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Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro Review: Uniquely Aggressive Fun
By David Salas & Matthew Klein

Every company you can name at this point has a super shoe. The racing market has now become a big showcase for footwear companies to debut midsoles, plates, and fun progressions of their shoes. Mizuno has now entered this world with their own named the Wave Rebellion Pro. The Rebellion Pro features a unique geometry that is eye-catching and provides its own unique running experience.

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
Price: $249.95, coming January
Weight: 7.9 oz, g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 4.5 mm
Classification: Super Shoe, Racing Shoe



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: Mizuno is known to take time with releasing new product concepts. Despite its history with racing shoes, one of the last major Mizuno racers widely available in the US was the Mizuno Wave Universe series. It was one of the lightest racing shoes on the market (version 5 was the lightest at 2.8 oz for men's size 9). Gone are the days of super light and minimal racing shoes as the maximal super shoes have taken over. After a long wait, Mizuno is finally releasing its super shoe. Like the Mizuno Wave Universe series, the Rebellion Pro takes its place among the best racing shoes on the market, but with a far different footprint from both a sustainability standpoint and literally as it is a massive super shoe.

The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is a super racing shoe with a unique midsole geometry. An exaggerated heel bevel creates an optimal landing point at the posterior midfoot forward, where duel layers of Mizuno Wave Enerzy Lite+ and Enerzy Lite create an incredibly bouncy and responsive ride. A unique geometry keeps weight down while providing an incredible amount of cushioning. Continuing to be different, an extremely unique sustainable carbon-infused nylon plate travels along the length of the shoe, adding stiffness and stability to the tall height. A light but secure upper holds the foot down with a slightly short and snug fit (in our prototypes). An incredible racing shoe with tons of cushioning and bounce, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion adds one more to the list of shoes moving beyond "super" in the racing shoe category.

David: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is the newest addition to the super shoe lineup. The Rebellion Pro has a couple of things that stand out right away. The shoe almost has a hyper bevel at the heel and a gradual toe spring. The midsole is dual-density and using two relatively new materials for Mizuno. The plate is a carbon-infused nylon stiffening agent. This shoe is definitely in the super shoe category and gives you a different feel than a lot of its peers. 

SIMILAR SHOES: Nike Alphafly Next% 2



No hard heel counter in the Rebellion Pro

FIT

Matt: The sample pair fits me a 1/4 to 1/2 size short in my normal men's US size 10. This was most noticeable in the toe box, which with the shorter fit tapered quickly. Using extremely thin socks helped provide me a little more room, but we will update this as soon as we get production pairs. The fit of the Rebellion Pro is snug throughout the length of the shoe. The upper is thin and breathable, with a small and tall heel counter in the rearfoot for structure. The midfoot fits normally to slightly snug for a racing shoe. There is a large Mizuno logo overlay on the lateral side that adds mild structure, but most of the upper hold comes from the laces. The laces are thin and connect to an extremely thin and gusseted tongue. The tongue requires a large amount of time to lay flat as it bunches easily. Once it is laid down and the laces are secured it is fine. This may be due to the smaller fit, but I had no issues with slippage and did not have to lace lock the heel. The heel fits snugly although it has some flexibility due to the mostly unstructured design. The heel collar is decently padded an there is a small heel counter in the rearmost portion of the heel. It is flexible and gave me no issues at all. Those with heel sensitivities should be fine. Overall, the fit is reminiscent of a track spike, albeit with a huge amount of cushion underfoot.

