Sunday, January 01, 2023

Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 Multi Tester Review: A Refined & Sophisticated Stability Road Trainer. 7 Comparisons

Article by Joost de Raeymaeker, Jana Herzgova,  Ryan Eiler, Jeff Beck, Jacob Brady and Sam Winebaum

Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 ($140)


Sam: The Wave Inspire is Mizuno’s support daily trainer with moderate pronation control delivered largely through its Wave plate. At a stack height of 38.5 mm heel and 26.5 mm forefoot and weight of about 10.5 oz / 298 g it is no lightweight and doesn’t pretend to be as it has a substantial stack height of cushion and supportive upper. With its stout upper and extensive outsole rubber its mission is durability, consistency and protection. And we’ ll see, maybe some fun as it gets Mizuno quite lively Enerzy foam in a dual density setup. 

Fun, not a word associated in recent years with reliable, somewhat stodgy, always impeccable quality Mizuno as the market raced to lighter foams, minimal uppers, and innovative geometries. 

Yet in 2022 Mizuno shocked us twice. They were on the move and not just imitating the competition but taking bold steps. First with their Neo line of trainers focused on leading sustainability and not just uppers but by shoe weight with the Wave Neo Ultra (RTR Review) and Wave Neo Wind (RTR Review). Great rides, these premium shoes showed a truly meaningful commitment to sustainability. 

Then late in December a yet bigger shock as we tested the totally radical Wave Rebellion Pro  racer with its “missing” heel (RTR Review). Coming in 2023 it was a big winner in our annual contributors survey 

  • 2nd most mentioned shoe across all categories including Smiles

  • 3nd in race shoe

  • 1st for most Smiles

But, here we are at the Inspire, a shoe like many at runner brands that is the “bread and butter” model sold to loyal fans by the millions that keep the lights on and the innovations funded. Thus, while we clearly see the 19 is more than an upper update with its updated Wave and all Enerzy foam midsole, we expected incremental changes designed to refine a well tested and proven formula of a stability shoe that is not too much in the way of actual running.  

We noted in the Wave Rider 25 and 26 that the rides got softer more energetic and that the upper and its fit was no longer a straight jacket of overdone support so we expected some of the same here

Joost: Mizuno’s trusted stability shoe is in its 19th iteration. One of the oldies, and this is my first time running it. I normally don’t go for stability shoes because I feel they constrict my natural pronation a bit. Talking about pronation and overpronation..

A lot has been said and written about the issue in the last decade. Before the natural running and minimalist movements, brands would produce “motion control” shoes in order to stop the foot from pronating. Since then, it’s become clear that this is not really necessary. There are of course people with excessive pronation and a reasonable necessity to control how much their feet rotate inward on the anterior-posterior axis. As a general rule, pronation is a movement the foot has to make in order to absorb shock. During each part of the gait cycle where the foot is in contact with the ground, it needs to both pronate and supinate naturally. Nowadays, most stability shoes offer just enough support on the medial side to reduce extreme forms of pronation, without going to the extremes of control of a decade ago. 

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 offers just a little bit of support through its Wave plate and also has a more “traditional” 12mm drop, something else a lot of runners steer clear of these days. Nonetheless, as said at the start, the Wave Inspire is now 19 versions in, so there definitely is a market for them, even in 2023. Let’s see what it has to offer.



Just right flexible forefoot, enough outsole response, enough rebounding cushion, no bottoming out soft or over firmness. Sam/Joost/Ryan/Jeff

Great marriage of rubber and midsole upfront for enough cushion feel and response, very tricky Sam/Joost/Jana/Jeff

Combination of Wave plate geometry and 12mm drop drives you forward and easily at any pace and is not overly abrupt Sam/Joost/Jana/Jeff

Superb supportive and comfortable “conventional” upper, neither overwhelming or over light and loose anywhere Sam/Jacob/Joost/Jana/Ryan/Jeff

Darn good integration of Wave plate mid foot pronation control/ support and propulsion forward. Noticed and effective but not in the way, particularly as pace increases Sam/Joost/Jana

Very high quality construction, expected long durability Sam/Jacob/Joost/Jana/Ryan/Jeff

Very good outsole grip, enough “lugs” for light trails Joost


Weight at about 10.7 oz men’s US9 up there, about the same as 18: Sam/Jacob/Joost/Ryan

Trademark giant heel counter could be slimmed down: weight and a bit overdone: Sam/Joost/Ryan

