Mizuno Waveknit R2 For Heel Strikers

8.9
8.9 score
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Mizuno Waveknit R2 For Heel Strikers Review Facts
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The Mizuno Waveknit R2 is a neutral road running shoe that is breathable, lightweight, comfortable and supportive, with a good amount of underfoot protection. It won’t give you the feeling of walking on clouds, due to the supportive midfoot shank that makes the ride firmer, but if you’re after a narrow-fit shoe that is reasonably priced and aimed at heel strikers, read on to find out if this is what you’re looking for.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Nice design
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Good traction
  • Rubber outsole
  • Extensive heel cushioning
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Durable materials
Cons
  • Narrow fit won't suit everyone
  • Firmer ride prevents you from running long distances
  • Insufficient responsiveness
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Mizuno Waveknit R2 road running shoe features two types of rubber for optimal grip and durability. The X10 carbon rubber is located in the heel area, while the midfoot and forefoot areas feature blown rubber. These rubber compounds are positioned so to aid in shock absorption and facilitate a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

Additionally, the heel area of this shoe features a compound named X10, which is a compound known for its prominent abrasion-resistant properties. This compound doesn’t have any immediate effects on the grip and traction of the shoe, but it silently prolongs the efficiency of the outsole.

The blown rubber compound in the forefoot provides a great balance of traction and pliability needed for a swift and soft toe-off. The forefoot area also features the biggest number of flex grooves, both deep ones, as well as shallow ones. The Wave plate technology in the outsole is there to enable flexibility during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle, but also to disperse the runner’s weight evenly, increasing the overall stability of the shoe.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Mizuno Waveknit R2 features the brand’s U4ic midsole compound. The U4ic represents a name for a full-length foam, which combines cushioning and resilient compounds to provide enough underfoot protection while making the midsole as durable as possible.

Back in the heel, you’ll find the U4icX Strobel, which is a wedge specifically positioned to further increases comfort, as well as the protection from the impact forces upon heel strike. This is the same technology that we’ve seen the brand use with the Wave Inspire line, and it probably won’t be the last time we see it used, due to its efficiency.

Squished in between the U4ic and U4icX Strobel is the well-known Cloudwave technology, which also has a shock-absorbing purpose. The fact that Mizuno insisted on the utmost heel cushioning in constructing this midsole lies in the fact that this is a running shoe oriented towards heel strikers.

Similarly to the Asics Gel Resolution 7, the midsole of the Waveknit R2 features the SmoothRide configuration with diversified and gender-optimized grooves for the best balance of cushioning and anatomical compatibility.

Right on top of the numerous midsole cushioning technologies is the Premium Anatomical Sockliner, which increases the support that the shoe offers, especially in the inner side of the entire shoe.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Unlike the Mizuno Wave Rider 22, the Waveknit R2 features an all-knit upper, which not only provides unparalleled comfort, but it also increases the in-shoe ventilation significantly. The construction of the upper is truly sock-like, yet structured enough to provide both stability and support while being very comfortable.

The Waveknit, which is a part of the shoe’s name, also signifies a special fabric that is elastic and resembles a woven cloth in the way the threads are woven to create the fabric. This construction, along with the traditional eyelet lacing system, enables a custom fit and significant flexibility as well.

You’ll notice that the sides, as well as the collar area of the shoe, feature a thicker construction – this is done so as to increase the levels of support and lateral stability that the shoe offers, without decreasing breathability or implementing unnecessary overlays.
Weight
Weight

Weight

One of the most welcomed features of the Mizuno Waveknit R2 running shoe is its lightweight nature, which makes running on pavements all that much easier. The weight of the men’s half-pair in size 9 is 10oz or 284g, while the women’s model in size 8 measures 8.5oz or 240g.

