Shoe Review: Wave Sayonara 3

By James Dodds


Today (errrr…July 1st, 2015) we got this big shipment from UPS and behold the Sayonara 3 was in it. Bus & I … you know Bus, Austin Bussing, former Longhorn, super fast, made the finals in the 3000 meters in the steeple this year at the US Championships and clocked an 8:38 PR …. Yeah that guy  – Bus:


You can see the fast.

So Bus and I were working together and before we put items in the system or place new boxes on the shelves we first “inspect.” We want to know what’s going on with the update before it goes on a customer’s foot. Bus’ initial reaction was that it looked “Retro. In a good way.” The mesh that forms the upper actually looks like those old school basketball jerseys from 7th grade athletics. You know the ones your coaches had you turn in after practice so they could “wash them.” Anyway, the holes in those old jerseys were a little larger and therefore more breathable. So our first observation included, “A breathable upper with a retro look.”


Retro, breathable upper.

Mizuno’s website calls the mesh, “Airmesh” and says, “it is breathable and cool and maintains a high standard of breathability and comfort.” Smooth move Mizuno! Especially considering the only complaint on the Sayonara 2 was the upper itself. And kudos on the retro look because you know how those Millennials are … Instead of moving forward, they like to reach back and wear mustaches and rock their “Grandpa’s hand-me-downs.” #LoveMeSomeMacklemore

So then we put it on and gave it the ole “feel test.” First thing Bus said was, “It’s definitely more substantial.” Jeff Knight thinks it looks like a “Wave Rider on a diet.” Me? I called it the baby Wave Rider.

Looking lean.

Looking lean.

Anything wrong with that? Absolutely not! I have put plenty of miles in the Rider and think maybe Mizuno was wanting to take the successes of the Rider itself and simply deliver a lower profile version. If that’s the case, then way to go Mizuno! Way to go! If that was not the goal, then what are you people doing? Only kidding …. What do I mean by baby Wave Rider? I mean it has a substantial heel that drops off into a flexible forefoot.



This shoe must do yoga,

The heel in both the Rider and Sayonara are both firm and tall. You notice it’s there. So when it comes to long mileage you definitely feel secure. But what you use it for is your call. If you like to race marathons and half marathons in the Adios, Cloud Racer, NB 1400, or Go Mebs, then the Sayonara 3 could be a fantastic long run shoe that provides a lift in the heel and therefore rest for the Achilles. On the flip side, if you spend most of your miles in a Ghost, Ride, Glide, Rider, or Strada then the Sayonara will be your next quality workout/racing shoe. So again, it depends on what you use them for … but before we leave the “feel test” category can I make another comment? Yeah, I can because I am writing this damn review so deal with it!

So Mizuno’s insert actually feels quite nice. It has a “gel-like” feel when you first step in. But anyone who runs in Mizunos knows that they are traditionally firmer due to the wave plate. You eventually bump up against a small piece a plastic that gives you are firmer and more responsive feel. So they have done a great job with the insole because it makes for a comfy/soft step-in feel while maintaining the traditional responsiveness of a Mizuno.



In addition, the tongue is “puffy.” Sorry, I couldn’t think of a better adjective. It is soft and puffy. Cozy, if you will. That’s a good thing. No on wants the tongue of a shoe slipping around on you. Anyway, let’s move on to a better thought.

When I showed it to Chris McClung he said it reminded him of the Mizuno Wave Precision which hasn’t been around since like 2012 (how does this guy remember that stuff?). He has a point. This rendition definitely feels like Mizuno is saying, “Hey, guys, sorry we had it right and then we changed it. Now we are getting right back to … right!” Does history matter though? Not now. All that matters is that they got it right. And yes, I am saying, “They got it right!” The Sayonara 3 is #right and #solid. (Yes that’s a hashtag … two of them!). This shoe is in the same category as the Launch 2. It has a slightly firmer and more responsive feel but very similar in style and function. Their heel to toe drops are similar, falling somewhere between 10-12 mm but the Launch actually weighs slightly more. We’re only talking .4 – .6 ounces difference but nonetheless there is a difference. Mizuno’s website list the weight as 8.4 oz but I am never sure which size & style that refers to so I weighed the Men’s Launch 2 size 11.5 in at 11 oz even and the Men’s Wave Sayonara 3 size 11.5 at 10.4 oz. So in reference to another, the Sayonara is slightly lighter than the Brook’s Launch 2 and just a tad bit heavier than the NB Zante. So we did all we could to “feel them out” and in the end they passed the test. But our final thought was on price.

No one wants to find a Zante or Launch alternative and then have to pay twice as much. So Bus double-checked the price and sure enough they come in appropriately. At $110 they are only $10 more than a Zante & Launch but $10 -$20 cheaper than a Boracay, Adios, or Clifton.

