If you read my review of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9, you'll have seen that I was excited to try these. They promised a little more stability than the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 but without being a support shoe.
Mizuno have updated their entire range, with most due for release in December and January, but with the Wave Sayonara, we're treated to a sneak peak of things to come. They look fantastic, but I can imagine they are not to everyones taste. They certainly look like more of a racing shoe than the Wave Rider, and in a sense, they are. They are a combination of both the Wave Precision and Wave Elixir series. The two shoes have been replaced by this one, which may confuse a few people, as one is a neutral shoe, and one is a support shoe. However, Mizuno promise that light over-pronators will be capable of using this shoe as much as the Elixirs, so we'll have to see how they perform. Putting them on, they feel amazing. The heel is nice and snug, and certainly feels more stable than my old Wave Riders, but the toe box is slightly wider, allowing for a natural foot strike. But the main thing you notice is the weight. they weigh in at only 230g for a mens size 9, which for a shoe that is designed to be both a racer and a trainer is phenomenal. So far, so good!
The midsole is made of Mizuno's new compound called U4ic. Pronounced 'Euphoric' it is supposedly 30% lighter than AP+ (their previous high end foam) however should offer the same level of cushioning, and I can certainly see that claim being true. The shoes are very light, and the cushioning feels fairly firm underfoot when standing still, however after a few jumps on the spot, you notice how soft it becomes when put under pressure. The heel has Mizuno's patented Wave, however, it is slightly lower than the Precision (10mm heel drop). The shoe as a whole feels a lot more minimal than the 10mm heel would suggest. You also don't get that feeling of standing on a spring that you get in the Wave Precision, as the wave is slightly more compact. This is a good thing, as you feel a lot more planted in the shoe, and with this comes a feeling of stability.
The upper is made up of mesh, with heat welded overlays for added security with fewer stitches. This allows weight to be spared, and looking around the shoe, there are in fact very few components. This lends itself to being more comfortable, as fewer stitches equals less irritation. The tongue is however still stitched in, which means you cannot wear these barefoot, as I tried putting them on with no socks, and felt the stitching a little. However, for a shoe like this, very few people would wear them barefoot anyway, and that is not what they are intended for, so this is not a negative. The heel counter feels very stable and secure, and is made of a TPU, with memory foam around the collar for added comfort and security. My only negative for the uppers (and a very small negative it is), is that the laces are fairly short when you butterfly the laces. However, I managed to tie them up anyway.
The outsole uses X10 rubber and a G3 design, taken from the Wave Elixir. The result is a very light outsole, that is highly durable and very grippy. The outsole certainly looks racy, and my one concern having never used the G3 design before is that the individual dots may come loose. However, that has never been a problem with other users of the Wave Elixir as far as I'm aware, so should'nt be a problem. The interesting thing about the shoes outsole is the heel unit. Rather than being added on top of the midsole, it has been embedded, so sits level with it. I am unsure as to the advantage of this, but see no disadvantage either, so I'll see how it performs on my run.
These shoes delivered everything they promised and then some. I was easily able to run forefoot in them, and when I did heel strike, the response was stable, secure, and soft. The grip on the outsole was superb, and there was no evidence of any wear on the outsoles. The shoes are surprisingly soft considering how firm they felt when just standing still, but the ground doesn't get lost underneath your feet. They offer enough stability for me, however if you over-pronate moderately or more, then this shoe would not be suitable. There were slight creases developing on the midsole, however they are not anything to be concerned about, and certainly are not deep enough to offer concern over the duraility of the new midsole compound. The heel foam has worn slightly where it sits level with the outsole, but again, this is just a couple of scuffs where the outsole sits level with it, and will cause no problems whatsoever. I felt fast in these shoes, and they cover almost every base - they can be used as a high mileage trainer, but then be used as a racing shoe as well. I don't like to offer perfect marks for a shoe, as there is usually a small point that bothers me about everything, but these come so close to that mark, that they may as well be a 10/10.
Having worn these a little longer, I have finally found something that I don't like about the shoe. The mesh on the uppers has begun to wear around the big toe on top, and at the sides where the shoe flexes. It's not a huge point, as I have done a considerable number of miles in them, however, I hope that Mizuno sort this for the Sayonara 2, as that little change in material will knock it back up. New score: 9/10