Last year, when I decided to take my casual two to three mile jogs more seriously and train for a half marathon I quickly realized that my running shoes weren’t up to the task. For one, they were better suited to mountain trails than city pavement, but more importantly, I had jogged in them for more than two years, and they were totally shot. My quest to find the best running shoe coincidentally aligned with Gear Patrol‘s yearly test and I was able to cycle through roughly ten pairs. There’s lots of information and misinformation about how to pick a running shoe, but one of the recurring pieces of advice is to choose the one that’s most comfortable — for me that was Mizuno’s Wave Rider 21.
I’m not alone in this feeling — the annually-updated Wave Rider is a common favorite among runners. I appreciated it because it was light and cushiony, but not maximalist, and offered lots of lateral support with its stiff heel cup. The shoe got me through the training and the race, and I quickly enlisted this year’s Wave Rider 22 to help me tackle the upcoming New York City Marathon.
But then Mizuno threw a variable into my carefully-formulated equation: the WaveKnit R2. The shoe was officially released today, but I’ve been running in a pair that Mizuno provided for review purposes for a few weeks now. The WaveKnit R2 is built on the same platform as the Wave Rider (it’s called Wave technology) but swaps out the mesh upper for one that’s knit.
Similar to knit uppers found in shoes from other brands like Nike, it’s a softer and more elastic material that stretches and adapts to the shape of the foot, providing that “sock-like” fit that’s always advertised alongside knit and woven technologies. My take on the this is simpler (and jargon-free): Mizuno made what I consider to be one of the most comfortable running shoes available even more comfortable. And it did that while leaving the supportive heel structure of the shoe in place — and produced some of its best colorways — too.