Mizuno Waveknit R2 For Heel Strikers
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.
- Nice design
- Smooth heel-to-toe transition
- Good traction
- Rubber outsole
- Extensive heel cushioning
- Durable materials
- Narrow fit won't suit everyone
- Firmer ride prevents you from running long distances
- Insufficient responsiveness
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Compared to the Wave Rider 22, this version of the shoe offers a more elastic upper that is tight and thus, more supportive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
● 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
● Lacks responsiveness