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Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Review

GEAR REVIEWS

A pair of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2.

*Editor’s note: While The Great Supershoe Revolution isn’t recognized as an official historical event, Fleet Feet considers it to be one.

When The Great Supershoe Revolution began in late 2019, runners immediately took notice. As more and more companies began creating their own versions of carbon-plated racing shoes, runners rejoiced each time their favorite brand’s version was released.

For hardcore Mizuno fans, they had to wait a little bit longer. Mizuno had something special in the works–the original Wave Rebellion Pro–which launched in early 2023. However, Mizuno has been putting plates in their shoes since before it was cool (but that’s another story for another shoe review).

The Wave Rebellion Pro featured a thick midsole with an extremely beveled heel (more on this below), leading to a very aggressive rocker shape. During Fleet Feet and Mizuno’s Wave Rebellion Pro 2 demo run at The 2023 Running Event, I was told that the latest version would have an even more pronounced rocker shape for an even quicker ride. And they weren’t lying—the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is unlike anything Fleet Feet reviewers have ever tested before.

Read on to learn more about the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 and how it left our reviewers divided.

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

Weight 6.3 oz (W), 7.6 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 38 mm/36.5 mm
Heel-to-toe drop 1.5 mm
Category Neutral
Surface Road
Price $250
Comparable to... Saucony Endorphin Elite, New Balance SuperComp Trainer v1

Ride

 
Firm
Balanced
Plush

Cushioning

 
Minimum
Moderate
Maximum

Energy

 
Relaxed
Responsive
Propulsive
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Men's Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Race Shoes

$250

Women's Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Race Shoes

$250

Wave Rebellion Pro 2’s beveled heel has us in our feels

The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2.

Sure, we’ve run in shoes with beveled heels before. Nowadays, plenty of running shoes have them to some degree. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a beveled heel is when the heel of the shoe tapers upwards to reduce impact during landing and improve the heel-to-toe transition during takeoffs.

The Wave Rebellion Pro 2’s beveled heel is unlike anything we’ve ever tested, leaving some reviewers feeling nervous.

The Rebellion Pro 2 is definitely different from any shoe I have tried on before,” says Kate. “The shape is really unique. I think my first thought was they forgot to put the heel on this shoe. When I first put the shoes on and stood in them, they definitely felt odd, like there’s nothing under the heel at all. The foam tapers down and then the outsole just cuts out.”

We were nervous about the apparent lack of a heel and how it would affect stability, as well as gait mechanics on the run. Plus, the shoes just felt awkward to walk in, although this is actually pretty common for supershoes as they’re designed specifically for running fast.

Nevertheless, we psyched ourselves up and got after it on the roads. The results were mixed. Several reviewers felt the shape of the shoe, while enticing, just didn’t work with their stride as it forced them up onto their midfoot and toes in an unnatural way.

“I am not a midfoot striker, so the lack of heel cushioning and aggressive bevel felt awkward,” says Max. “I was forced to use other muscles in my foot to stay stable, which kind of fatigued the rest of my legs and body.”

Nate agreed, saying “I couldn’t figure out how to relax my body while running. My ankles felt stiff and rigid trying to create additional stability that the shoe doesn’t seem to have.”

However, Mandy and I relished our miles in the Wave Rebellion Pro 2. This is partly due to the way we run, and partly due to the amazingly energetic midsole foam.

Speaking for myself, I’ve always had a high cadence because, with my short legs, there’s no other way to run fast! This means I land on my midfoot, so I had a feeling the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 would work for me–and I was right!

Enerzy Lite foam serves some serious bounce

The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2.

 

These are the bounciest shoes I’ve tested in a long time. I was landing right on the thickest part of the foamy, bouncy goodness. I felt really smooth as I bounced along my 5-mile progression run. The miles gradually got faster and I didn’t really feel like I was putting too much effort in, until the end. I was able to finish faster than I had anticipated.

As I mentioned, most of the midsole cushioning is concentrated under the midfoot because of the shoe’s shape. The “foamy, bouncy goodness” I described is actually three layers of midsole material. First, closest to the ground, is a layer of Mizuno Energy Lite foam. It’s a lighter version of their Enerzy foam, an EVA-based compound used in their daily trainers like the bestselling Wave Rider.

On top of the Enerzy Lite foam is a carbon-infused nylon plate. As I mentioned earlier, Mizuno has been putting plates in their shoes since before it was cool, and this plate is a snappier version of their proprietary Wave Plate thanks to the addition of carbon-fiber material.

The plate is topped off with a layer of Enerzy Lite Plus foam, which Mizuno claims offers 15 percent more energy return than the Enerzy Lite on the bottom layer.

These three layers combine to create a springy, energetic ride that will have you bouncing off the pavement–as long as you’re not a heel striker.

“Although others have pointed out that the beveled heel created an awkward feeling, I actually felt like this shoe was made for me,” says Mandy. “I tend to walk, as well as run, more on my toes and have a bouncy stride that matches up well with the shoe.”

Regardless of gait patterns, reviewers could all agree that the outsole is the grippiest we’ve seen on a super shoe. Rubber, the most common outsole material, tends to be heavy, and super shoes are all about shaving weight. But Mizuno’s tacky, Polyurethane resin outsole somehow manages to keep the shoe lightweight, likely due to the open outsole channel.

At only 6.3 ounces for the women’s model and 7.6 for the men’s, the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 definitely would have been in contention for the lightest shoes of 2023 had it launched just one month prior.

The design is in the details

The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2.

While the midsole and geometry of the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 certainly took us by surprise, the upper offers a traditional, race-day fit with some thoughtful details to improve your experience.

