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Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 Review
A very good redesign brings this stability trainer into the future.

Written by Chief Editor Matt Klein and Content Manager Bach Pham

The Wave Inspire is Mizuno's long-running line of stability trainer. In the past, the Inspire used a very unique wave plate design that extended into the medial (inner) side of the foot around the heel to help provide support. It acted as a wedge to help prevent the runner from collapsing in while also moving the runner forward. The Wave Inspire 19 reimagines the shaping of this design altogether and moves it forward into the future. The shoe remains unique in its field as one of the few moderately cushioned, high-drop stability trainers with medial support.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 19
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.7 oz / 303 g (men's size 9); 8.6 oz, 244 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38.5 mm / 26.5 mm
Drop: 12mm 
Classification: Moderate Stability Trainer

Medial: The inner side of the shoe/foot.
Posting: Typically on the medial side of the shoe, it is usually a denser piece of midsole that stiffens up an area to help prevent the foot collapsing. Posting can be done in a variety of ways.


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is a rare high-drop, moderate stability daily trainer. A long-standing classic among stability shoes, the Inspire series had become both more stable and more clunky in its ride over recent years. Version 19 signals a change in the second part of that. While maintaining the stability from the uniquely shaped wave plate, Mizuno has continued to refine Mizuno ENERZY to make for a softer and bouncier ride. Despite a similar weight, version 19 feels far lighter while being highly cushioned. The tradition of high-quality uppers continues, with a slightly wider forefoot and a slightly snug heel. Those needing a high drop, moderate stability daily training shoe with a wider forefoot and an excellent ride should definitely check out the newest version of the Inspire. 

Bach: Last year's Wave Inspire was a shoe I really wanted to enjoy, but couldn't quite get on with due to the obtrusiveness of the wave plate design in the medial side of the heel. I have flat feet and tend to enjoy some stability, but any kind of posted design has always been harder on my low arch. I was really excited when I saw the Wave Inspire 19 with a new look and feel. Gone is the discomfort of last year's design, replaced with a more familiar plate design that reminds me of a carbon-plated racing shoe. With a wide, comfortable forefoot and a clean ride throughout, this has become a daily trainer that I've picked up again and again for my runs.

: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The overall fit is wider in the forefoot with some stretch to snug in the midfoot and heel. The upper material is a thin but secure mesh material that breathes extremely well. The midfoot is snug with a lightly padded tongue, gusseted and secure tongue. The midfoot is secured well with laces that easily pull or loosen the Mizuno logo overlays. The heel is also snug and features a thin amount of heel collar cushioning and a stiff heel counter. Those who like stiff heel counters will really like the security provided by the one in the Inspire 19, while those sensitive to them will likely not do well in it. The upper is quite secure and I had no issues with slippage. The midfoot does fit a little snug, so those with normal to narrow feet will likely do best in this shoe. Those with wide forefeet and narrow heels will do especially well in this shoe given the contrast in fit between each end of the shoe.

Bach: The Wave Inspire 19 fit very true to size for me. The forefoot has slightly above average width and volume. The midfoot fits comfortably snug and locks down well while the heel with its rigid heel counter holds the foot in well. I had no issues with slipping and did not feel the need to do anything special with the lacing, though there is an appropriate amount of laces to do whatever you need. The upper is comfortable and breathes well enough on hot days and is just warm enough for moderately cool winter days. The tongue is lightly padded and sits well. This has just been a quality upper all-around that I haven't had any complaints about. For those with standard to narrow feet, there should not be any issues. Those with slightly wider midfoots may want to explore a half-size up.


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is a higher-drop daily training shoe for easy and longer mileage. There are two layers of soft Mizuno ENERZY, which makes for a softer forefoot and a well-cushioned but slightly firmer heel. While we do not have official weights, the Inspire 19 is .3 oz lighter in my size 10 compared to version 18 (11.3 vs 11.6 oz). The Inspire 19 feels lighter as the midsole is far bouncier and more found. While still featuring a broad platform, the Inspire 19 feels sleek on foot. The stack height still feels high, especially in the heel. There is a 12mm drop, but it feels more like 10mm due to the midsole compression (compared to version 18 which actually felt higher). The wave plate in the rearfoot has been redesigned from the previous year and feels like it rolls you forward rather than just being stiff. It still provides excellent stability, but more in a guidance type of way like older Inspires did well. The softer sole makes the heel compress well, which combined with the excellent heel bevel likely adds to the 12mm not being as noticeable. The forefoot is softer and rockered which provides a smooth transition off the toes. 

