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Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2: Second Times the Charm
By Matthew Klein, David Salas, and Andrea Myers

The original Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash was a bit of an anomaly. Despite having a higher stack height, it was one of the firmest shoes many of us had tried in years. In an era of super soft, cushioned shoes, the Flash stood out as a snappy firm one. This wasn't a surprise coming from Mizuno, who traditionally for years put out firmer shoes until recently. The Rebellion Flash 2 moves away from that with a design inspired by the Rebellion Pro series. A top layer of super foam (Enerzy Lite+), a bottom layer of non-super foam (Enerzy) and a glass fiber plate bring this new shoe into direct competition with the increasing number of new-age, super shoe-inspired performance trainers.

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2
Price: $169.95 (coming January 2024)
Weight: 8.5 oz, 243 g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35 mm / 34.5 mm (2.5mm insole)
Drop: 0.5 mm 
Classification: Plated Performance/Lightweight Trainer




RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a plated lightweight trainer for those who want performance fit and ride. The thin, light upper provides a close, tapered fit that takes some initial working to get a secure fit. The sole is bouncy with geometry that works better for those who land a little farther forward. The glass fiber-infused nylon plate provides a snappy feel when the pace picks up and some mild guidance from wings in the midfoot. Best for those who want a shoe for faster runs and uptempo miles in training, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a big change from the last version thanks to inspiration from its racing companion - the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a training companion to the Rebellion Pro 2 (super shoe). In a lot of ways the shoe feels like a slightly dialed down Rebellion Pro 1 with a little more durability and training considerations. The unique geometry combined with the Enerzy Lite + top layer midsole provide a big rolling sensation and bounce at toe off. The shoe does use a nylon plate vs. the carbon plate seen in the Rebellion Pro model as well. This is a highly rockered shoe that can do a little of everything at paces.

Andrea:
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a complete revamp of the Flash 1, and really could be called an entirely different shoe. Its geometry is most similar to the Wave Rebellion Pro 1, and makes a nice training shoe for those who race in the Wave Rebellion Pro 2. The large heel bevel makes midfoot landings feel incredibly natural, but it is not so aggressive that it is uncomfortable at easy paces. The stiff sole combined with the high stack of Enerzy and Enerzy Lite + foam result in a responsive, rolling ride that does not feel soft or unstable. For me, I have found it best for easy runs and tempo runs, but others may find it best for speed work, depending on their individual mechanics.

SIMILAR SHOES: Hoka Mach X, Adidas Boston 12
PAST MODEL: Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash

FIT

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 fits slightly short in my normal US men's size 10. This is due to a slightly short due to a low and tapered toe box. Although this has improved with time, the front is tapered and low, similar to the front fit of the Wave Rebellion Pro. I would highly encourage those who are between sizes to consider going up a half size, especially if you want to use this for longer runs. The width does open slightly in the midfoot thanks to some additional volume. There is a thin, non-gusseted tongue here that does little to protect from the laces. I had to be careful tying the laces tightly to try to get a secure fit as any additional tightening put a ton of pressure across the top of my foot. Once I got it appropriately locked down it was fine but some additional time does have to be taken to get a secure fit. The heel features a flexible heel counter and thin heel collar padding. Those with sensitivities to counters should be fine as I had no issues.

The upper security is confusing. The tapered fit in the forefoot does lock things down and there are some internal reinforcement in the midfoot. However, to make use of the midfoot reinforcement, the laces must be locked down just right. If not, I experienced sliding in the midfoot if it was slightly too loose or too much pressure across the top of my foot. So it can be secure although it takes some work. Due to the thing tongue and the pressure at the forefoot (which also appears to be from the toe guard), socks are a must. I have found thin socks to work best due to the tapered fit. So those who want a snug, performance fit especially in the forefoot may do well here, but others may want to consider a half size up.

David:
The upper has a pretty streamlined fit to it. It is a relatively snug fitting upper that mimics uppers you would see on the track. With that said the forefoot width and volume is still a little bit higher than the classic track feel, so this is still a bit more accommodating. The heel and midfoot are slightly narrow and really hold the foot in place. The tongue is very thin but surprisingly didn't give me too much biting. Because of the geometry I did find my heel would raise a tiny bit, but I did not have to lace down the shoe much tighter for that to go away. The length of the shoe is true to size but may be a tad short (not problematic for me). There is a flexible heel counter present that holds the structure of the heel well without much give to the material or rubbing to the foot. The fit is pretty dialed in but will definitely favor those that like a tighter lockdown throughout. I do think the volume could be a tad higher through the midfoot since this is a shoe I'd take for longer efforts and would like a little extra space for swelling accommodation.

