If you’re a midfoot/forefoot striker and you’re looking for a specialist racer for short-distances, the Wave Duel Pro is an option. If you want to strengthen your ankles, it’s also suitable for you.
If you’re a heavy heel striker or you have weak ankles, the Wave Duel Pro isn’t the shoe for you. If you want a versatile racer for a variety of paces and distances, it’s also not the shoe for you.
Mizuno’s Smooth Speed Assist is one of the most innovative running shoe technologies of the last couple of years.
This aggressive design has a heel cut-off and is meant to encourage quick turnovers. Not only does the cut-off allow the shoe to be lighter but it’s also a way around the 40 mm stack height limit imposed by World Athletics for official races.
My first experience with Smooth Speed Assist was in the Wave Rebellion Pro, Mizuno’s marathon super shoe. I found it to be a tremendously fun racer however it was really unstable due to its medial cut-out. I raced a half marathon in it but I struggled with stability in the last couple kilometres- I felt a lot of pressure on my ankles.
The Wave Dual Pro is a short-distance racer for 10 km races and below. It has Smooth Speed Assist technology with an even bigger heel cut-off and a more aggressive forward-tipping design than its bigger brother, the Wave Rebellion Pro.
It costs 240 Euros which is about $257, much more than the others. The Wave Duel Pro is currently a very rare shoe and difficult to buy. It’s only available in parts of Europe and Asia. I managed to hunt down a pair in Taiwan.
The first time I saw the Wave Duel Pro, I thought it was a concept shoe because of how radical the design was. The way that the shoe could balance on its forefoot was unlike anything I had ever seen and I was really curious to see how a heel striker like me would find the ride.
When I tried it on in the store, the toe box felt very narrow so I decided to get it a half size bigger than my regular size. A half size bigger fits me perfectly with medium thickness socks.
My first run was an interval workout. During the warm up, at an easy pace, the Wave Duel Pro felt really weird and awkward- like walking on stilts. It felt like my feet were angled downwards, into the ground. During the actual workout, it felt a lot better: smoother and more natural.
The firm ride surprised me- it was a lot firmer than the Wave Rebellion Pro, even though it has such a thick midsole. The shoe encouraged midfoot/forefoot striking (because of the missing heel) but I didn’t notice much of a forefoot rocker. It felt fast because of its firm ride but I didn’t feel much speed assistance. It encouraged fast turnover.
The day after the workout, my ankles were so stiff that I had to skip my easy run. My ankles hadn’t felt this much strain since when I started wearing carbon plated shoes.
The Wave Duel Pro has a minimal upper- nothing fancy but gets the job done. The material is thin, breathable and doesn’t stretch at all.
Lockdown is great but I did need to use a runner’s knot. The non gusseted tongue is thin but there’s no tongue slide or lacing pressure on the top of the feet.
There isn’t much cushioning in the collar and the material is hard so I wouldn’t wear really thin socks with it.
The midfoot and forefoot are normal width but the toe box is really narrow so I suggest going up a half size.
If you’re a heel striker, you’ll find the ride of the Wave Duel Pro very unnatural because it forces you to mid-foot strike as the heel is so high off the ground. When I strike the ground, it feels like I’m landing on a speed bump because I land on the part that curves upwards.
This is a racer which requires you to have really strong ankles because your heel is permanently off the ground. For me, this shoe is for short distances only and I struggled to run further than 5 km at any 1 time.
The best thing about the geometry of the shoe is that it automatically increases your cadence. When your heel isn’t touching the ground, the midfoot to forefoot transitions are fast because the outsole spends less time in contact with the ground.
It’s very difficult to run slow paces in the Wave Duel Pro so I don’t think it’s very versatile. Anything slower than 5 minutes per kilometre and I find myself landing too far back and I tend to want to heel strike. I use it for intervals, tempo and threshold runs below 5 kilometres.
It has a very firm ride, one of the firmest that I’ve tested this year. The midsole is made entirely out of Enerzy Lite which doesn’t compress much or have a lot of bounce. I prefer the Wave Rebellion Pro’s setup of Enerzy Lite at the bottom and softer, bouncier Enerzy Lite Pro on the top.
There’s a wave plate inside the midsole which keeps it stiff for extra stability and more efficient transitions. I’m not sure of the shape of it but it feels like it’s a full length plate because the midsole is extremely rigid.
The Wave Duel Pro is a very unstable shoe. If you find the Prime X too unstable, you should stay far away from this one. Its midsole stack height is not what makes it so unstable, but it’s the fact that your rearfoot is off the ground so you never feel planted. I had to slow right down when cornering.
The Wave Duel Pro’s grip is the best I’ve ever experienced. The entire outsole is covered with small, sharp lugs which bite into the ground. It reminds me of an outsole that you’d find on a racing flat.
I think outsole durability will be a bit lower than other racers because the lugs are so aggressive but so far, my pair has held up well. None of the lugs have broken off.
The Wave Duel Pro is the weirdest and most unique shoe I’ve run in. I don’t think it’s suited to my running style but I enjoyed testing it. I’ll continue using it for training as a tool to strengthen my ankles and encourage me to strike on my midfoot.
I won’t be racing in it because I think marathon super shoes still offer more speed assistance. The Wave Duel Pro doesn’t have a forward rocker or springboard propulsion and it’s also not that light.
It’s a very niche racer which will only suit certain runners. I don’t recommend it for beginner runners, runners who are heavy heel strikers or runners who need a supportive shoe.
As far as pricing goes, it’s way too expensive. The other short-distance racers like the Takumi Sen, SC Pacer and Streakfly are much cheaper and are better value for money. Their designs aren’t as radical but I don’t think they are slower than the Wave Duel Pro.