Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Review
It boasts a super-cushioned ride that cradles your foot in place, and won’t break down into a pancake even after hundreds of miles. It won’t give you that springy toe-off found in neutral trainers, which makes this option great for distance, but not so great for speed. If you are a heavy heel striker, overpronate, or just love cushioned stability without a lot of extra weight and bulk, this shoe is worth checking out.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the features that make the Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 one of the best stability trainers out there on the market!
Great shoe for running long distances
Wave plate provides a rocking chair effect
Breathable and water-resistant mesh upper
Curved heel box for maximum stability
No notable break-in period
Slightly more affordable than other stability trainers
Deep heel counter
Not ideal for speed
Minimal energy return
Mizuno doesn’t just toss in a thick layer of EVA foam in the midsole and call it a day. This complex midsole is composed of three different layers of cushioning that serve very specific purposes. The three layers include Mizuno’s classic U4IC foam, a Cloudwave wave plate, and is topped off by a super soft layer of their U4ICx foam.
The base layer is composed of the classic U4IC (pronounced euphoric) material that works to absorb the shock of running on hard surfaces as well as enhance its overall durability. On the top layer is the cushy and updated U4ICx foam. This foam offers heightened cushioning for soft step-in feel and works to offset the rigid middle plate.
In the center of these two foam layers is Mizuno’s patented wave plate. It is composed of elastic thermoplastic that guides your foot into a nice and easy rocking chair motion to help with overpronation. While other brands use guide rails, this wave plate system guides your entire foot, not just the forefoot.
Many of the changes made to the Wave Inspire 16 lie in the upper. This upper is composed of dual materials that work to cradle your foot in place while lifting hot air up and away from your foot. It is composed of a breathable knit mesh and is reinforced with an added layer of Dynamotion fit in the forefoot for more breathable and better overall lockdown.
Personally, I love the design of the heel. I hate it when lower-cut heels feel like they are always shifting and clipping my Achilles, and the higher cut and curved design of the Wave Inspire 16 really stays put. It is composed of stiff materials that really cradle your heel from top to bottom, and on that first run feel like something that you have worn for years. If you detest that initial break-in period when getting to know a new pair of trainers, this shoe is a great choice.
Another thing I love about the upper of this design is that it is free of hot spots or places that will rub your feet raw. I found that even without running socks, there are virtually no places on the inside of this shoe that rub my feet, even when I start to sweat. The addition of a 5th eyelet in the lacing allows runners to craft a more personalized fit that works for a wide variety of feet.
The outsole is the real workhouse of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 16. It is composed of a thick layer of blown rubber that shows little signs of wear and tear, even after 100 miles. It has an added layer of carbon rubber, called X10, that offers you a little more stability in the heel, a well as boosts your overall traction.
It is also built with flex grooves in the rubber to give you slightly more flexibility in the foot. It is important to note that while these flex grooves allow your feet to move a little, it is a fairly stiff shoe. These grooves in the rubber give you just enough room to lock your feet into a nice and easy tempo run. But not enough to gain speed or turn on a dime.
I would suggest this shoe for anyone looking for a good stability trainer that doesn’t look like a stability trainer. While it boasts high-end stability features in the midsole and outsole, the upper remains sleek and stylish. The heel cup makes this shoe a perfect fit for heavier runners, newbies that need just a little extra stability while they perfect their form, or veteran runners looking for a good everyday trainer that won’t beat up their legs and joints. Basically, it’s good for just about anyone.
This is a road running shoe through and through, which means that it is not ideal for the trails. I suggest taking this shoe on a nice and easy tempo run around the block, on the treadmill, or the track. While the deep flex grooves on the outsole will give you extra traction on uneven surfaces, you will lose a good deal of stability on difficult trailheads.
Previous versions of the Wave Inspire struggled a bit to help runners craft that perfect fit and the updated upper of this newest model works to craft a more customized fit. Its dual layer of stretch fabric and Dynamotion cradle your foot in place without cutting off circulation to your toes or creating uncomfortable hot spots. These materials mold to the shape of your foot that not only feels comfortable but is insanely supportive as well.
One thing that I did notice when combing through hundreds of reviews is that there are some users that felt that the toe box of this model was a little narrower than they expected. The good news, however, is that this model is also offered in wide sizing options as well! I suggest taking ample measurements of your foot and comparing it to the Mizuno sizing chart to ensure you get the right size for your foot.
One of the things I love most about this shoe is that it comes in at a super affordable price point, and almost pushed it into the category of budget-friendly stability trainers! These supportive shoes often clock in at a pretty steep price point, but the Wave Inspire 16 boasts a much lower price tag than its competitors. If you are looking for a great stability shoe that won’t drain your bank account, you have come to the right place!
Comparisons to Previous Versions
However, there have been some small tweaks and changes made to the construction of the upper. These changes help to craft a more fitted and customized feel that works for a wide variety of runners. They swapped out synthetic mesh for a knit material that feels like a little blanket for your feet while maximizing breathability and cutting down on your break-in time.
Generally speaking, I feel that the changes made to the upper make this shoe look more modern and less clunky. Previous iterations of this shoe possess that classic ‘stability shoe’ bulky upper that is padded with thick materials around the collar and tongue. This updated design boasts an upper that looks like a neutral trainer while providing all of the advanced features of a stability shoe.
I would recommend this shoe for anyone that wants a good stability shoe that helps naturally correct overpronation, or for heavy heel strikers. The durable materials hold up quite well even after hundreds of miles, and the durable midsole won’t flatten out into a pancake. It’s not the most flexible or versatile trainer out there, so I suggest sticking to long distances or nice and easy tempo runs while wearing this shoe. I love it because it’s sleek and modern, insanely supportive, and you can’t beat that price point!