

     

    When one first puts on the R2, it may feel just a tad tight, especially over the top of the foot. But the knit upper has some give to it, which is felt after putting some miles on it.

    At that point, the shoe’s fit feels close to perfect – as if it had been created just for your foot. That’s when you realize that, yes, the R2 is unique in the ability to both hold and stretch.

    Another point is that the shoe fits in a comfortably snug fashion, especially around the mid-foot, as you pick your feet up. But when your feet hit the surface, you will notice that the knit upper expands away from the toes, both laterally and medially. It results in a unique but extremely workable fit.

    The WaveKnit R2 is wider in the forefoot than some comparable shoes, such as the Adidas Adizero Boston 7, and this combines with a flared sole to enhance a stable platform.

    The tongue

    We appear to be entering an era when overly thin and mobile tongues on running shoes are becoming an issue.

    This is not a big concern with the WaveKnit R2, but the tongue does slide down when you remove the shoe. When you put the shoe on, you need to make sure to pull the tongue all the way up before securing the laces.

    On the road

    Regardless of the surface, the WaveKnit R2 provides sufficient stability for very mild, borderline to moderate pronators.

    But the stability provided by the patented Mizuno Wave Plate system does not interfere with a runner’s natural foot strike. And it permits one’s feet to move straight ahead – the feet are not pushed inward or outward.

     

     

    Because of the high ramp/heel drop, the R2 can be readily used by heel strikers. And it does not present difficulties for mid-foot strikers. However, running on one’s toes in this shoe is problematic. So I doubt that pure forefoot landers will place this model on their holiday shopping list.

    On a rubberized track, the R2 provides a nice smooth ride, and the shoe feels lighter than its listed weight. The interesting thing is how different the shoe feels initially, and after a period of break-in and wear.

    The two natures of the WaveKnit R2

    At first, the WaveKnit R2 seemed to offer a soft but supportive feeling while walking. However, it provided a firmer ride than the Wave Rider 21 while running.

    Specifically, the shoe felt firmer in the forefoot. But this was not the case many miles later. It appears that the R2 requires a break-in period for its true nature to show itself.

    The more you wear and run in the R2 the better it feels underfoot. A somewhat stiff and perhaps overly firm shoe transforms itself into a very responsive shoe with excellent bounce-back (energy return) on almost all surfaces, especially hard ones. So a shoe that feels “Just OK, but…” becomes a “This feels great!” shoe.

     

    The heel drop issue

    The Wave Rider series has, of course, been Mizuno’s most popular and successful line.

    But while using the WaveKnit R2 I could not help but ponder whether the 12mm drop is too high. This does not mean that I’d like to see Mizuno drop the ramp to 4mm, as they did on the Wave Sonic.

    But I think it’s intriguing to consider what would happen if Mizuno offered the Wave Rider/WaveKnit in an alternate drop – say 6, 8 or 10mms. Frankly, I’d love to see an 8mm ramp version which I think would quickly broaden the shoe’s appeal to those who will never ever consider a shoe with a 12mm drop.

    Mizuno, by the way, uses an 8mm drop on its excellent Wave Shadow performance trainer, so the company would not have to experiment with something completely new.

    The verdict

    At $130.00, the Mizuno WaveKnit R2 is not an inexpensive trainer. And it is not a shoe that works its magic during a test run at a specialty running store.

    Run down the block in a new pair and you may be concerned that it feels clunky, somewhat heavy, and a bit stiff – especially up front. But all potential issues disappear with use. Then it becomes, yes, an everyday running shoe.

    The WaveKnit R2 is not just a functional daily trainer. It is also an attractive shoe that some strangers will assume is a “lifestyle” (non-running fashion) shoe. Well, it is definitely a running shoe; one that becomes an old friend quite quickly.

    The R2 grows on you like a popular song. It’s a shoe that one does not rush to take off after a satisfying run. Go ahead, wear it to the grocery store, the coffee shop, and the local pub!

    Like most Mizuno shoes, the WaveKnit R2 appears to be highly durable and protective. So the price is not unreasonable when you consider what it offers and delivers.

    Highly recommended.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 90 / 100 | Matthew Liu

    Mizuno Waveknit R2: The almost perfect pair

    The Mizuno Waveknit R2 comes in 4 colorways - Black-Ombre Blue, Flash-Maize, Folkstone Gray-Black, and Nautical Blue-Red Orange. The entire upper of the shoe is comprised of the Waveknit material featuring geometric designs along the sides.

    What I like about the look of the shoes is that they weren’t flashy or exotic looking. They looked like a pair of regular running shoes, and they don’t draw attention.

     

    Comfort

    By far the most comfortable thing about this shoe is the knit upper. The knit upper made it feel like I was wearing a pair of socks.

    The upper also formed to my foot and had enough stretch not to squeeze my foot too hard. I’ve haven’t used these shoes in hot weather yet, but I haven’t noticed any breathability issues with the upper.

     

    Fit

    For the fit of the shoe, I had no issues with it at all. The Waveknit R2 fit true to size and comfortable. For the fit, there was no need to break in the shoe. Right out of the box, the upper was comfortable and my feet fit perfectly.

    The shoes also came with extra eyelets for a runners knot. I didn’t experience any heel slipping, so I didn’t need those extra holes. I did, however, have to break in the cushioning of the shoe. I’ll elaborate on that in my performance part of my review.