A breathable engineered mesh upper locks your foot solidly into place over the squishy mound of cushioning. It’s so breathable, Max said he could feel some brisk air coming through on his test run around the chilly Chicago lakefront.

The fit is also enhanced by three internal straps inside the upper–one on the lateral side and two on the medial side. I didn’t notice these while running but if you open up the shoe and look inside, you’ll see the straps which are thicker than the rest of the upper material.

Mizuno also added a triple shoelace loop on top of the tongue to prevent it from shifting around. The idea is that if the laces are going through the tongue rather than just on top of it, there will be less opportunity for movement.

However, reviewer Travis mentioned, “I wasn’t crazy about the tongue, it took me a minute to adjust it when I put the shoes on to keep it from folding in an awkward way. But, once I adjusted it, I had no problems with it.”

Despite Travis’ minor tongue twister, these thoughtful details are minimal enough to not add any unnecessary weight to the shoe while still enhancing your run.

On the outside of the heel, you’ll find the coordinates for Mizuno Engine, Mizuno’s research and innovation center in Osaka, Japan–where the magic happens! And on the inside of the heel are two puffy pieces of foam-like material that hold your foot firmly in place, reducing any slippage. As someone who usually struggles with heel slippage, I was a little bit nervous when I saw there were no extra eyelets to tie the marathon loop. But thanks to the heel construction, I found I didn’t need them after all.

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 vs Wave Rebellion Pro

A side by side comparison of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 and the Wave Rebellion Pro.

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro

Weight

6.3 oz (W), 7.6 oz (M)

6.9 oz (W), 7.7 oz (M)

Stack height

38 mm/36.5 mm

39 mm/34 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

1.5 mm

4 mm

Price

$250

$250

While we didn’t officially review the original Wave Rebellion Pro, I got my hands on a pair in late 2022 at The Running Event. They felt bouncy and energetic, and the rocker shape was so pronounced that I felt a little funny as I walked through the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to catch my flight home (not a traditional choice for airport fashion, but I wanted to flex the new shoes).

So I was surprised when, the following year, I was told that the new Rebellion Pro would have an even more pronounced rocker shape. I couldn’t imagine what that would feel like–until I stepped into my wear test pair of the Rebellion Pro 2.

While the Rebellion Pro 2 certainly feels like it’s rocking you forward more than the previous iteration, it actually has a lower heel-to-toe drop (1.5 millimeters versus 4). The enhanced rocking sensation is likely due to the heel being beveled much more aggressively.

The Rebellion Pro 2 also managed to shave a bit of weight, seemingly a result of the new upper, which feels much more light and thin than the original.

How does the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 compare?

We took a look at some comparable models to see how they stack up against the Wave Rebellion Pro 2. While the following shoes have some similar elements to the Rebellion Pro 2, keep in mind that this shoe is so unique, it was hard to compare it to anything we’ve tested.

Tech Specs

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

New Balance SC Trainer v1

Saucony Endorphin Elite

Weight

6.3 oz (W), 7.6 oz (M)

9.3 oz (W), 11.3 oz (M)

6.5 oz (W), 7.2 oz (M)

Stack height

38 mm/36.5 mm

47 mm/39 mm

39.5 mm/31.5 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

1.5 mm

8 mm

8 mm

Price

$250

$180

$275

One of the most noticeable elements of the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is the bounciness, so much so that Max called it “a trampoline under your arch.”

This trampoline-like sensation is something we could only compare to the New Balance SuperComp Trainer v1 (the v2 lost a bit of bounce, as we noted in our full review). The fact that the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is able to replicate this with nine less millimeters of heel stack height is quite impressive.

The second most noticeable element is the rocker shape that propels you forward. This evoked memories of the Saucony Endorphin Elite, Saucony’s most aggressive racing supershoe.

“While I don’t think there’s a shoe with such aggressive geometry as the Wave Rebellion Pro, in terms of the rocker shape I’d compare it to my first time trying on the Saucony Endorphin Elite,” says Max. “Both shoes feel engineered for speed.”

The outsole of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2.

Who is the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 best for?

As we mentioned above, the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is such a unique shoe that it’s not going to work for everyone.

“If you told me that Mizuno collaborated with Tesla and the designer of the Cyber Truck I wouldn’t at all be surprised,” says Nate. “This shoe looks like a caricature of what shoes of the future will look like. And, just like Elon Musk, people will either love or hate this shoe.”

Cyber Trucks and self-driving cars aside, the geometry of the Rebellion Pro 2 is best suited for midfoot strikers. How can you tell if you’re a midfoot striker? A good hint is by checking your cadence on your Garmin Connect app. You can find this information by going to your activity, then clicking “stats” or “charts.” Runners with a higher cadence take shorter, more frequent strides, which encourage midfoot landings rather than heel landings. A general rule of thumb is to keep your cadence around 180 steps per minute.

While you should never alter your stride to fit into a certain shoe, there are drills you can perform to improve your running cadence. Check out this drill from Coach Nate.

As long as you’re comfortable with the shape of the Wave Rebellion Pro 2, it’s a fun shoe to run fast in! It has plenty of cushioning to last over longer distances, like a marathon or half, and it’s light and responsive enough for shorter distances, like a 5K or 10K.

“My first run in the Rebellion Pro 2 was a 5K time trial and I felt like I was flying,” says Mandy. “It was the fastest I’ve run a 5K in quite some time. The foam was light and bouncy, and when I wanted to slow down the geometry of the shoe kept me moving forward at a nice, quick pace.”

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