The Mizuno Wave Hayate 2 is a lightweight, very flexible and sensitive trail running shoe that promotes a smooth gliding stride. While it fits the description of a traditional shoe with its 9mm of heel-toe drop, it rides low to the ground and has the general feel of a more low-profile shoe. This is a great option for people who like the idea of a fast, sensitive, and light shoe but aren't ready to transition down into a lower heel-toe drop. It feels very similar to the Wave Kazan, a shoe that we reviewed in previous years and which is still available on the market today, although this shoe is lighter, has less heel-toe drop, and costs slightly less. In many ways it is similar to the La Sportiva Helios 2.0, but is constructed like a standard running shoe, and offers more in the way of support. While it is not the highest rated shoe in our review, it is one that we would surely recommend.
Mizuno Wave Hayate 2 Review
Cons: Lacking foot protection, strange fit of the heel cup
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Wave Hayate 3 vs. the Wave Hayate 2
With a price increase to $120 (from $110), the Wave Hayate 3 has seen quite a few updates. The updates were consistent for both the women's version. The Hayate 3 maintains some of the features we liked most about its predecessor as well, like the 9mm heel-drop and the concave design shape. We clocked the Hayate 2 at 10 ounces, making it the lightest shoe in our review. The manufacturer claims a 8.8-ounce weight for the new version, though we'd like to put it on the scale ourselves to verify this reduction. Check out this side-by-side comparison, with the new Hayate 3 on the left and the Hayate 2 that we reviewed on the right. Then keep reading for a summary of updates.
Here's a full summary of updates:
- Rock Plate — The Hayate 3 will feature a new rock plate for added comfort on rocky or uneven terrain. Our reviewers gave the Hayate 2 a very low score for foot protection due to the lack of rock plate, so we have reason to believe this could significantly impact our opinion of this shoe. The "wave-like" design of the Hayate 2 has been sustained, however, which we are excited to see.
- Outsole — The rubber outsole of the Hayate has been updated in order to improve grip. We had mixed feelings about the Hayate 2's outsole, so we're interested to see how this change's the shoe's stability.
Because we haven't yet tested the Hayate 3, the rest of this review continues to reflect the Hayate 2.
The main characteristics of the Wave Hayate 2 that one notices immediately after putting it on the foot are that it is very light, rides low to the ground, and is super sensitive. With no midfoot rock plate, you can feel every little pebble or undulation of the trail beneath the feet. This feature is unique among the traditional shoes that we tested, especially as it has a 9mm heel-toe drop, far more pronounced than the 0mm drop in the sensitive Altra Superior 3.5 or the 4mm drop in the most sensitive shoe, the La Sportiva Helios 2.0. In a way, these shoes feel like a road-running shoe that has been adapted for the trails with larger, more durable lugs on the outsole. Our main complaint involves the comfort of the heel cup. Read on in the comfort section for a more detailed description, but we will say that the issue didn't cause blisters or serious foot problems.
We felt that this shoe ranked at the bottom of the pile when it came to foot protection, similar to the La Sportiva Helios 2.0. That said, foot protection and sensitivity often work at odds with each other, and this is one of the most sensitive shoes in the review. There is no forefoot rock plate in this shoe, and the minimal amount of cushioning means you will feel whatever is underfoot, for better or worse. While the shoe does feature Mizuno's patented Wave cushioning system that is designed to absorb and disperse impact energy away from the foot, we found that this system is located in the heel and just in front of the heel as it transitions into the arch. The Wave technology may greatly help heel-strikers, but feels like its leaving mid-foot and forefoot strikers under protected. The upper, while lightweight and breathable, is made mostly of lightweight mesh without protective overlays, and the toe bumper is very soft, giving minimal protection against stubbing the toes. 5 out of 10 points.
The outsole of this shoe is made of multiple pieces of carbon X10 rubber adorned with deep x-shaped lug patterns. We thought the rubber did a good job of providing traction, gripping well to multiple surfaces, and was durable enough over the long haul. While we are not a huge fan of outsoles that are divided into many different pieces because it provides a greater chance for one of those pieces to tear loose or become unglued, we didn't suffer any problems of that sort with this shoe. We found the traction to be roughly similar to The North Face Ultra Endurance.
In terms of stability, this shoe was comparable to the New Balance Leadville V3 or the Brooks Cascadia 11, although in a different way. While those shoes offer a solid and stiff platform to land upon, the Wave Hayate 2 is very flexible, molding around whatever your foot lands upon. We found that a firm and stiff platform is a bit more stable because it smooths over the irregularities of the trail, where a more flexible sole, while a desirable feature for some, tends to allow the trail to shape the foot, which is less stable. Despite its relatively high 9mm heel-toe drop, this shoe does ride low to the ground and gives a natural feel.
Initially we thought this shoe was right up there with the most comfortable in the review, but over time we noticed one odd development that made us lower our assessment a little bit. The heel cup is pretty flexible compared to some shoes, but wraps all the way out to the back end of the arch. At this point it "wings" outward a bit, causing a bit of wrinkle, or perhaps better described as an outward bulge in the fabric of the upper in the midfoot area.
There are no foot hugging supports over this part of the upper like found on many shoes like the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 4, and so the fabric just gaps away from the foot. This didn't create any problems for us, but did feel noticeable in an odd way. Incidentally, we also experienced issues with the fit and feel of the upper in the Mizuno Wave Kazan when we tested them, in roughly the same spot, so this is something we would love to see Mizuno work on. We also noticed that in the water test, this shoe absorbed more water than any other, and also didn't shed the water very quickly during our five minute jog, so perhaps it isn't the best choice for really wet conditions.
This shoe weighed a light 20 ounces even for a pair of size men's 11 straight out of the box. This was the second lightest shoe in our review, roughly comparable to the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 3 and the Altra Superior 3.5. It also feels really light while running on the trails, in a noticeably good way. If low weight is a priority, this is a supportive option to check out.
This was the second most sensitive shoe in our review, behind the La Sportiva Helios 2.0. We have already described how the lack of forefoot rock plate and low stack height means that one is able to feel everything about the trail, in both a good and bad way. We must point out, however, that this shoe feels far more supportive than the Helios 2.0, and despite its sensitivity, we would be more willing to take on rocky and rooty terrain in this shoe. 9 out of 10 points.
This is a shoe that is best suited for sub-ultra distance trail running. It is designed to feel sensitive and flexible, giving great trail feel and a natural stride, while still absorbing some of the shock that comes from running. We feel like it would be a bit too sensitive for ultra-running. This is a great option for those who want a light shoe for running fast, but also want a more traditional heel-toe drop.
This shoe retails for $110, making it the most affordable shoe in this review. We think it offers good performance for those seeking its unique attributes, although are not as convinced that it will be durable enough to last as long as some of the other traditional shoes in this review. If miles for the dollar is what you are after, we might recommend checking out something like our Best Buy winning The North Face Ultra Endurance. However, we think most people will be happy with a purchase of this shoe.
While conforming to the model of a traditional shoe, the Wave Hayate 2 feels a lot more like a low-profile offering. It is exceptionally light, very sensitive, and super flexible, all while sporting a 9mm heel-toe drop. It feels like a road running shoe designed for trails. This is a good option for runners who like less shoe on their foot, but still need some support and cushioning from the demands of the long trail. It feels and performs very similarly to the Mizuno Wave Kazan.
Other Versions and Accessories
- Mizuno Wave Kazan - $120 — slightly heavier and burlier shoe that is very similar, previously reviewed
- Mizuno Women's Wave Hayate 2 - $110 — women's version of the same shoe
— Andy Wellman