In conclusion, we find the Sayonara 3 to be a lightweight neutral trainer that passes the test. It has a comfy step-in feel that delivers the traditional responsiveness of the Mizuno family line-up. It’s retro look is sure to please your uncle Joe who ran before running was cool and your cousin Jake who has a mustache and thinks he is bringing running back. It stands up against the Launch 2 & the Zante but best of all it doesn’t break the bank. Coming in at $110 the light weight, neutral, retro looking, baby Wave Rider A.K.A. Wave Sayonara 3 is


11048612_10205148707529826_3643628134334924916_nJames Dodds is the Rogue Downtown Assistant Manager. He’s a thinker, may have missed his call as a preacher and, fortunately for him, has a pretty awesome wife. You can catch him on the floor downtown or on the road with his crew, Bods by Dodds. He primarily speaks in hashtags. #also


15 thoughts on “Shoe Review: Wave Sayonara 3

  1. how would you compare these to the mizuno elixir 8? I just ran up my last pair stashed as trainers. really looking for a replacement

    • This shoe is the closest to the Elixir 8 that Mizuno currently offers. If you live in Austin, you can always come try a pair, and we will happily replace if it doesn’t work after a few runs. Mizuno does have a new shoe coming out in February 2016 that will be a more direct reincarnation of the Elixir, but the Sayonara is going to be very close.

      • yes, my running shoe store said they are coming back with the Elixir!!!!! this is the BEST news ever!!! now to just find something that my feet dont hate until then (I bought 2 pair too few when I heard they were discontinued.. and now am struggling to find a like shoe)

  2. I must say, I enjoyed this article. I am glad to hear (err… read) that the Elixir will have a (semi) official replacement coming in Feb 2016. I fell in love with that shoe in 2012, and it played a major role in a literal lifestyle change for me (went from 233 to 177lb!). It provided such a personal experience between my toes and the pavement – I always felt connected and engaged wearing the Elixir. I really wish that amazing shoe was still around. But, it is not. Therefore, I will more than likely pick up the Sayonara 3 this summer, as I need a new running shoe and it sounds like it could be a winner with that flexible forefoot.

    In your opinion, how does the Sayonara compare with, say, the slightly more stable Inspire 11?

    • The Sayonara is completely neutral and weighs about an ounce less than the Inspire, which has moderate stability. The Sayonara is more of a lightweight trainer like the Elixir (and Precision) were vs. the Inspire which is a moderately cushioned trainer. As you know the Elixir had a little bit of stability, but we believe the wave plate in the Sayonara provides enough of that to get what you need. If choosing between the Inspire and Sayonara, ultimately we believe that the Sayonara will feel more like the Elixir to you.

  3. What other shoe brand has a model most similar to the Elixir 8? The Sayonara 1 and 2 didn’t work for me so I’m hesitant about the 3 and I need a replacement prior to February. Thanks.

    • Your best options would be a Saucony Mirage or Asics DS Trainer. However, the Sayonara is back to the elixir feel. Completely different than the 1 & 2. And if you buy from Rogue you can try it without risk (10-day, no questions asked return policy). Otherwise, the other two are the best option.

  4. How does the upper hold out? I had a pair of Wave Sayonara 1’s and experienced a wear down of the uppers around the toe area (inner). Mizuno replaced the pair I had but the same exact thing happened to the replacement. I loved the shoes but now I am leery of purchasing due to that defect.

    • The upper is the best part of the all-new redesign. The upper on the Sayonara 1 and 2 was made of a completely different material and generally terrible in our opinions, having issues like you describe plus generally being uncomfortable on many types of feet. This upper is a throwback to the old Precision upper which was the best in the business when it went away. I don’t think you will have the same issues.

      • This is an old post I know but, as I am a long time Sayonara 1 & 2 happy user, would you advice to stay with those models or get the new 3?
        I run 13Km daily and after trying many brand/models I found that Sayonara’s 1&2 fit the best for me. I’m afraid that the model 3 would be so different that I must think to change brand.
        Thank you in advance!

  5. I like firefox MUCH better than IE but on certain occasions i would have a ff winfdow open and it shows the window error thing. i go back and it was firefox is already running or something s i cant use it….

  6. The Precisions were one of my favourite pairs of shoes, and I tried the first version of the Sayonaras but I hated the upper. When I saw these online I thought they looked more like the Precisions of old so I’m really excited to see that someone else thinks the same! Looks like I need to buy a pair.

  7. I have been a loyal mizuno runner since I got “serious” 4 years ago. I was a waverider guy until they screwed it up with one of their 3 year overhauls. I think it was the 17. Moved over to the Sayonar 2 and qualified for Boston in it. I have been running in the 3 lately and found your review spot on. My question is this, do you think I need something else to run Boston in? I ran a recent half in the Hitogami 2 because I felt the Sayonara 3 was to heavy. What do you think?

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