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Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 Multiple Tester Review

    Mizuno has begun to debut their MIZUNO ENERZY compound into the mainstream trainers. The most recent to get this treatment is the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17. This has been a staple high drop, moderate stability, firm trainer. Our team has enjoyed several iterations of this shoe, although this series is historically known to be a little stiffer and firmer. Mizuno has been evolving a great deal with their concepts of shoe design and the Inspire 17 is another great example of this. Better integrated stability, new foams and different geometry are some of the many changes that make for fantastic refinements of this trainer. Another bonus? Mizuno continues to refine and improve their uppers to be some of the most consistent and comfortable in the game (we received the mesh version of the Inspire 17 while some colorways do use their Waveknit upper).


Specifications (per Mizuno USA)
Weight: 10.9 oz (men's size 9), 9.2 oz (women's size 7)
Stack Height: 31 mm / 19 mm
Drop: 12mm
Classification: Moderate Stability Trainer

 



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a further evolved stability trainer. Featuring a very comfortable, slightly wider fitting air mesh upper, a new MIZUNO ENERZY heel wedge that softens and improves the ride, a better integrated TPU wave plate for shock absorption and stability AND a new full ground contact outsole. This is a great shoe for those needing mild to moderate stability and for those wanting a slightly softer Inspire.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a continuation of their successful stability trainer line. They incorporate their new midsole ENERZY in the form of a heel wedge and also refine their double fan stability model. The wave plate does a better job of creating a fluid transition from heel to toe for this 12mm drop shoe. The shoe is relatively lightweight, durable, and can also handle some uptempo work if called upon. 




FIT (LENGTH WIDTH COMFORT)

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 fits me true to size in my normal men's size 10. The air mesh upper fits fairly normal in the heel and midfoot, but opens up in the forefoot. There is enough room for some toe splay, but without any loss of security. The air mesh upper is very comfortable and I have worn this shoe sockless for 8 miles without issue. The upper is fairly plush, with a large amount of cushioning around the heel collar. There is a heel counter, but the amount of cushioning in the upper protected my calcaneus (heel bone) very well. The tongue is average thickness, but stays fairly secure. It is gusseted at the lower 1/3, but is free floating up top. I had no issues with the tongue moving. I did have to lace lock the heel as the midfoot and heel are more average width than snug. The fit is average to slightly wide, with additional stretch from midfoot and forefoot as necessary. There is a wide version of this shoe for those who need more space. The ladies version has additional room at the ball of the foot and the upper overall, so females needing a shoe with a good amount of volume should check out the Inspire 17 wide.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 fits me true to size in my normal 9.5 To me this upper is a huge improvement from the prior model. The last model almost felt like it had a little too much volume vertically and I would get some rubbing from some of the overlays (in the mesh version). The tongue stays put much better in the 17 and the mesh molds to the foot very well without any irritating spots. The upper is also airy enough to circulate well, but also thick enough to not allow any sand or dirt pile up. The laces are a little stringy however, but do their job ok. The heel is padded well and the security around the heel is done well overall. The heel counter is normal thickness, but padded very well. The hold around the midfoot is really good and the overlays also help with thickening up the region there a little as well. For me the only things worth noticing improvement would either be the laces or tongue, for I found I had to synch the laces up pretty tight to feel they were fully secure. The tongue is fine if the lacing is improved, but if using the same laces perhaps thickening the tongue slightly. Clearly I'm knit picking. I do like this upper and it is one my favorite options from Mizuno mesh uppers. 


