The Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 checks all of the technical boxes. It has a knit upper, a midsole combining two soft foams, an outsole built for durability, and a plush collar and tongue. It’s got the whole package to be a solid everyday running shoe. And if you’re not familiar with Mizuno as a running brand, this is a good place to start.
We tested the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 from both a male and female perspective. This review is based on our experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.
Let’s start the performance review by focusing on our favorite part of the shoe, the cushioning.
Jodi: The cushioning system is pretty darn impressive. It’s a combination of XPOP PU foam and Mizuno Foam Wave. Every time I ran in the Sky Waveknit 3 I felt like I was flying down the road. They felt light and responsive. They’re one of those shoes where it’s hard to tell where your foot ends and they begin. It literally felt like they were one with my feet.
Drew: When I initially unboxed the Sky Waveknit 3, my eyes were immediately drawn to the cut out on the outsole that provides access to the XPOP foam. Just pushing it with my finger showed me it’s as bouncy as adidas Boost or Nike React. The Mizuno Foam Wave that carries and sits above the XPOP feels very plush, like Nike’s Cushlon or other soft EVA foams. Together, the package is extremely good at impact protection and giving your foot a nice bounce off the ground. This is a shoe that’s long run friendly. Your knees and back will take less of a pounding and recover quicker because of the cushioning package.
Jodi: The Sky Waveknit 3’s traction is solid. It’s everywhere on the outsole but broken up in all the right places to keep the shoe light and flexible. It’s carbon rubber reminds me of what Under Armour used on portions of the HOVR Infinite. Which begs the question, how durable is this setup? I’ll let Drew answer that…
Drew: This outsole is built to last. My pair has approximately 50 miles in them and looking at the outsole rubber you’d think I’ve run 3-5 miles in them. This outsole and cushioning system will most likely last 300-500 miles which isn’t a given in most of today’s running shoes.
One small note. Initially, the outsole didn’t grip very well on wet roads. It was only slight slippage with each footfall but it was noticeable. It got better over time as the outsole gained some miles but it’s something to be mindful of when taking your initial runs in them.
Jodi: The Sky Waveknit 3 has the sturdiest heel counter I’ve ever encountered. You put them on and the shoe pretty much sucks your heel into place. And don’t worry, the heel counter is heavily padded so rubbing isn’t an issue.
Drew: I agree with Jodi on the heel counter. It’s super stiff and does it job well. The Waveknit itself is on the stiffer side so the upper holds up well to turns. On trail runs it still wasn’t quite enough containment in the forefoot. The heel was great so I tried them on trail. But because your foot doesn’t sit inside the midsole you can get over the edge in the forefoot. It’s better to avoid rocky or root-filled trails and stick to asphalt or gravel.
Jodi: Mizuno calls the upper’s material Waveknit. It’s very formed and tough. Where the Nike Epic React is pliable, stretchy, and thin, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 is the complete opposite. The only real stretch the shoes gave me were on the top of the toe box where the holes are larger to give you breathability. Because the rest of the shoe is so layered your feet don’t get much of a breeze outside the toe box. Side note: I don’t know if Drew noticed this, but the pattern on the toe box is shaped like a heart. Maybe I noticed this more because my shoes are bright red and I’m a girl…
Drew: It is a heart! If you look at the shoe top down from the front you can totally see it. On my grey pair I just thought it was a normal grouping of ventilation holes. Now it definitely appears a cheeky Mizuno designer snuck in a heart. I kinda like the personality. Most running shoes these days are all business.
Also, Jodi is right that the Waveknit is layered and thick. It’s different than knit from other brands but that means it’s also more supportive. It’s not what we’ve come to expect out of a knit but it’s an interesting change of pace. Want a thicker, more durable knit shoe? The Sky Waveknit 3 is perfect for you.
Jodi: Fit is where the shoe didn’t work for me. Lengthwise, the shoes are my true running size. Width was another story. I had to run with mine laced as loose as possible to give me some wiggle room. I could see my socks peeking through between the sides of the tongue and the upper due to how I had them laced (and the lockdown was still great!). I would feel amazing and light as I headed out for each run only to have my feet start swelling around mile 2 and be royally uncomfortable by mile 3. Anyone with even slightly wide feet should buy the wide version of the Sky Waveknit 3.
Drew: Even with my narrow feet, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 was tight. I generally like my shoes that way but I would recommend the wide version if you have anything other than narrow feet. As Jodi said, lengthwise they’re true to size. The Waveknit, despite being a thicker knit, flexes extremely well. The collar and tongue are also super padded with an almost memory foam material. As long as you get the right width, they’ll be comfortable.
Jodi: If you have a narrow foot, the regular width Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 would be fantastic. It’s built to be fast and light. All the potential is there. Unfortunately my feet needed the wide version. So if you’re a wide footer like me, just make sure you get the wide version.
Drew: The Sky Waveknit 3’s cushioning and durability are the big attractions. This is a shoe that will last you a lot of miles and be kind to your feet, knees, and lower back. Just make sure you know they run narrow so you can go wide (if needed).