Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 Review Facts
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 is a stability shoe that has been updated with lots of exciting technologies that the Inspire 13 does not have. It is best suited for a pronated foot type, and although stability is certainly its most noticeable feature, it is also known to be durable, breathable, and to have good protection—plus, it’s stylish. Mizuno added lots of exciting technologies into this shoe. To name a few, there’s the X10 technology for traction and durability in the heel area, Cloudwave technology plus a traditional fan-shaped wave plate in the midsole for extra stability, SmoothRide technology for a smooth toe-off, and Dynamotion Fit in the upper for protection and comfort. The shoe has few cons—the only thing reviewers have reported disliking are the facts that the shoe is heavy and not very responsive. Let’s dive a little deeper into the features of the Inspire 14.
The outsole has blown rubber material and X10 technology. It is very durable and responsive. It also offers reliable traction for road running—there are a few flex grooves on the outsole, which give you improved traction on wet and dry surfaces.
These flex grooves help with heel-to-toe transition. The blown rubber compound in the forefoot is there for durability, cushioning, and traction. Meanwhile, the X10 technology adds traction and durability in the heel area. It protects the entire sole unit. The outsole package has many strong features and offers durability, traction, protection, cushioning, and stability.
The Wave Inspire 14 has a midsole that uses Mizuno’s Cloudwave technology. This design is meant to provide a running experience that is soft and smooth. So the midsole is very responsive, cushioned, and absorbs impacts and protects your joints well. It also lets you have an efficient heel-to-toe transition. Of course, the shoe also includes a fan-shaped wave plate. The two waves are at different heights to give you the greatest amount of stability possible. Not only does the midsole feature Wave technologies, but it also includes U4ic and U4icX foam compounds—lightweight cushioning materials to produce a high-rebound performance. Plus, SmoothRide technology helps you achieve a smoother transition from landing to toe-off. Overall, the midsole gives plenty of stability—especially to over-pronators
—while running on the road.
The upper portion of the shoe is extremely well-made and checks off every box on the list. It is made with a lightweight, open mesh material that is very breathable; in addition to allowing good airflow, this mesh is also stretchy and comfortable. The mesh works with Mizuno’s Dynamotion Fit technology to add comfort, security, and more. As far as style, the upper has stitched overlays that add a strong structure as well as look nice. However, it has been reported that these stylish stitches are very uncomfortable. This is counteracted by the soft collar that provides comfort and stability. Finally, the lacing system of the Inspire 14 has semi-stretchable round laces. This system adds extra security and works together with the padded tongue to keep you comfortable. It even has some extra eyelets to additionally secure the ankle while running.
Several separate components of the Inspire 14 are lightweight. The mesh material of the upper is very lightweight. The midsole is lightweight, too, specifically the U4ic and U4icX foam compounds that it contains for cushioning. However, the overall shoe is a bit heavier, coming in at 10.4 ounces; the Runner’s World Shoe Lab reports that 65% of shoes are lighter. This heavier weight, though, is to be expected with a stability shoe.
Because the SmoothRide technology gives you a smooth transition, the shoe feels light even though it isn’t really.
The open construction of the upper utilizes a mesh that is breathable and allows a good flow of air around your foot. No complaints are to be found about the breathability of the Wave 14—the mesh upper means that it is excellent, and no previous testers have had any problems whatsoever with the breathability or with blisters.
The good breathability properties of the Mizuno 14, along with the fact that the traction is good for even wet surfaces, make this shoe a solid choice for all year long in any type of weather.
Previous reviewers have reported that the stitched overlays of the shoe caused irritation and were quite uncomfortable. The heel of the Inspire 14 is also very narrow, which causes discomfort too. However, on the other end of the shoe, the toe box is wide and roomy. The rest of the stretchy mesh upper (besides the stitched overlays) is comfortable. The soft collar provides comfort, as does the padded tongue. There is a thicker sock liner than in previous incarnations of the shoe, and under the liner you will find another new soft material. So in most areas, the Inspire 14 is adequately comfortable.
Although Mizuno has not always been on the mark style-wise, the Inspire 14 is clean and has some nice color choices. In the upper, stitched overlays provide a nice touch. As far as colorways, women are offered black/silver (with mint accents), aquarius/white (different shades of blue, with neon yellow accents), dapple gray/clover (clover refers to a plum color), and folkstone gray/pink glo. The men’s shoe is offered in dark shadow/black (black all over with a white sole), silver/directoire blue, directoire blue/blue depths, and magnet lime/punch (dark gray with neon yellow and orange accents). Although some iterations of the Inspire 14 might be a bit more neon than some people want to go, there are calmer options, too—Mizuno left something for everyone.