Despite the drop in weight and bouncier midsole, the Inspire 19 is still a daily training shoe for easy and longer miles. It can handle some mild pace changes, but is a little heavy for faster efforts (see our recent review of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro). For easier and longer efforts, the ENERZY cushioning and facilitatory ride makes miles click by. This makes the Inspire 19 an excellent choice for eating up miles.

The durability of the shoe is decent. At 63 miles, there is wear on the outsole in my normal spot (posterior lateral heel). While I have not worn through the outsole completely, this is a normal pace of wear and leads me to believe that the Inspire 19 will last an average number of miles for a daily training shoe. The traction has been solid in the recent wet weather in Southern California. It grips well on wet road and any climbing I have to do. I would keep this on road or smooth trail as rocks have gotten stuck in the middle groove in the heel. 

Bach: The redesigned wave plate in the Wave Inspire 19 makes a huge difference in this year's model, providing a very guided, forward-rolling ride. The shoe is best for easy mileage and can do long runs just fine. It can pick up the pace for strides surprisingly well, but is not the best for workouts. The Enerzy midsole sits somewhere in the middle of soft and firm, leaning slightly firmer. It feels plenty cushioned though and is not at all slappy in any way. The foam provides a more than pleasant enough underfoot ride.

The first run I had in the Inspire did take a mile or two to get used to the guidance, but the shoe and I quickly settled in afterwards. The forefoot cushioning is very noticeable in the Inspire due to the wider forefoot base. I really enjoyed landing on the Enerzy foam. This is not a max cushion shoe, but the forefoot's generous width and sole flaring helps make you feel very comfortable on landing.

The outsole is tough and grippy. I do a lot of hill running and have enjoyed having the combination of a aggressive outsole with wide forefoot to climb and descend hills. I didn't test it on ice, but it had no issues through wet weather.

The Inspire 19 does run a high 12mm drop which is noticeable. It helps greatly that the shoe transitions well, but this is clearly a higher drop shoe and best suited for those who prefer that. Though I typically enjoy something closer to 8-10mm, as I put more miles in the Inspire I didn't find it to be as much of an issue as I thought it might be.


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is a balanced moderate stability shoe. True to the Inspire, there is no medial post in this shoe. Instead, a uniquely designed wave plate facilitates motion forward. The medial aspect of the wave plate is thicker, which provides some mild pressure into the medial side of the foot. Fortunately, there are also small sidewalls on both the medial and lateral sides of the heel, which combined with the wave plate facilitates motion forward. This makes for a highly stable rearfoot with additional stiffness in the midfoot from the plate extending to that point. The forefoot is wider with a larger amount of sole flare and a well-rockered forefoot. This makes for a more naturally guided and stable forefoot. Overall, the Inspire 19 is a great example of integrating several methods of stability and guidance to keep the foot moving forward. 

Bach: I found the stability in the Inspire 19 to be satisfying. The new Wave Plate design does a good job of both providing guidance. The plate goes through the whole rearfoot, stabilizing the shoe on both sides and pushing the runner forward. The medial side is further enforced with more of the plate which creates a bit of a S-design towards the midfoot. I'm very impressed by how unobtrusive this redesign is. There wasn't a single one point during testing where it bothered my flat feet in anyway. The wider forefoot is also pleasant for landing farther forward. There additionally is a lot of sole flaring through the forefoot and some in the rear which gives a very stable landing. For hills and turning, I felt very confident in the Inspire. The upper also does a nice job of holding the foot down. I love the direction Mizuno is going with this latest iteration.

Thoughts as a DPT: Who Needs or Benefits from a Higher Drop Shoe?
By Matthew Klein

"Heel Drop" or "Heel to Toe Drop" is defined as the difference in height of the sole of a shoe between the heel and the forefoot. In the past, the average was 9-12 mm, but with the minimalist (zero drop and natural) and maximalist wave (need a lower drop with a high stack for inherent stability) the average has dropped to 6-8mm. This can be an extreme point of contention for some people as they assume certain types of heel drop are either good or bad. I would like to reframe this thinking in the same manner that we discuss footwear. Shoes are tools and their components will work well for some people and not for others. 

A 12mm drop shoe, like a 0mm (completely level) drop shoe will work for some people and not for others. They are also on extremes of this spectrum and we suggest most people consider something in the middle unless they have specific needs that match one of those or they just like how it feels (comfort filter). Biomechanically, a higher-heel drop shoe reduces the range of motion required at the ankle joint (talocrural) and how much work the calf muscles have to do. The work has to be taken up somewhere and it ends up increasing the work of the quadriceps (thigh muscles) and gluteal muscles (hip muscles), especially during the loading or first half of the stance phase of gait (foot is on the ground). 

