Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 vs. ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 review

Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 is a lightweight running shoe that offers stability and a responsive ride. ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is all about having a comfortable and plush running experience.

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The Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 are running shoes that are meant to offer runners a moderate degree of stability and support.

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The upper of the Wave Inspire 11 is very different to that of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 in that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has more overlays than the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11.

Both the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 have stitched-on overlays that wrap the midfoot.

But while the overlays on the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 are pretty symmetrical on both sides of the shoe, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 has no-sew overlays on the lateral side of the midfoot and two stitched-on pieces on the medial side where support is needed most.

The minimal amount of overlays on the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 keeps the shoe light, while still providing you with the support you need as an overpronator.

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is more concerned with providing you with a secure lockdown on the running platform as well as a glove-like fit.

The glove-like fit is achieved through the use of FluidFit no-sew overlays especially in the frontal part of the shoe, while a secure lockdown is achieved through traditional stitched-on overlays around the midfoot and a heel counter at the back of the shoe.

Both the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 have midsoles that have cushioning properties. The main differences in the midsoles lies in the layers of foam and the device used to control overpronation.

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has two layers of foam in its midsole with the one closest to the foot being the softest and the one closest to the ground the more responsive one. And then there is GEL cushioning sandwiched in between the two layers to provide more forefoot and heel cushioning.

And to control overpronation, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has a firmer piece of foam on the medial side of the shoe to stop your foot from rolling too far inward.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 has mainly one layer of foam in its midsole that provides heel-to-toe cushioning. And then to control overpronation, it has a Wave Plate in the heel that fans out into two waves on the medial side of the shoe to stop your foot from rolling too far inward.

The Wave Plate also provides shock absorption and cushioning in the heel.

But because the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has those two layers of foam plus GEL cushioning, and because its midsole is much thicker than that of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 turns out to be much more cushy than the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 in both the heel and the forefoot, and for both men and women.

However, because the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 has a thinner midsole, so sits closer to the ground and is lighter, it should feel more responsive than the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and make you feel faster.

In addition, because the Wave Plate in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 also tends to have a neutralizing and stabilizing effect on your foot, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 can be seen as the more stable running shoe of the two.

The outsoles of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 and the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 are pretty traditional with separate rearfoot and forefoot areas connected at the midfoot by a shank; the shank being part of the Wave Plate in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11.

The rubber under the heel looks very similar in layout in both running shoes and is well-segmented to provide good shock dissipation. And both running shoes have a good amount of flex grooves in the forefoot for flexibility.

But because the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has a thicker midsole than the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11, it also turns out to be less flexible than the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11, except for the men's version, which running shoe lab tests have shown to be less flexible than the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21, but not by much.

The women's version of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 weighs approximately 7.5 oz (213 grams), while the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 for women weighs approximately 9.5 oz (269 grams). The men's version of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 weighs about 9.5 oz (269 grams), and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 for men weighs 11.3 oz (320 grams).

If you are looking for a running shoe that provides a good amount of stability with a secure fit and an extremely cushy ride, then the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 would be the one to consider.

And if you are looking for a lightweight running shoe that provides lots of stability and support with an upper that does not smother your foot, and that delivers a responsive ride to make you feel fast, then the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 might be the one for you.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: ASICS | Mizuno

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