A Responsive Cushioning Shoe for the Roads: Mizuno Wave Inspire 15

The moderate stability optimises Mizuno’s Wave plate and plush foam in a well-balanced road shoe.

Weight: 292g (men) 235g(women)
Type: Road
The right shoe for: Heel-strikers who want a smooth transition and go-fast cushioning

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The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15 debuts a new upper for the Wave Inspire line, although the midsole and outsole remain unchanged from the Wave Inspire 14. The new shoe’s engineered mesh upper is designed for a softer fit, and a toned-down aesthetic isn’t too aggressive for casual wear. The midsole is a combination of Mizuno’s more responsive U4ic foam and its softer U4icX foam, which is placed below the heel’s Wave plate to soften the back half of the shoe. Indeed, the shoe’s heel registered extremely high cushioning scores in the RW Shoe Lab, and testers lauded the Wave Inspire 15’s plush heel. The outsole is grippy on roads and proved durable over months of pavement pounding.

The new upper is more breathable, although its lightness means you’ll want to wear thicker socks for cold-weather runs. Thankfully, the toe box is roomy enough to accommodate wide feet and wool socks. There’s another rub to winter running, though. We found the foam feels firmer in cold temperatures and becomes soft on hot days. That’s a known trait of EVA midsoles, but it felt especially noticeable on this shoe. However, if you’re looking for a durable, moderate stability trainer and you like the feeling of Mizuno’s high-drop shoes with plush heels, the Wave Inspire 15 might be right for you.

The Wave Inspire 15’s heel has two layers of foam on either side of a Wave plate for maximum cushioning

A Lighter, Tamer-Looking Upper

The Wave Inspire 15’s engineered mesh upper is designed to be soft and understated; the previous shoe’s striped mesh and sporty overlays look a bit dated compared to the new shoe’s simplified, athleisure-friendly upper. It’s breathable and the roomy toe box accommodated every tester’s foot. The lightweight mesh provided decent heat management, although testers weren’t as impressed with its protection from water and winter winds. The final eyelet sits high on the collar, which runners who prefer a lock-down heel fit appreciated.

The new shoe’s upper is a thin, breathable two-layer engineered mesh.

Responsive Cushioning

The midsole is a foam sandwich with Mizuno’s quintessential Wave plate stuffed in-between. Beneath the Wave plate, the U4icX foam in the crash pad is lighter and delivers higher rebound than the slightly firmer U4ic foam above the Wave plate. The stack heights on the shoe are high, meaning there’s a lot of material between your foot and the road. Mizuno designed the shoe for moderate overpronators, and that substantial cushioning provided testers with adequate stability during longer efforts. “The cushioning was especially great for downhills,” one tester noted. “Not too bouncy, just enough for pounding on the roads.” Others described the cushioning as “middle of the line,” saying it was just the right amount for feeling energized yet supported on the pavement.

Carbon Rubber Outsole

Mizuno equipped the Wave Inspire 15 with a carbon rubber outsole; testers praised its durability. “After 150 miles, the shoe is not showing any signs of wear,” one tester said. Carbon rubber outsoles tend to favor durability over traction, but the shoe’s wet-weather traction was dependable. “Not like duct tape but it was not overly slippery,” another tester said. The shoe’s forefoot features two flex grooves, one behind the ball of your foot and one just ahead of it, so there’s little flex beneath the ball of your foot, which can deliver a slapping footstrike if you’re a forefoot-striker.

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