This is my first run in a Mizuno running shoe (I feel like I’ve said that a lot recently, but when you’re the newly minted run category manager, that’s bound to happen!). As it turns out though, this is the first Mizuno Wave Daichi with broad release in the US (though version 1 was released overseas) so we’re all in the same boat of mostly not having run in this shoe before. With all that – possibly unnecessary – backstory, let’s see if this shoe can hold up to the trails it’s meant to.
A combination of Michelin and X10 carbon rubber compound is what makes up the Daichi 2’s outsole and since we love to see brands working with other companies who are not necessarily in the same industry, the tire brand’s inclusion is exciting. The lugs are laid out in a pattern around the sole’s perimeter with a much more random pattern in the middle (see image below). The lug layout and rubber are both proprietary to Michelin. There are no real flex grooves to speak of except under the midfoot and that would be the “XtaRide” for torsional movement.
I have taken this durable shoe on some great trail runs in both wet and dry conditions and have 40+ miles in them with pretty much no signs of wear. Despite having small-ish lugs, the grip was pretty good on wet and dry terrain – though since the lugs are only about 3mm deep, muddy and/or looser terrain may be a bit of a challenge. This is a fairly stiff feeling shoe which I’ll get into a bit more in the “RIDE” section below, but I found the Wave Daichi to have great ground feel and I enjoy its versatility. With the smaller lugs, I have found that I can take this shoe from road to trail, which is great if you have connector roads that lead to a trail system (or if the trail is down the street a mile from your house!).
Moving on to the midsole, Mizuno has used full length foam that they call u4ic (his we’ve seen before from the Osaka-based brand) for “more response and cushioning”. The rearfoot Wave plate is articulated and adaptive to terrain. I did feel the springiness of the Wave plate, mostly on descents because, as you probably know by now, I run way up on my toes.
The Daichi 2 has a 12mm drop with the heel measuring at 29mm and the forefoot at 17mm which is typically more than I reach for personally in a shoe but in this case, I wasn’t really affected by it. I am mentioning the stiffness again here in the midsole because I found the shoe to be flexible in the front of the midsole, but, oddly NOT flexible in the XtaRide cross under the arch – interesting being that you’d think this is where you would see more flex.
Looking at the upper you will see two types of mesh; One main body mesh and a different mesh on the vamp (the area over top of the toes). The durable support structure is entirely stitched on which is odd, again, since most of the industry is using bonded or 3D printed-on overlays. There is a good amount of foam in the tongue and collar. The heel counter is very rigid, structured, and once again, stiff.
With this being a trail shoe, I would like to see a gusseted tongue to add to its capability but I did remain relatively debris-free despite this. As you’ve read from me in the past, I like much more foam in the collar and tongue than Brandon has mention appeal to his taste and in the Wave Daichi 2, the amount of foam falls comfortably between both our tastes and kept me comfortable and, once again, fairly debris-frees from pebbles and such coming over the top.
As far as fit goes, I feel that the Wave Daichi 2 runs a tiny bit large so if you’re on the fence in sizes normally, it’s probably better to go to the larger of the two. The heel counter is very built up and possibly leads to a too built up kind of feel. While I understand the need for some rigidity in that area, especially in a trail shoe, in this case I feel like it may add more weight and inflexibility to the shoe that I’d generally like to see.
The midfoot continues some of the overbuilt feel and has a bit of stiffness that I’d like to see give way to flexibility to allow the foot to work with the shoe more rather than the shoe dictating most of the experience. There is great flex in the forefoot which begs the question, why is the Mizuno Wave Daichi 2 two different shoes from the front to the back? I feel like there are certainly people who are looking for this much structure/stiffness but I’d like to see a bit more of the shoe working with the foot rather than the shoe trying to tell the foot what to do.
While I found the Mizuno Wave Daichi 2 to be a stiff very structured shoe, I did enjoy the responsiveness. I have worn these on technical terrain in very wet, muddy conditions as well as on buffed out dry trails (and some roads). There is great ground feel and traction on the trails and with the lugs being only 3mm the mud doesn’t seem to get packed in making your shoe heavy and clunky. Already weighing in at 9.6oz in a women’s size 8 and 11.2oz in the men’s size 9, this is a good thing since these could stand to drop an ounce or two. The versatility of this shoe is a bonus. Again, because the lugs are not too large, if you are running to your trail via road, you will not notice that awkward luggy feel underfoot.
The Mizuno Wave Daichi 2 is a solid trail shoe albeit a bit built up and stiff and it is comfortable and durable. I think that it could be a great addition to your “tool box” if you find yourself needing a versatile shoe. At $130 it certainly reflects the overall uptick in running shoe pricing we’ve been watching but I think that for many – especially Mizuno running loyalists – the price is likely worth it.