David: Disclaimer alert: The pairs we were provided were of the limited release from the sample line. Final production models will have the exact same DNA but with some sizing clean ups. My current 9.5 fits about 1/2 size down and more similar to a 9. This should be fixed in the full released version. The thoughts will be reflective of the current fit. Disclaimer over. The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro fits a little snug and closer to a 9 than a 9.5 for me. With that said the dimensions are still decently true to size despite being a little shorter on length. The fit throughout resembles a classic performance fit, leaning more on the snug side. The heel and midfoot are slightly narrow with the forefoot being normal width. The toe box tapers pretty quick and is on the narrower end. The engineered mesh lightweight and breathable. For not having any overlays or major inlays it holds its structure really well. There is a tiny heel counter that remains thin and shallow in the heel bed. The tongue is gusseted for improved lockdown and to prevent slippage of the tongue. It is thin and race ready. Though being thin I have not had any major biting from the laces, though it is getting pretty close to that line. The fit feels very similar to a track spike and performs quite well. If the sizing gets cleaned up with the length and if the toe box is widened slightly this will be one of the better uppers out there. 



PERFORMANCE

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is a unique and true super racing shoe. Although we do not have exact measurements, the stack height is definitely maxed at (40mm). There are dual layers of Mizuno ENERZY Lite+ and Enerzy Lite. The softer top layer of Enerzy Lite+ feels like a super PEBA type foam and is incredibly bouncy underfoot. The sole geometry is interesting. Despite the extreme heel bevel, landing right at that pivot point is the most propulsive and responsive sweet point. Landing further back on the heel is possible but feels slightly awkward. Landing farther forward is fine and the aggressive forefoot rocker rolls you forward quickly but does not seem to engage the foam or plate as much. Hitting that posterior midfoot is incredibly bouncy and the harder you hit it, the faster you will go. The best way I can describe this feeling is like Skechers M Strike on an extreme level.

This makes the Rebellion Pro a specific tool that requires some experimentation and learning to properly utilize. This is a racing shoe and the above elements make it best for moderate to faster speeds. It feels awkward at slower paces but at steady efforts where you want to hold a faster pace, it is excellent. It is a large shoe and the softer/taller stack height does not respond as fast as I would want for extremely fast efforts. I raced a 5k in these and while everything went well, I would want a lighter and closer-to-the-ground shoe for that short a distance. For longer races from 10k/half marathon to the marathon the Rebellion Pro excels given that it is a longer distance racing shoe and it can hold paces extremely well.

Despite being a racing shoe, the Rebellion Pro has excellent traction and durability. The G3 outsole grips the road well on both dry and wet pavement. I would not take this on trails given the large cut outs in the sole that can catch socks and the tall stack height. Despite being isolated mostly to roads, it is highly durable. I have 90 miles on my pair and have still failed to wear through the outsole. The midsole has continued to break in nicely and has maintained a majority of the responsiveness that it started with. This is a shoe that should last a while, making it an excellent choice for faster training and racing.

David: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is one my favorite racing shoes this year (writing this in December, though this will be a 2023 review). The geometry is incredibly unique and more than just eye catching. When you look at it you will see the intense heel bevel and gradual toe spring. The shoe still transitions pretty well at the heel without being jarring. The transition however is really quick. The Rebellion Pro definitely likes to keep you feeling a little bit forward the whole time. The plate is really noticeable in the midfoot and almost feels like a firm pogo. After getting that spring like load through the midfoot the shoe rolls quickly off of the forefoot. This shoe feels really fast and fun when you are running in straight lines. The midsole composition is also interesting as well. The top layer is Enerzy Lite+, a new material that is really soft and bouncy like FuelCell. This layer is relatively thin though. The majority of the midsole is in the lower half and is of Mizuno Enerzy Lite. To my knowledge this is still a PEBA-based midsole, though runs firmer than the other ones I have tried. The combination of everything above makes for a ride that has a sense of softness, but ultimately a firmer and faster rolling shoe than many of the other super shoes people are used to.

The one thing I did struggle with in the Rebellion Pro was turning. That pogo sensation and fast rolling geometry feels good when you don't have to navigate terrain or make turns. I found I was more ginger when moving into sharper turns, ran on sharper cambered roads, or if I needed to get off of a smooth road for whatever reason. If you look at the outsole you will notice there is a large cutout and a medial bias in the cutout. Because of this the shoe does feel like it wobbles a little if you have do something that is not run straight. The traction underfoot is quite good and I have not had any problems with grip, though it does give off a little scratchy sound when running on the roads. In summary, the performance of the midsole is really good, though the cutout and instability of the platform make it difficult with turns. In straight lines or courses with minimal turns, this shoe can stand toe-to-toe with any major super shoe offering. 




