For 12 years the Wave Inspire has catered to the runner who needs extra support underfoot. For many years, the line offered a snappier, faster feeling shoe than rival entries.
Now the Wave Inspire has abandoned the shoe weight loss wars and weighs in beefier than perhaps ever before. This year’s model gets a redesigned midsole and upper.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 General Info
When I unboxed my test pair of Wave Inspire 12s, I immediately could tell that this shoe felt heavy in the hand. My suspicions were confirmed when I tried one on alongside last year’s Wave Inspire 11.
My shoe scale only put a figure to what I already knew; this shoe has put on some weight! My pair arrived in the bright blue and lime color scheme regularly found on Mizuno shoes.
The Wave Inspire 12 gets a new upper and midsole as well as some interior changes. The fit is still classic Mizuno; fitted in the heel and mid foot with an open toe box.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 Sole Unit
As always, the core of any Mizuno shoe is the wave plate. This is a plastic plate that works like the suspension system in an automobile.
It gives the shoe rigidity, shock dispersion and a measure of torque resistance that other shoe designs struggle to equal. It also contributes to the characteristic firm ride that Mizuno shoes are known for.
The Wave Inspire 12 features a carryover wave plate from last year but the rest of the midsole is updated.
It seems that Mizuno has changed the heel geometry in the Wave Inspire 12, deleting the SR Touch foam wedge and replacing it with a new compound called U4ic X.
This ties in with the rest of the midsole build which is comprised of Mizuno’s U4ic foam. The overall result is that the Wave Inspire 12 leans out a bit more laterally than the 11 did.
Essentially this means that the shoe will provide a greater wedging effect, or stability, than before. Mizuno has also added an additional layer of foam under the sock liner.
I’ve only seen this once before in a Mizuno; the Wave Nirvana 4, I believe. Even then, it was only found in the heel portion. Now, in the Wave Inspire 12, Mizuno has given the shoe the full length cushioned last treatment.
I’m guessing it’s a 65 durometer foam but I can’t be sure as it isn’t marked in any way. You might think of it as a memory foam top liner that you can place above the mattress in a bed. Same principle.
The outsole still features Mizuno’s X10 carbon rubber heel for abrasion resistance while the balance of the outsole gets a softer blown rubber. The outsole is also slightly less curved than the Wave Inspire 11.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 Upper Info
The Wave Inspire 12 continues with a traditional style upper as found on the 11. Almost all of the overlays are sewn versus being heat pressed as seen in the Wave Inspire 10.
The new upper is more substantial though and features more overlays than last year’s model did. A large Runbird logo connects the sewn eyelet row to a long overlay that encompasses both medial and lateral aspects of the shoe.
Additional heat pressed overlays shore up both sides as well. The toe box end cap is strikingly similar to the Wave Inspire 11 in both looks and in its sewn construction.
The mesh found in the upper now has an additional layer of fabric beneath it which makes for a thicker feel and causes the shoe to retain heat.
The tongue is medium thickness and the laces are the semi-flat style found on most modern running shoes. Interior fabrics feel identical to last season and are finely woven and nice to the touch. An OrthoLite style sockliner completes the package.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 Conclusions
I’ve spent a lot of time in Mizuno Inspires over the years. If memory serves, I only missed the first and third version of the shoe.
The seventh and tenth version of this shoe were real surprises where Mizuno went in a completely different direction from the preceding model.
I feel like the Wave Inspire 12 is earning a spot alongside those earlier releases with one exception; it’s a pretty good shoe to run in. This version is going to shock some people when they put it on.
It’s heavy and with Mizuno keeping the Inspire on a diet for the last several years, it may leave some long-time Inspire runners scratching their heads. No worries though. The Wave Inspire 12 is a solid shoe.
It could be that the minimalist, light at any cost movement is swinging back more towards center. The Wave Inspire 12 is heavy and it’s hot.
I cannot recall ever having heat issues in a Mizuno but I certainly did with the Wave Inspire 12. I believe it’s due to Mizuno adding another thicker layer of fabric under the upper.
The fit is fine with no gaps, bunching or pinching and the shoe runs true to size. The shoe also runs well enough despite its additional weight.
It’s stable in the heel and through the arch and with the redesigned lateral aspect, it no longer slings my foot into a faster pronation rate like the Wave Inspire 11 did.
Earlier versions, like the brilliant Wave Inspire 9, straddled the line with a racer like, low slung feel. This is gone. The Wave Inspire 12 feels like a daily trainer. A good one, but this shoe doesn’t make me feel like it wants to go fast.
The ride is now oddly soft thanks to new construction techniques that placed that extra layer of soft foam over the last. It still feels like a Mizuno, just a really soft one.
So while Mizuno has effectively erased the go fast feel that this shoe once sported, they have brought to market a solidly built, comfortable and stable shoe that will cover any distance.
I suspect that there’s more to come down the pipeline from Mizuno. Don’t be surprised if the Inspire replaces the Paradox as the top stability shoe and we get another lighter, faster stability shoe in the new year.
We thank the nice people at Mizuno for sending us a pair of Wave Inspire 12 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.