Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 Multi Tester Review: A Smooth, Springy & Soft New Wave

Article by Hope Wilkes, Jeff Beck, and Sam Winebaum
Editor's Note: Hope's initial review has been updated with Sam and Jeff's test results

Mizuno Sky WaveKnit 3 ($160)
Hope: I’ll confess that I haven’t paid much attention to Mizuno for the last several years. I’ve had a general awareness of whether the latest Wave Rider is out and keeping longtime fans happy, but that’s been it. Reliable combination of snappy foam and a Wave Plate, what else do I need to know? Enter the Sky WaveKnit 3. Something different from Mizuno: no plate!
Jeff: I’ve had a half-dozen Mizuno trainers over the last decade, and I keep convincing myself that they are going to make a change and get it together. I nearly pulled the trigger on the Wave Sky 2 last year, but the overwhelming number of shoes already in my stable kept me from it. Fast forward to the WSWK3, and we don’t have just a yearly update or mild evolution, this is the biggest step forward for Mizuno in years.

Sam: I ran briefly in a couple Wave Rider, liked the Wave Shadow 1 but the hard plastic Wave plates in all Mizuno were just not my jam. Unlike carbon plates in shoes such as Vaporfly and Carbon Rocket and Carbon X, or even mid foot plastics in adidas Boost shoes such as adios and Boston, they were focused towards the heel and combined with relatively firm dead joyless midsoles creating quite heavy, stiff riding, and firm shoes. And Mizuno stuck to this approach. Many have enjoyed them but not me.

I was intrigued when I heard the Sky Wave did away with Wave plastic and was super intrigued when Hope’s early review was so positive. A Wave geometry yes here by layers of midsole sounded promising as it appeared to flow and flex with the foot in motion and I was impressed Mizuno finally was up to something new and different.

Hope/Sam: smooth ride, comfort, serious pop for a plus trainer
Jeff/Sam: Bouncy/plush/responsive balance in a Mizuno or any shoe really is crazy and awesome, upper is super comfortable, outsole/midsole feel like they’ll go very high mileage, plastic plate is gone!
Hope: heel collar fit is a bit sloppy, upper is a bit *too* plush, price, weight
Jeff: Plastic Wave might be gone but still super heavy on the scale, $160 price point hurts
Sam: Weight and price are both up there but you get what you pay for here. Impeccable quality, durability, lively cushion, and a very nice ride for such a big shoe. 

Tester Profiles
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.
Jeff  is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less.  Jeff runs 30 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in North Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39 both he is working to demolish with help from his coach Dave Ames.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Weight US9 men's: 11.0  oz / 312 g; USW8: 9.6 oz / 272 g   
Samples (US sizes): 
M8.5: 10.9 oz./ 310 grams
W9.5: 10.26 oz (left) / 291 g (left) 10.30 oz (right) / 292 g (right)
M10.5 11.9 oz. / 337 grams
Stack Height: 33mm heel / 23mm forefoot, Drop, 10mm
Available now including Running Warehouse here
Mizuno Sky Waveknit 3 men's color
First Impressions and Fit
Hope: Right off the bat, I’m impressed with the styling of the Sky WaveKnit 3. Is it the most suave-looking running shoe on the market? No. But the colorway I received makes red, white, and blue look sporty, not like a pair of loud Fourth of July kicks. Fit is true to size for me in a US W9.5 with about a thumb’s width of room between my big toe and the end of the shoe. The only misstep with the fit is the loose collar. I hate using the very last row of eyelets, so I opted for heel lock lacing which gave me a perfectly secure heel hold. I’d love to see shoe manufacturers give us an extra loop higher on the tongue to keep laces from slipping over the top of the tongue when using the last row of eyelets — lace pressure on your ankle tendons is no joke!