Some may not care for the 12mm drop: Sam/Jana/Jeff 

Firm forefoot can feel harsh: Jacob

Ride is unforgiving, not smooth, and even hard to run at moderate to faster paces: Jacob

Tongue is a bit too thick at the top: Joost

A bit uninspiring looking (pun intended): Joost

Wave plate’s curved shape makes the entire heel overly stiff: Ryan/Jacob


  Samples: men’s  10.26 oz  /  291 g US8.5, M9.5 301g / 10.62 oz, 11.18 oz / 317g M10.5

Stack Height: men’s mm heel / mm forefoot :: women’s  mm heel / mm forefoot

12mm drop 


First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Jana: I have seen Mizuno Wave Inspire models in stores and on my friends, but I have never tried any of the previous models, so I was excited to try them. Straight out of the box, they are very comfortable, stable and recovery/easy run type of shoe. The gusseted tongue is a little bit bulky for me, but it has not been bothering me at all. T

The upper is breathable, seamless, and light, and I like the jacquard air mesh design/pattern.  The heel collar is cushioned, and keeps the heel locked in well.

My sweet spot is a 4-8mm drop, and I was surprised to find out that this model has a 12mm drop. I have not noticed the difference at all between my usual and the 12mm here.

Joost: The colorway that I got is a grayish blue with some orange touches and an orange/pinkish red outsole. If anything, it looks a little uninspiring (pun intended). Except for the Wave plate, it’s a very traditional looking running shoe in terms of shape and configuration. 

The fit is very comfortable, with ample room up front. The only thing that is a little awkward is the gusseted tongue, which seems a little too puffy at the top. 

The rest of the upper is fairly breathable and made of one piece of jacquard air mesh. 

There’s a little bit of a toe bumper, rising gradually from mid-forefoot to about 1cm over the curved upwards outsole rubber. The one piece upper and the gusseted tongue hold the midfoot securely in place.

There is some internal heel support from the ankle backwards and rising up to the heel collar, which is fairly minimal and well cushioned. 

There’s enough padding and firmness to keep the heel in place as well. There are 6 rows of eyelets plus the usual heel lock row reinforced with minimal rubbery overlays around the holes and around the eyestay. A very well executed upper by Mizuno, offering great confidence and support. The insole is the usual ortholite type of thing.

Sam: All the recent Mizuno have had incredible uppers losing none of their classic impeccable support but dramatically improving comfort. Here we have a quite dense and thin Jacquard stretch mesh upper with mid foot to rear 3D printing for yet more support and looks. Mizuno likes some real stretch in their uppers and here we have a somewhat stretchy engineered mesh. 

The hold is stout for sure and comfortable as well. The hold, heel to toe is without reproach if still a bit overdone and clutching out back. No question you are locked to the platform everywhere, and then some, yet at the same time there is also softness and stretch in the mix.

As with the Wave Rider 26 (almost identical fitting up front), the fit is true to size for me with wide sizing also available. I like that Mizuno makes their regular fit regular and not something between regular and wide. 

Ryan: The build quality appears high, especially in the nicely patterned mesh material used for the upper. The upper mesh is slightly plush thanks to an interior layer of backing which lines the inner forefoot, as well as a semi-gusseted tongue which adds to the first-impression pleasantries. The result is a very pleasant and slightly stretchy but capable upper, although I found it lacking a bit in the ventilation department.

In the rear of the shoe, the heel is built like a tank, with a solid heel counter reaching ¾ of the way up the heel, and a supporting cup reaching forward to the back of the Mizuno logos. All in all, it’s clear that this is a stability shoe. The front feels fairly traditional and pleasing, while the rear immediately asserts itself as if to let you know it will be in full control. My M9.5 fits true to size.

Jacob: I received the Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 unexpectedly and out of the box was struck by the high-quality construction and design. The colorway is interesting but not flashy, the upper is soft and comfortable, the outsole is thick and robust. It looks and feels like a trainer that would last for a lot of miles. 

However, it is on the bulky side with a high weight, robust plastic stabilizing element in the midsole, and high stack. For a bit more on weight, at 349 g / 12.3 oz in my US M12 it is the third heaviest non-waterproof road shoe I’ve tested and heavier than most trail shoes that I regularly run.

