First impressions: Mizuno Inspire 14

Last years best shoe in my opinion was the Mizuno Inspire 13, which I just love to run with. I still have it to this day, and use it on occasion when I want a shoe that just works and that I am comfortable with. It’s my safe bet.

This years shoe, the Mizuno Inspire 14, has now been with me for about 50k on gravel and asphalt. Has the Inspire improved?

The fit

This shoe is a close contender to the fit of the New Balance 1080 v8, which I think is the best fitting shoe for me on the market right now. The inspire feels snug around the heel (like every Mizuno I have tried), with minimal padding on the collar. The Dynamotion Fit secures the midfoot perfectly and creates a comfortable but not over padded feel. On both the heel and the midfoot this shoe feels very similar to the Inspire 13 from last year.
What is new though is the feel of the upper, especially around the forefoot. The Inspire continues it’s toe box design with no seams above the toes, but uses a different type of fabric that feels both less intrusive and less plasticky.
The foot width of the shoe is medium, but the seamless toe box still gives vertical space for the toes to move around in if there is a need for it. It wouldn’t surprise me if version 14 is a little bit more narrow in around the little toe though, as I get more skin irritations on the longer runs.

Size wise I had to switch from a US 9.5 (Inspire 13) to a US 10 (Inspire 14), so beware, if you upgrade, that you might have to go up half a US size. This makes the shoe more similar to other manufacturers if you look at US sizes as a comparison. I use US 10 in everything Saucony, Asics, and New Balance.

Overall the Inspire 14 has a very good fit. The firmer padding on the heel secures a much better and more secure fit than similar shoes from Saucony and Asics. I see the over-padding of heel collars as a trend in the industry to generate sales on first impressions rather than actually making a usable shoe that doesn’t slip. Mizuno and New Balance are in my opinion good at making a less padded fit without giving an uncomfortable feel on the foot. Some customer though - width wide ankles - have complained that Mizuno shoes fit too tightly on the heel. Anyway, I would always recommend you to try the shoe before you buy it.

The stability

This shoe falls into the category of mild to moderate overpronation support. Unlike many other shoe manufacturers - who use a firmer foam compound to make the inside of the shoe more stable - Mizuno uses a plastic plate called a wave plate in order to ensure the correct stability.
The plate in itself offers not only stability but also cushioning around the heel. Compared to Horizon and Sky, the wave plate stops underneath the midfoot, which results in a little more flexibility in the forefoot and a little less stability in the offset, which I prefer personally.

The upper also offers a lot of stability because of its stitched on overlays around the midfoot. Compared to the Inspire 13, the Inspire 14 has more support sewn into the upper, but I must admit that I don’t notice the difference at all when I alternated between the two shoes.

Overall, the stability should be improved from Inspire 13 to 14, but I can’t notice the difference that much. It is still a great supportive shoe for mild to moderate overpronators. If there is too much stability, but you like how the shoe feels, then the Mizuno Wave Rider would be a good choice for you.

The feel

My impression when trying the shoe for the first time is that it feels rather hard on the inside where the wave plate is located. This though disappears mostly after 30-40k as soon as the foam and plate have been used. It is still a bit harder on the inside when walking, but when I start running the feeling disappears. This took longer on the Inspire 13, and I see it as a positive development.

Mizuno shoes have this great ability to feel fast even though they are clunky. The inspire though is not a heavy shoe compared to other shoes like New Balance or Saucony. It’s even lighter than the Saucony Guide and it feels really good to run with such a light long distance trainer.

Combined with the lightness, the firmness of the sole makes this shoe a dream to run longer distances in, especially at a higher pace. While other manufacturers follow the trend of making softer and softer shoes, Mizuno is staying relative firm to eliminate the energy loss from every step with a soft shoe. This is especially noticeable after 5-6 kilometers when you feel like you aren’t working as hard to keep the pace up.  

I prefer the construction of the wave plate on the Inspire compared to the Horizon. The length of the horizon plate reduced the flexibility and makes it less comfortable running faster paces in. The differences aren’t huge, but I would choose the Inspire every time something was on the line. The added flex groove on the forefoot also makes the shoe more flexible compared to last years model. The difference isn’t too noticeable during use. 

The grip underneath is best suited for asphalt and gravel running, and should not be used on trails when its raining.
Mizuno wants to show off their wave technology, and this is where they lose some customers. The hole underneath the heel is destined to collect small rocks during the shoe's lifetime. Compared to the Inspire 13, the Inspire 14 has a wider hole that should result in less circumstances when it happens. Still not my favourite feature of Mizuno.

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Overall

The overall fit of this shoe is very good, but be aware if you have wider ankles, as the shoe might feel too tight around the heel. Narrow to mid-wide feet should fit this perfectly though, and the no seam toe box should make it possible to use for those with wider toes.

It’s a shoe that does a lot of things at a high level. First and foremost it’s a long distance trainer, but it can also be used for faster runs if you don’t have another lighter shoe. I would probably not use the shoe for recovery runs though, as I like to use softer and more cushioned shoes which reduces the impact when hitting the ground (MBT Zee, Saucony Hurricane, New Balance 1080).

Don’t hesitate using this shoe as a marathon trainer and runner. I used it during the Lillebælt Half Marathon in the start of May and I was able to run fast enough to set a new personal record. 

The Mizuno Inspire 14 is my go-to shoe when I have a longer run at a higher pace. No other shoe in my shoe collection is as efficient in the landing phase, while still having the correct amount of cushioning. 

Do you have any questions about this shoe or any other? Comment on this post or write to me on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram!