Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Introduction
It’s really hard to stand out in a market crowded with super shoes which all have full-length carbon plates, are the maximum legal stack height and are all roughly the same price. Yet, Mizuno’s Wave Rebellion Pro series manages to be a truly unique offering with a wild ride and a futuristic geometry.
When I tested the original Wave Rebellion Pro last year, I enjoyed it so much that I raced a half marathon in it a few weeks later. While I didn’t get a PB, it was still interesting and fun to race in a shoe which you rarely see on the starting line at races. It struggled a bit when it came to the twists and turns because of its narrow platform and by the 18th kilometre of the HM, my ankles felt really weak due to its instability. I didn’t use it for a race again.
The Wave Rebellion Pro doesn’t feel like a Mizuno, and I mean that as a compliment. Mizuno isn’t known for pushing the boundaries of innovation when it comes to their running shoes so the Rebellion Pro was a pleasant surprise and so far, it’s my favourite Mizuno to date.
Although late to the super shoe game, Mizuno did really well for their first attempt at a true super shoe. There are still some supply issues though as the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 (like the original) is a very difficult shoe to buy and is not currently widely available. I had to import my pair from Singapore. I had to import my second pair from Australia.
The Wave Rebellion Pro 2 weighs 7.6 oz (215 g) which is acceptable for a marathon super shoe. This is a weight drop of 0.3 oz (8 g) from the previous version for a men’s US9. It still costs $250.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 First Impressions
My first run was a tough 35 kilometre long run at a steady pace for the first 27 and at tempo pace for the last 8 km. My first observation was that this new version felt more stable. This was due to the medial side gap in the midsole being filled in. It still felt very unstable going down steep hills though and I had to concentrate on how I was striking the ground so that I didn’t roll an ankle.
For the first 20 kilometres when my socks were dry, it felt great but as soon as my socks got drenched in sweat, my foot was slipping around inside the shoe like a wet fish. What makes things worse is that your feet sit at an angle in the shoe so your feet continuously slide forward.
The cushioning felt good but I didn’t feel as much speed assistance as in other super shoes. This is because of the heel cutoff design and the fact that the forefoot rocker isn’t as prominent or aggressive.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Upper
The Rebellion Pro’s upper is as stripped down as it gets when it comes to racing uppers. The most important thing is that Mizuno improved the sizing, making the forefoot wider and more comfortable. It now fits true to size- the first version was a half size too small.
The paper thin tongue is not gusseted but there is a lace loop in the middle of the tongue so there isn’t a lot of tongue slide. There isn’t much collar or heel padding either but I don’t get any blisters or hot spots.
Unfortunately, there are no double first row eyelets so you can’t use a runner’s knot. For me, there’s no heel slippage but the heel is slightly loose and not as secure as I’d like.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Sole Unit
I enjoy the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 most when I’m doing short, fast bursts like intervals which are 3 km or shorter. During longer, slower efforts, I’m landing too far back on the outsole and it feels like hitting a speed bump.
If you’ve ever run in the road and stepped directly on a speed bump, you’ll know exactly what it feels like to run in the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 when you run slowly or you heel strike.
The Wave Rebellion Pro’s unique design with a heel cut-off encourages midfoot or forefoot striking in order to quicken transitions but it only feels natural when you’re running really fast and landing on the forefoot.
One of the major changes in the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is that the carbon infused plate is stiffer than the original version. There’s also no more gap in the midsole, which makes it harder to flex. These characteristics make the ride more aggressive and make it feel faster because it flexes less.
Although the Rebellion Pro 2 looks really fast and aggressive, for me, it doesn’t provide as much speed assistance as other super shoes. This is because the heel is off the ground and there’s no springboard effect. The front of the plate is anchored by the ground but the heel is floating in the air so your foot can’t load the rear of the plate and in turn, the plate can’t act like a springboard to shoot you forward.
The forefoot rocker also doesn’t feel as aggressive to me as other racers. I don’t feel the forward-tipping sensation during toe-offs so it doesn’t feel very punchy. This may be due to the fact that the plate is carbon-infused and not fully carbon so it has more flexibility than carbon plates.
The other major change in this update is that the decoupled groove underneath the shoe is wider, deeper and more centralised. The result is a ride which feels softer and more bouncy because the midsole has the ability to splay more when loaded.
The top layer of the midsole is Enerzy Lite+ while the bottom is Enerzy Lite. Both foams feel similar in density and I wouldn’t describe them as being very soft and squishy. The Rebellion Pro 2 has a medium-soft ride, similar to the Adios Pro 3 and Metaspeed Sky+.
The ride is more stable in v2, especially for over pronators. In the previous version, there was the gap in the midsole but in this version, the gap has been filled so there’s more support on the medial side of the shoe.
It’s still however one of the most unstable racers I’ve tested due to the outsole being about a quarter shorter than most running shoes so less of your foot is in contact with the ground. I even find the Adidas Prime X 2 more stable than the Wave Rebellion Pro 2.
The longest run I did in the Rebellion Pro 2 was 35 km but I wouldn’t do another long run in it because you really need to concentrate on your foot strike and it’s also very demanding on your ankles/calves as your heels never touch the ground.
The Wave Rebellion Pro’s G3 rubber on its outsole is one of the best I’ve ever experienced when it comes to traction. The small teeth bite into the ground and the traction is unaffected by rain. Durability is also improved and the outer heel section isn’t showing as much wear as the original version did after 80 kilometres.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Conclusions
The Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is still one of the most innovative super shoes on the market. Mizuno managed to make the heel of it more than 40 mm in stack height and still race legal by shortening the outsole. By doing this, it has also created issues for certain runners.
It isn’t a racer for heavy heel strikers and overpronators. It takes a certain level of skill and a certain running form to unlock its full potential. I’m a light heel striker with mild overpronation and I find the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 too aggressive and too unstable to run a full marathon in. My ankles and calves would be destroyed by the end of the marathon.
I enjoy using it for short intervals and short tempo runs but I wouldn’t use it for an important short distance race because I feel that it doesn’t provide as much speed assistance as other racers. This is mainly due to the forefoot rocker being not as aggressive and the lack of a heel so the rear of the plate can’t be used as a springboard.
Version 2 is definitely an improvement over version 1. Not only is the weight lower but there is more stability and more bounce thanks to the new midsole design. The upper also fits much better so it’s more comfortable.
$250 is too much for the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 considering its lack of versatility.
There are many other $250 super shoes which can handle sharp turns much better and offer more speed assistance.
The Wave Rebellion Pro 2 however is unmatched when it comes to traction.