Fun. Fun is the one word that kept coming to mind while running in the fifteenth iteration of Mizuno’s Inspire, a slight, stability control running shoe.
But what’s my verdict on the shoe? You will find it below.
According to Mizuno, “Over 15 years ago, runners came calling for a go-to moderate over-pronation running shoe.
The answer from Mizuno was the Wave Inspire. The latest version (offers) a new upper with a softer fit and a more wearable look. (It is) also equipped with the latest Mizuno Wave Technology for an energetic and cushioned, yet stable ride.”
And Running Warehouse adds that, “The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 is an everyday running shoe designed to provide long-lasting stability through a unique plastic wave design.”
The latest version of the Wave Inspire weighs between 10.2 to 10.4 ounces, depending on the source. This is a positive development as version 13 weighed a full 11 ounces. Lighter is better.
The Wave Inspire 15 has a 12 to 12.6 mm drop, again, depending on the source. As I’ve indicated in previous looks at Mizuno shoes, I would love for the company to consider producing 8 mm drop versions. However, the shoe does not feel dramatically high. If blindfolded, I would have guessed that this is a 10 mm drop model.
There’s no need to go over the basic technology in the shoe, as it’s what you will find in other Mizunos – including the Wave Rider 22 and the WAVEKNIT R2, with a couple of exceptions that I will point out as we go along.
On the foot
The Wave Inspire 15 has an exemplary true-to-size fit. The size you normally wear in a running shoe is the size to order in this model.
The shoe is wide enough up front that the toes are not crowded, and there’s plenty of room for them to splay. I would compare the fit to that in a wide version of the Saucony Ride.
The somewhat wider-than-normal fit is enhanced by a flared sole, which delivers a sense of confidence that you won’t slip, slide or fall on wet surfaces. In this regard, the Wave Inspire 15 called to mind my all-time favorite rainy day running shoe, the original Adidas Supernova.
The upper on the Wave Inspire 15 is flexible in the area over the toes. Bend your toes up and the upper moves with it.
Although some argue that looks don’t matter, this is an attractive shoe in the Quarry/Black colorway. In fact, it’s pretty sharp!
On the road
One can first experience the nice ride of the Wave Inspire 15 by walking in it. Like the Mizuno WAVEKNIT R2, it appears to offer more energy return than other Mizuno models. As soon as you step forward in the shoe, it responds in preparation for the next step.
The increased bounce back, which can certainly be felt in the Wave Inspire 15, is due to a unique double wave fan. The double wave fan was present in version 14 but was somewhat difficult to see. The double wave fan construction is clearly visible in the current model.
It’s only a guess on my part, but I surmise that heavier runners – Clydesdales, will be able to better feel the bounce back on the shoe. That’s because more weight should better collapse the top layer of the wave fan, before the bottom layer responds and returns it back to normal.
The responsiveness of the Wave Inspire 15 is felt, as one would expect, on asphalt. (This means it will feel good on race day.) Surprisingly, however, the shoe feels just as responsive – if not more so, on concrete. This makes for a very good training shoe on urban and suburban sidewalks.
On the trail
The Wave Inspire 15 runs just fine on a dirt, shredded asphalt and small rock strewn trail. One can feel the road surface but without any discomfort from stomping on rocks. The shoe works just as well on mown grass trails, fire roads, and hard rock surfaces. No rock plate is needed. And the shoe has a protective exterior toe cap.
I did not assume or expect that the Wave Inspire 15 would serve as a decent trail shoe. By way of comparison, I recently ran on local paths in a trail shoe from one of the major running companies. I expected that shoe to wow me. It did not.
The shoe felt dead and lifeless. It was not a joy to run in. So I found myself thinking that this Mizuno shoe could not help but be better on trails than the other shoe. It was. Very much so!
So much so that it made me feel re-energized about running. That’s what good shoes do.
A blast on the past
In the 90s, I ran in the Brooks Rival, a precursor to what is now the Brooks Ravenna. One runner at the time made up a slogan about the Rival: “I saw my running rival running in the Rival.”
The Rival was a relatively inexpensive trainer that felt good to run in on both asphalt and concrete. And it was a revelation to discover that the fine ride the shoe delivered was a great ride on a packed dirt trail.
