There’s nothing like some mid-summer striding in the coolness of the morning. When the miles pass easily, and you finish your long run in comfort and feel ready for the rest of the weekend.
With some fresh tech in the Sky series, Mizuno’s Sky Waveknit 3 pops into this summer’s line-up with some great cushion and stability, ready to kick your weekend off right.
For almost 15 years, when it comes to running roads, I have solely given my heart to ASICS DS Trainers. Yes, you’ve found an ASICS fanboy on BITR.
They have about everything I need in a training shoe: good enough support, light enough to go fast, and they stick around for at least 300 miles before losing their integrity. After a bunch of runs in the Sky Waveknit 3, I found a similar fit, as well as a few bonus characteristics that come in handy, namely more cushion.
What’s new to this year’s Sky is that it does not contain any plastic in the midsole. Mizuno used two types of foam layered in a wave-like design (Mizuno Foam Wave, formerly the plastic “wave”) that creates a plush ride. It is actually the only shoe in the Wave series to ditch the plastic in the midsole.
Sandwiched in between those wave layers is another layer of foam that provides some rigidity and “springiness”. They call this layer XPOP.
Removing the plastic from the previous version has shed some weight (from 11.6 oz to 10.9oz); the shoe still maintains a 10mm heel-toe drop. Mizuno’s trademark knit upper is Waveknit. It is used on various models of shoes and provides a snug fit and claims breathability.
The combination of various foams, along with the specific wave design, provides a very soft, and somehow, responsive ride. The support and cushion are there, minus the typical stack height that accompanies such a soft ride. Supposedly, the design of the midsole is also gender-specific, playing off of the “typical” foot-strike found in males and females respectively. The cushioning has been perfect for easy to moderate runs and it really shines the longer you go.
Mizuno’s Waveknit upper–while on the thicker side– has a good balance of softness and comfort, while still maintaining structure. It’s like a hug from an old friend. For me, the added structure helps with the overall responsiveness of the shoe. Add in the full-length sockliner, and there is really no question that this shoe is one of the more comfortable ones out there.
Carbon is all the rage in shoes these days, typically in plate form. For the Waveknit 3, it’s found on the X10 outsole in the form of carbon rubber. It has been surprisingly durable and grips well on most any surface. I tend to gravitate toward running gravel roads. X10 held its own even when pushing a stroller uphill on gravel.
To be honest, there is not much that I dislike about the Sky. The aspect of the shoe that I believe could improve the most, though, is the upper.
My body tends to run warm, so temperature management is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to foot comfort. Therefore, breathability always gets its voice heard with me. The knit upper, though dang comfy in terms of fit, is on the thicker side and doesn’t breathe as well as other knit uppers.
Breathability is typically the main goal of a knit upper and Waveknit is on the warmer side. Hear me out, though– I am comparing Waveknit to other knit uppers that I have experienced, not to uppers made of other materials. When put into the general pool of play, I would say that Waveknit is par for the course in terms of breathability.
The other issue with the upper, as mentioned before, is its thickness. Is all of that material necessary? Can it be trimmed to give a little more breathability and strip some weight? If so, this would put the Sky in an “elite” category of highly cushioned trainers.
With so many choices out there for a cushioned and supportive shoe, I’m not trying to tell you that this is THE shoe for you, but it is one to throw in the mix. I thoroughly enjoyed the Sky Waveknit 3.
Anytime I review a shoe, I try to answer the question, “What is this shoe going to be good for?” For the Waveknit 3, it is easily going to be a champion for long runs or the easy weekly miles. The triple threat of foams in the midsole gives a soft ride that is still responsive. It also could be a good general trainer but do not expect your fastest tempo runs or interval sessions because of the weight and comparative responsiveness to a lighter trainer.
What really sells this shoe for me over other cushioned trainers is that it fits beautifully. Both the upper and the accommodations for a wider foot make for a refreshing combo in the highly-cushioned shoe category.
You can pick it up at Running Warehouse for $159.95.Shop Sky Waveknit 3