By Paul Freary
Now in its twentieth iteration, the Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoe continues to be a popular choice for over-pronators. The combination of cushioning and dynamic support works well for a wide range of runners making it a consideration for many when purchasing new running shoes.
In the Wave Inspire 20, we see improvements in both the control and cushioning as well as a new upper for an improved fit. Read my Mizuno Inspire 20 review to find out about its performance and my views on it.
Fit / Tech
From top to bottom, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 has been refreshed and updated for an improved fit and ride.
A new AIRmesh upper uses an engineered mesh construction to create an upper that holds the foot well, yet at the same time allows for a little ‘wiggle-room’ across the forefoot.
The fit is true to size in length and width but does have a little more volume in the toe box area which helps accommodate those with a higher volume forefoot or those simply wanting a slightly roomier fit. The shoe does fit well and it’s by no means a wide fit, it’s just a little more accommodating than some options in this category.
Cushioning has been increased by 2mm in overall stack height. This comes from the brands ENERZY foam, a responsive midsole foam that gives the shoe a nice level of ‘energy-return’ that’s not often found in support-type running shoes.
The Wave plate is also refreshed in the update with an anatomical-shaped version. Here the plate feels natural under the foot yet still manages to provide effective support and control.
Mizuno’s Wave plate technology works in a similar manner to a wave washing up on the shore. A low wave is gentle and soft, like the shape used in the shoe on the lateral side of the midsole; here its purpose is to provide cushioning.
On the medial side of the shoe, we see a deeper wave, the higher wave is stronger and so as the foot rolls inwards towards it (pronates) its rate of pronation is slowed or reduced.
Being tapered through the width of the shoe the Mizuno Wave tends to have a dynamic nature. Should the foot remain neutral it will sit more centrally on the Wave, should it pronate more, the effect of the stronger shape of the Wave takes effect.
In my experience, the Wave has always proved to be an effective method of controlling pronation.
The sole of the Wave Inspire 20 provides full-length durable traction with a pattern that’s great in a wide range of conditions. I find the small, studded pattern in the forefoot works well on the road as well as on light gravel trails, making this a versatile option.
Wave Inspire 20
Control shoe for over-
Mid-level, responsive cushioning
37.5mm Heel /
Suggested Retail Price
£140 / $140
True to size
Pulling the shoe on gives an instantly comfortable fit and feel. The upper construction is well-made with a premium feel. I particularly like the neatly padded ankle collar, Achilles area and tongue, all of which provide a plush fit around the foot.
The engineered mesh of the upper is breathable and the bonded overlays help create the structure of the upper and provide support around the midfoot. A more ‘open’ construction to the mesh in the forefoot allows for a little more volume as I previously mentioned, so there’s no feeling of the toes being crammed in.
Once on the move the increased cushioning, albeit only 2 additional mm is noticeable and that’s perhaps due to the increase coming in the form of the brand’s ENERZY foam. This foam cushioning material offers a noticeable more responsive feel and a nice level of ‘energy-return’. It’s not a super-soft or indeed super-springy feel, more it just feels perfectly dialled in to the needs of the shoe.
The initial impact is soft, with both the foam and Wave technology working well together to absorb heel strike. The Wave plate does a great job of providing control and reducing the rate of overpronation without it ever becoming intrusive.
The structure and shape of the shoe under the arch of the foot is a little more defined than other models in the support category and from my experience, those suffering from Plantar Fasciitis often chose the Wave Inspire thanks to this slightly more defined shape.
The support or control shoe category is one of the most competitive in the market, with several very popular contenders.
I’d compare the Wave Inspire with shoes such as the New Balance 860v13, Saucony Guide 16 and Brooks Adrenaline GTS23. All these shoes are aimed at the same type of runner, overpronators, are in a similar price bracket and offer similar levels of control.
The New Balance and Saucony offer traditional ‘medial post’ type support, the Mizuno has a similar, but not strictly medial post, offering a slightly more dynamic effect and the Brooks has its GuideRails to help provide the control.
On the run, it must be said the four shoes mentioned here do a very similar job in helping control overpronation and which you choose may very well come down to simply the overall fit and feel.
Of these options, it’s really hard to say which is better as they all work very well and have a similar feel in terms of cushioning as well as support.
In conclusion, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 is a great update to this model and one which benefits from the extra cushioning.
The overall feel of the running shoe is improved over the previous model and while the Wave is a slightly updated shape, it remains effective without being intrusive.
The ride of the shoe is smooth and relatively responsive. The weight of the shoe is, on the scales a little heavier than some contenders but it doesn’t feel heavier on the foot. I’d say this is thanks to the great fit and feel, the shoe feeling a little lighter thanks to being well-balanced.
While the shoe is very much a daily training model, I find I am able to pick up the pace in the Inspire for tempo runs. In doing so the shoe feels supportive and cushioned and able to tackle longer runs on the roads.
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 is a competitively priced shoe too, in fact, it’s a very competitive part of the running shoe market, with this type of model being a very popular choice.
The Mizuno is a ‘safe bet’ for support and cushioning in a daily mileage model.