    Durability

    The surfaces I used the Waveknit R2 were on road and track. I also had to mostly use these shoes when it was raining because it’s been raining a lot recently where I live.

    With all these conditions in mind, I would say the WaveKnit R2 will last a very long time. I used these shoes for a bunch of intervals and road running, and I don’t see any physical damage or feel like the cushioning is losing its spring.

     

    Performance

    The cushioning is pretty firm, but that added to the responsive feel of the shoe. For easy runs, the cushioning was soft enough for about four to five miles but any more than that I started to hate the firm cushioning.

    On longer distance runs, the cushioning just felt too blocky and stiff. I tried getting used to it, but eventually, I developed some forefoot pain so I gave up on using the shoes for long-distance running.

    The tradeoff for the firm cushioning is that the shoe is very responsive. Each step felt like I was being propelled forward. That type of feeling was perfect when I used these shoes for tempo runs and intervals. It just felt easy and natural to go fast in these shoes.

    I had to use the Waveknit R2 a lot in the rain and noticed that the traction was pretty good. I was doing a tempo in the pouring rain and even when going fast I didn’t notice any slipping or any issues with the road being slippery.

    My complaint about the shoe is that when I first used them, it felt awkward to run in. It felt like the midsole was really blocky. The combination of the high drop and blocky feeling made the ride at first feel weird. I can’t really explain it, but it just didn’t feel right.

    The feeling was also exaggerated when I tried walking in the shoes. It just felt like the heel was way too high up. After running in the shoes for a couple of days, the ride of the shoe felt OK.

    My next complaint is that the cushioning is going to be really firm before you break it in. Even after breaking the cushioning in, it’s still a little too firm to use on long distance runs. 

    Pros

    • Comfortable knit upper
    • Fits true to size
    • Colorways look nice
    • Responsive cushioning
    • Good for faster-paced efforts
    • Durable

    Cons

    • Cushioning is too firm for runs longer than five miles
    • The blocky feeling when first running in them
    • A high heel to toe drop

    Recommended Use

    The Mizuno Waveknit would be the greatest pair of everyday trainers if it weren’t for cushioning being too firm and the high heel to toe drop. The shoe is comfortable, looks good and has a great responsive feeling, but the ride for me is just a little too awkward and firm.

    Where this shoe is going to excel is for fast-paced efforts; the responsiveness of the shoe makes it a no brainer to use it for fast things. On that same note, due to its firm cushioning, I'll only be using them for short easy runs.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 80 / 100 | Running Warehouse | | Level 4 expert

    ...with the upgraded knit design, this shoe provides a more modern feel that is easily worth the $10 premium.

  • 70 / 100 | Running Warehouse | | Level 1 expert

    I think a lot of runners will enjoy the new knit upper, and I believe that it is an innovative evolution of the classic model.

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  • The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 is a running shoe that’s meant for neutral pronators. It is a road-specific companion that helps the wearer through the activities, attenuating impact shock with a responsive and tech-laden midsole and securing the foot with a soft and breathable upper.

Standard measurements were used when the Mizuno WaveKnit R2 was being made. The typical sizing expectations of runners can be utilized when shopping for a pair. Widthwise, the available variants are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women. The semi-curved shape of this running shoe’s last accommodates the curved outline of the human foot.

The heel part of the Mizuno WaveKnit R2’s outsole features X10, a highly abrasion-resistant compound that staves off the debilitating effects of continued use. This carbon rubber layer is also meant to provide grip over the surfaces.

The forefoot area has blown rubber, which is also a material that is traction-ready and protective against wear-and-tear. This feature is also ready to provide extra cushioning during the toe-off as it has a malleable nature.

Flex Controllers are placed in the forefoot section. These elements are a means of heightening flexibility and push-off energy, especially when gearing towards the toe-off phase of the gait cycle.

The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 uses U4ic, a full-length foam that is meant to carry the foot throughout the running session. It is lightweight yet durable, shock-absorbing yet responsive. Its flexible construction adheres to the foot as it transitions from the heel to the toe.

A soft wedge called U4icX is added to the heel part of the midsole. The purpose of this component is to protect the back of the foot from the impact forces during the striking phase. This midsole technology is also used in the Wave Inspire 15 and other popular running shoes from Mizuno.

SmoothRide is a midsole configuration that involves anatomically-tuned curves and gender-optimized grooves. Such a design allows runners to experience a ‘smooth ride’ during the running session.

A thermoplastic piece called Cloudwave is placed in the heel part of the platform, sandwiched between the U4ic and U4icX. This proprietary technology is tasked with attenuating impact and adding a bit of spring to each step.

A Premium Anatomical Sockliner is placed right above the main midsole. The add-on provides a bit more support to the entire underside of the foot, including the curve of the arch and the gap between the toes and the ball of the foot.

Wave Knit is a fabric that is likened to woven cloth. It offers a form-fitting wrap that is also breathable. Pores on its façade are made to welcome air into the foot-chamber, thus ensuring a well-ventilated running experience.

Some parts of the upper (the sides and the heel) have a denser weave than the rest of the façade. The purpose of this construction is to create pseudo-overlays that would help in securing the foot and keeping it in place. The slightly dense patterns don’t impede breathability.

Comparison