Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 Review

On Amazon’s Prime Day this year, Mizuno Wave Inspire 12s were on sale for a pretty unbeatable price. I hadn’t tried Mizunos before. I’m more of a Brooks and Saucony runner, it’s just the way I was raised. But I had been seeing the Mizuno bird on the feet of many other runners and decided to give them a shot. I took them out on a 14 mile run to see how they compared.

The first thing I noticed was the weight. Though they don’t have a significantly larger bottom or padding, the weight is noticeably more than my Brooks or Sauconys. In fact, the 12s are even significantly heavier than the 11s were, by over 10%. With this weight comes a bit more stability, but I did feel it increased fatigue once getting into double digit miles. It’s also not a shoe that pushes you to keep increasing, or even keep up the speed. If the Brooks are a shoe that feel like they want to go fast, the Mizunos are more happy to keep going, but don’t care if you slow down a bit.

Another noticeable feature of the Mizuno Waves is the Mizuno Wave itself. Not the shoe, but a white plastic wave that runs through the heel half of the shoe and adds stability. I found that the shoes were way more stable than any other shoe I had run in. With that stability is far less pronation. In fact the shoes feel like your feet are planted into the pavement and do not rotate at all. Perhaps because my ankles weren’t used to this support, they got quite sore by the end of the run. They must be used to more give and rotation in the shoes.

Tucked in there is the plastic “wave” for stability

The shoes in general do not have much give. A feeling of firmness permeates the whole design and feel. The cushioning itself even does not give much. I found it to feel something like running on a plank of wood. There is some slight bend in the cushion, but at a point, there is just no more room for your foot to go down and it strikes the ground. It’s a jarring feeling compared with the other shoes. Especially with the heavier profile, I expected a more pillowy ride.

The insides of the shoes are to me, class leading. The material is simultaneously soft and form fitting while not at all abrasive. The lining acts as a sort of memory foam for your foot. Though the cushion in the ride is a bit harsh, the cushion inside the shoe is fantastic. My sock slid down my foot during the run and with any other shoe I would have had a major blister on the back of my heel. With the Mizunos, I didn’t have a mark.

The toe area of the shoes is also quite roomy which is great for runners like me with what can be nicely described as runners’ foot, or less nicely as Frankenstein toes. I never felt my toes getting squashed or cramped in the shoes, though toward the end of the run I did feel a bit of my toes banging into the front of the shoe, though the nice foamy cushion helped soften the impact.

With all this lining comes a cost. The inside of these shoes get hot. There is little room for breathing in them. After an hour, my feet were noticeably warm. By the end, they were broiling. Sure it was 85 degrees outside, but I never noticed such a foot oven in other shoes.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 12s are a pretty solid shoe. It’s far from average with some qualities that you may love and others that you may hate. I can see some runners swearing by them and others hating them. To me, the pros and cons sort of balance out. The stability seems like a con right now, but I could see it being a pro after getting more used to it. I’ll have to see how my feet get acquainted to it after more training, but for now I wouldn’t recommend them for runners used to other shoes. For a first shoe, or for those used to Mizunos, they are a good balanced shoe.

Much padding, little cushion. The little bird is pretty cool though

Overall Rating: 3 / 5 stars.

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