Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Inspire 18

A side view of the women's Mizuno Wave Inspire 18.

Mizuno’s go-to stability trainer is back in its latest iteration – the Wave Inspire 18. The Mizuno Wave Inspire has been a favorite amongst runners for decades, and it’s easy to see why.

Combining soft cushioning with a firm, responsive Wave Plate, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 puts a spring in your step while providing reliable support.

The latest version of the Mizuno Wave Inspire features a softer and more responsive feel, a redesigned upper and more eco-friendly materials.

Fleet Feet reviewers logged some miles in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 to see how it fits, feels and performs. Here’s what you can expect from the latest version of the Mizuno Wave Inspire.

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18

Weight

9.1 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)

Drop

12 mm

Category

Stability

Surface

Road, track

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 Combines Softness and Stability

The heel of the women's Mizuno Wave Inspire 18.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 offers a seamless blend of comfort, responsiveness and support. Mizuno uses their signature Wave Plate technology, which distributes shock evenly across the foot, offering a stable platform to support runners who overpronate. The double fan shaped Wave Plate contracts and expands during the gait cycle to keep your feet moving efficiently.

Mizuno’s ENERZY foam shines in the midsole, offering a blend of softness and energy return not typically seen in stability shoes. You may have experienced Mizuno ENERZY foam in the Wave Rider 25 or the Wave Sky 5.

“The Wave Inspire 18 feels supportive because of Mizuno’s Wave Plate, but it still has a decent amount of flexibility. The Wave Plate also adds a touch of responsiveness as well, which I noticed during my strides,” Caroline says.

The Wave Inspire 18’s midsole also features a bio-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) compound in the midsole. Traditional TPU foams are made with petroleum or natural gas, while Mizuno’s bio-based plastic is made from renewable materials. You can enjoy a smooth, cushioned ride while feeling good about your impact on the environment.

A carbon rubber outsole adds reliable traction and durability to your daily runs.

“This is a solid, dependable everyday trainer. It has good traction on the roads and seems like it will be a durable shoe,” Kate says.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 Features Seamless Upper and Recycled Materials

A pair of the women's Mizuno Wave Inspire 18.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 uses a breathable, engineered mesh upper to provide comfort and support while you rack up the miles.

The upper is similar to the one used in the Wave Inspire 17, but the latest version is seamless and lighter weight than before. The inner lining and shoelaces are made with recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), making the shoe more environmentally friendly than its predecessor.

Reviewers appreciated the simple comfort of the updated upper.

“The upper of the Inspire is super comfortable and fits true to size. I like that it has a closed-in mesh that keeps debris out but stays breathable. The laces are nice and long if you want to do the marathon loop or use the back eyelets, and the tongue and heel collar are slightly padded,” Kate says.

“The shoe slides on comfortably and I appreciate the roomy toe box,” Alex says.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 vs Wave Inspire 17

The top of the women's Mizuno Wave Inspire 18.

Tech Specs

Wave Inspire 18

Wave Inspire 17

Weight

9.1 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)

9.2 oz (W), 10.9 oz (M)

Drop

12 mm

12 mm

Category

Stability

Stability

Surface

Road, track

Road, track

Mizuno didn’t make too many changes to the latest version of the Wave Inspire, which means if you enjoyed the previous version you’ll likely enjoy this one, too.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 was the first edition of the Inspire to use ENERZY foam in the midsole, and the Inspire 18 continues that tradition. The result is a softer, bouncier feeling than previous models.

The biggest changes come from the redesigned seamless upper, the incorporation of recycled materials and the slightly lighter weight.

Overall, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 continues to be the reliable stability trainer runners have come to expect while incorporating more modern aspects, such as bio-friendly materials and the springy sensation underfoot that’s become increasingly in demand amongst runners.

“I really love the responsive feel of the forefoot and the midfoot cushioning,” says Nate.

Final Thoughts

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 18 is a great choice if you’re seeking moderate stability with lightweight cushioning.

“It’s not too rigid, but not soft. Not too bulky, but still cushioned,” Caroline says.

The latest version of the Wave Inspire can be worn for daily training, long runs, and even some uptempo miles thanks to the responsiveness of the Wave Plate and ENERZY foam.

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