Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 General Info:
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 is now in its second decade and the platform remains dedicated to providing a stable, light and quick ride that many runners can enjoy. The 11th edition enters the fray with a carryover midsole and a newly refined upper.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 First Impression:
Along with its sister neutral shoe, the Mizuno Wave Rider, the Wave Inspire 11 continues to play it pretty safe in both form and function. The shoe still fills the role of core stability shoe in the Mizuno lineup.
As such it aims to deliver moderate stability and not be too crazy in terms of visual design. My test pair arrived in a very attractive cement gray and bright green. It’s primarily a conservative design but with just a touch of flash.
Mizuno treats the Wave Inspire 11 to a fresh upper while utilizing the same midsole from the Wave Inspire 10. The fit has changed dramatically from the previous version; now the shoe fits slimmer and more shallow, not unlike the Wave Inspire 9.
Even with the upper changes my size stayed true to the US 10 that I always wear.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 Sole unit:
The heart of any Mizuno running shoe is always the wave plate. This is a plastic plate that serves as a “suspension system” for the shoe and provides shock dispersion, additional structure and torque resistance that other shoe designs have difficulty matching.
The Wave Inspire 11 features the exact same design found in the Wave Inspire 10. Mizuno engineers stability into this plate by leaving open holes on the lateral heel aspect of the shoe while the medial side gets a “two up, two down” reinforced wave design that places extra rigidity under the heel and rear of the arch.
The midsole material is U4IC (euphoric) which made its debut last year on the Wave Inspire 10. Mizuno claims it is lighter than the previous AP+ foam while retaining the same level of durability. Mizuno also places a wedge of SR Touch foam in the heel to further reduce shock from heel strike.
Like the Wave Inspire 10, the 11th edition features a considerably more curved last than in any previous Wave Inspire version. Blown rubber is featured on the outsole everywhere except for the heel which uses higher durability X10 carbon rubber.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 Upper unit:
Clearly, all of the focus on improvement went into the upper of the Wave Inspire 11. In the 10th version, Mizuno cleaned house of nearly all sewn overlays and went with almost a completely welded overlay shoe.
That’s now changed. Mizuno has returned to a more traditionally constructed upper for the Wave Inspire 11. We now have a thicker, sewn on medial and lateral Runbird logo, sewn eyelet row and a sewn medial arch strap that mates up to the eyelet row.
In fact, I could only find three welded reinforcements; a lateral plastic netting under the Runbird logo and two hidden “underlays” connecting the eyelet row to the toe box. What remains of the upper consists of a breathable medium size oval hole mesh.
The heel counter remains firm and the tongue is sufficiently padded even though it’s on the short side. The heel collar lining has been exchanged to include a finely woven material that seems more welcoming than before.
Finally, Mizuno has further softened the Ortholite style sockliner to allows just a bit more of a softer feel.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 Opinion:
I have run in nearly every version of the Wave Inspire with the exception of the first and third version. I still have a pair of the Wave Inspire 2’s because I have so many fond memories of running in this shoe.
With that in mind, I was somewhat disappointed in the Wave Inspire 10. I did not review it for this website but I did review the Wave Inspire 9 here. I did, however, run through three pairs of the 10’s so I got to know that shoe quite well. Almost everything that the Wave Inspire 10 got wrong has been fixed in the 11.
First, the upper in the Wave Inspire 11 is a return to form. It delivers a sleeker, form fitting feel that keeps the foot more locked in to the midsole.
In the 10, the upper was so deep and loose that my foot slid around quite a bit. I would find myself tying the laces too tight to try and fix it but all I would end up with is sore feet from excessive lace pressure. No fun.
The Wave Inspire 11 has a fit that allows me to relax the laces a bit, which I appreciate. The shoe simply stays in place. I also noticed that the eyelet row is not cinched at all, something that the Wave Inspire 10 certainly did.
While Mizuno definitely got the fit dialed in, I’m not entirely sold on this midsole design. I don’t think it’s at all unfair for me to compare this shoe to the Wave Inspire 9, which I thought was about as good as a stability shoe has ever been.
As I said before, this is a carryover midsole so the ride remains unchanged from the 10th Inspire. Mizuno has beefed up the lateral design of the heel and I feel like it doesn’t lay down as well as the Wave Inspire 9 did.
In fact, it actually slings me into pronation sooner! If the medial side wasn’t also reinforced, I’d have real difficulty training in this shoe. I have very flexible arches and my navicular bone drops considerably during mid stance so I appreciate a shoe that has a firm arch located near the heel which the Inspire 11 still maintains.
I also noticed that the U4IC midsole foam is worse about creasing under pressure than the older AP+ foam. Newer isn’t always better is the lesson here, I suppose.
At any rate, I still like the Wave Inspire 11. It is still a stable, secure, and light shoe that will fill the role of trainer and distance racer for many runners.
Considering that Mizuno did a 180 on the upper and delivered a winning fit, I can hold out hope that the next midsole design will bear in mind the success of its legacy shoes while still focusing on improvement.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of Wave Inspire 11 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.