Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro review: A Racing Shoe with a Unique Design
As we begin the year 2023, I wanted to kick things off with a key shoe review and what better way to start than with the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro. This shoe caught my attention with its unique design and I couldn’t wait to give it a try. In this review, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the fit, comfort, and performance of the shoe.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro: specs
192g /6.77oz (US W8.5)
212g. / 7.48oz (US 8.5 / EU 41)
Comfort and Fit of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
Silke: The upper is an engineered mesh with 90% recycled material, it is very thin and breathable. There are printed Mizuno overlays and thin internal reinforcements to lock your foot securely. The very thin tong is not gusseted, but the laces are fixed so there is no sliding at all. The very thin laces seem a bit short (and the insoles/ sockliner is glued.
There is not a lot of padding around the ankle, but enough to make it feel comfortable. The heel is slightly padded and there is a stiff part just in the back to give structure and to keep your heel locked. I found that my foot felt very secure at any pace.
Sadly this shoe runs a bit short. If you have the possibility you should try it on your feet otherwise go half up. I have to wear my thinnest socks to make it fit, but then it offers a perfect snug race fit.
Ivan: When first putting on the shoe, the fit was extremely snug and especially the toe box felt cramped. I was convinced that I would need to go half size up to fit the shoe without getting blisters around my toes. However, having used the Rebellion Pro with thin socks, I am not that convinced anymore. At least I haven’t gotten any blisters from the quite pointy toe box and I got just enough space for a fairly comfortable “race” fit. Helped along by a super light and breathable upper.
However, I do have one serious issue and that is the heel collar. Despite being soft and pliable, it bruises my achilles. It might have to do with the overall snug fit, putting some pressure in the back. Not being able to use thicker socks leave my achilles even more exposed and I need to use band aid or sports tape to avoid a bloody achilles during longer runs.
Overall, I find the upper snug, but actually pleasant apart from the achilles rubbing. It is simple, thin and breathable but the lockdown is good. All that is missing is a tiny bit more volume and perhaps some additional padding around the heel cup and the tongue.
I have to admit that the overall fit of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is good, but it could be improved with some tweaks. For instance, I would have liked more padding in the tongue and heel. That’s because I found that when I laced up the shoe and used marathon knots, I felt some pressure from the laces on top of my foot. And if I didn’t use marathon knots, I noticed some extra movement in the heel. This could be improved by adding some padding to the heel or redesigning the heel.
Midsole and Ride
Silke: At first you will find the look of the midsole a bit confusing because something is missing in the heel! Mizuno designers combined the MIZUNO ENERZY Lite+ on top and MIZUNO ENERZY lite foam at the bottom. In between they placed their carbon-infused WAVE plate. In combination with a wider platform the Rebellion Pro offers a stable ride if you are a mid to forefoot striker even with the stack of more than 40mm under your midfoot (editor’s note: World Athletic compliant shoe because of the <40mm stack achieved at 75% of the length of the shoe where the official measurement is made).
To benefit from everything this shoe offers, I should run (according to Mizuno) a marathon in less than 2.5 hours. I am not such a fast runner. I can achieve these paces in my sprint workouts! But I have to admit, the ride just works for me.
The first time I ran in the Rebellion Pro I did a 20sec/ 30 sec sprint workout followed by 8*3min at 10k pace. The toe-off worked so well for me that I decided to run a faster half-marathon in training with them. Boom, that was a great run and my legs felt so good the day after.
It is just fun to use this shoe for tempo runs at my half-marathon or 10k pace. In fact I feel like Legolas dancing on the snow, when everyone around him is sinking in when I am running in the Rebellion Pro. Even in my daily runs with a lot of small hills it works perfectly for my gait cycle and it does not feel strange going at much easier paces than Mizuno’s announced “target race pace.”
Ivan: The midsole shape of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is truly unique which is easy to tell from just looking at the shoe. The rocker geometry starts very early with a certain tipping point with one long slope towards the front of the shoe. At the tipping point the midsole height is way beyond that “legal” 40mm limit. But it is “saved” by the heel cutoff and the rocker since measurements are done under the heel and in the front.
Actually running in the shoe is just as special as one would expect. To take full advantage of the peculiar rocker geometry, I would recommend to strike just on or in front of that tipping point and then push off on that long aggressive slope. For the vast majority of runners I suspect that it will mean changing the usual gait cycle to some extent. Personally, I usually tend to land more directly on my midfoot and striking a bit further back to exploit this geometry has resulted in anterior shin splints issues. Probably due to excessive dorsiflexion of my ankles. Apart from this, I must say that I find the ride extremely cushioned and propulsive. I have noticed that my quads and hips are doing most of the work with my biomechanics, and I suspect that especially runners with powerful strides will be able to take advantage of their natural strengths. This is also the case with ‘super-shoes’ like the Nike Alphafly, Asics Metaspeed Sky and Adidas Adios Pro, just to mention a few. A very deep cutout/groove running below the plate is also worth mentioning. Not only does it save some weight. When decompressed in the propulsive face, it seems to create a bit of a “trampoline” effect. But fortunately in a way that creates forward momentum.
With all of the above in mind, this is definitely mostly geared towards long distance races and preferably the full marathon distance. It just feels like a lot of shoe in sheer volume and a super high leg turnover can quite feel unnatural at times. The shoe feels stable compared to most other super shoes despite the height. But turning sharp corners can feel a bit wobbly at times. I find that it really excels at long and faster steady paces and preferably in a straight line.
The perfect outsole is on the Wave Rebellion Pro
Silke: I tested the Rebllion Pro in dry and in wet conditions with some slippery leaves and some dirt and it grips just perfect.
The G3 outsole offers perfect grip and I can say that after 60k there is not the slightest wear to make out.
Take aim at your personal best with the exceptional grip of the G3 outsole, f
Ivan: The grip is just exceptional and among the best out there. If not THE best. Also, after doing around 50 km in the shoe, there seems to be practically no wear to the outsole and I expect durability to be really high. Especially compared to other shoes in this category
Conclusion – A fast shoe, not just for the Elites
Silke: So, can I benefit from an elite runners shoe?
Yes I can. I would not recommend this one to use for every daily run, but it is too good to just use it on race day. But if you are aiming for a PB this is a shoe that you should give a try
Ivan: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is quite light considering the high amount of shock absorption. The fit is snug and depending on your preferences, you might consider sizing up. As for the ride, it is best described as extremely propulsive. However, I think that the shoe will take some getting used to for a lot of runners. To take advantage of the geometry, you might have to change your usual gait. The long and aggressive early rocker shifts the load higher up the system. All depending on your personal strengths or weaknesses, this could create some issues or end up as a perfect match.
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