On foot, the single-piece jacquard air mesh and guessed tongue lead to a comfortable and soft fit that isn’t too plush. I have had issues with sizing in Mizuno shoes before with the forefoot being too narrow and the heel hold being too loose. In the Wave Inspire 19 I have a bit of looseness in the heel which is manageable with thoughtful lacing, but the forefoot feels great, even with thick socks. Length and overall size is spot on true to size for me. It’s a nicely designed upper overall.

Jeff: I’ve been banging the “Mizuno fit and finish is the best around” drum for a very long time, and it’s nice to see they continue that trend across the more pedestrian Inspire line. Don’t take pedestrian to mean boring, because while they look like your run-of-the-mill stability trainers, it was evident right away that is not the case.

I’m not going to reiterate everything upper related already stated, but I would like to point out the toebox is very good and I sometime go to wide sizing. Not Altra/Topo wide, but much closer than you’d think just by looking at them. Also, the tongue is a little extra puffy, but I don’t mind it in the least. It gives a little more plushness to the whole package I appreciate. Lastly, sizing is spot on true-to-size in length and width.


Joost: The midsole is made of 2 pieces of Mizuno Enerzy foam with the Wave plate inserted between them. The top bit of Enerzy foam goes all the way from the heel to the forefoot (blue above), while the bottom part (white) goes from the heel to the front eyelet. 

The top feels a little softer than the bottom to the touch. The Wave plate is shaped differently on the lateral and medial sides to control pronation. 

This works really well, without being overbearing. I feel there’s just enough added stability to make it a great shoe for tired feet and legs. The foam feels comfortably soft, while still keeping a good degree of rebound and responsiveness. The forefoot is fairly flexible. A traditional 12mm drop might be noticeable by some, but is definitely not a deal breaker and I personally think there’s a place for all sorts of drops in  a decent running shoe rotation. 

Sam: I agree with Joost's description of the midsole. There is a lot of cushioning here as the big 38mm heel which even with the 12mm drop, gives one a 26mm forefoot stack height, so more upfront than shoes such as the ASICS Nimbus for example at 34/24. This is not classic EVA as Enerzy has for sure some “conservative” but noticed energy return. I find the outsole and midsole particularly well matched with lots of non ponderous rear cushion and with the forefoot in no way thin feeling. Just plain pleasant.

As a stability shoe there is of course noticed medial support from the Wave plate which is more prominent in looks than in quite similar Wave Rider 26 with its same stack height, but 0.5 oz lighter weight. 

Instead of a 3 peaked Wave as in the Inspire 18 (below) we have a single “wave” to the plate here on the medial side as shown above and a less aggressive shape on the lateral side.

Wave Inspire 18

The scaffolding-like geometry of the sides of the plate are clearly functional. One has a sense of a platform of support under the rear and mid foot and less of a “wall” of firm support as in many firmer foam posted or side plastic stability shoes. 

I also have the distinct sensation the Wave “gives” forward smoothly in transitions more than in most stability shoes and certainly more than in stability/support shoes such as the Nike Infinity or Brooks GTS which rely on more rigid higher elements at the top of the midsole. The gait sensation is of a stable consistent landing across the whole rear of the shoe with a flow forward from the heel that is smooth from the deep crash pad groove and the give of the Wave. 

This is followed closer to the forefoot by a more distinct drop down and toe off than say in the longer flexing Wave Rider.  

Jana: Joost summed it up well above, I have nothing to add to his midsole description.

Ryan: I largely concur with the way that Joost and Sam described the midsole. I’ll admit that I didn’t really notice the difference in midsole foam densities. The rebound rate and stability of the Enerzy might be described as a modern-day EVA – it offers a bit more bounce and refinement than past midsoles, but it’s also not what I would describe as ‘exciting’. While the forefoot is flexible and nicely behaved, the rigidity of the plate in the rear makes for a highly-controlled heel strike, as one would expect in this category of shoe. 

I’m convinced that the contours and sculpting of the Wave plate made for a more efficient ride than would have been achieved through more conventional and crude stability enhancements. At the risk of getting too technical, the ‘bending moment’ (i.e., stiffness) of a plate increases substantially when the shape includes curvature, instead of being fashioned as a simple, flat surface. By my assessment, the overall stiffness in the Inspire’s heel is higher than that of the Puma Deviate Nitro 2, which has a full-length carbon composite plate.

