A new carbon contender has arrived: the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro. This shoe delivers an exciting, fast ride for races of any distance, though it’s at its best for longer runs. The bold design won’t work for all runners, but if it suits you, then you’re getting one of the best racers available.
- Cushioned design
- Bouncy ride
- Great grip
- Not the most stable shoe
- Demands a particular running style
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Mizuno has been a conspicuous absence from the battle to produce the best carbon plate running shoes, but the wait for the Wave Rebellion Pro has been worth it. This is the most exciting carbon shoe I’ve tested in a long time, with an outlandish design and an extremely quick ride.
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro is a fantastic new option for marathoners in particular, though it can handle shorter races too. And even better, it’s more affordable than many carbon shoes. Put simply, this is one of the best running shoes available.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro Review: Price And Availability
The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro launched in February 2023 and costs $250 in the US, which is standard for a super-shoe, and £200 in the UK, which is cheaper than most of its rivals, such as the Nike Vaporfly.
Design And Fit
Let’s start by saying that despite looking like it has a 50mm stack, the Wave Rebellion Pro is race-legal. The heel stack is 39mm and the forefoot 33mm for a 6mm drop.
The shoe is also surprisingly light given its amount of foam, weighing 8.2oz/233g in my UK size 9. This is heavier than shoes like the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2 and Saucony Endorphin Elite, but lighter than the Nike Alphafly NEXT% 2 and Adidas Adios Pro 3.
The dramatic heel cut-out is a key part of the Wave Rebellion Pro’s design: it promotes a mid-forefoot landing, before rolling you rapidly onto and then off your toes using its Smooth Speed Assist rocker geometry. That forward propulsion is aided by the plate in the midsole, which is 30% carbon and 70% nylon, and has a section removed in the forefoot to reduce weight and increase the forefoot comfort when using the shoe in long races. The plate has a sidewall on the inside of your foot to increase stability.
The plate is sandwiched between two layers of Mizuno’s PEBA-based Enerzy Lite foam. The top layer is softer to create a dual-density midsole so you land in the more comfortable, softer foam before hitting the plate and firmer foam, which deliver a greater energy return.
There are huge cut-outs in the midsole to reduce weight, with a canyon running down the middle of the outsole, which affects stability. There is a layer of rubber where the outsole comes into contact with the ground and this provides reliable grip to help give you more confidence when tackling corners at speed in such a tall shoe.
The lightweight mesh upper has a stiffer section at the heel to add stability, and internal strips add structure in the midfoot. In my normal size the shoe fitted me well, but it has a tight toe box and a close fit at the front, which I find ideal for racing. However, some may want more room, in which case you should get a bigger size.
How I Tested This Shoe
I’ve run 50km in the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro, including a workout of around 25km, plus two shorter track sessions and a 5K race. I have also tested almost all of the best carbon plate running shoes available from other brands, as well as the Mizuno Wave Rebellion plated trainer.
Given the distinctive look of the Wave Rebellion Pro I was hoping for big things, but also concerned about using the shoe because I am a heelstriker and it doesn’t really have a heel. I threw caution to the wind by using it for a long workout straight out of the box, and it blew me away.
The midsole is bouncy, and while it forces you onto your midfoot if you are a heelstriker, this didn’t feel unnatural or unpleasant to me. It didn’t aggravate my calf muscles, something that can happen for me in low-drop shoes. I ran a couple of 3km reps at a steady pace, as well as two sets of 5/4/3/2/1-minute reps at around 10K pace in the shoe, and it felt smooth and fast.
It was also comfortable over that distance and I’d have no fears about taking the Wave Rebellion Pro further. That isn’t always the case with plated shoes for me – the Saucony Endorphin Elite is one that I find particularly harsh for runs over 20km.
While Mizuno is pushing the shoe as a marathon racer, I found it had the pace for short-distance efforts, enjoying two track workouts and a 5K race in the shoe. For the 5K race I clocked 15min 59sec, which I was happy with given my fitness at the time. I didn’t feel the shoe was at all heavy or an encumbrance compared with lighter options like the Nike Vaporfly.
My only concern over long distances would be that as a natural heelstriker, the slight change in gait I have when using the Wave Rebellion Pro may become tiring deep into the race. During the 5K race I had to force myself to lean forwards as I tired in order to keep hitting the sweet spot in the shoe and to get the most energy return. Higher-drop shoes with a more normal design – a heel – provide more support and help to tip me forwards when I tire in races.
However, these concerns wouldn’t apply to midfoot and forefoot strikers, and haven’t been a problem for me yet. My overall experience with the shoe has been uniformly positive. It was also not as unstable as I feared, and while you need to take care on sharp corners, that’s not unusual in a high-stack super-shoe.
Is The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro Worth It?
The carbon super-shoe market is a crowded place but the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro stands out. It reminds me of the original Nike Alphafly NEXT%, and if you were disappointed by the changes to the Alphafly 2, then the Wave Rebellion Pro could be a great alternative.
The Wave Rebellion Pro holds its own against any carbon shoe, especially when looking at longer races. The more nimble and lightweight Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2, Asics Metaspeed Sky+ and Saucony Endorphin Elite have the edge in shorter events, though the Mizuno is still a great option for those. I’ve yet to test the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 3, which will no doubt be another strong option.
Its relatively low price in the UK makes the Wave Rebellion Pro even more attractive. I think it’s probably the most enjoyably bouncy carbon shoe I’ve tried since the original Alphafly and while the design might not suit every runner, when you hit your straps in the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro it’s an exhilarating ride.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.