Andrea:
I originally received my usual women's size 9.5 in the Rebellion Flash 2, but it fit so short I knew I wouldn't be able to run in it enough to properly test it out. I sent the 9.5s back and Mizuno sent me a women's 10, which fit perfectly in both length and width. I have a full thumb's width from the front of my big toe to the end of the shoe, and the toe box is wide enough that I do not experience any discomfort at my 1st or 5th MTPs, even on longer runs. The midfoot and rearfoot are normal width and I did not experience any difficulty achieving lockdown in the shoe. The heel counter is semi rigid and has a small amount of internal padding. I was able to lace up and go on my first run, without needing to stop to adjust the laces. The thin tongue is not gusseted, but is held in place by two lace loops (similar to the design of the Rebellion Pro 2). The flat laces did not cause any irritation on the dorsum of my foot, even with the thin tongue. Overall, I found the fit quite comfortable once I went up 1/2 size. 




PERFORMANCE

Matt: The Mizuno Rebellion Flash 2 is a lightweight trainer with a full length glass fiber infused plate, a top layer of Enerzy Lite+ (superfoam) and a large bevel. The midsole is balanced between firm and soft during easy paces and becomes snappy as the pace picks up. The weight is light at 8.6 oz (men's size 9) and provides a noticeable ability to transition between easy and faster paces. The glass fiber plate feels fairly smooth at easy paces but becomes more noticeable and snappy as the pace picks up. There is a 0.5 mm drop listed but it does not feel like that at all. This is due to how the drop is measured with the forward heel bevel. This bevel is noticeable and feels awkward landing with a pronounced heel strike. Landing slightly farther forward smooths this out. Landing at or ahead of the apex of the bevel makes it feel more like a 6-8mm drop shoe (not too low or high). Regardless of your landing, the central groove throughout the length of the shoe is noticeable. It isn't uncomfortable, but just feels like there isn't anything there and contrasts with the surrounding midsole. The forefoot transition is fairly smooth. It feels slightly stiff initially then breaks in well.

I have found that the Rebellion Flash 2 works best for daily runs and workouts. It is not something I personally would race in but those who find super shoes too aggressive may do well using it as a longer distance racer. I have done a long run, easy runs, a fartlek and hills repeats in this shoe and found it transitions well between them. I did start to fatigue during the long run due to the narrow midfoot (see stability section). The fartlek and hill repeats felt natural and the ride becomes quick and snappy. It feels best during workout paces but I personally would want something more responsive for races like a true super shoe (like the Rebellion Pro one or two).

The traction on the outsole is quite good, although I would stick to road as I had a rock get stuck in the central groove. The durability is moderate as I already am starting to see decent wear on the outsole in my normal spot (posterior lateral left heel). I have not worn through the outsole, but have smoothed down the lugs at 30 miles. Thus, I expect a fairly average number of miles for a lightweight trainer (250-300 miles) out of these.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 aesthetically looks like a Rebellion Pro 1 that has been dialed down a tad. In a lot of ways that is the experience you get. This shoe still has a very lively and bouncy ride, but does give you a little option to slow down if you want to. The dramatic heel bevel is actually integrated really well with the midsole and plate geometry. Standing statically you can certainly notice the rocker and plate, though when you are running it does not feel as jarring as it may seem initially. The softness of the Enerzy Lite + eases the landing at initial contact and helps you hover over the midfoot. From the midfoot you have a sweet spot where the plate and forefoot have a slight flex and big bounce to it. The shoe keeps you feel like you are constantly pitched forward and able to turn over relatively easily. The outsole traction is noticeable and feels like an upgrade in security from the Rebellion Pro for training. The ability to turn in the Rebellion Flash 2 is surprisingly good on road and bike paths. I will say the softness of the foam and dramatic geometry does make it difficult to run off of road, but this will be a long run and tempo killer on the roads. For me this is a very good training companion to a rockered racing shoe. The Rebellion Flash 2 can do a little bit of everything from a pace standpoint but does feel better as the pace begins to climb. One key thing to note as well is that this model uses a nylon based plate and that does give you a small amount of flexibility when running on it (though it is still on the stiff end of the spectrum). Because of this and the more forgiving heel bevel, compared to the Rebellion Pro, give it some warm up and cool down ability as well. Those wanting a highly rockered and bouncy ride this is definitely worth looking into.