This kind of weight is beneficial both because it allows you to run long distances pain-free, but also because it makes it easy or the runner to increase the speed and not feel weighted down by the shoe.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The knit upper of this pavement runner allows plenty of ventilation, making this a great spring and summer shoe. The knit of the shoe is diverse so that the vamp, tongue, and heel feature a bit wider knit that makes airflow throughout the shoe easy. You can expect minimal hot spots forming even in very hot weather, and the sweat won’t linger inside the shoe box, thanks to its breathability.

That being said, this isn’t a shoe that is suitable for rainy weather, as it will become soaking wet really fast. Additionally, you’ll probably want to avoid wearing the Waveknit R2 in windy weather, because the sock-like upper won’t be able to protect your feet from cold wind.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Just by looking at the shoe from the top, you’ll notice the slightly narrower build of the shoe box. Some runners will welcome this construction, while others will have objections. If your feet are of normal width, you’ll probably find that going half a size up solves the issue of the narrower fit of the shoe, but if you have wide feet, it’s likely that you’ll have to skip this one entirely. Officially, the only widths available are the standard D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

Aside from the width (or the lack of) of the Mizuno Waveknit R2, the faintly curved shape of the shoe enables comfortable to wear because it mimics the natural shape of the foot, just as we’ve seen from the New Balance Cypher Run. The sock-like upper will provide great comfort for most feet, although the obvious consequence if this type of construction is having slightly less wiggle room inside the shoe itself.

As for the cushioning of the shoe and its extensive shock-absorbing properties, keep in mind that this shoe does require a break-in period during which the ride will be firmer than what you’d expect from looking at the shoe. However, the break-in period won’t be either long nor uncomfortable, although you’ll notice the difference in comfort levels after a few wears.
Style
Style

Style

A lot of runners have described the Waveknit R2 as a modern-looking shoe, although it’s not by any means at the cutting edge of modern design – that spot is reserved for Puma. The narrow fit of the shoe impacts its looks as well because it won’t make your feet look bulky, providing a more elegant and seamless fit.

Aside from the build, the shoe features a lot of different colorways, ranging from subdued black and navy colors to some more vibrant and bold ones, such as blue with orange details, as well as an almost fluorescent yellow. All in all, this is the type of shoe that will probably look agreeable to the vast majority of runners, and everyone will find a colorway they like.
Durability
Durability

Durability

This road running shoe is built so as to provide above-average durability. This is mostly thanks to the above-mentioned X10 compound in the outsole, but also to the high-quality rubber compounds used in the construction of the outsole.

You can expect this shoe to hold up to be (almost) as good as new during the first 100 miles, and they will probably provide another 200 miles of satisfactory performance. The knit upper, although seemingly the weakest link, proves to be tightly-knit and high-quality, and it won’t get loose over time.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The full-length U4ic foam, along with the Cloudwave technology in the heel, provides great underfoot protection. Most of the impact shocks will be absorbed by the cleverly constructed outsole, midsole, and the midfoot TPU shank, leaving your feet rested both on short and medium-long rides. However, there are some contrasting opinions when it comes to long distance runs.

While some runners claim that the Waveknit R2 is good for long distance running as well, others claim that the shoe doesn’t provide enough cushioning and loses the underfoot protection if on the road for too long. It’s true that the shoe provides a firmer ride than some ultra-cushioned Hoka One One shoes, but it's softer than the original Wave Rider. Whether this level of cushioning is enough for you is up to your personal needs.

Other than the cushioning, which is the most prominent in the heel, the Waveknit R2 doesn’t feature any other protective properties, making this a decidedly road running shoe.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Mizuno Waveknit R2 may be well-cushioned, but the impact forces absorbed at heel strike aren’t efficiently converted into kinetic energy and used to increase the responsiveness of the shoe, given that a lot of runners claim that the shoe lacks bounce.

