I’ve always known about Mizuno as a sports shoe brand but I’ve never owned a pair of their shoes until I started running. The one thing I can say now is that I wish I’d tried their shoes earlier.
So without further ado, here is my Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 Review
- Superior build quality
- Good stability
- Not the greatest looking shoe
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 is the 14th iteration of the Wave Inspire lineup, which is Mizuno’s stability, road running shoes. Mizuno has since released the Wave Inspire 15, but being the budget sensitive person I am, this allowed me to get the Wave Inspire 14 cheaper – I did try on the Wave Inspire 15, but for all intents and purposes, they seemed to be pretty identical except that the 15 looked a bit sleeker.
The Wave Inspire 14 has a heel-to-toe drop of 12mm, and weighs 305 grams in a men’s US size 9.
Size & fit
In terms of size, I found that the Wave Inspire 14 was true to size – what’s nifty is that it comes in 2E width for wider feet (which I do have) and this means a little extra room in the toebox.
In terms of on the foot feel, I have to say that the Wave Inspire 14 has one of the most comfortable toeboxes of all the shoe I own. The insole seems to caress and mold to your foot, making for an extremely comfortable fit. Similarly, the heel fit is great thanks to loads of cushioning.
The Wave Inspire 14 features something Mizuno calls “jacquard mesh” which I understand (from Google) is pretty much just a fancy way of saying it’s a type of mesh. It features many perforations all over the upper which makes for great ventilation despite it being quite thick.
The laces are super thick, which is great because I found myself pulling on them really hard quite a lot – because the upper has so many layers, when you tighten the shoe, there’s quite a lot of compression that happens. It can be kind of tricky to find what’s tight enough when first using the shoe, but eventually you find your sweet spot.
The upper also features a whole lot of plastic overlays which both add stability as well as just generally adding weight given they don’t seem to serve any particular purpose, but overall gives the shoe it’s textbook “Mizuno” look. Despite all this, the upper feels really well put together and will probably survive some serious pounding.
Similar to the Brooks PureCadence 7, the heel collar features really thick, plush cushioning which helps make for a very comfortable fit around the ankle, and helps to lock in your ankle too. Because it’s thick around here, it also tends to absorb quite a lot of sweat.
The midsole features Mizuno’s cloudwave technology which is designed to provide an equal parts stable and cushioned ride, which for the most part, I can confirm. I’ve spent most of my early running career in stability shoes, and this midsole, which doesn’t appear to have any obvious stability features, provides a good level of support on short and medium runs.
On long runs up to about a half marathon, I think the Wave Inspire 14 is still good, but for me, on longer runs than that, the forefoot cushioning might not be sufficient enough, though that’s my opinion with my current foot strength.
I mention in the dislikes that the Wave Inspire 14 is quite heavy and a big reason for this is the outsole. While some more recent shoes have tried to find innovative ways of reducing the amount of heavy rubber on the bottom of the shoe without compromising durability, the Wave Inspire 14 goes in the other direction, providing probably more rubber than you could ever get through.
The outsole features ample SmoothRide rubber on all parts of the bottom of the shoe – except for a cutout in the heel – meaning no matter your kind of footstrike, you’ll more than likely have a shoe that’s going to survive you a long time.
After running in these shoes for over 200km, the rubber has started wearing on the outer edges, especially on the back corner, where I normally get lots of wear. To be honest, I thought there might have been more wear given the 12mm heel-to-toe drop lending itself to more heel striking, but this doesn’t seem to be obvious from the wear pattern.
I have to admit that there’s really nothing special about the ride of the Wave Inspire 14. It’s comfortable and plush, but it doesn’t feel like a particularly fast shoe nor does it really give you a racing feel.
What it does give me is a general sense of stability and security, which really doesn’t get mentioned in many shoe reviews, and depending on what you want from your running shoes, this might be a really valuable thing to have. For me, there are days where I just want to run and I don’t want to worry about rolling an ankle or want to give my calves a break – that’s when my Wave Inspire 14’s come out to play.
I like the Wave Inspire 14 – it’s not the flashiest shoe (some might say it’s the complete opposite) and it’s heavy and encumbered with loads of overlays and rubber. But it’s a shoe that can fill a specific purpose in your training lineup when you need some certainty on your run. It will get you from A to B, and from B to A again, and it will do it comfortably.