Andrea:
I was so confident in the fit and ride of the Wave Rebellion Flash 2 (thanks to the highly enjoyable miles I have been putting on my Wave Rebellion Pro 2) that my first run in them was an easy 9 miler with some pickups in the middle. Despite the majority of the run being easy, the shoe felt incredibly natural, protective, and responsive thanks to the heel bevel and high stack. The heel bevel on the Flash 2 is nowhere near as aggressive as the Pro 2, which is the main reason I find is more comfortable at easy pace. When picking up the pace, I found that the Flash 2 feels best for me between threshold and marathon pace. When I run faster in the shoe, it feels like I lose the benefit of the heel bevel because I am landing too far forward of it. This actually makes the shoe feel a little flat and like I am having to put more vertically directed force into the shoe to achieve push off. I used it for a workout of 4 minute reps at 10k pace and it did not feel as lively as I would like for that pace and actually felt like I was fighting the shoe a bit. I have really enjoyed this shoe on easy-moderate pace long runs in which my pace is about 45-60" per mile slower than marathon pace and when doing marathon pace intervals. It is in this pace range that I feel the apex of the heel bevel lines up with my preferred lateral midfoot strike and the shoe feels like it is most protective and responsive. For those who land further back, you may find that the shoe feels better at faster paces, depending how you engage the heel bevel and foam.

I have 40 miles on my pair and there is almost no visible wear on the outsole. Due to its extensive rubber coverage, I would expect higher than average durability from the shoe. The G3 rubber outsole provides excellent traction on wet roads. Due to the central cutout, I would not take this shoe on dirt or gravel because rocks will get stuck in it. 



STABILITY

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a neutral shoe with some stable elements. There are small sidewalls on the medial and lateral sides of the anterior heel/posterior midfoot. The glass fiber-infused nylon plate has wings that come up on the medial and lateral sides of the midfoot. These are noticeable and provide pressure that I most notice on the medial side of my foot. The central groove does act like a guidance line. As mentioned, it is noticeable and does seem to contribute to a centered ride throughout the length of the shoe. The large bevel is also strongly posterior lateral, providing lateral guidance at heel strike. The area that offsets some of this is how narrow the sole of the midfoot and to a degree the heel is. The stack height is high in this shoe and the narrowness of the platform is apparent at the rear 2/3 of the shoe. The large bevel offsets it somewhat, but the narrowness of the midfoot combined with the nylon plate "wings" make for a solidly neutral midfoot. I did not have a problem with this on normal length runs of 6-9 miles but during longer runs my fatigue due to this became apparent. The forefoot, with its wide plate and smooth rocker, was not an issue as there are mild sidewalls there.

David:
Just looking at the shoe it does not look stable. Surprisingly the Rebellion Flash 2 does pretty well despite the high stack, dramatic geometry, and softer instep. When running, this shoe does a good job of facilitating linear motion. The deep midline groove is integrated really well with the plate and midsole geometry. You feel centered and constantly rolling forward. The upper lockdown is also good throughout and keeps you engaged with the platform. Going forward is where this shoe shines. Its ability to turn was better than I had expected it to be, but it still wasn't anything to write home about. You feel high up and constantly pitched forward. When running on anything that isn't well groomed or in areas where you are making a lot of turns you do find yourself tippy toeing a little. There is not a lot of sole flare in the forefoot and heel and perhaps that could help in future models, especially since this is a training companion. The additional outsole traction does seem to help a bit in road conditions. The Rebellion Flash 2 is definitely a neutral shoe though. 

Andrea:
The Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a neutral shoe with some guidance and centering features. The heel bevel and forefoot rocker encourage forward motion from initial contact to push off. The relatively firm midsole does not feel unstable at all, and does not allow for any excess medial-lateral motion. The center line groove also feels like it also encourages forward motion, and provides a little give in an otherwise stiff shoe. The forefoot sole flare also contributes to the shoe's centered feel, although those who land further back may find the narrower midfoot and rearfoot to feel a little unstable. Overall, this is firmly a neutral shoe, but Mizuno has done a nice job with features that promote forward motion.




Thoughts as a DPT: What Do Guidance Lines Actually Do? 
By Matthew Klein

We have referenced central grooves and guidance lines for years as potential ways to influence motion. However, to be honest, there has not been any major research to confirm or deny this. This is common for small components of shoes to not have extensive research, especially in niche areas like running footwear. Particularly with newer concepts, it can take many years for research to catch up with current concepts.