This isn’t to say that the shoe doesn’t have any energy-return at all – it does, but one would expect a bit more from a lightweight shoe that absorbs impact rather efficiently. However, if you’re not keen on sprints and speed training, the shoe will probably offer enough responsiveness for your needs.
Support
Support

Support

This is a neutral road running shoe, meaning that it’s best for people with normal, medium-high and high arches, that don’t have issues with supination or overpronation. That being said, a lot of runners felt like this shoe provided good support that had some of the characteristics of stability shoes, and they claimed that despite their mild pronation issues, the support provided by the Waveknit R2 was sufficient for running short distances. This is most likely thanks to the supportive midfoot shank that makes the ride firmer and more supportive than what you’d expect from a regular neutral running shoe.

Compared to the Wave Rider 22, this version of the shoe offers a more elastic upper that is tight and thus, more supportive.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Like a lot of other lightweight, cushioned and breathable shoes, this one is meant to be worn on the roads, pavements, concrete, and various other flat surfaces such as gym floors and treadmills. In short, if you live in the city and like to go on a run around the block or on the track, you’ll find the performance of the Waveknit R2 suitable for your needs.

The knit upper and the lack of prominent lugs on the outsole are a clear sign that this shoe isn’t meant to be taken on a trail, no matter how light that trail might be. Not only would they lack the support and comfort needed on the trail, but they’d also experience issues with the upper tearing because of stray rocks and other sharp objects.
Price
Price

Price

While the price of this shoe isn’t exactly affordable, it’s still adequate, given the quality that you’ll get with the shoe. If you’re a heel striker with narrow feet, and you’re looking to buy a reliable road running shoe, you’ll be more than satisfied with what the Mizuno Waveknit R2 will have to offer.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The two rubber compounds used in the outsole construction of this lightweight shoe are both grippy and provide great traction on flat and dry surfaces. The lack of lugs throughout the outsole signifies that this shoe won’t perform well on irregular surfaces, so keep in mind that they might slip if you decide to stray off-road.

We couldn’t find reliable information on how the shoe performs on wet surfaces; however, although the rubber compounds are known to offer satisfactory traction even on slightly wet surfaces, it’s not that likely that you’ll wear shoes with a sock-like knit upper out when it’s raining.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The flex grooves featured in the outsole, especially in the forefoot area, facilitate a smooth heel-to-toe transition and allow for the foot to move seamlessly and without obstacles inside the shoebox. While the midfoot shank does limit the shoe’s flexibility to the forefoot area, this doesn’t influence the experience of the ride in a negative way.

Not surprisingly, the upper of the shoe is very flexible, thanks to the knit construction. It adheres to the foot tightly, yet without creating pressure, and adapt to the foot’s natural movements without an issue.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The midfoot shank, along with the midsole cushioning technology and the Waveknit upper provide an overall stable ride and prevent the foot from sliding inside the shoe box, while also preventing the shoe itself from slipping and twisting.

While most of the stability of the Waveknit R2 stems from the rigidity of the midfoot shank, the outsole platform, which is slightly wider than the shoebox in the forefoot area, also adds to the stability of the shoe significantly.
Drop
Drop

Drop

This neutral running shoe is great for heel strikers, given that both men’s and women’s versions feature the same heel-to-toe differential which measures 12mm. Due to the gender-optimized cushioning, there are slight differences in the stack heights of both pairs, with the men’s version measuring 32mm in the heel and 20mm at the toes, and the women’s versions 30mm in the heel and 18mm at the toes.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

● X10 carbon rubber and blown rubber in the outsole
● Wave plate technology
● U4ic midsole with Cloudwave technology
● U4icX supportive wedge
● Premium Anatomical Sockliner
● Waveknit sock-like upper
● Very breathable
● Comfortable, especially once broken-in
● Adequate price point
● Above-average durability
● Road, track and treadmill shoe
● Flexible
● Lacks responsiveness
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Mizuno Waveknit R2 has its limitations, primarily in the fact that it offers a somewhat firmer ride than what most neutral runners are used to, as well as the fact that it features a narrower construction that a number of runners aren’t thrilled by. However, if you’re after a reliable, high-quality summer running shoe that is supportive, durable and moderately cushioned, and that will suit your narrow feet, you’ll probably like what the Waveknit 2 has to offer.