Jeff: Top-tier Mizuno is back. Years ago I ran in the first two versions of the Prophecy (I’d like to say I was young and stupid but I was ~30 at the time) and while that shoe had a laundry list of things wrong with it, the one thing they nailed with the premium feel of every material. This shoe has that. That was the first thing that stuck out, and right after was “IS THIS A PLUSH MIZUNO SHOE?!?!” because that’s really never been a thing. And it is now, which is a good thing. Fit is spot on for true-to-size, my 10.5 has a thumb’s width space in front, and despite half my mileage in this shoe taking place in June/July in Phoenix, I’ve had zero heat complaints.
Sam: Let’s get the looks out of the way first. Mizuno does the now popular black shoe super well here. The functional 3D knit upper flows forward in its detail with a wave like contrast between the underfoot softer black midsole layer and the lower firmer white layer. The white to black transition is striking and speaks to waves and most importantly I found the actual design is highly functional, and effective. Classy for sure but not boring is how I would describe my black and white pair

The Waveknit upper fits me perfectly at true to size with my only comment being that initially the very front pointed tip of the toe felt low and short. This went away after a couple runs. 
The step in feel is reassuring and secure with very easy on the foot comfort. Totally secure with zero overlays it has a wonderfully comfortable if dense fit and feel yet surprisingly also was quite breathable in all the New Hampshire summer heat and humidity. Changing seasons to fall and winter this upper will also be ideal when there is some chill in the air. There is no mistaking that this is a plush and substantial upper but unlike many such uppers without any additional “decorative” over wrought elements which add weight and achieve nothing as are often found in such premium shoe uppers. 

Hope: The upper is Mizuno's WaveKnit, an engineered knit construction which includes varying densities.
The styling of the toe box reminds me of the Nike FlyKnit Lunar 3: a little bit pointy and lots of ventilation holes included over the toes. 
Mizuno Sky Waveknit 3 men's color
Highly textured 3D  knitting towards the heel of the shoe appears to add style points. Tongue height and thickness remind me of the OG Saucony Triumph ISO in that it’s soft and somewhat thick, but not overly bulky. 
Step-in comfort is sublime as I’d expect from a shoe that’s signaling its plush goodness so strongly with its style choices. I put the SWK3 through its paces in some of the hottest weather I’ve ever run in and I had no complaints about breathability or sweat retention, despite the density of the knit. 
Mizuno Sky Waveknit 3 men's color
I was a little perturbed by the internal foam/fabric/faux suede (I can’t tell which) lining in the toe tip which provides reinforcement and shape to the end of the shoe. It’s not breathable and doesn’t lay quite as flush with the somewhat chunky knit as it would against a smooth mesh. I didn’t experience any irritation, but runners with long toenails should be mindful of potential issues.

Jeff: I’m with Hope on a few items here. First, the upper breathes incredibly well. Despite it being on the thicker side of things (much closer to the adidas Solar Boost than the Nike Epic React as far as uppers go), it doesn’t heat up. The aesthetics are very straightforward, and to me, look great. 
More and more shoes overcomplicate designs, here you’ve got what appears to be a knit in Wavebird on either side of the midfoot and a tiny diagonal “Wave Sky” on the heel, and that’s it. I didn’t have any heel slippage issues, and I didn’t find the toebox to be problematic at all. One of my runs in the Wave Sky Waveknit 3 (the overcomplicated name might be my least favorite part of the shoe) was a meandering 10 miles through Flagstaff, and I didn’t have even the hint of pinch blisters that like to show up when the toebox gets tight. You’ll never confuse it for an Altra or Topo, but that front end has not been problematic for me.

Sam: An incredibly well executed knit upper here. The only “overlay” I can find is a low rubbery one lining the inside of the front of the toe box from the tip along the sides which Hope noticed. No issues for me with this underlay. Even the “bird logo” is knit, of a contrasting gray color in my pair.
The 3D knit is variable in density providing the upper structure without any overlays as well as ventilation over the toes. Unlike many such knit uppers there is no bootie construction to the tongue, underlays, or plastic cages and none is needed for a secure lock down.
Upfront the knit is denser to provide toe box structure and height which is supportive yet also pliable with behind the bumper a more open ventilated area which proved effective in summer heat.

The mid foot has vertical zig zag 3D patterning that effectively provides the lock down and support there. 

Hope: Mizuno has managed to recreate much of the connected, responsive feel I loved in older models here without their signature hard plastic Wave Plate. Instead of using the plate, their brand new XPOP foam is encased in two layers of what looks and feels like EVA foam (I think it’s good ol’ u4ic — read that one aloud a few times if you’re not picking up what they’re putting down). 

The u4ic layers are joined in a wave pattern that mimics both the look and feel of Mizuno models that include a Wave Plate. Leaving aside my attempt to decipher what’s technically happening with the shoe, it feels really, really good underfoot. Soft, yet responsive, bouncy, and controlled as only a Mizuno can be. This is what a plush trainer should feel like. 

Jeff: Hope absolutely nails it. The midsole materials feels great, one of those shoes that has an ideal balance of plush and bouncy - which is exactly what I want in a mainstay daily trainer. A number of other midsoles with PU in the mix have a different, and what I’d term an acquired taste type of feel in that they don’t run the same as EVA shoes. Not better or worse, just different, but Mizuno got the balance right with the WSWK3.
Sam: The Sky Wave has a truly wonderful midsole outsole. I call it a highly tuned sandwich. First underfoot we have softer black U4ic EVA, then somewhere in between but I think as see from below midfoot to heel an insert of XPOP. Mizuno has described XPOP to us as TPU pellets embedded in PU. The TPU pellets provide softness and bounce and likely the PU also rebound but by combining we likely get a more consistent feel to the insert. The pictures below illustrate the placement of the XPOP layer.
The wave shaped interface between the layers and the wide and deep decoupling groove seems to create a very smooth flow at any pace compared to the usual flatter layers glued together seemingly and I could really feel this allowing the shoe to adapt to foot and pace. Finally plentiful and well segmented, grooved in the lugs and decoupled rubber. The effect when running any pace is of a consistent gradual feel of increasing firmness under load with no harsh differences between layers and off the road more than decent response. The feel is highly cushioned, somewhat bouncy, never mushy, never harsh. Really sublime and it is easy to run smoothly here.
The XPOP insert is mainly felt as slightly raised bouncy feeling area at the back of the arch on the medial side more towards the middle of the sole than edges. And indeed there is a second raised piece of XPOP there the yellow showing through the sole! 

This subtle element had a distinct but slight propulsive feel in the transition from heel to mid foot and I think one of the reasons that the Sky Wave runs so unusually well for such a big shoe at slower paces.
It’s a great midsole/outsole but not a light one as it is based on fairly heavy EVA, TPU and PU materials leading to an 11 oz package, When a shoe gets towards 11 oz I feel the weight but here due to the ride it is not a big burden as often be the case. One must also not forget that the stack here is a fairly massive 33 mm heel /23 mm forefoot, 10 mm drop. Just reducing the drop to 8mm would likely have a fairly significant effect in reducing the weight. Please Mizuno!

Hope: This is another big win for Mizuno. Too often an outsole is just an afterthought (or the same tooling used year in and year out to cut costs). Not the case with the SWK3. Grip is outstanding and I notice very little wear. 

High-wear areas are treated to thicker rubber with no loss of flexibility or smoothness since the rubber is appropriately recessed into a heavily grooved/siped midsole. I bounded down hills with complete confidence.

Jeff: This rubber is incredibly thick, and I’m willing to bet that a decent portion of it’s portly presence on the scale has to do with the burly rubber. That said, it will last a very long time. I have 35 miles on my pair, and with the exception of the all the rocks hiding out in the nooks and crannies (my pair is the blue in the photos) you almost can’t tell they’ve been worn. Well done Mizuno.

Sam: The outsole is copious and feels to be of the same firmness throughout. This said it is segmented and carved out very differentially from front to back to achieve different purposes and feel. 
So for example the lateral heel high wear areas are thicker and more segmented than the facing medial side rubber where a more continuous thinner surfaces helps deliver a touch of stability. Up front the pattern reverses with a denser array on the lateral side with less segmentation to prevent re supination while the medial front has larger carved out pods to provide softness and a dynamic yet stable toe off. It all works brilliantly in combination with the midsole.