The idea behind central grooves or guidance lines is that people and their feet will often travel through the path of least resistance. Each person's unique preferred movement path is an example of this as the body travels through the easiest way that it is most efficient at going through (Nigg et al., 2017). Material creates resistance to motion, therefore the lack of material should theoretically be the path the body chooses to move through. Having a lack of material at the center with two "walls" of material on each side in theory should create a pathway through the center. This is not that far off from the concept of flex grooves, where areas of decreased stiffness can facilitate motion. 

While this sounds great, there are a few things that we need to be cautious about. The lack of material in the middle of a shoe also means a lack of structural integrity and resistance to deformation in planes of motion outside the sagittal plane (front to back). This kind of design requires a stiff, rigid plate in the middle and the walls of material on each side need to be a certain thickness to maintain that structural integrity. Materials that may not be as stiff starting out are at risk of weakening and allowing more deformation past a natural point with wear and age. By deformation, I mean everything spreading apart as the foot pushes down through the center. So like anything, there is an optimal level/balance. We still need more evidence on these type of features but for now we can lean on some degree of theory (within reason). 

References:

Nigg, B. M., Vienneau, J., Smith, A. C., Trudeau, M. B., Mohr, M., & Nigg, S. R. (2017). The preferred movement path paradigm: influence of running shoes on joint movement. Med Sci Sports Exerc49(8), 1641-1648.





RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: I am obviously going to comment on the midfoot but the upper is where I need to start. The tapered toe box is not comfortable and has irritated the tips of my toes similar to the Rebellion Pro 1. For a $170 shoe, a shoe being a half-size short isn't great. Either the sizing needs to be fixed (recommend a half size up, which Andrea is trying) or the toe box needs to be opened up. The toes need to be able to have a little wiggle room over longer distance for adequate shock absorption at the forefoot. The tongue should be a bit thicker to protect from the laces. Due to the need to lock down the laces with the flexible thin upper, the top of my foot has felt unprotected and pinched from the paces. This has improved with time, but a little more protection there would be helpful.

Lastly, I would like to see the midfoot widened slightly. With such a tall stack height, having a tiny bit more width there would work far better with the medial wings of the plate to push this to a stable neutral ride at that spot. Other than those things, this is a massive improvement over Version 1 in ride, comfort and responsiveness.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 worked really well for me, but I do think there is some room for improvement. The first would be with volume through the upper. The shoe has a track like feel, but this isn't a short distance running shoe. I do think I would like to see a little more volume and forgiveness through the midfoot and forefoot. The other thing would be to add a little more sole flaring through the heel or forefoot to make landings and turns a little more confident and less stilt feeling.

Andrea:
I have really enjoyed running in the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 and it is an incredible update over the original Flash, which had such a firm forefoot that I could not run in it. My main recommendation would be for Mizuno to clean up their sizing so people can get the right fit the first time. This shoe definitely fits a 1/2 size small in length, so those interested in this shoe should definitely size up. Otherwise, I am thrilled with this shoe and will definitely be putting many more miles on it this year.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

Matt: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 are for those with normal to narrow feet looking for a snug forefoot who want a light, plated trainer with a top layer of super foam for daily trainer and workouts. The combination of the top layer of Mizuno Enerzy Lite+, the plate and geometry allow this shoe to transition easily between daily and faster paces, making it a true lightweight performance trainer. The fit feels short with a tapered forefoot that opens up into a light flexible upper that does need a little lockdown in the midfoot. Those who have concerns about the tapered forefoot may want to go up a half size. The ride is unique with geometry that encourages a more forward footstrike and will also work better for those that land a bit farther forward.

Price-wise, it sits between the Adidas Boston 12 and Hoka Mach X while being significantly lighter than both. Compared to the previous version, the Rebellion Flash 2 fits far better into current footwear trends and should reach a wider audience due to the better ride. I still have mild concerns about the fit of the upper up front and the narrowed midfoot, but overall this is a solid shoe that I enjoyed getting miles on.

David:
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a performance trainer for those wanting a highly rockered and bouncy ride. The shoe keeps you feeling pitched forward and in cycle. The shoe will do well for those that run a large amount of road miles, as the carry over is not quite as smooth to dirt or routes that have a bunch of turns. For those that want to fall in rhythm and have a sensation of hovering over the midfoot with a bouncy toe off this is a very fun offering.  

