This review is a fresh look at the shoe with nothing to compare it to in the Mizuno line up. I don’t normally wear Mizuno. When I ran my first marathon I was wearing Mizuno running shoes. Back then I didn’t have a lot to compare them to. After all, I had only run a 5k before I decided to run a marathon. I probably wore 3 pairs of shoes in the time between starting to run and completing my first marathon. At the time, I shredded the rubber on the outsole of the Mizuno quickly, so I never bought another pair. A lot of the reviews I have read for the Wave Sayonara have been written by runners that already love Mizuno, some border on fanboys. We approached this review with with no preconceptions or loyalties. The Sayonara on paper does fit a lot of the requirements I have for a good running shoe. Let’s see how the Sayonara faired after we got a chance to run in them. At the time of this review Meaghan had put 100+ miles on her Mizuno Wave Sayonara and I had put around 70 miles on mine.
Meaghan: There was a ton of hype around the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras, and for good reason. They’re pretty to look at and great to run in. The weight of these shoes surprised me. They look heavy; built with substantial cushioning, a rubber outsole and a plastic “wave” that runs from the heel to the midfoot. Yet, they feel crazy light (weighing in at 7.1 oz). The wave technology they’ve incorporated gives the shoe a nice spring and I felt pretty fast in them. The bottom of the shoe is crazy looking. The sole consists of a rubber dot pattern in the forefoot that’s meant to increase grip. I never had any issues with traction, so I guess it works. The fit is snug throughout, very snug. You have to work a little to get them on the first couple of times. It widens a bit in the toebox, but not a substantial amount. The upper is constructed of a seamless mesh with some printed overlays that hug the foot. They’re relatively breathable, very flexible, and I never had any irritation or hot spots.
Thomas: First off the shoe looks awesome. Some shoes lately are trading off good looks in favor of function. Mizuno Wave Sayonara have the function and a beautiful form. The shoe fit perfect right out of the box. They are not the lightest shoe I have, but at 8.1 oz. it is only .4 oz. heavier than the Kinvara 4. I was a little skeptical of the plastic wave plate in the shoe, but I found the Sayonara to have a very smooth ride through my gait. I am used to a lower drop in my trainers. The Wave Sayonara has a 10mm drop, the weird thing is it didn’t feel like it. The 10mm difference did not get in the way of my natural stride. With a similar drop, the New Balance 880 v3 was jarring as the heel came down (12mm drop vs Sayonara’s 10mm.) The Sayonara feel more similar to my trainers with a 4 mm drop. I am not sure how to account for this. The shoes ride nicely. One of my favorite features is a section of the outsole that has smaller nibs of rubber. This provided great feel under the front of the foot. The toe of action was superb. The Wave Sayonara has the perfect amount of cushion for my running. I did several 18+ miles in them with no issues. They feel light and responsive enough to do your speed work in too. I was really smitten with these shoes.
Meaghan: These shoes are really, really snug. I could use some more room in the midfoot for my wide feet. I wasn’t a huge fan of the laces and had some issues keeping them tied, so I switched them out for Lock Laces.
Thomas: I did not have the issue with the laces Meaghan experienced, however after a few miles in the Wave Sayonara, I switched out the laces in favor of Lock Laces. I just like the way the Lock Laces help shoes fit better. When the shoes got wet with sweat in the humid dog days of summer they took a long time to dry out and seemed to hold odor a little more than some of my other trainers. I did not find much to fault in these shoes.
Meaghan: I was eager to put some miles on these shoes and was very happy to find they performed as I expected. One of my first runs in the Wave Sayonaras was an 18 miler. A really, really hot 18 miler. I’m not sure if I was distracted by the extreme heat or cold beer waiting at the finish, but I rarely noticed my shoes. For me, that’s a sign of a great shoe. I love when I forget there’s anything on my feet. Mizuno did a great job balancing the weight to cushion ratio. The light, flexible build makes them fast while the support provides confidence to go long distances. This shoe may just be a contender for my next marathon.
Thomas: When it comes time for our Best in Gear awards at the end of this year, don’t be surprised if the Wave Sayonara are on the list. This is a shoe that may have knocked a long time favorite down a peg. I will definitely be recommending these shoes to runners at all levels. They score high on looks and performance. I did not consider Mizuno shoes before, I will now.