PERFORMANCE (RIDE STABILITY SPEED )

Matt: The Inspire 17 has some major changes in the sole compared to version 16. Like the Wave Rider 24 (REVIEW), the midsole is now filled in for a full ground contact outsole. This improves both the stability and transition through the midfoot. The wave plate is now TPU (formally PEBAX), which feels a little softer. This reduces the rigidity of the rearfoot and midfoot, allowing for a far better transition and far smoother stability. Mizuno does things differently stability wise as they use a fan shaped plate to guide the foot in certain directions rather than a post. However, in version 17, they made the midsole and plate softer, but added some medial and lateral sole flare, along with a wider outsole to provide more natural stability. The update on their stability means that it is not as aggressive as version 16. The Inspire 17 should provide enough stability for mild to moderate stability needs, but still maintains a smooth ride. The forefoot also appears to have a wider base, which provides a nice stable transition. So stability is fairly high throughout the length of the shoe without being overbearing. The new MIZUNO ENERZY foam is added as a wedge in the heel, which further softens the ride but keeps it bouncy. The combination of ENERZY and the TPU plate provide a softer and less rigid ride in the heel and midfoot than in version 16. It also makes the 12mm drop feel lower (more like 9-10 mm). At 10.9 oz (almost 12 oz in my size 10), it has plenty of midsole and is very protective for easy and long runs. However, when attempting to go faster paces, the weight does hold it back a bit. The ENERZY foam especially helps with some uptempo work, but I would much sooner reach for the Ride 24 during workouts or and speed related session. The ride overall is fairly smooth throughout the length of the shoe. The wonderfully integrated heel bevel and MIZUNO ENERZY heel wedge make for a nice landing and the new midfoot features create a great transition forward. The forefoot does not have much toe spring and feels a little stiff until you warm up. For those that do not like toe spring, this is a great shoe, but know that the flex grooves don't start to warm up until after 40-50 miles. Luckily durability is fantastic as I have almost 60 miles on my pair (57 miles) and see almost no wear on the outsole. 



David:
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a good update to the 16. They did a good job of cleaning up some of the things that bothered me in the previous version. The main things being the initial contact of the heel and the transition points from initial contact through the midfoot and toe off. Mizuno softened the ride slightly with their new midsole ENERZY in the form of a heel wedge. This not only softens the landing a little, but smoothens out the transition through the entirety of the midfoot now that the heel wedge covers the plate in the midfoot. The midsole also has a lot more responsiveness because of this as well. It's quick and snappy for a traditional daily training stability shoe. The wave plate also received some new updates with TPU and the integration in the heel. The integration of the wave plate and ENERZY compliment well and does smoothen the heel and midfoot out much better than the previous version. The outsole is now full contact as well and does a great job on a variety of terrains. I've taken this through trails without much difficulty at all and also quite grippy on the roads. Though the ride is softer than the previous version, it still rides a little firm, but definitely protective enough for long mileage. I've done 15+ mile runs in it with no problems. I've also run uptempo in this shoe at 6:00 to 6:15/mi for longer than 10 miles with reasonable results. One thing I would note though is even though the heel and midfoot have been refined well, the forefoot could even have a little bit of improvement with utilization of toe spring (an upward curvature in the forefoot, similar to a heel bevel). Overall it's more of daily trainer and workhorse, but it can do a little bit of everything if you ask it to. The drop does feel true to 12mm, but the heel wedge and new wave plate integration really help smoothen the transition out.




THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Matt: The introduction of a softer MIZUNO ENERZY as a heel wedge in the Inspire 17 is a great example of how heel toe drop static measurements are often irrelevant. That is a static number and does not reflect the dynamic measurement under load. MIZUNO ENERZY is softer than previous compounds, but still has great resiliency, meaning the rebound is quite good. However, when landing at the rearfoot (as most runners do) the sole does compress and the heel drop feels lower than 12mm. Softer materials will compress more under load, thus the true heel drop while moving will be different than that. It will also change depending on where you land. For example, forefoot strikers using a shoe with a soft midsole will create a great heel toe drop (forefoot compresses during initial contact/loading response) while heel strikers will create a lower dynamic heel drop (heel compresses relative to forefoot).

     It is interesting that Mizuno has been using plates in shoes for so long and only recently have people begun to obsess about them. Previously they were using a PEBAX wave plate and have now switched to a TPU plate. The TPU plate feels less aggressive than the PEBAX plate, and aggressive/overly stiff mechanisms are not usually needed in daily trainers. The combination of the plate and MIZUNO ENERZY feels softer and less aggressive stability wise than version 16. The rearfoot is now far smoother and feels less stiff. I would not say it decreases stability as there is a noticeable change with medial and lateral heel flare for a far more stable base, but it certainly changes the mechanism of stability.



RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: I was a little disappointed that the Inspire 17 gained so much weight over version 16. While the midsole is more responsive, it got a little more chunky. I would like to see Mizuno continue to use its MIZUNO ENERZY foam throughout the entire sole rather than just the heel and see if they can lighten it up. A 10 oz version of this shoe would be amazing and would improve versatility with going more uptempo paces. The forefoot is also a little stiff and while I like the lower toe spring (personally), they do need to deepen those flex grooves if they are going to move this direction. 

David:
Overall I have been very pleased with the update to the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17, though do have some recommendations. For me I think the upper could incorporate a more padded or grippy lacing system so the knot doesn't have movement. I found I had to lace down the shoe a little tighter for subjective security. I also think the forefoot could have a tad more toe spring (like in the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Waveknit) to help out with the quick transitions that you feel in the heel and midfoot. That would make the full gait cycle feel quick and help out with some uptempo work. 


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a dramatic update like many recent Mizuno shoes. This is a moderate stability daily trainer with a slightly firm but responsive and protective ride. Those who want an extremely comfortable, slightly wider fitting upper combined with a softer and bouncy MIZUNO ENERZY heel wedge, several non-posted methods of stability in the heel and midfoot and a smooth heel and midfoot transition should definitely look at this shoe. The transition to a TPU plate further softens the ride and makes for a farther smoother transition in the rear and midfoot. The lower toe spring will favor those with more metatarsophalangeal joint flexibility as the ride is a bit stiff up front. Durability and traction are very good for those on pavement and light trail in a variety of conditions. For those looking for a stable shoe for mileage, the Inspire 17 will check a great deal of boxes.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a daily trainer that favors those who need moderate stability and like a slightly firm and responsive ride. The ENERZY midsole does soften the heel landing a little bit, but adds responsiveness to the shoe by making the transition through the midfoot much smoother with more rebound. The full contact outsole is also grippy on a variety of surfaces and makes the shoe versatile in many conditions. The TPU wave plate makes the plate a little less noticeable and also helps with integration with the midsole more. The Inspire 17 is a daily training workhorse for those who like moderate stability in a variety of conditions and paces. 




GRADING
Matt
Fit: A-: extremely comfortable, but lockdown could use some mild improvement                   
Performance:  B+ : Smooth, bouncy and supportive, but would be far more versatile if lighter
DPT/Footwear Science: A-: MIZUNO ENERZY and TPU plate are integrated very well into new midsole. However, need either more toe spring or deeper flex grooves for appropriate transition to toe off.
Personal: B+: I really like this shoe, but would like it even more if they kept it around the same weight or lighter than the previous version.    
Overall: B+: Great update. Stable without being overbearing, responsive and slightly softer sole from previous version and a great fit (although could be a bit more secure)

David
Fit: A- : Good fitting mesh upper overall, though lacing and tongue could be refined for more trusty lockdown
Performance: A- : Smooth, responsive, and versatile in most conditions but could be better with more toe spring 
DPT/Footwear Science: A- : TPU integration instead of PEBAX with the new ENERZY midsole make for a much more fun and smooth geometry. Geometry can still be refined though however in forefoot.
Personal: B+ : This is a solid daily trainer for stability shoes. Personally I think I would gravitate more towards Wave Rider (neutral option), but this is a good choice for those who need moderate stability.    
Overall: A- : A fine update to the Inspire daily trainer line.           

Thanks for reading!

Interested in a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 17? Visit Running Warehouse here or Fleet Feet here.
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FURTHER READING

Looking to compare the Inspire 17 to other stability models? Here's a few recommendations:
Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 - The 17 is a big update over last year, see the differences!
Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 - A team favorite in 2020, Mizuno's premium stability trainer
Hoka One One Arahi 5 = Different take on stability with J-Frame technology
Saucony Hurricane 23 - Max cushioned stability trainer from Saucony

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TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Mizuno USA for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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