Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 Suitable for Long and Slow Runs


The Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 is a robustly constructed trainer, built to withstand heavy use. Its build quality is exceptional, utilizing high-grade materials. However, when worn, this shoe doesn't evoke much excitement.

Do you deserve Mizuno Wave Inspire 20?

The Wave Inspire is created for runners requiring a moderate level of stability support and who intend to cover numerous miles. Its design is favorable for those with a light foot strike, making it particularly suitable for runners on the lighter side.

This isn't crafted for individuals seeking a bit more springiness or a softer journey with their footwear. If your foot strike is heavier, I would recommend exploring other options.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 Brief Introduction

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 represents the newest version of a long-standing classic in the Mizuno collection. The endurance of this shoe model over two decades indicates its solid positioning in the market. In this version, the company incorporates their unique Wave plate technology for maintaining alignment while running and an ENERZY Foam midsole for added comfort during your run.

With a retail price set at $140, the Wave Inspire is facing fierce competition with some of the most sought-after stability footgear in the marketplace.

This version has to stand its ground against reputable models like the Saucony Guide 17, New Balance 860v13, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23, Brooks Hyperion GTS, HOKA Arahi 7, adidas Supernova Solution, ASICS GT2000, and Altra Provision 8.

Related: Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 with Excellent Upper and Durability

Although I haven't tried all other stability shoes mentioned, I am familiar with the midsole technologies that most employ. Mizuno, in this scenario, is renowned for its firm support, a feature that appears consistent over the years. For runners who prefer a rigid feel underfoot, Mizuno never disappoints.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 Running Experience


On receiving these shoes, their appearance left a lasting impression on me. The blue color scheme featuring three varying hues, blending into white and offset by a vibrant volt green, is extremely eye-catching. The materials used for the upper part are soft and flexible straight from the box. The overall aesthetics instantly inspired me to slip my feet inside.

During my initial run, a 4-mile gentle jog, the shoe performed commendably. It wasn't overly thrilling, but it was entirely reliable and supportive. I felt that it could use a bit more bounce compared to the other shoes I've previously tried. However, I remained hopeful that over time the cushioning would soften, leading to an increased bounce, similar to what transpired with the Saucony Triumph RFG.

Employing them for everyday wear at my job (as a teacher) was excellent. The firm cushion provided consistent support, helping me stay revitalized throughout the day. I've opted to continue wearing them at school.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 Upper/Vamp


The upper part is a one-piece knit structure with embedded overlays for firmness. This supple, elastic upper provides excellent support across the foot and adjusts synchronously with your entire running stride. Thanks to the knit design, the shoe exhibits significant breathability in warmer weather. However, the snugness of the knit ensures that running in freezing temperatures doesn't feel overly cold.

The shoe's fit is accurate, providing enough space for a more natural foot alignment. The heel is notably snug, effectively securing the heel without the requirement for locking laces. This snugness eases up towards the midfoot, offering support, and significantly broadens in the toe box providing ample space for your toes.

The upper's tongue is cushioned and remains stable during your run, helping to distribute the pressure from the laces evenly. However, keep in mind that the laces are excessively long. If the locking eyelet is not in use, you'll find an excess of lace and even when tied, the laces might hang underfoot.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 20 Sole Units

sole units

Mizuno incorporates their ENERZY foam at the top and bottom of the midsole, providing a cushy journey. Sandwiched between these two foam layers, they've embedded an Elastollan N series Wave Plate - a plant-derived plastic that delivers support and a responsive touch.

This plate is fitted under the heel and extends through the midfoot, adhering to the foot's natural anatomical curve, thus providing additional support and stability during your run. Nevertheless, regardless of the runs I had with them, the cushioning lacked a bouncy feel.

Underneath the midsole, Mizuno employs an X10 blown rubber outsole for superior grip. This outsole surpassed many others from different companies I've recently tested. It demonstrated excellent performance in dry, wet, and snowy conditions on both cement and gravel surfaces.

The sole unit measures 37.5mm under the heel and 25.5mm beneath the forefoot, with a 12mm offset. The footbed broadens underneath the toe, granting a natural sensation in your toe-off, thanks to the intentional rocker design and the progression from a narrower heel to a wider toe area.

Summary and Conclusion


This shoe represents a true paradox to me. On the positive side, its upper is among the finest I've worn in years; it's precisely adjusted, supportive, breathable, soft, and wisely proportioned in its design. But conversely, the midsole leaves much to be desired in terms of inspiration.

Ultimately, I place more emphasis on the shoe's sole unit than its upper. Numerous excellent options in the market offer sole units that are soft, springy, and supportive, even if their uppers are merely satisfactory. And to be honest, I'd likely prefer to run in those types of shoes than in ones with a perfect upper but subpar cushioning.

This shoe simply didn't meet my expectations. The cushioning was too solid for my preference, resulting in a ride that could feel rather abrupt occasionally. Unlike some firm shoes, which successfully provide a bouncing sensation, this one lacked that capability.

Even after logging in more than 70 miles of running in these shoes, the cushioning refused to become softer. Initially, I thought it could be about requiring a break-in period, but that moment never arrived. It thus seems Mizuno intentionally designed the shoe to maintain its firmness.

While trying to increase my speed, I often felt like I was struggling against the shoe. Regrettably, this means this shoe type is only suitable for long, slow distance (LSD) runs. However, if a gentle ride isn't given during these slow runs, it's unlikely that I'll enjoy the running experience.

There might be other runners who appreciate the Mizuno Wave Inspire, and I can comprehend their reasons. However, unfortunately, I'm not one of them.

  • Product: Mizuno Wave Inspire 20
  • Price: $140
  • Styles & Colors:
    • ABYSS-WHITE (9S00)
    • EBONY-WHITE (EY00)
    • WHITE-IRON GATE (0096)
  • Usage:
    • Daily training
    • LSD(long slow distance) running
    • daily wear (such as teachers who need long time standing)
  • Details:
    • Jacquard Mesh Upper
    • Gusseted Tongue: makes foot securely and comfortably
    • X10 Outsole allows for longer wear
    • Heel-drop: 12mm
    • Weight: 10.8 oz (Size 9)
side overlays