The Rival was basically a Goldilocks shoe: Not too firm or flexible, not too stable or floppy, and not too heavy or light. It was just right. In many respects, the Wave Inspire 15 reminds me of the Rival.
Back to the shoe
Although the Wave Inspire 15 is labeled as a moderate stability shoe, in practice it seems to work in a minimally invasive fashion. The stability control is effective but not dramatic or disturbing.
Yes, you can feel the shoe’s double wave contraption limiting inward roll, but it is not aggressive enough to change one’s natural foot strike. I think most neutral runners will be able to run in the shoe without difficulty.
The high drop in the shoe makes it a natural for heel strikers and there’s more good news in this regard. The heel strike is spot on in terms of the feel it provides. It’s not too soft or light – which would result in an indistinct heel strike, nor is it too hard or firm – which can make for a tiring long run and sore heel bone.
On a ten point rating scale, with 1 as overly soft and 10 as overly firm, the Wave Inspire 15’s heel strike would rate as a perfect mid-range 5.
Running shoes with a firm, inflexible midfoot shank in the sole tend to offer exemplary protection for those dealing with the dreaded condition known as Plantar Fasciitis (PF). When I was dealing with PF, I found the Mizuno Wave Sky 2 to be one of the best shoes to wear during the time I received physical therapy to beat the condition. The Wave Inspire 15 may be the second best shoe in Mizuno’s arsenal for PF battling runners.
Note: On PF flare-up days, the shoe can be made even more protective by inserting a SuperFeet thin black insole. This results in running on a shank on top of a midfoot shank.
A couple of issues
No shoe is perfect, and there were two issues – neither one being major, that arose with the Wave Inspire 15. Firstly, although the current version is lighter than previous ones, the shoe feels heavier than its weight on the road. This serves to further the shoe’s feeling of protectiveness. And despite feeling heavier than its listed weight, the Wave Inspire 15 is a full ounce lighter than the Wave Sky 2.
Secondly, runners who use the Wave Rider 22 or the WAVEKNIT R2 are likely to immediately notice that the forefoot is less flexible on the Wave Inspire 15 – there’s less “give” to it.
The reason for this is that the Wave Inspire 15 has a full flex groove up front, then a very small 35% flex grove behind it; the Wave Rider 22 and Wave Knit R2 both have two full flex grooves up front, with a 60% flex groove following closer to the midfoot. So it’s not just my imagination.
It ostensibly makes sense to firm up the front of a stability shoe but I often found myself wishing for a more malleable forefoot in the Wave Inspire 15.
Better with age
Most Mizuno shoes initially feel inherently stiff initially due to the hard plastic Wave plate technology.
Fortunately, however, they become more responsive with age and mileage. Mizuno shoes are dependably durable, generally lasting a good 350 to 400 tough miles.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 would be a great first shoe for a new runner with mild-to-moderate pronation issues. And it’s an excellent do-all quite well trainer for most runners. At $130.00, this shoe is priced well for one that can be used on various training surfaces, and also on race days. It can be used for distances up to a marathon.
Bigger runners with a need for substantial cushioning may want to consider the Wave Inspire 15 as a lower-priced alternative to premium models like the Mizuno Wave Sky 2 and the Brooks Glycerin 16 (both of which retail for $150.00).
In addition to meeting the basic needs of runners, the Wave Inspire 15 provides something that money can’t necessarily buy. Fun. It’s a fun shoe to run in most of the time. That’s a bonus you can’t put a price on.
This was my second pair of Mizuno’s that I have had the opportunity to run in and they didn’t disappoint.
Prior to trying the Wave Inspire 15, I had also run in the first model of the Wave Horizon. Each time I have been impressed with the Mizuno brand and the technology that they create for their running shoes.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 is a stability shoe designed for the moderate overpronator. It is lightweight, the women’s shoe weighs 8.7 oz and the men’s shoe weighs 10.3 oz. It is designed with a mesh upper and Mizuno’s U4ic and U4icX midsole technology.
I began running in these shoes about six weeks ago, and I have run in them on the road and on the treadmill. I have had no problems transitioning to and from each. So far, I have found these shoes to be a durable and comfort running shoe.
The Wave Inspire 15 is designed with Mizuno’s fan-shaped wave technology. Therefore, the shoes have different wave heights that provide more cushion and stability for runners.
