If you’re a neutral runner with good form, the Wave Rebellion Pro is a good shoe for you. It has efficient transitions and a very soft, cushioned ride which can handle marathon distances or further.
If you’re someone who needs stability or you enjoy a lot of ground feel, the Wave Rebellion Pro is not for you. If you want a durable super shoe that will last a long time, the Wave Rebellion Pro is not for you.
When I think of Mizuno running shoes, I think of heavy, old school trainers like the Wave Rider and the Wave Inspire. These daily trainers have rides which are predictable and consistent but are the opposite of exciting. This is why I was so surprised by the launch of the Wave Rebellion Pro.
The Wave Rebellion Pro is Mizuno’s new, exciting, innovative marathon super shoe. We’ve had to wait a very, very long time for Mizuno’s super shoe and they are one of the last brands to launch one. Mizuno has always been the slowest to innovate, the slowest to embrace new technology.
The Wave Rebellion Pro isn’t a cheap shoe and at $250, it competes with the likes of the Adios Pro 3, the Vaporfly Next% 2 and the Metaspeed Sky+, all of which are very popular marathon racers. These days, it’s not enough to have a stiff carbon plate sandwiched between an energetic foam: it has to have something different, something innovative which the competitors don’t have.
To set it apart, Mizuno is banking on the Wave Rebellion Pro’s wild midsole geometry which looks as though the heel is missing. The designers created the Wave Rebellion Pro with a track spike in mind. They wanted to recreate the feeling of running on a track but in a much higher, more cushioned package. It weighs 7.9 oz (223 g) for a men’s US9 which is a tad heavier than the average carbon-plated racer.
The Wave Rebellion Pro is still not currently widely available and I had to import my pair into Malaysia from Australia. Currently, it’s one of the harder super shoes to purchase if you live outside of Europe, the US, Australia, or Japan.
The first time I saw images of the Wave Rebellion Pro, I thought that it looked like a concept shoe, something similar to their crazy Enerzy shoe which was designed to showcase their new midsole foam. The Rebellion Pro’s midsole design with the cut-off heel looked like nothing I had ever seen before and I was really curious to see how it performs.
My first run was an interval workout consisting of 500 m intervals. I was really impressed with how energetic the ride felt. It wasn’t as stiff as I thought it would be and the wild midsole geometry didn’t feel awkward.
The shoe that reminded me most was the Adidas Prime X because of how tall and unstable it felt, however, the Wave Rebellion Pro’s forefoot was more flexible and transitions felt more natural. The Rebellion Pro also felt more unstable.
I decided to use it for my Kuala Lumpur City Day half marathon. During the race, it felt efficient and aggressive, however from the 19th kilometre onwards, when there were a lot of twists and turns on the course, I felt lots of pressure on my ankles due to the instability. I managed to finish in a time of 1 hour 34 minutes (4:19 per kilometre/6:57 per mile pace) which was a decent time for me.
The upper of the Wave Rebellion Pro is made of thin, light mesh which reminds me of an upper that you’d find on an old school racing flat.
The non gusseted tongue is pancake-flat and it has sides which are so thin that they curl. When putting the shoe on, you have to hold onto both sides while you slip your foot in which is an annoyance. I also experienced downward tongue slide during runs.
There’s no heel counter but the collar has sufficient padding and I had no heel slippage when using a runner’s knot.
For me, the upper runs true to size but it has a really narrow forefoot and toe box so if you have wide feet, I’d recommend going up a half size.
The Wave Rebellion Pro is designed to be a fast, long-distance super shoe and it sure feels like one. The aggressive geometry rolls you quickly forward from the rear of the shoe to the toe. It’s not a springboard-type of forward propulsion that you get from other stiff super shoes but it has smooth, energy-saving transitions that suit longer distances.
As a slight overpronator, the midsole design of the Wave Rebellion doesn’t really suit me. This is mainly due to the medial side of the shoe which has a large cut-out at the midfoot so the lateral side is more supportive than the medial side. During transitions, the shoe forces me to strike hard on the medial side of the heel- I usually strike on the opposite side of the heel.
As a result of this cut-out, both of my shoes are destroyed on the medial sides of the heel and they look like a dog has taken a chunk out of the heel because of the foam that’s missing. This makes me believe that the Wave Rebellion Pro isn’t as durable as some of the other super shoes.
When you’re running in a straight line on even surfaces, stability isn’t too bad, but when you have to corner or when you’re running on uneven surfaces, the shoe becomes so unstable that you have to slow right down to a snail’s pace.
The midsole stack height is actually above 40 mm at its thickest point but Mizuno ingeniously managed to make it competition legal with its cut-off heel because the place that World Athletics measures from is at the 75% point of the outsole. At that point, it’s under 40 mm.
The aggressive heel bevel doesn’t feel awkward at all, even if you’re a heavy heel striker and I found myself forgetting that the shoe has a cut-off heel during runs. It’s something that you get used to.
Running slowly in the Wave Rebellion isn’t as bad as you’d imagine because of the missing heel area, as long as it’s on flat ground with minimal turns. I did an enjoyable 40 K in it (at mostly easy pace) and it felt really efficient due to the rocker geometry, while the lively midsole foam kept my legs fresh.
There are 2 different foams which make up the Wave Rebellion Pro’s midsole: firmer Enerzy Lite at the bottom and softer Enerzy Lite Pro on the top. The 2 foams feel very cohesive and they give the shoe a soft, cushioned ride which is comparable to the Endorphin Pro 3 in terms of softness.
The Wave plate in the Rebellion Pro is carbon-infused nylon and isn’t as stiff as the plates in other carbon-plated racers so the result is a ride which is easy on the calves and Achilles. I’ve never had stiff calves after running in the Rebellion Pro, not even after doing a 40 K. The plate also has a forefoot cut-out as well as a honeycomb structure in the midfoot for increased propulsion but I can’t feel either of these features.
Grip is the Wave Rebellion Pro’s biggest strength. It has small, sharp lugs which really bite into the road and you can hear the lugs as they dig into the tar. It’s one of the best gripping outsoles I’ve tested to date.
The Wave Rebellion Pro is an excellent first attempt from Mizuno at a marathon super shoe, however, due to its instability, it’s better suited to elites, sub elites and other experienced runners with good form.
I find it to be a tremendously fun shoe with a wealth of cushioning and an energetic ride. I’ll continue using it for workout sessions but the races I’ll be running in will have twists and turns so the Wave Rebellion’s lack of stability will cause me some discomfort.
If Mizuno fills in the midsole medial cut-out of the next version, it will be a much friendlier, stabler super shoe which won’t force overpronators to strike hard on the medial side.
I also find the Wave Rebellion Pro to be not as propulsive as some other racers. It doesn’t have a very aggressive toe-spring and I feel that the forefoot should have had the same cut-off as the heel; that would have resulted in a more prominent forward-tipping sensation. Its plate is also not that stiff so it doesn’t feel extremely springy.
To me, it’s not in the top-tier of racing shoes and it doesn’t feel as fast or have as much punch as the Adios Pro 3, Endorphin Pro 3 or Rocket X 2 so I don’t think it’s worth its $250 asking price.
It does however have the best grip of any racing shoe I’ve tried recently.