Detailed Review: Mizuno Wave Inspire 12

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 - Toe
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 – Toe

The Wave Inspire 12 is a nice balance between lighter weight and support for an overpronator who may well have low arches, heel strike and wear down the inside of their shoes.

It’s a supportive shoe that will suit many runners who ‘want a bit of speed’ too.

It is extremely difficult to correct a low arch with muscle strengthening and much easier instead to use more appropriate footwear. Such footwear will reduce injuries by limiting the inward roll of the foot. Whilst a specially designed shoe is great for achieving this correction; an overpronator might also consider working in parallel at their general strength & flexibility.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 - Rear
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 – Rear

The Inspire 12s arrived at the start of the month and I’ve had the chance for a few longer runs to have a play and compare them to other shoes.

Like many well-intentioned, mid-foot striking runners, as I fatigue I tend to slip to heel striking. Even Haile Gebrselassie does that 🙂 I used to heel strike anyway (years ago) and can now, sort of, change back to heel striking if I want to or am forced to. So I can change how I run, perversely, to suit some kinds of shoes!

Anyway. After 30 minutes or so of the first run, the thing I most noticed compared to other shoes, like the Waverider 19s for example, was that the FOREFOOT cushioning is excellent. I dwelled on that as I have an aggravated injury under my toes – technically known as ‘the padded bit at the front of your sole’. Cushioning helps! Strange that! Actually it made running quite a lot more comfortable and pleasurable. This sort of comment may actually important to you; if you have a certain running style or injury and are recommended a kind of shoe it really IS best to go with the advice perhaps taking a slight hit on the weight of the shoe as you discard the sexier, lighter race shoe that would probably have made you slower or your injury worse.

Comparing to lighter shoes like Waveriders; obviously the next noticeable thing is the slightly higher weight (315g men, 260g women) which I just hinted at. The needed additional support/stabilisation comes at a 30g, or so, cost. ie not much! Even a 260g women’s running shoe is light in the grand scheme of things. Certainly these are the types of weights that are suitable for extended training periods.

The ramp of the Inspire 12 is, co-incidentally, 12mm. This means that the heel is higher than the toe-end by 12mm.

So what?

Do you get Achilles problems? There could be a multitude of causes for that but one of them is how much of a range of motion the Achilles has to accommodate. More range=more stress=potentially pain/injury. A 12mm ramp is fairly normal, if you still get Achilles problems with that then one self-medicating thing to try is to increase the effective ramp with a heel insert. A few mm can make a big difference.

Whilst contemplating all of this I kind of forgot that I wasn’t thinking much about my relatively unusual, to me, heel strike. I suppose that was good. The shoe was handling very well and even doing a pretty good job on some mushed-up grassland. Nice.

Back on hard ground a proper and exaggerated heel strike was comfortably controlled by the rear of the shoe.

After that run, and a few more miles later, I can report back that the Wave Inspire 12 pretty much does what it says on the tin. It’s a more-than-reasonably lightweight, yet supportive, shoe for a wide range of runners. Great for training. If you REALLY need support for one-off racing too then you would wear them for racing. Great for parkruns and HMs

Some technical bits – not that interesting to many of you but read on if you dare!

The upper mesh fabric is pretty similar to the Waverider 18/17 both of which I used extensively. It’s great. Super breathable.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 - Upper
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 – Upper

Construction Quality

The overall construction quality is excellent. Every last seam and component oozes quality. Look at the accuracy of the stitching in the following image. Attention to detail speaks loudly.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 - Front
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 – Front


Mizuno have experimented with a few types of ‘tread’ pattern over the last few years. IMO this new one for the 12s is one of the better patterns and a very similar pattern was used last year on different Mizuno models. However this is an ‘upgrade’ from the Inspire 11.

Looking at the images below, the 12’s tread is a better, more flexible pattern on the sole. The pattern allows correctly-positioned flexing through the white areas/lines/grooves of the yellow part of the sole.

More details too if we look at the U4ic labelled midsole; this is a light & durable shock absorber. Inside the shoe, underneath the cushioned insole, you will find the new improved U4ic X strobelboard base.  U4iC technology again comes I to play with the X10 black impact area structures of the rear sole. All good stuff.

The strobelboard is the ‘hard’ upper base plate beneath the removable insert in all shoes. One criticism from other reviewers in previous years was that the strobelboard was too firm. Well not any more, it’s changed. And it isn’t too firm. There you go!


You can see the U4ic X midsole construction on the image below, as mentioned earlier. I think this feature is making a Mizuno-first on the Inspire 12?? Again you can see a high degree of quality in the construction…important when you think of the properties of all the different material types in a shoe that must be stuck and stitched together in several different ways.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 - Rear
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 – Rear



A great shoe for an overpronator and/or someone who needs a supportive shoe. It’s lightweight and so is going to be a quick option for those runner types. It’s a comfy shoe to run on, in terms of the entire sole construction, and it was also a great fit to me which of course helps a lot. The Inspire 12 has a great quality of construction that will last.

Top shoe for a speedy heel striker.



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3 thoughts on “Detailed Review: Mizuno Wave Inspire 12

  1. Hello, I have Achilles tendinitis issue. I have tried the Asics-Nimbus 18 for 6 months. I need another shoes for my daily average running schedule. Please let me know which is better shoe Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 or Mizuno Wave rider 19. I am kinda of lost between these two. If you have any other shoes in mind, please do suggest. Thank you. Appreciate it.

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