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Mizuno WaveKnit R2 Running Shoe Review

Knit your runs together with the new Mizuno WaveKnit R2!

Men's Mizuno WaveKnit R2

The Mizuno Wave Rider and Wave Inspire are staples in the Big Peach Running Co. footwear lineup, but we can all agree that new models are exciting. Why, you ask? There’s much to explore (and critique) from the upper to the outsole. Enter the Mizuno WaveKnit R2, another daily trainer. This workhorse delivers ample cushioning for long runs but is responsive enough for faster paces at that next race.

Speaking of fast, hundreds of runners donned the special edition WaveKnit R1 for this year’s AJC Peachtree Road Race. Did you like the fit, feel, and ride of the R1 for those 6.2 hot, humid miles?

Or did you happen to lace up the Wave Rider 21, the platform upon which the R1 is based? Have the shoes accumulated enough miles for a replacement? Read on for a brief but informative synopsis of the Mizuno WaveKnit R2!

The Upper

Like Brooks (Fit Knit) and Adidas (Primeknit), Mizuno is employing a new fabric with their beloved Wave technology. The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 forefoot upper is void of overlays, but still provides an adaptive fit that accommodates various foot types. Sizing is true, so there’s no need for a half-size adjustment.

Additionally, the WaveKnit is open (vented) in the right places to enhance breathability and keep the feet from becoming overheated. Note that sock type and thickness also factor into this conversation. The sock liner, which exhibits a medium to high arch sensation, adds some additional cushioning to the U4ic (“euphoric”) midsole. U4ic provides a great blend of softness and responsiveness.

The Midsole

Every Mizuno running shoe model utilizes Wave technology. The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 incorporates a plastic wave plate that’s located in the heel and midfoot to dissipate shock. Along with Wave technology to facilitate responsiveness, the U4ic midsole delivers a noticeable softness with each step.

Older Mizuno models felt hard at times, but it’s clear that smooth and soft are fitting adjectives for newer updates. This surely includes the Mizuno WaveKnit R2. As most runners make initial contact with the heel, Mizuno included a U4icX heel wedge for further cushioning.

The Outsole

Women's Mizuno WaveKnit R2

The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 is similar in weight (10 ounces in a men’s nine) to competitors. For instance, the Brooks Ghost 11 and ASICS Cumulus both weigh 10.1 ounces. The Saucony Ride ISO is slightly lower at 9.8. Lastly, the Nike Pegasus shaves a few additional tenths of an ounce for a 9.4 total.

X10, carbon rubber placed in the heel for durability and traction, increases the shoe’s weight, but that addition is appreciated. It’s appreciated when the rain falls and the roads are slick. Conversely, blown rubber in the forefoot—which weighs less than carbon rubber—supplements the sock liner’s softness.


The Mizuno WaveKnit R2 midsole and outsole are very similar to the Wave Rider 22, but they diverge at the upper. The former opts for knit while the latter opts for an engineered mesh. Incidentally, Altra also released two unique versions of the Torin 3.5 trainer this year. Knit and mesh versions of this fan favorite are available to accommodate preferences.

The Torin knit will cost you $10 more. This is also true of the Mizuno WaveKnit R2 at $129.99 (the Wave Rider 22 is $119.99). So, make it a point to try on the Wave Rider and WaveKnit for yourself. Gauge comfort and single out all the differences at your local Big Peach store.

Austin Bonds is a Guest Advocate and writer for Big Peach Running Co.