Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 - Women's Review
Cons: Stuffy upper
Sizes Available: 6 through 12
Upper Material: mesh with synthetic overlays
The Mizuno Wave Inspire is a fantastic stability shoe that hit high marks during our side-by-side comparison. Mizuno issued the Wave Inspire 11 as we were nearing completion of this review and we will discuss the feature updates from the Inspire 10 in relevant categories: breathability and upper comfort. Utilizing the awesome Mizuno Wave Plate Technology, both iterations of this shoe deliver a smooth ride in a simultaneously lightweight and stable package. If you've put off running because the only stability shoes you can find have made it feel like you're lugging bricks around on your feet, check out the Mizuno Wave Inspire — you'll be blown away.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Mizuno Wave Inspire offers cushioned stability with enough responsiveness to keep you going mile after mile without weighing you down. The cushioning used in the Wave Inspire feels significantly less 'cushiony' and soft when comparing it to the Asics Gel Kayano 21 - Women's, but rest assured that you are getting a good deal of shock attenuation due to the U4ic (pronounced euphoric) midsole and the wave plate technology. The biggest changes to the update are the return to a two-piece construction with the applied runbird application, providing support to the arch and midfoot, and a return to an older model of Mizuno mesh.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 is an amazingly responsive shoe. The ride in this shoe was consistently smooth from our first mile to our last. Mizuno puts a lot of attention into creating fluid motion with their SmoothRide Engineering. The Flex Grooves in the heel and forefoot work together to create a sort of rocker feeling. This rocker is much less obvious and more natural than the rocker drop-off in the Hoka Conqest. On top of the sole is the wave plate that ends at the forefoot allowing for more flexibility and a better feel of the road. Finally, the U4ic midsole cushioning distributes the shock of landing throughout the sole but doesn't cause the foot to sink in or be swallowed by the material. The cumulative result is a firm yet cushioned sole.
Initial runs in this shoe felt heavily cushioned. Under the midsole, in the heel of the shoe, sits the Wave Plate. This feature helps to disperse shock upon landing, which allowed us to take on big descents and hilly runs with out any problems. The U4ic midsole also comes into play again here. It doesn't offer anything like the plush cushion of the Asics Gel Kayano or the Hoka One One Conquest - Women's but it gets the job done, and unlike the Kayano and Conquest, it's responsive to boot.
The first thing we thought when we pulled the Wave Inspire 10 out of the box was that the materials felt cheap and stiff. The DMF upper is made of mesh with welded synthetic overlays. Subsequent runs in the Inspire proved that the stiff, uncomfortable materials and design of the upper were not a good direction for the shoe. Luckily, the Inspire 11 returned to a more tried and true upper that offers a more comfortable feel on foot. The shoe feels a bit more snug through the bridge, comfortable through the toe box, and average at the heel. The Wave Inspire comes in three widths to accommodate the varying feet of many different runners.
The Wave and flex grooves in the sole of the Mizuno Wave Inspire offer awesome gait guidance and support in a responsive package. Contrast this feel with the highly supportive but less responsive Asics Gel-Kayano 21. You can't go wrong with either shoe, but the difference in fit and feel shows on either end of the stability spectrum.
The lightweight, compact Wave plate is unique in that it doesn't break down overtime like EVA foam. A durable patch of X10 carbon rubber in the heel has not yet shown signs of wear. This feels like a very durable shoe that will not degrade as quickly as most of the other shoes we reviewed.
Frankly, breathability in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 was not great. Even at shorter distances, our feet just felt hot and sweaty. This wouldn't be an issue during the colder months, but take note if you plan to use this model in humid climates. The Inspire 11 improves with the switch in upper materials but not quite enough to bump the ranking any higher than a 6. If breathability and a comfortable upper are really important to you, check out the Saucony Virrata 2 - Women's, but know that you will be sacrificing stability and support.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 and 11 both come in at just over 7 ounces in a women's size 7, with the 11 being slightly heavier due to the change in materials. This shoe is so light yet stable, we would highly recommend it to those seeking lightweight cushioning in a stability shoe.
Additional Design Considerations
The design of the Mizuno Wave Inspire skews towards a traditional, classy aesthetic with three color options available in the Inspire 11 and seven in the Inspire 10 model.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire works well for runners who value responsive cushioning and run with a neutral to over-pronating gait.
The Mizuno is priced about $40 lower than the other stability shoe in our review and it is extremely durable. This shoe is an excellent value and you will be able to get great mileage out of it.
Pick up the Mizuno Wave Inspire if you need a stability shoe that is consistently supportive mile after mile. The Inspire is so light and responsive; it is a real game changer for runners who need stability features but are feeling confined by some of the heavier options.
— Kelly Mackey
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