Hope: Talk about euphoric! When I ran with music in the SWK3, I found myself unconsciously speeding up to match the tempo of the songs. It’s so smooth and has such nice pop that it’s a delight to run in. Mizuno has found the Goldilocks balance of dynamic road feel and protective cushioning. With great feedback from each footstrike, turnover feels quicker than expected for a shoe of this weight.

Jeff: This shoe gets better with every run, and it’s all down to the ride. Personally I listen to podcasts to avoid the unconscious speed up to match the songs, and have been able to keep all my miles so chill in this shoe. It’s a prototype for future consultation - well cushioned with a bouncy material, but not overly so to reduce flexibility. Some bigger cushioned shoes lead to weird forefoot numbness, but nothing like that here. Just plush and bouncy miles for as far as you can go.
Sam: A brilliant “big shoe” ride here and at all paces. Smooth transitioning even slow which is rare in such shoes, never mushy, never harsh or lagging during transitions, the Sky Wave really just flows along.. like a wave, truly, with very decent response in the mix. The cushioning is supreme here but not in the way of enjoyable running, I think due to the effective new Wave design, the XPOP and that brilliantly integrated outsole.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Hope: Mizuno has delivered a trainer with new midsole tech that should make you stand up and take notice. More importantly, it has such a dynamic, fast feel that it will make you want to run. While not completely perfect, I think the Sky WaveKnit 3 competes well against plush trainers from other top brands.
Hope’s Score: 9.2 /10
-0.3 for heel slip
-0.1 for lack of reflectivity
-0.2 for weight
-0.2 for price

Jeff: After running in this shoe, Mizuno is firmly in my sights to at least consider their other shoes - and that’s not something I’ve been able to say in a few years. They delivered a premium feeling shoe that has plenty of cushioning with no mushiness to be found. A premium price matches, but at least you will get plenty of mileage out of the shoe.
Jeff’s Score 8.9/10 
Ride 9 (50% of total score), Fit 9 (30%), Value 8 (15%), Style 9 (5%)

Sam: Usually as a shoe approaches 11 oz no matter how “good” it is it becomes a heavy chore to run for me. Not so here but the weight is felt and it would be great if Mizuno either reduced it by lowering the heel to 8mm or joined the light and fast foam game. The weight is literally the only thing that I can deduct in scoring this shoe. The Waveknit upper is classy and fits wonderfully and comfortably, the ride blends tons of cushion with easy transitions at all paces and enough response to move along. You might say what about the $160 price? Given the great ride, quality construction, comfort, and expected durability I would make the argument it is is good value. I am finding that it is a great recovery and easy days shoe for me, and for those days when you need to move along but are sore, because it is so protective, comfortable yet smooth and responsive running. If you want lots of cushion and a plush feel top to bottom that is not a chore or dead bore to move along and the weight is not a huge factor (and is less so than others in the category for me)  the Sky Wave Waveknit 3 is so far best of 2019 in the plush premium heavy duty category for me,
Sam’s Score: 9.5/10
-0.5 for weight 
Watch our Video Review

Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews:HERE

361 Meraki 2 (RTR Review
Hope:The Meraki 2 is an example of a carbon plate (as opposed to a plastic Wave Plate, neither of which makes an appearance in the SWK3) gone bad. In the Meraki 2, the upmarket midsole insert made the shoe far too stiff in the forefoot. The faster and more forgiving SWK3 is more worth your time. (US W9.5, true to size)

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 (RTR Review
Hope: The Nimbus 21 has more giddyup than I expected, but it’s too hyper-soft to be my top choice. I prefer the more dynamic underfoot feel of the SWK3. (US W9.5, true to size)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size 10.5. I didn’t find the Nimbus to be too soft - more too stiff for me, but either way, definitely take the Mizuno.
Sam: Nimbus is way less continuous flowing on the run with to many disconnects in feel at different paces, hands down the Sky Wave for me, and only $10 more,  although the lighter weight at 10.4 oz of Nimbus is felt. True to size in both but more comfortable in Sky. 