Jacob: The midsole is Mizuno Enerzy foam in a two-layer design with a short plastic stabilizing “wave plate” between the layers at mid foot. The plate is for pronation control, not propulsion. I find it adds stiffness but prefer flexible, free shoes, so I don’t love the structure or added weight of the plate. The foam feels plain in terms of rebound characteristics—it is medium firmness and feels softer in hand but interestingly firm underfoot. Despite the high stack it doesn’t have a lot of protection. There is not noticeable energy return and I think the foam + plate + outsole combination feels a bit plain overall. It does not contribute to an energetic or smooth ride.

Jeff: My biggest surprise was how minimal the massive plastic plate felt once I got going. I tend to stick with neutral shoes, but have tested roughly a dozen stability shoes over the last five years, and while this one visually seems to have the most stability, it isn’t in your face about it. I’d never pit it against one of the many super bouncy race shoes that are around, but considering what I was expecting, this shoe puts more spring in the step than it should. Also, any ruler hawks who would disqualify the shoe from your rotation for being a 12mm offset, don’t overthink it. It really doesn’t run like it has that high of a drop.


Joost: The outsole is made of 3 parts. The lateral heel is made of a tougher rubber than the rest to cater for heel strikers. The lateral forefoot is separated from the medial piece of outsole rubber by a curve of midsole rubber with a cut out groove in the heel section, exposing the plate. 

The rubber itself had lots of quite pronounced lugs, making the Wave Inspire 19 a good choice for light trails or dirt roads. I’ve been using them just for that here in the Namibian desert, where we’re spending the holidays with the family. Although I can see some wear on the front couple of rows of lugs (I seem to have a rather aggressive toe-off) after about 120km (75 miles or so), the rest of the outsole is still immaculate, so it should easily last hundreds of miles.

Jana: There is a fairly hard rubber covering the midsole which has great traction. I have used them on wet surfaces (thanks to many snow/rain storms lately), and had no problems at all. I have not run enough miles in them so far to be able to say anything about durability, but after ~ 60 miles there are no signs of wear as of yet. 

Ryan: The sheer volume and thickness of the rubber here bodes well for durability. Molded into small, squared lugs, the outsole tread can stand up to uneven running surfaces, but works well on asphalt too. With largely continuous coverage from heel to toe, this outsole layout supports a smooth and stable transition. Thicker rubber like this tends to add a touch of firm, responsive cushion as well. 

Sam: The others have described the outsole well. It should prove very durable and I particularly noted its excellent traction on loose sand over pavement along the coast. I always try to evaluate the impact of the outsole on the ride. Of course here the eye is drawn first to the 2 deeply separated rear pads.  The geometry allows the foot to flow forward easily at all paces with plenty of stable heel landing despite the looks.

The rubber firmness up front is particularly well matched to the midsole contributing to a very decent forefoot cushion feel, plenty of front stability and a quiet enough ride considering the high drop and amount of rubber. Front flexibility is especially good considering the stack height and amount of rubber with a long easy flex starting about where the Wave plate ends. 

Wave Inspire 18 outsole

Jacob: The outsole uses a nearly full coverage, decoupled, hard, durable, pretty grippy rubber. It has solid dry grip and I found it runs well on trails. The firmness adds to stability and durability to value with expected long life. The shallow lugs add versatility with multi-terrain traction. However, I think the hardness of the rubber does contribute to a bit of harshness in ride.

Jeff: I’d agree with what’s been written above. While I only have about 30 miles on my pair, I’ve run hundreds of miles on the same type of rubber across other Mizuno’s - durability isn’t an issue.


Joost: There are some elements of stability to be felt, but none of it amounts to an in your face ride-altering experience. The high drop and the cushioned, relatively flexible forefoot, make for an easy transition forward. Not a heel striker myself, I can feel it touching the ground a little earlier than it would normally and then being moved forward through my stride. During that short heel contact, I can feel the slight effect of my foot not turning inward as much as it normally would (according to my RunScribe data, I have a fair bit of very fast pronation). It’s not very easy to really pick up the pace in the Wave Inspire 19, but at any other pace, it’s a shoe with a traditional kind of feel to it.

Sam: A reliable highly cushioned ride with a touch of energy return that while not light or that quick feeling is very consistent and stable without overdoing the support and stability part but no speedy stuff in the Inspire for me. I tend to prefer neutral shoes but here in no way was I ever bothered by the support elements. They were never over present. Infinity has a ride that I appreciate for my slower “regular” more moderate pace days and also for recovery where I tend to prefer some stability and higher drop over lower drop high stack shoes which I find can feel overly ponderous to turn over. 

