One year after the introduction of the first Wave Catalyst, Mizuno comes with this second version.
I found out that the original Catalyst did not sell particularly well at retail, and that possibly explains the huge price reductions I have seen online on this shoe. You should take advantage of it, because it is a great shoe – if you need extra stability in your “fast day” running shoe.
The few retailers I have spoken to quote the general shift from stability and responsive midsoles to the boom of different support mechanics and maximal cushion as the main reason for the not-so-great sell-through of this shoe.
Which is a shame. This is a shoe that serves its purpose very well. There are not many other options on the market for a similar shoe aside from shoes such as the Asics DS-Trainer and the New Balance Vazee Prism.
Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2 General Info
The Wave Catalyst 2 retails for $110, has a 10mm heel-to-toe drop and a weight slightly below 10 ounces.
The look and feel is quite traditional and 100% Mizuno: the midsole is quite thin (26mm and 16mm the stack heights) and the upper is mesh with sewn plastic overlays.
They felt comfortable out of the box for me, with a secure heel fit, good lockdown in the middle and a wider toebox that accommodates my toes well.
Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2 Sole Unit
The sole unit is unchanged from the Wave Catalyst 1.
The material used for the midsole is Mizuno’s EU4IC which is soft at touch, but proves to be responsive and “springy” while running.
I feel my foot well cushioned on heel strike, but not as much in the forefoot. But this is not a maximal cushioned shoe: proprioception (the ability of your body to feel the strenght and the effort put in the movement) is great and the energy rebound on toe off is very good.
As usual for Mizuno, the unique part of this construction is the use of the Wave Plate. A plastic shank shaped in a waveform that both adds stability to the gait and extra cushioning.
In the Catalyst, the Wave plate starts right under the heel and continues all the way to the midfoot, doubling its function as a shank that stabilizes the shoe longitudinally, protecting your foot from rotating unnaturally.
As someone with particularly weak ankles (thank you, teenage skateboarding days!), this is one of the best features of the shoe.
The heel is decoupled to adapt to each runner’s unique landing pattern and the wave plate has “wider” waves on the medial (internal) side. Whatever the reason, it works for me.
Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2 Upper
As I mentioned earlier, the upper of this shoe fits me very well.
The heel is rigid and cups your foot very well, with soft foam around the collar to make it comfortable. My heel never slipped out of this shoe. It is so well shaped that I think I could run with the shoes tied very loosely and the shoe wouldn’t slip off my heels at all.
The somehow narrow fit continues to the midfoot and then gets wider in the forefoot to accommodate the toes and leaving good room for them to splay and breathe.
The upper fits very very well, but it’s also the least inspiring part of this shoe.
In an era (the past 3 years at least) of knit materials, seamless uppers, welded overlays, exoskeletons and bootie constructions… the upper of the Wave Catalyst seems like it’s from 2012.
Is it a bad thing? Hard to answer.
I love these shoes and lately I am doing most of my running with them. Mizuno solved one of the issues I had with the previous version: the overlays above the toebox do not fold in an unnatural way and I actually use the shoe without socks most of the times.
No blisters or irritations have come out of my miles with the Wave Catalyst so it does serve its purpose well.
Mizuno Wave Catalyst 2 Final Impressions
I give this shoe 4 stars out of 5. It is a great shoe that I recommend without exitation.
The stability works really well and I feel secure while running on the road (plenty of bad paving on the sidewalks where i run, but still no awkward flexion of my foot/ankle). I particularly enjoy them on the treadmill.
I love how the upper fits my foot and the fact that it’s so secured inside the shoe.
So, what’s my gripe with the upper? My gripe is just that I want this shoe to keep existing, and I can see runners not getting excited by what they get for $110.
There are plenty of runners like me who enjoy stability and want a fast, responsive shoe. And this is one of the best options in the market.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of the Wave Catalyst 2 for us to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after logging more than 50 miles in them