The midsole layer is also designed with U4icX technology which provides a softer impact for runners and allows runners to have smoother transitions and a more energized ride. Also, if you need or just prefer more cushion, they also have a removable insole that you can easily replace.
My favorite feature about these shoes is that they are also lightweight. In fact, they only weigh 8.7 which is even light than the Wave Horizon model I had previously tried which weighed in at 9.7 ounces.
I feel like this is a major benefit to runners who need a stability shoe but are also looking for a shoe that is lightweight as well. The upper portion of the shoe is designed with a breathable air mesh that helps the shoes to be lightweight, but also breathable. This provides runners with a more ventilated fit and keeps your feet cool and dry.
Supportive & Design
Even though this shoe is light weight it also provides a supportive ride during runs. The midsole is created with Mizuno’s U4ic and U4icX technology which provides runners with a comfortable and stable ride. It is also worth mentioning that I felt like my heel fit perfectly down inside of the shoe, and the back of the inner portion of the shoe is soft and comfortable.
Furthermore, I was also very impressed with the overall design of the shoe and the colors. Online Mizuno offers this shoe in four assorted colors. I looked at all the varieties of colors and I felt like they offered designs that most consumers could pick a color style that they liked.
A few disadvantages
Even with the greatest running shoe designs, there will always be a few disadvantages that individuals will experience while running in them. One of the only problems that I have experienced with Mizuno shoes is that they fit a little tighter on your foot compared to other shoe brands.
This is not a big enough issue for me to have to get a larger size, but it is worth mentioning because I have read other reviews where individuals have complained about this.
Another thing that I noticed was when I searched for the retail price of these shoes, they were priced at $130.00.
I think this price might be high for some consumers, and some may wait for these to go on sale before they purchased them, especially if they have never run in Mizuno before.
To conclude, I have found these shoes to be excellent stability running shoe. The light weight fit and cushion provides runners with optimal support and speed. There are a variety of color options to choose from and they are stylish in design.
Lastly, after running in them I have found them to be durable and are a great investment for runners looking for a lasting running shoe. I would encourage any runner looking for a stability shoe to give these shoes a try.
Mizuno has shared with the world its latest response to the stability shoe market, this time as the Wave Inspire 15. I was excited immediately with the tropical color scheme; I felt like I was running back in sunny southern Florida.
But I live in Portland, and here it is wet and messy most months out of the year, so let’s put this shoe to the test!
The shoe is looking sharp with the initial glance over. I like the mesh upper, the laces, the intense midsole, and the solid tread.
One can notice that this is a bit of a Clydesdale when picking it up; the shoe is a bit clunky compared to others, and pretty stiff to the touch. I realize this shoe will be tough to destroy; I’m just hoping it doesn’t destroy my foot.
First 50 miles
You can tell the difference in this shoe as soon as you take your first steps. No joke, I couldn’t tell I was wearing shoes the first few steps of my very first run.
The shoe continued to demonstrate a strong personality and build throughout these first 50 miles as I was able to take them on the roads, sidewalks, gravel, stones, grass, dirt, mud, and just about everywhere in between. They handled the cold and wet days well, and they tolerated the surprising winter warmer days over these last few weeks.
I like the general look of this shoe. The tongue and laces are quality; not too thick, not too thin. They stay in place and are smooth to the touch.
The new mesh covering for the 15 is a nice addition. I like the look and feel of it, and it has provided good protection from the elements, while also allowing for sweat to dry pretty quickly during and after the runs.
As I mentioned earlier, the color schemes seem pretty fun. One thing I always wonder about with new shoes is if they can retire to become my daily sneakers for casual wear, and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear these around town. The heel is a bit loose for my liking, but it has not hindered my runs in any way yet.
The U4icX technology that makes up most of the midsole has been surprisingly stable and responsive. I was worried about the weight and the stiffness of the shoe, but overall I have not come across too many issues during the runs.
I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of ‘empty space’ in the midsole that some of the U4icX plastic allows for, but nothing has gotten stuck inside of it yet, so I don’t even think of it much. Again, THE PADDING!
I honestly feel very good with the padding, especially in the forefoot. While I generally run with pretty good form, I can tell that the shoes are compensating for muscle fatigue, especially later in the runs. Again, these are not the most responsive shoes in the world and have a tendency to feel a bit clunky at times, but man, they cover my butt on long runs time and time again.