Jana: This shoe strikes a good balance between comfort, responsiveness and support. If you want a responsive shoe for your easy runs, this shoe definitely delivers. Happy feet!

Ryan: Here we have a ride suited to easy/moderate efforts. The brawny heel made itself noticed in my running, and prescribed a moderate dose of pronation control at all effort levels. The sturdy plate is nicely complemented by the high volume of forgiving Energy foam, but it was a touch too controlling for my tastes. But I personally favor neutral shoes, so stability-oriented runners may feel differently.

One of the bigger drawbacks of the Inspire for me was the monolithic nature of the heel strike, because of its highly rigid Wave plate. While its geometry arguably provides a more dynamic and ergonomic ride than a conventional stability device, its robust nature makes it feel involved in more than just stability – you can feel its effects in the shoe’s cushioning, transition, and even traction characteristics.

Like others, I don’t mind the high drop in a shoe in this category. The midsole’s stability doesn’t allow the high volume of foam to wander, and the drop worked with the shape of the plate to help with forward propulsion.

Jacob: The ride is where the Wave Inspire 19 is lacking for me as I found it overly hard and challenging to find a pace and form where I could run smoothly. I find it interesting that none of the other reviewers felt this way. The weight, bulk, stiffness, and hardness of the forefoot was a burden for me at all paces above just easy running. At easy paces and during road trail mixed runs , I appreciated the comfortable fit, good traction, and stability. 

However when running endurance paces or above on road I found the high weight to be distracting, my forefoot to get a bit sore, and a general lack of smoothness between strike and toe-off. My toes went numb on two of my test runs, I could never run without thinking about the shoe, and generally felt awkward running in it. The last shoe I had this experience with was the Mizuno Wave Rebellion, so perhaps there is something about the Mizuno geometry that doesn’t work well for me, though I hesitate to recommend the Wave Inspire 19 given my experience with it.

Jeff: Unfortunately for Jacob I’m also in the camp that felt that the shoe has surprisingly good running dynamics. I think of a stability trainer as a dull plodding affair, but this shoe is actually fun to run in. I stated above I wouldn’t take the Pepsi Challenge with it against a carbon plated super shoe, but it’s got plenty of cush and then bounce, similar to the Brooks Glycerin 20 or Saucony Triumph 20 I raved about earlier in the year.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Joost: It’s a good thing stability running shoes are still being made and improved upon as a category. Some runners are really at their best in these more traditional feeling (and in this case also looking) shoes. More than being a pure stability shoe, the Inspire feels like an old school running shoe, with a couple of modern twists, the Enerzy foam and the cleverly adapted Wave plate. If a more traditional feeling and riding shoe is your thing, it’s hard to go wrong with the Wave Inspire 19, especially if the retail value stays at around $135-140 for this version.

Joost’s Score: 9.26/10 (Ride 9.1/10 - 50%, Fit 9.6/10 - 30%, Value 9.5/10 - 15%, Style 8/10 - 5%)

Smiles Score: 😊😊😊😊

Jana: The Inspire 19 is a great stable daily trainer. I enjoyed the comfortable fitting upper that also made it a shoe I could wear all day long. Highly recommended if you are looking for a cushioned stability shoe that can handle a ton of miles. 

Jana’ Score: 9.35 /10

Ride: 9 - cushioned and pleasant

Value: 10 - a great daily trainer that can handle a lot of miles

Fit: 9 - stretchy upper may work for wider feet 

Style: 10 - likehow they look, and my light blue/turquoise colorway.

Smiles Score: 😊😊😊😊😊

Sam: The Inspire is reliable, supportive, has a touch of Enerzy foam fun, and is more than stable enough for those needing “pronation control” but not so much that a neutral runner such as me found them to be overdone and over prescriptive in the support department due to their excellent geometry and effective Wave plate. 

This is truly a sophisticated, very refined take on the stability trainer from top to bottom. They are the type of shoe I take out when I am tired and want to track straight and true without thinking too much about it and with enough move along and drop at 12mm to not be ponderous as similar max cushion stability and neutral trainers with lower drops can be at slower paces.

