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Road • May 22, 2019

Mizuno Waveknit C1 Performance Review

The Mizuno Waveknit C1 is the brand’s attempt at a “maximal” shoe that has plenty of both cushioning and support to give runners an “exceptionally comfortable running experience.” There are parts of this shoe that line up with that claim, but overall, it is not the complete package for me.

Mizuno threw a lot into this shoe. Some of the noticeable aspects are its sock liner (rather than a tongue) and the combo of Infinity PEBAX Wave plate and U4icX Strobel Lasting Board in the midfoot/heel. All of these things weigh rather heavily on my opinion and the practicality of this shoe. Also weighing heavily—you will pay a whopping $180 bucks for them.

Out of the box, I found myself poking fun at them. I think most would agree that they are not the most…um…aesthetically pleasing. Simply put, this shoe isn’t on trend in 2019. While most companies are peeling off overlays and moving towards more stripped-down shoe designs overall, the Waveknit C1 says ‘nah.’ Not to mention the outsole design- am I going to just bounce down the road with these things on or actually run?

And then I ran in them and was promptly served a side of humble pie. I returned home and told my wife: “I actually *gulp* really like them.”

The Good

Where the Mizuno Waveknit C1 does follow other brands is with its knit upper. It is soft and really does hug the foot nicely. It was neither restrictive nor too loose. The new sock liner also adds a lot to the shoe’s comfort with a soft hug of its own, providing a nice layer of cushioning to eliminate lace pressure.

What I like most about the C1 is the overall ride. Initially, I was very skeptical, but then I got over my preconceptions and embraced the crap out of it. It is smooth, soft, and even comes with a decent level of responsiveness. I mean, how could it not? It has a better suspension than my Land Rover!

The forefoot is noticeably soft compared to other trainers but is not “marshmallowy” soft. With a large heel-toe drop of 12mm (35mm heel to 23mm toe) and Mizuno’s Smooth Ride technology, you’re forced to roll forward onto the forefoot and through the toes with each stride. Since the forefoot is so comfortable, I was fine with that.

The namesake wave is oriented in the midsole. It’s that Infinity PEBAX Wave Plate that your eyes are likely drawn to. The Wave Plate, along with its tag-team partner, the U4icX Strobel Lasting Board, adds a lot in terms of cushioning (which are their primary purposes). When I slipped the Waveknit C1’s on for the first time, I couldn’t help but to walk around on my heels with how ridiculously springy these things look and feel.

As a midfoot striker, I still felt that the Wave Plate/Lasting Board had the quality of a spring—not enough to allow me to reverse dunk or anything—but enough energy return to noticeably assist my next stride forward. The overall cushioning from these technologies really set the tone for my overall satisfaction with these shoes. At the end of my runs (ranging from 6 to 10 miles), I didn’t even feel the pain in my shin from shin splints that I have been dealing with for a little while. Maybe there is something to these maximalist shoes.

Shop Waveknit C1

The Bad

Sadly, the bad for this shoe outweighs how smooth and wonderful they feel underfoot. The Mizuno Waveknit C1’s themselves literally outweigh a lot of things actually, like almost every other shoe. In my size 9 they weighed 14 oz.

That is more than a few ounces heavier than any other shoe you could buy with similar support and cushioning. I did not notice much of a difference on easier or shorter runs. Even though these shoes have all the right feels comfort-wise for going the distance, their weight had a negative impact on any longer distance runs or workouts that I did.

The heel-to-toe drop and midsole technologies almost make me feel as if I am wearing high heels (at least that’s what I imagine). I swear, at the end of every run my ankles turned up to me and smiled, thankful they returned without being completely broken.

On my typical running route in my neighborhood, I have to take a few 90 degree turns onto some gravel roads or uneven surfaces. Anytime that I would veer from a straightforward running motion to avoid a rock, pothole, or turning onto another street, I would need to tiptoe around the obstacles.

So unless you primarily run on smooth paved roads or paths, disaster seems inevitable. Even though the Infinity PEBAX Wave Plate provides a really nice ride, it really restricts this shoe from being agile or even practical for most runners.

Lastly, while the knit upper seems breathable and light, the sock liner is not. The sock liner has some thicker material that goes over the top of the foot and around the heel. On an hour-long run in 70 degrees, I was about ready to jump in the river. Man, they were toasty.

Shop Waveknit C1

Mizuno WaveKnit C1 Conclusion

If you’re looking for a maximally cushioned and structured trainer (or you’re used to that style), the Mizuno Waveknit C1’s could be a good shoe. The price and its overall practicality should be weighed with the type of running that you primarily do. If it happens to be running roads or paved paths and most of your runs are 5 miles or less at low intensity, you may consider giving them a shot.

I do not think you’ll be disappointed with the overall running experience. Just know that it is a hefty shoe with a hefty cost. If you frequent gravel surfaces, uneven surface, or even make turns frequently, proceed with caution.

You can pick up the Mizuno Waveknit C1 at Running Warehouse for $180 using the shop link below.

Shop Waveknit C1

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