Brooks Ghost 12 (RTR Review
Hope:I prefer the snazzy good looks and sleek upper of the Ghost 12, but the SWK3 midsole is leagues ahead of the harsh heel of the Ghost 12. (US W9.5, true to size)
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size 10.5. I’m with Hope, the Ghost wins the looks contest (and comes in $30), but in every other metric the Sky 3 is better. Spend the money, take the Mizuno.
Sam: A full ounce lighter the Ghost has a slightly superior, lighter feeling yet secure upper. Underfoot it is not nearly as smooth running as the Sky Wave with a soft heel and firmer forefoot. True to size in both.

Brooks Glycerin 17 (RTR Review
Hope: The Glycerin is a lot more flexible through the forefoot and a lot bouncier. Both shoes are silky smooth. I enjoy the pop of the SWK3, but for long runs I would give the slight edge to the softer DNA Loft midsole on the Glycerin 17. The Glycerin 17’s simpler upper also has a superior fit. This is a close call now and I expect it to be even closer the next time these models face off. (US W9.5, true to size)
Jeff: Mizuno is true-to-size 10.5, Glycerin is half size up 11. These two shoes are incredibly similar. Both are great top to bottom with few, if any, flaws. The Glycerin upper is a little more comfortable, the Sky midsole is more bouncy to the Glycerin’s more plush feel. The Mizuno is $10 more, and has one millimeter more cushioning both front and back. Ultimately I think I favor the Mizuno, which is bouncy and plush, versus the Glycerin which is plush and bouncy. Either way, excellent shoe.
Sam: More flexible, bouncier and softer the Glycerin 17 is a fine ride. 0.3 oz or so lighter they are both close in weight. For my “heavier” big shoe I think the more responsive livelier and easier and smoother to run slow Sky Wave is more versatile. 

adidas UltraBoost 19 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. Two very similar weight shoes (Sky is a few tenths of an ounce lighter), the UltraBoost and Sky 3 both merge plush and firm well. The Mizuno has a smoother ride, as well as much more cushioning underneath the forefoot. Both shoes feel very similar in heel cushioning, but the extra stack height up front makes all of the difference. The UB19 toe box is fine, while the entire front end of the Mizuno has much more room. Both shoes are sold at a premium price ($180 for the adidas vs $160 for the Mizuno), but the Sky’s construction feels more premium. Ultimately the Sky is the winner across the board: slightly lighter, slightly less expensive, slightly more premium, substantially better cushioned forefoot, more comfortable upper, smoother ride - pick your priority and the Mizuno takes every category.

Hoka One One Clifton 6 (RTR Review
Hope:The Clifton 6 sadly did not work for my feet as the “bucket seat” midsole dug into my arches leaving nasty blisters. If it works for you, it’s a worthy comp for the SWK3 given its soft yet propulsive foam, but I think the SWK3 delivers an even better ride in a conventional (i.e. not maximal) package. (US M8 and W9.5, both true to size)

New Balance 1080v9 (RTR Review
Hope: Holy cow is the 1080v9 good. If I’m not in a racer or uptempo trainer, I want to be in the 1080v9 or the Glycerin 17. Like the SWK3, the 1080v9 suffers from some heel slip that’s solvable via heel lock lacing. I am obsessed with how fast the 1080v9 is, so I’m giving it the edge over the very fine and similarly springy, but not quite as zippy, SWK3. (US W9.5, true to size)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. I too suffered from heel slip in the 1080v9, which was the first shoe to make me use a runner’s loop. Both shoes have great elements, but there’s a slight difference in intention - the 1080v9 definitely feels like it is a big trainer that is firm enough for quick miles. Yup, you read that correctly, the New Balance is firmer than the Mizuno. End times are near! I’ll take the Mizuno, but if you are looking for one shoe to do it all (or prefer a slightly firmer ride) the 1080v9 is a beast.