The upper and shoe overall has all the support you could wish for (maybe a touch to much at the rear for me) and as with the lower part of the shoe does it with plenty of just right comfort. The Inspire will not exactly “inspire” you to run fast and light on your feet but it may inspire you to get out there and run, in comfort and security day after day and for a long time as I expect them to be extremely durable. Thus, they are are a very solid value at $140 for an impeccably crafted shoe.  Due to its comfort, cushion and stability it is also an excellent walking and stand on hard surfaces all day option.

Sam’s Score: 9.03

Ride:8.6 Fit: 9.2 Value: 9.4 Style: 9.2


Ryan: For its stated intentions of delivering ample pronation control with plentiful protection, the Inspire 19 delivers a nice package. I admire both the quality of the upper, as well as Mizuno’s efforts in engineering a stability plate to aid running dynamics. 

While the Energy foam is an improvement over regular EVA and is very predictable underfoot, it doesn’t deliver feelings of lightness or springiness for faster running. I found the Wave plate to be a bit overbearing, not in its pronation control, but in how it involves itself in other aspects of the shoe. For folks looking for a well-made stability shoe of a great value and high comfort, which will likely last for several hundred miles, the Inspire is certainly worth a look.

Ryan’s Score: 8.5/10 (Deductions for overly stiff plate and quality of ride)

Smiles Score: 😊😊

Jacob: The Wave Inspire 19 has distinct pros and cons. It is comfortable, high-quality, durable, and stable. However, it is heavy, not energetic, and for me has a slightly harsh ride. I found it best for slow, easy runs on mixed terrain where the light trail made the forefoot feel a bit less harsh and the small lugs of the outsole could be put to use. At faster paces, the weight and dull midsole/outsole characteristics make it feel cumbersome and not smooth. Given the plethora of modern training shoes out there, I would only recommend the Wave Inspire 19 for runners who know that Mizuno shoes tend to work well for them and who want a long-lasting easy day shoe, especially if they prefer stability-focused shoes. I think that those who have not run Mizuno before or want a more modern, forgiving, versatile trainer that works well for a range of paces should look elsewhere.

Jacob’s Score: 7.43 / 10

Ride: 6 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style 8 (5%)

Smiles Score: 😊😊

Jeff: Well color me shocked. Not that a longtime Mizuno staple could be this good, but that a stability trainer could run this neutral and this fun. Visually it didn’t knock my socks off, but the fit is second to none, the outsole is exceptional, and this blend of Enerzy midsole, Wave Plate, and stability elements work much greater than it really should. We’ve been in a great place for the last few years with more and more daily trainers stepping their game up - but they’ve been nearly all for neutral runners - with the Inspire 19, support runners now have a seat at the table. 

Jeff’s Score 9.2/10 Ride: 8.5 Fit: 10 Value: 10 Style: 9



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18  

Sam: We did not test the 18 but note that with the 19 we now have an all Enerzy midsole in 2 densities vs. before Enerzy underfoot, and U4ic at the heel below the Wave plate.  The 19’s Wave plate is now a single Wave and not as in the 18 a zig zag of 3 peaks and 3 valleys. I have to imagine the new arrangement delivers a smoother ride. The weight stays the same at 10.6 oz.

Mizuno Wave Rider 26 (RTR Review)

Sam (US 8.5 in both): The Wave Rider is the more “neutral” sibling to the Inspire with the same Enerzy foam in dual density construction. It has the same stack height and 12mm drop as the Inspire. I took them for an A/B run one on each foot and found the front fit identical with the mid and rear foot fit of the Inspire a touch more locked down. 

Underfoot,  there are differences. The Wave Rider weighs about 0.5 oz / 13g less, I imagine due to its less extensive Wave. The Inspire clearly has more support from its more pronounced Wave plate with the sensation less of a wall but of a more raised platform of support on the medial side with the Wave Rider delivering a softer more easy going yet still stable rear feel. As its Wave is less extensive, the Rider is a bit easier and longer flexing than the Inspire with the Inspire having a more pronounced propulsive sensation up front. If you need the support go Wave Inspire,  but even if you do need a touch of support the lighter Wave Rider will give you some as well and is my pick between the two.

Saucony Guide 15 (RTR review)

Joost (M9.5 in both): The Saucony is a contemporary high stack take on the stability category, while the Wave Inspire feels like a more traditional running shoe. Depending on what you’re looking for, both will serve you well.

Saucony Tempus (RTR Review)

Joost (M9.5 in the Mizuno, M10 in the Saucony): I was sent ½ size up from my normal sizing for the Tempus and that was fairly obvious in the way it felt. That being said, it’s a great shoe with very subtle stability elements. My choice is the Tempus.