STABILITY

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is a neutral racing shoe. However, there are some elements that might make it stable for some and not stable for others. There are several stable neutral components to this shoe, including well-placed medial and lateral sidewalls in the midfoot. The plate design also comes up along the medial midfoot, providing some mild resistance to motion. The plate provides a high level of stiffness and the wider and rockered sole in the forefoot provides a higher level of stability up front. The midfoot is less stable medially due to the cut out being present on the medial but not lateral side. This combined with the extremely tall stack height and soft midsole make the shoe a little less inherently stable. The soft and bouncy Mizuno ENERZY LITE+ is fun to run in, but not the most stable material. So while the foot has mild guidance from some of the above methods, the soft foam makes it less stable for people with unstable hips. All of these things make for a solidly neutral shoe that has some elements of stable neutral that are not overtly prominent due to the softer sole and medial cutout.

David: The stability of the Rebellion Pro is interesting. The upper actually locks down really well and does not have that much give to it. In that regard you feel connected to the platform and can trust that aspect of it. The part that is difficult is the underfoot geometry. It performs really well with minimal turns or when you are running in straight lines. The underfoot cut of the midsole/outsole keeps weight down but changes the experience in "unstable situations". The cutout creates a nice midline groove through the rearfoot, though extends medially as you transition into the midfoot. This makes for a really fast transition that feels very lively. This transition however feels like it is too much when running on sharply cambered roads, dirt, grass, or in areas where a lot of turns are needed. I trust most things in this platform, but would like to see the midfoot redone. I think the Rebellion Pro would benefit from a little sole flaring in the midfoot or with erasing the medial portion of the cutout. Straight-line stability is good, but other real world demands make stability a little difficult. 



Thoughts as a DPT: Nerve-Wracking Turns and Their Effect on Nerves
By David Salas

It is no secret that our feet and ankles have to do some work when we are running. One thing we do not think about as much is our central and peripheral nervous systems. Our central nervous system essentially comprises of our brain and our spinal cord. Our peripheral nervous system consists of our sensory nerves and our motor nerves. Together they work together to create conscious and unconscious decisions about the world around us. Our joints contain small receptors that provide information of its location in space to the central nervous system. The whole network becomes a loop of feedback and response. Like any other system the nervous system can also fatigue. Our ankle is one of the most important joints to the nervous system. Our foot and ankle give us so much feedback about the world when we are landing and moving. We then take this feedback and our brain makes micro second decisions to smooth out how we move and respond appropriately. 

When we take a large slab of foam and put it underneath our foot it interferes with this signaling. Many companies offset this by creating geometries and platforms that feel more stable and trustworthy. Mizuno focused more on having a fast platform. The current platform creates a fast bias towards pronation or calcaneal eversion. The shoe feels like you transition really fast inward into a more stable and responsive forefoot platform to resupinate from. In a straight line this works really well. When running off road or having to navigate turns this feels like too much bias. Our ankles and hips end up having to make a lot of adjustments to keep you from falling over and moving efficiently. Sensory reweighting is our body's ability to disregard sensory stimuli that are not relevant to our goal and keep on the task at hand (Pasma et al. 2012). This becomes exponentially harder if your foot, ankle, and hip are having to focus so much on the shoe underneath you. So much of this shoe is done well, though I think some work could be done in the midfoot to provide a more stable and versatile experience. If you are feeling nervous about turning or going off road in a certain pair of shoes that could be a window into its interaction with your nervous system. 

Sources:

Pasma, J. H., Boonstra, T. A., Campfens, S. F., Schouten, A. C., & Van der Kooij, H. (2012). Sensory reweighting of proprioceptive information of the left and right leg during human balance control. Journal of Neurophysiology 108. 1138-1148. 


RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: The Rebellion Pro has provided an incredible experience and has the potential to be my favorite shoe heading into 2023. The fit obviously needs to be adjusted due to the 1/2 to 1/4 size small, but as mentioned I made this work with time and thin socks. If this is adjusted in the production version, my only suggestion is to consider reworking the midsole geometry. The cut-outs are a fantastic way to save weight, but the missing chunk from the medial midfoot may create an issue with stability especially as the plate breaks in. I would encourage Mizuno to fill in both the medial and lateral side and consider cutting out more from the center to create a hollow in the middle. The medial and lateral aspects will then resist motion in those directions, further adding guidance to the midsole. 

David: The Rebellion Pro is one the most fun shoes I have run in. Though I think the stability could be cleaned up. The midfoot region especially could be cleaned up. The things I would change would include widening the platform a tad with some sole flare and I would also fill up the medial portion of the cutout. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR


Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is a true super shoe for those that want a track spike upper with a unique midsole for longer-distance racing. The sole geometry makes landing at the posterior midfoot an explosive and pogo-like experience. The midsole material, plate and rocker of the Rebellion Pro allow for a faster ride that handles longer steady efforts best. This makes it a fantastic longer race shoe and one of the first shoes to truly rival the original Alphafly. Similar to that shoe, it is not the most stable due to the soft and incredibly responsive sole. However, while the Alphafly may feel best for those that land farther forward, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro offers an alternative super shoe ride for those that land more moderately in the back. Although some sizing issues need to be addressed (which we will report on immediately when production pairs come in), the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is just the beginning of a new breed of super shoes that will keep you flying down well-paved and stable roads for miles. 

David: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is a super shoe for those that want something that transitions really fast and lively. Those that are sensitive to stability demands may have a hard time with this shoe especially in turning or off road situations. The shoe is certainly on par with other shoes on the market with responsiveness and gives you an "always forward" type of feeling. The cushioning is balanced with a really soft and bouncy top layer and a firmer more resilient bottom layer. The plate feels like a pogo in the midfoot with a really fast rolling forefoot. Those that like that little push feeling will resonate with the Rebellion Pro.


GRADING

Matt
Fit: B+ (1/2 to 1/4 side small with track spike-like upper. Dialed in and secure fit with light upper)
Performance: A 
(Incredibly responsive and bouncy ride for moderate to faster efforts. Landing sweet spot just ahead of the heel that creates a bouncy and propulsive ride for 10k to marathon distances)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (Some stable neutral components like sidewalls and unique plate design that are offset by the extremely tall and softer midsole. Best for those with forefoot guidance needs, but not for those that need it in the midfoot )
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Unique geometry design with solid use of midsole cutouts for weight reduction. This is the first shoe that truly rivals the Alphalfy, but would be more stable if there was no medial midfoot cut out.
Personal: A- (While not stable enough for me beyond well-paved half-marathon distances, the ride is incredible. The bouncy and propulsive ride is fun to use for workouts and races. If the upper gets fixed in the production version, this will be one of the best super shoes out there at this time)
Overall: B+/A- 

David
Fit: B+/A- (Very dialed in and a well designed performance fit, length needs to get cleaned up and toe box could be widened a tad)
Performance: B+/
A- (Incredibly fast and performance driven ride, unique and exciting experience, though difficulty with turns and higher cambered roads)
Stability: B (Everything feels very forward and linear and in this realm stability is good. Though the big medial cutout in the midsole/outsole combined with lack of sole flaring give a difficult platform to trust in cambered roads, turns, or off road.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (I give large kudos for the Mizuno team designing something that is its own super shoe. This shoe is certainly unique and still performs on par with other super shoes on the market. There is still some work to do though.)
Personal: A- (This shoe works really well for my mechanics. I have done many solid workouts and long runs in this shoe, though it has become a niche type shoe in some regards. Because of the instability on cambered roads and turns, I really would only use this on a clean course. A unique addition to the super shoe line that I believe does deserve some conversation.)
Overall: B+/A-

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
Price: $295.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Mizuno Running North America for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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