New Balance Fresh Foam More (RTR Review
Hope: I think the SWK3 is a better crowd pleaser given the tricky (for some) fit of the pods in the FFM’s heel collar, but I do admire the FFM’s surprisingly quick turnover for such a big shoe. I’d give the slight edge to the SWK3 for its better ground feel. (US W9.5, true to size)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. I’m with Hope 100%. The Fresh Foam More does have a very quick turnover for such a big shoe, but there are some major issues with that shoe, and the Sky 3 doesn’t have even minor issues. Take the Mizuno.
Sam: The More fit me poorly and I don’t have a particularly narrow foot. Very stiff and firm it sure is responsive but a chore to run slow in with a harsh firm ride. It’s outsole is not segmented and has poor flow unless run faster. Sky Wave any day.

New Balance Propel (RTR Review
Hope: While the Propel is more attractively priced, considerably lighter and features a dynamite upper, I prefer the springy softness of the SWK3 over the occasional mushiness of the Propel. (US W9.5, true to size)

Nike Zoom Vomero 14 (RTR Review
Hope: The Vomero 14 did a complete 180 from past iterations of the notably squishy trainer. Firmer and faster, this is not your dad’s Vomero! That said, while I loved this shoe enough to purchase two pairs, I think I prefer the more relaxed upper of the SWK3 and thus give it the tiniest edge. The heel counter in the Vomero is incredibly stiff and unforgiving, plus it relies on pods (much like the New Balance Fresh Foam More) to achieve a secure fit. (US M8 and US W9.5, both true to size)
Jeff: Mizuno is true-to-size 10.5, Nike is half size up to 11, which is my standard in Nike. I want to like the Vomero 14 more than I actually like the Vomero 14. I like the upper, I like the looks, and the outsole works, but the forefoot just doesn’t have enough cushioning for me. At the end of 10 miles in the Vomero I’m ready to be done, and at the end of 10 in the Sky 3 I have no complaints. That might not be a big deal for lighter weight/faster trainers, but these are the big boys, they should be good to go for whatever you want to put at them. Spend the extra $20 and go Mizuno.
Sam: Different shoes for different purposes. The Vomero 14 is clearly a highly cushioned up tempo trainer. It tends to feel heel heavy run slow unlike the Sky Wave but run faster it is a rocket for such a big shoe with great pop and ground feel from its thinner snappier forefoot. Daily easier paces training the Sky Wave, fast big miles the Vomero 14. True to size a bit loose in the heel.

On Running CloudStratus (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. The Cloudstratus may be the only shoe on here at a higher price point than the Sky, and it is no coincidence that it has the same ultra premium feel. It also has a much, much firmer ride than the Mizuno, which is the first time that sentence has ever been written in human history. The On rides very similarly to Mizuno’s of yore, probably a result of the plastic Speedboard in it. While both shoes have exceptionally great uppers, and ride smoothly, the Mizuno is more plush, the On is firmer. Personally, I like the Mizuno more.
Sam: Agree with Jeff across the board. True to size in both but Sky Wave is more secure and locked down if a bit denser and warmer.

Reebok Harmony Road 3 (RTR Initial Review
Hope: Not one of Reebok’s better midsoles — feels lifeless underfoot. Spend the extra $30 for a more fun, lively experience in the SWK3. (US W9.5, true to size)
Sam: Different shoes for different purposes. For uptempo daily training the lighter Harmony Road 3, for easier stuff and great cushion with decent response from such a big shoe Sky Wave. True to size, roomy up front.

Salming Greyhound: (RTR Review
Hope:The Greyhound upper is its fatal flaw. I categorize it as a “recovery day only” model, but I do appreciate the squishy foam complemented by a generous Vibram outsole. The superior SWK3 is a lot bouncier and faster. (US M8, half size too big)
Sam: Similar midsole cushion feel for me but Sky Wave’s Wave design midsole and more segmented outsole is far superior in delivering smooth transitions at all paces. The non pliable Greyhound upper just doesn’t wrap the foot nearly as well as Sky Wave's. Half size large.

