Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Review

Mizuno has updated the Wave Inspire with an upper change for 2020. What’s new with the Wave Inspire 16? Let’s find out!

Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 vs Wave Inspire 15

The Wave Inspire 16 doesn’t deviate much from the 15, but the upper does have some slight tweaks, changing the fit a little bit. Despite no apparent outsole, midsole, or sock liner changes, the new 16 feels a little lower/firmer in the forefoot. This could just be manufacturing issue with our first shipment. Overall, Mizuno hasn’t messed with their well-received Inspire 15 (and 14…).

  • Weight is almost identical – Mizuno claims a slight weight decrease, but any differences would be so small that you wouldn’t be able to notice it on-foot
  • No claimed changes to the midsole or outsole, but the 16s that we have in-store seem to have a little less in the forefoot for some reason
  • The forefoot just seems to be a little lower/deader in the 16 – similar to a Nike with a blown airbag
  • The new upper provides a little bit better fit all-around, with more room in the toebox and a better heel fit – while feeling a little less boxy throughout the shoe
  • The new WaveKnit version provides a modern look and fit
  • Those who liked the Inspire 15 will have little to complain about with this update, especially if the “blown airbag” feel in the forefoot turns out to be an early production issue

Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Review

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Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Review

Fit

The Wave Inspire 16 provides a pretty standard fit through the heel and midfoot. The toebox now has ample room in terms of both depth and width. Length is true-to-size. The fit of the Inspire 16 improves on the shoe’s streamlined feel overall while feeling a little less boxy. The WaveKnit version provides the sock-like fit and feel that you would expect from a modern knit upper and feels pretty good.

Feel

Mizuno’s recent trend towards plush shoes attempts to march on, with the Wave Inspire 16 attempting to keep the nice soft ride that the 14 introduced. Mizuno claims that there are no differences in the outsole and midsole of the new Inspire, and to the eye, the 16s look identical to the 15s. Putting your foot in and stepping down, however, reveals that something isn’t the same. The forefoot is noticeably slimmer/deader/lower than the 15 when compared head-to-head. In recent years, Mizuno has done a great job in making the ride of the shoe soft and light while still maintaining the stability and durability of the wave plate, but there seems to be something off about the forefoot of the 16. This could be something in the manufacturing of the early versions, some result of the upper change, a deliberate change in midsole durometer, or something else. The heel plushness and the step-in feel of the Inspire 16 certainly make it feel like a premium shoe. Compared to its mild-guidance competitors, the Inspire 16 is still one of the softest, plushest options available. It also makes it one of the least performance-feeling shoes in the field.

Function

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 maintains the amount of mild-pronation correction found in previous Inspires. It can be used by runners who need and desire a slight amount of guidance, while also being appropriate for neutral runners who don’t have any lateral bias as well as those who may pronate considerably but don’t feel comfortable in more beefy stability shoes.

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Comparisons:

Mizuno Wave Inspire vs Wave Rider:

The Inspire and Rider are designed with a different runners in mind – with the Wave Rider being designed as a standard-weight trainer for neutral runners who don’t pronate and the Inspire designed to prevent pronation for runners with some flexibility in their gate. Fit is similar on each shoe, with the Inspire maybe having a little more room in the toebox or at least having a slightly more flexible upper. There is a slight difference in the feel of the shoes – with the Rider having a little higher-feeling heel and riding a little softer overall. Function is the biggest difference between the shoes, with the Inspire having a pretty good amount of support for runners who pronate and the Rider lacking that guidance.

Mizuno Wave Inspire vs Asics GT 2000:

The Wave Inspire 16 feels higher and softer than the 2000, while the 2000 feels a little faster/performance based. The Inspire is more flexible and has a better transition, however, so some of that playfulness of the 2000 is negated by feeling a little boxy. The amount of guidance is pretty similar, with the 2000 maybe having a small amount more support (but in terms of real-world performance, the two should be considered the same). The 2000 is a wider in the heel and midfoot, but could be up to half a size smaller (and feels that specifically because of a really shallow toebox). The weight is identical, and feels similar on-foot, with the 2000s more performance feel negated by it’s inflexible transition.

Mizuno Wave Inspire vs Brooks Adrenaline GTS:

The Inspire is a little lower than the Adrenaline and due to the Adrenaline’s plush interior it doesn’t feel as soft. The Adrenaline is wider, especially in the forefoot – and toebox depth is about the same. The arch is more prominent in the Adrenaline, and the shoe feels a little more contoured overall. Both provide about the same amount of support for pronation, and either are a good choice for runners looking for a moderate amount of guidance. Weight is about the same on the scale and isn’t really perceptible on-foot

Mizuno Wave Inspire vs ASICS GEL Kayano:

The Inspire 16 is a little softer than the Kayano, and the two shoes have a pretty different overall experience. You feel higher in the Kayano, but that doesn’t directly translate into a softer ride. ASICS has really improved the transition on the Kayano so that it doesn’t provide such a solid boot-like feel on heel strike, but you still feel like the Kayano is a little more of a solid platform without the flexibility of the Inspire.  The Kayano 26 is heavier and feels heavier on your foot, but also provides much more guidance for those with a tendency to roll in. The Inspire is much narrower throughout the shoe, but toebox depth is about the same.

 

Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 Review

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