The outsole is possibly the most durable part of the shoe, which is good, considering the amount of wear and tear it will receive. The stitched-on overlays are also durable—a nice change from the no-sew overlays that most running shoes utilize now, which are not as durable. The price of the Inspire 14 is on the higher end, so many consumers have been glad the shoe will last some time.
The shoe absorbs shock well—in fact, testers reported it felt like a set of shock absorbers—because of the technology in the midsole (Cloudwave technology, fan-shaped wave plate, foam compounds, and SmoothRide technology). There is extra protection for your arch and heel, too, because of the arch wrap; it has been redesigned and is set slightly back to make sure your heel and arch are locked in place. The Inspire 14 protects your foot well, which is one reason that it’s good for running on light trails that may have uneven surfaces.
Despite the many midsole technologies—the Cloudwave technology paired with the traditional fan-shaped wave plate is supposed to be very responsive—the Inspire 14 does not actually offer a great energy return. The fact that the shoe is on the heavier side (10.4 ounces) certainly detracts from its responsiveness. The only part of the shoe that is up to par as far as the responsiveness goes is the outsole; here, the blown rubber compound plus X10 technology do create good responsiveness.
Mizuno’s Inspire series always has some kind of arch support. On the medial side, the Wave Plate is essentially built up; this is different from other brands, most of which use a dual density foam under the arch area instead. But Mizuno has a non-intrusive (meaning that you don’t feel it on the arch like you might feel the dual density foam) and supportive arch support. The reason this shoe is so ideal for over-pronators is because of the arch support—when the foot collapses on the medial side, twisting the joints, the arch support minimizes the amount of pronation velocity. Another place where the Inspire 14 offers good support is the heel;
it has a deep, strong heel counter that makes you feel secure.
The Inspire 14 is meant for roads, but is okay on light trails.
In the outsole, a blown rubber compound and X10 technology add traction. Plus, a few flex grooves mean that the traction is acceptable on both wet and dry surfaces. The traction will be excellent on paved surfaces, and acceptable on softer surfaces and/or light trails. Your foot will be protected on uneven surfaces such as trails because of the excellent stability offered by the Inspire 14.
The price of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 is somewhat higher than comparable shoes (for instance, it is a little more expensive than the Inspire 13, which is to be expected since the 14 is the most updated model), and it may be hard to fork over the money. But keep in mind that the shoe actually has very few cons, so you should be getting a good bang for your buck. Every part of the shoe is durable, so it should last you for quite a while—meaning, again, that you will get your money’s worth out of the shoe.
The outsole features both a blown rubber material and X10 technology; working together, these technologies add reliable traction for road running. The flex grooves on the outsole are meant to make the shoe okay for wet surfaces,
and testers have reported that the flex grooves indeed do their job, giving the shoe good traction on any surface. It grips the terrain well. The rubber design and the layout of the flex grooves were changed slightly from the Inspire 13 to produce even better traction. Because of the good traction offered by the Inspire 14, you can run confidently on both paved surfaces and trails.
It has been reported that the Inspire 14 is quite stiff—that is, everywhere except the forefoot. The forefoot is flexible because of the medial support given by the Wave Plate. The Wave Plate ends right before the first flex groove, and this means that you get a quicker transition through your toe off. Many other Mizuno shoes have had forefoot-specific Wave Plates, so the Inspire 14 offers a nice change with a flexible forefoot. The forefoot is designed so well that, for many reviewers, it effectively canceled out the rest of the inflexible shoe.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 is a stability shoe; it’s especially good for over-pronators because of the midsole technologies. The Cloudwave technology plus the fan-shaped wave plate in the midsole work together to provide excellent stability—they’re actually set at two different heights to give you maximum stability levels—and because of these Wave technologies, your heel-to-toe transition will always feel secure. Plus, the internal heel counter ensures extra stability in that area.
The heel-to-toe drop
is 12.1 mm, which is very high compared to similar shoes. According to Runner’s World, 88% of shoes have less drop than the Inspire 14.
• Outsole features blown rubber and X10 technology for durability and traction; good for both road running and trail running
• Midsole has Cloudwave technology plus fan-shaped wave plate for max stability
• SmoothRide technology produces a smooth transition
• Dynamotion Fit makes the upper comfortable and secure
• Flexible forefoot because the Wave Plate ends right before the first flex groove
• Non-intrusive arch support is great for over-pronators
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 is expensive, not responsive, and heavier than comparable shoes. But the good features of the Inspire 14 certainly outweigh the bad. The blown rubber material and X10 technology in the outsole provide good traction in any conditions and on light trails as well as roads; two wave plates, both Cloudwave technology and a traditional fan-shaped wave plate, combine for maximum stability (the shoe is especially geared for over-pronators); and the mesh upper is excellently breathable. Plus, the shoe protects your foot well, is durable, and has a nice range of color options. Overall, the Mizuno Wave Inspire is the perfect choice for your next stability running shoe.