The tread and grip on the outsole has treated me well in a multitude of winter running scenes. I have taken these shoes through puddles, over ice, rocks, and mud, and they have performed great. Otherwise, things are pretty standard underneath, with no complaints about a road shoe.
While I’m not terribly impressed with the weight or the bulky look of the shoe, they perform great for the stability model they are.
As a very average older runner who often feels the pain of soreness and tightness the next morning, these shoes have offered relief of pain not only during the runs, but even the next day. I look forward to using these as my training workhorse for the next 500 miles.
I was beyond excited to receive another pair of Mizuno shoes because this brand has traditionally been my go to road trainer. All of my previous Mizuno shoes have been spectacular and I expected this shoe to be no different.
In my opinion, Mizuno Wave technology sets the standard of what all shoe companies should strive for. This is one of the main shoes I use in my rotation when I run on asphalt, the track, or the dreaded treadmill.
Specifications & fit
- Weight - 10.3oz or 294 grams
- Heel to toe Drop - 12mm
- Heel Height - 30mm
- Forefoot height - 18mm
- Overall Cushioning - Moderate
- Designed for - Moderate Over Pronators
The Wave Inspire is the 15th edition of Wave line and my first shoe experience from this line. The shoe has kept its minimal design, excellent traction, and supreme comfort. The latest version is offering a new upper with a softer fit and a more wearable look.
I prefer minimal shoes when running short distances and this shoe offers simplicity and responsiveness I need, while still offering enough cushion for optimum comfort.
I have only used this shoe for training runs so far but it has held up well in all areas.
In true Mizuno style, they offer their shoes in many complex colors as well as the traditional all black or “Black Dark Shadow”. The other colors offered are quarry-stormy-weather, ocean-depths-cloud, and blue wing teal.
Almost all Mizuno shoes have the same style and look to them with the logo largely on display and thick midsole that shows the wave technology used in every shoe.
In some instances, it does look a little old school in turns of its engineering design. However, I kind of like it because when you’ve got the overlays and stitching involved, there’s a little more care and love that’s gone into making this shoe.
In my opinion, this shoe looks a little old school in turns of its basic engineering design. However, I am a fan of the reinforced double stitching, which should help its durability.
The Wave Inspire 15 runs true to size and offers a very secure fit. I have had no issues with my foot-sliding forward when running. It’s always a relief when the shoe runs true to size.
Like most road shoes compared to trail shoes a break in period is not required which is a nice change. The Wave Inspire 15 are very comfortable and offer an excellent cushion for longer runs.
In my experience, road running shoes usually require less of a break in period (if any) than typical trail running shoes. The Wave Inspire 15 are comfortable from the start to end.
The only problem I encountered with this shoe as I had a bout with my plantar fasciitis for a couple of months and I was unable to wear this shoe without pain occurring during the bottom. However, this isn’t a big concern since this shoe is not meant for that purpose.
One feature I have grown to appreciate with all Mizuno shoes is the jacquard mesh technology that they use on it for its durability, flexibility, and breathability.
Mizuno has developed a shoe technology called Dynamotion fit, which aims to simulate the natural fluid motion of the foot throughout the shoe. This keeps the shoe neutral and uses this technology to help mimic the foot natural movement while running and secure the foot as it flexes and extends.
Due to this jacquard mesh region of the shoe I have not had a problem rubbing, pinching, or blistering.
The tongue of the shoe is a jacquard mesh, which is great, providing plenty of ventilation and comfort. The tongue of the shoe stays in place during use, which helps keep out debris.
I have come to appreciate Mizuno heel cup and have no began to expect every shoe I wear to have an excellent heel cup.
While it is still very minimal, the area around the heel has 30mm of cushion to prevent any discomfort while running. I am always looking for the perfect balance between minimal and comfortable, which this shoe succeeds in.
When you put on the Wave Inspire you feel your heel slide right in the shoe, it feels fantastic. You know it’s on, you know you’ve got that support in the back half and it will not become loose while in use.
The Wave Inspires midsole is comprised of U4ic and U4icX for the cushioning system and wave technology for the midsole of the shoe, which offers excellent protection.
The wave technology has been a staple in Mizuno shoes for many years and for good reason.
The Wave Inspire 15 features the Cloudwave fan-shaped Mizuno Wave Technology which is a black thermal piece of plastic that starts at the heel of the shoe and runs along to the forefront to help with cushioning in each step.