Salomon Predict RA (RTR Review
Hope: The Predict RA is a beautifully made shoe that’s packed with tech, but for me it added up to somewhere between “meh” and “so what?” I wasn’t wowed by it and I expect to be a bit more dazzled for $160. For the same price, the SWK3 delivers a more exciting, enjoyable ride. (US W9.5, true to size)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. The Predict upper is world class, and everything else about it is pretty good, but when the rubber meets the road the Mizuno just has a better ride. It’s both more protective and bouncier. Go Mizuno.

Saucony Triumph ISO 5 (US W8, 1.5 sizes too small): (RTR Review
Hope: In fairness to the T5, I ran in a pair that was much too small for me. I found it nicely bouncy, but a bit too heavy over the long haul. The SWK3’s midsole has less dramatic bounce, but it feels faster and better connected to the ground.
Jeff: Saucony is half size up 11, Mizuno is true-to-size 10.5. Both uppers are super comfortable, but the Saucony’s extra heft makes the Mizuno feel svelte and lightweight. I like the Triumph more than any of its ISO brethren, but very much prefer the Mizuno.

Skechers GOrun 7 (RTR Review
Hope:It may not be fair to compare a sub-7 oz uptempo runner to a plush trainer, but the GR7 has an ill-fitting upper that gives the SWK3 a puncher’s chance. Even given the issues with the upper, I am dazzled by the GR7’s midsole. Where the SWK3 goes “bounce,” the GR7 goes “BOING!!!” — it’s much springier and more fun than the SWK3, all at a cheaper price point. (US W9.5, true to size lengthwise, but overly roomy)
Jeff: Both true-to-size 10.5. To me they are very different shoes with different purposes, and I completely agree, Hyperburst is a whole different beast altogether. But the upper fit was abysmal for me in the GR7H, to the point that I probably missed the forest for the trees. If embargoes were different I’d pit the Sky 3 against the Max Road 4 Hyper, but we can’t expound on that one. Yet. Spend the money, get the Mizuno.

Topo Phantom (US M8, true to size) (RTR Review
Hope: The Phantom is major- league cool-looking and comfortable, but suffers from an overabundance of heavy, flexibility limiting midsole. For anything but a recovery shuffle I’d prefer the SWK3.
Jeff: Both fit true-to-size 10.5. 100% with Hope. Topo’s ZipFoam sounds like it should be a fast running bouncy super foam, but instead it is so soft that shoe is a purely recovery day runner. The Mizuno is worth the extra $30.
Sam: Agree with Hope and Jeff the Topo while it has a fine upper just doesn’t flow along nearly as smoothly,
Read reviewers' full run bios here
Two pairs of the product reviewed were provided at no cost, one was a personal purchase. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Byte said...

This is really nice shoe, soft cushion + good bouncy + comfort upper.
Now it's become my favorite shoe, other shoe I have is Newbalance 1080v9, Saucony Liberty, Adidas Solar Glide, Nike Odyssey React.

for the price, I'm ok with it since you get a good quality shoe.

problem of this shoe is the weight, if they lower the drop (may be down to 6mm.) and have less thick heelcup, this should help reduce the weight.

and sad thing is this shoe don't get much attention from people, I feel like Mizuno should promote this shoe more.

DH said...

Nice review, and I especially appreciate the many comparison comments which are really helpful.

Perhaps too much shoe for me, but I am hoping it is a sign of future updates coming for Mizuno's other shoes. I would like to see a "Wave Sky" Shadow or perhaps a new shoe that is somewhere in-between the Shadow and this Wave Sky Waveknit 3.

Gafas said...

Bought the mesh version and used them for 2 5k runs. While I find them very comfortable, I also feel them very bottom heavy. Much more that the Ghost 11.