Sam: A new take on stability, the lighter Tempus has a supercritical PWRRUN PB PEBA foam core with a firmer outer frame of Saucony’s EVA/TPU blend. Its support features are more “on demand” based on foot strike than the more prescriptive Inspire’s. A faster shoe it serves neutral as well stability oriented strides equally as well. Tempus is clearly my pick but if you need more pronounced support top to bottom Inspire is a better choice. 

Ryan: The Tempus is certainly the more lively choice of these two, and my pick here. The Inspire delivers stability in a much more deliberate and assertive manner, in contrast to the Tempus which relies on a wider heel and a combination of foam densities to deliver control. I appreciated the more leg-friendly midsole of the Tempus, as its softer midsole was more enjoyable but still capable of controlling pronation. I wore a M9.5 in both.

ASICS GEL Kayano 29 (RTR Review)

Sam: Close competitors the Kayano 29 did away with its plastic midfoot plate replacing it with a firmer foam side wall. Weighing about the same, the Kayano has a slightly lower stack height. I did not test it but Markus Zinkl did in his review above.

ASICS GEL-NImbus 24 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Kayano has a slightly lower stack (and drop at 10mm) and is a touch lighter than the Inspire. The Nimbus 24 is what I would call a stable neutral shoe as it has a midfoot plate that can be considered a mini Wave. More directly competing with the Wave Rider,  the Nimbus is not quite as smooth flowing as the Inspire for me although its similar Flight Foam Blast + foam is a touch liviler and less dense in feel. Its upper and fit is very similar to the Inspire, true to size, very secure and with a touch of stretch.

Jeff: The extra stack height of the Inspire is much appreciated, and Sam’s right about the minor stability portion of the Nimbus. I definitely like the Nimbus extra stretchy tongue, and it’s midsole/outsole combination work well, but underfoot the Inspire takes the win for me.

Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 (RTR Review)

Sam: My Glycerin was in the regular mesh version at a half size up from my normal and clearly had far less upper support (soft unstructured mesh with no gusset tongue) than the Inspire would have at a half size up. Support would be better in the Stealthfit knit upper version I am quite sure.  Focused on stabilizing the knee more than pronation via its rails at the top of the midsole, it is clearly less classically stable than the Inspire. But..its deep very energetic DNA Loft v3 supercritical foam midsole is for sure more exciting than the Inspire’s Enerzy.

Tester Profiles

Joost is a Belgian in his 50s living in Luanda, Angola, Africa, where he faces the heat, humidity and general chaos to run anything between 60-100 miles per week. He’s on a mission to win in his age group in the 6 marathon majors and has completed half of his project, with a 2:26:10 PB in Berlin in 2019 at 51. He recently won his M50 AG at the 2022 Chicago Marathon in 2:29. He ran in primary school, but then thought it would be a lot cooler to be a guitar player in a hard rock band, only picking up running again in 2012, gradually improving his results. Please check out Joost's coaching service here

Jana Herzgova took up running in 2016, after a back injury. Prior to that she was a speed skater, but due to back pain and doctor's recommendation, she transitioned into running. Since then, starting with shorter ultra distance races she quickly evolved into an avid long distance and unsupported mountain runner. She also loves to take on challenges/races in arctic and subarctic climates, mainly in unsupported and semi-self supported style. She currently lives in Utah/Wyoming.

Ryan Eller A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.  More recently he has solo time trialed the 2020-2021 super shoes, often sub 15 minutes for 5K. Ryan has a PR of 2:19 from the 2022 Maine Marathon.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over four years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 27 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over four years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 27 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he is very lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

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1 comment:

TReilly56 said...

"non ponderous rear cushion" What does that even mean? It's a nice update, certainly in keeping with the pervasive "less is more" trend that every vendor is following with "light stability" and "motion control" offerings.
So many runners seem to abhor change in their running shoes at all. It's a conundrum. If there's no changes for too long a customer will get uneasy and expect some changes and if there are too many changes that creates unease as well. My view is tha about all the companies have no appreciation for how often many runners purchase new running shoes. It rarely is as often as the updates in models. The incremental changes that usually happen in updates add up to very noticeable changes by the time your average runner goes to purchase the same shoe they love but has been superseded 2 or 3 times since they last purchased! So it goes!