Thus, those with short and stiff calf muscles with a history of calf strains or Achilles tendon issues who do not do well with lower-drop shoes or have had injuries or problems with uphill running may want to consider a higher-drop shoe. Those who have knee or hip issues that do not have adequate strength or shock absorption abilities in either of those two areas may want to avoid higher-drop shoes and consider moderate to lower-heel drops. 

If possible, we generally suggest having a variety of shoe types, including variety in components like heel drop. This gets a little fuzzy with the fact that static heel drop measurements are not accurate or representative of dynamically loaded drops as the softer foams found in today's shoes are highly compressive. That said, one of the few ways found in the literature to decrease injury risk is to have a shoe rotation with a variety of footwear (Malisoux et al., 2015). Heel drop is one thing to consider in that rotation, but we encourage people not to think of certain types as "good" or "bad", but instead consider where they shift loads and what is required of the musculoskeletal system from each. 


Malisoux, L., Ramesh, J., Mann, R., Seil, R., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2015). Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running‐related injury risk?. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports25(1), 110-115.


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 has been a great update that I have actually enjoyed getting miles on. It is lighter, smoother, and far more fun than the clunky/stiff version 18 (hence why I got >60 miles on this one and not on version 18). It has quickly become part of my rotation as a way to get mileage while giving my Achilles and calves a break from the increased amount of time I've been spending in low-drop track spikes recently. While I am fine with the heel drop and am really enjoying the reworked plate and ENERZY midsole, I would like to see this shoe drop some weight to bring it back to where it was. The older Inspires got down close to 10 oz (men's size 9) and were shoes that I could pick up the pace in. Mizuno was previously known for making the lightest trainers, but seem to have lost their way in an attempt to making higher stack height and softer shoes. I challenge Mizuno to maintain the gains they have made in cushioning and comfort, but get that weight back down to the competitive levels they were once at. 

Bach: I really enjoyed this new update to the Wave Inspire from Mizuno. My biggest recommendation would be to work on lowering the drop to 10mm to help it feel less tall and more in line with shoes in the market today. I understand Mizuno has a long-standing 12mm tradition, but it definitely is the one adjustment I would love to see in this model to really help make it sing.


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is a moderate stability shoe for those wanting a high-drop daily training shoe with a softer forefoot, slightly firmer heel, and a guided ride especially in the heel. The new wave plate does a great job of facilitating forward motion smoothly using principles of guidance and avoiding the common over-stiffening seen in many stability shoes. The updated ENERZY midsole makes the underfoot feel more bouncy and rides lighter than its measured weight. The upper fits well with a slightly wider forefoot and snugger heel (made more secure by a stiff heel counter). The Inspire 19 works great for easy and long runs, bringing the Inspire series back to the smooth-riding daily trainer it used to be. It moves away from the stiff and clunkier iterations from the past several years, so those who did not like that will enjoy the changes. Those who enjoyed the last few versions of the Inspire should transition slowly into this version given that it rides differently albeit better in my opinion. 

Bach: Mizuno did an excellent job at cleaning up the Wave Inspire 19 to create a guided ride that feels friendlier to a broader audience than past iterations. The new wave plate provides a comfortable form of stability underfoot that's both protective and impactful to the performance of the shoe. This is a great trainer that stability users should be able to get a lot of happy miles with. If you are a big fan of the past editions, this will be a fairly noticeable change that I ultimately believe is for the better - but also may take some time adjusting too as well. If you are a long-time Inspire user, make sure you slowly train into the new model via light miles, walking, and some daily wear to see if it works for you.


Fit: A- (Snug heel with wider forefoot. Stiff but secure heel counter that will work well for some and not for others)
B+ (Higher drop daily trainer that facilitates forward motion decently. Slightly firmer heel with softer forefoot)
Stability: A [Moderate Stability] (Excellent stable and guided ride from wave plate, sidewalls and forward guidance)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Excellent update to the midsole and wave plate that facilitates forward motion well)
Personal: B+/A- (Excellent daily trainer for unloading the calves. Just want it to be a little lighter for versatility)
Overall: A-

Fit: A- (Overall just a very solid, nice fitting shoe for standard to narrow footed runners and some wider feet)
B+/A- (Purely an easy day trainer that can do some longer runs and strides)
Stability: A (Really nice stability integration throughout the shoe in this year's edition)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (The wave plate redesign is a big step forward for the Inspire)
Personal: A- (Really enjoyed this trainer. Easy early candidate for stability model of the year and a workhorse I'll be picking up between testing other models for sure)
Overall: A-


Mizuno Wave Inspire 19
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse (coming soon)

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***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 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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