The wave technology splits the softer foam from the more firm foam, which is actually very comfortable.
The SmoothRide technology is still in use with the latest version of the Mizuno Wave Inspire. This midsole technology is designed to create a smooth ride by regulating the movement of the foot during rapid acceleration and deceleration. This technology is supposed to decrease impact, as well as offer excellent support, and helps improve motion.
A “U4ic” foam midsole, which is specific to all Mizuno running shoes, helps disperse energy from impact and improves the ride of the shoe.
The lightweight nature of the midsole does not take away from its durability or comfort. From heel to toe the U4ic midsole offers stellar shock absorption which helps keeps the foot moving forward at all times.
The Wave Inspire 15 outsole is comprised of blown-rubber called “Smooth Ride” for the forefoot and X-10 rubber for the heel.
Blown rubber is simply a hybrid rubber compound comprised of rubber and air, which gives you a lightweight outsole that has a decent cushion. X-10 rubber is the Mizuno brand name for their outsole, which is comprised of the most durable carbon rubber.
The heel of the shoe offers excellent comfort and grip with the blown rubber and the X-10 carbon rubber. The Forefront of the foot uses the Smooth Ride, which offers excellent support regardless if you’re a heel striker or a midfoot striker.
The upper of the shoe has been reinforced with a carbon rubber outsole, which has proven to be highly durable and maintains its comfort while on long runs.
I have over 60 miles in this shoe and it shows zero signs of damage, which is something that is the standard for Mizuno shoes. I did notice some loose thread from the stitching when I first got this shoe but I cut it off and it has yet reoccur as an issue.
- High drop
- Somewhat heavy
My first pair of wave inspire 15 shoes did not disappoint and I am delighted that I have found another Mizuno shoe that I can put into my rotation. I recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a comfortable training road shoe that offers durability and breathability.
This Mizuno shoe isn’t anything surprising or innovating because it's very similar to other Mizuno shoes, however, the only difference is the introduction to jacquard mesh on the upper of the shoe.
Thank you, Mizuno, for creating another excellent shoe.
Good to know
- The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 features several updates to satisfy runners who need moderate support and dynamic cushioning. The shoe has been modified from top to bottom. One significant update is the new jacquard mesh in the upper of the Inspire 15. The mesh offers a breathable foot coverage while delivering durability and support.
- The interior of the shoe also features several enhancements. The shoe has a U4icX heel wedge for a smoother landing and a new U4icX Strobel Board for an increased comfort.
- Lastly, the outsole has deeper flex grooves for enhanced flexibility. It encourages efficient toe-off.
The 15th version of the Wave Inspire is still using the durable X10 outsole material. It is a high-abrasion carbon rubber strategically placed in the outer sole for durability. It also offers a good amount of traction on varied road surfaces. This durable outsole material is also used in some popular Mizuno running shoes, like the Wave Rider.
The Wave Inspire 15 features much deeper flex grooves which are designed to enhanced flexibility without affecting underfoot protection. It allows the foot to move efficiently to multiple directions for an enhanced heel to toe transition.
In the midsole of the Wave Inspire 15 is the Cloudwave fan-shaped Mizuno Wave Technology. It aims to provide efficient impact protection and a more stable ride. The Wave plate is also designed to deliver a smoother heel-to-toe transition.
Working together with the Wave plate is the U4icX heel wedge. This midsole technology offers responsive cushioning while delivering a plush landing under the foot. The shoe also features the new U4icX Strobel board for an increased in-step comfort.
The SmoothRide technology is still present in the latest version of the Mizuno Wave Inspire. This midsole technology is designed to create a smooth ride by regulating the movement of the foot during a rapid acceleration and deceleration.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 features a redesigned upper for a modern touch and enhanced fit. It uses a jacquard mesh upper that delivers unmatched breathability and comfort. This upper material is durable and flexible enough to accommodate the natural curve of the foot.
The Mizuno Dynamotion Fit aims to mirror the movement of the foot while running. As the foot bends, stretches and twists, the Dyanmotion Fit mimicks toot’s movement. It wraps the foot comfortably while delivering a more secure foot wrap.
The shoe uses a traditional lace-up closure. It secures the foot comfortably without giving too much pressure.
The padded tongue and collar further enhance the overall fit and comfort of the shoe.