Andrea:
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2 is a training companion to the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 that has a relatively less aggressive heel bevel and a firmer ride. I would recommend that those interested go a 1/2 size up for length. The Flash 2 works best for me at paces ranging from easy to threshold, but others may find it to be best as a speed shoe, depending on your individual mechanics. The large heel bevel is well designed for those who land further forward, so I would encourage midfoot and forefoot strikers to check this shoe out. It is one of the most natural feeling performance trainers I have tested. While the majority of runners are heel strikers, it is nice to have a shoe or two that are better tuned for my midfoot strike pattern. 



GRADING

Matt
Fit: (Short, tapered toe box, flexible upper with thin tongue that does not protect top of foot. Heel comfortable with flexible counter )
Performance: 
A- (Slightly awkward heel offset by lightweight, responsive ride that works for training and workouts)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (Stable neutral forefoot, neutral midfoot due to narrowing, heel on the stable side of neutral if you need lateral guidance)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Full-length central groove interesting to reduce weight, now lightest in its class. Geometry makes this shoe extremely unique in the market. Narrowed midfoot not the best, especially when they advertise improved midfoot stability. Upper at the toe box needs to be reworked, although a half size up may fix this)
Personal: B+ (I really like the ride of this shoe but the upper fit, especially at the toe box, is a bit of a struggle)
Overall: B+

David

Fit: A- (Very dialed in and worked pretty well for my foot. I would like to see a little more volume through the midfoot and forefoot for swelling accommodation.)
Performance: 
A- (A fine performance trainer for the roads. Very rhythmic, rockered, and bouncy feel to it. I would like to see a lightly better performance with turning though. Otherwise very responsive and fun.)
Stability: B (Surprisingly good when running forward. Good traction, geometry, midline groove, and lockdown. Not a lot of sole flare and can feel like you are on stilts when turning a lot or running on anything that is not road.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (A shoe that has a lot going on for how light it is. Many of the small components are integrated really well. I would like to something that is more turn friendly though. It feels like a lab specific shoe.)
Personal: A- (Despite the lab shoe comment this is a really fun shoe. I will be wearing this for many long run efforts to come, assuming a road heavy route)
Overall: A-

Andrea

Fit: A- (Comfortable and secure fit without needing to mess with lacing at all. A- due to shoe fitting a full 1/2 size short.)
Performance: 
A- (An early candidate for favorite trainer of 2024. Geometry designed for midfoot/forefoot strikers, high stack in midfoot feels like it reduces impact and vibration at initial contact. The less aggressive heel bevel makes it less versatile as a true performance trainer for me, as it feels a little sluggish at paces below threshold. I will continue to use the shoe for easy-moderate long runs and tempo runs.)
Stability: B (neutral) (Highly tuned for forward motion without feeling of medial-lateral instability)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Thank you Mizuno for making a training shoe that feels designed for midfoot strikers)
Personal: A (One of my favorites so far this year. I will definitely be putting more miles on them.)
Overall: A

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash 2
Price: $169.95

Coming January 2024

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FURTHER READING: More Performance Trainers

Adidas Adizero Adios 8 - Lightstrike 2.0 and a shedded upper brings the Adios back to racing levels with a low weight and fast foam
Adidas Adizero Boston 12 - Lightstrike 2.0 lightens this trainer a great deal
Asics EvoRide Speed - A remodeled EvoRide brings Flytefoam Blast to the lightweight trainer
ASICS Hyper Speed 2 - A lightweight racing shoe for an incredible price
Asics Magic Speed 3 - A big update offers a softer, more versatile platform
Brooks Hyperion - The Hyperion offers a lightweight, low stack flat
Brooks Hyperion Max - A brand new lightweight trainer from Brooks
Brooks Hyperion Tempo - A lightweight classic from 2020
Hoka Mach X - Hoka's new semi-Peba foamed, Pebax plated performance trainer
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash - A lightweight, firm and nimble trainer packed with tech
Puma Deviate Nitro 2 - A versatile training companion to the Elite
Puma Liberate Nitro 2 - This mid-6 oz shoe offers an old school, low to the ground trainer
Saucony Kinvara Pro - Saucony throws in a new plated trainer that aims to help a variety of runners
Salomon Phantasm 2 - Salomon revamps this into a plated trainer for a variety of tasks
Topo Athletic Cyclone 2 - A huge upgrade lends PEBAX to this nonplated performance trainer

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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 for sending us pairs.  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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