Saturday, January 20, 2024

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 Review: 10 Comparisons

Article by Derek Li 

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 ($250)


Derek: The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro silhouette is easily the most radical among the current crops of super shoes on the market. That shoe has been out for over a year now, and it has garnered a rather polarizing response from runners with someabsolutely gushing over the assistive ride, while for others it just didn’t work at all. I count myself among the group of positive “responders” to the shoe, and went out and bought myself another two pairs of the same model after getting my initial testing pair. 

Among the criticisms of version 1 was that the shoe ran a little short. I disagree with that sentiment and my personal take is that it ran a bit narrow in the toebox, such that the 5th toe often got a bit squashed, and people with larger feet ended up having to size up in it. 

Enter version 2, with a thinner, less structured upper, and what appears to be a more rounded, higher volume toebox. Also, bucking the trend of the two-year update cycle, they also re-designed the midsole geometry to improve the rocker and make it more friendly to non-elite runners. Finally, the outsole coverage was also modified, presumably to improve stability. All in all, quite a few differences from version 1. Would it ruin a good thing? Read on to find out. 


More rounded anatomical shaped toebox - Derek

Excellent Outsole - Derek

Better for heel strikers than before - Derek 


Some people may experience heel slippage - Derek

Still relatively unstable due to high stack and narrow platform - Derek

Derek is in his 40’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:39 marathon PR from the 2022 Zurich Marathon.


Approx. Weight: men's 7.2 oz / 204g  (US9) 

Samples:  men’s US9.5: 210g / 7.41 oz  (v1 US9.5: 213g / 7.51oz)

Stack Height: men’s 38 mm heel / 36 mm forefoot (2mm drop)

Platform Width: v2 77mm heel 62mm midfoot 115mm forefoot

                          v1 77mm heel 62mm midfoot 114mm  forefoot

$250. Available now

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Derek: My first impression on taking the shoes out of the box was how much larger the shoe looked than its predecessor. The whole shoe just looked longer and taller. So it came as a bit of a surprise when the measured widths of the shoe were nearly identical to v1, and it came in a hair lighter as well. 

Putting the shoes side by side, v2 does look marginally longer than v1, though on step in with socks on, the amount of space in front of the toes was still about the same for both versions.

 It is immediately obvious on lacing up and walking around that version 2 is significantly bouncier, and a lot of that spring seems to be stemming from the midfoot and heel. There is a lot more natural directed rebound in the forward direction, something that version 1 did not have (nor indeed a lot of other super shoes. 

The NB SC Elite 3 is the other shoe that comes to mind with this sort of very directed forward spring from the heel, but with the Rebellion Pro 2, it is much more exaggerated than in the NB). The shoes definitely feel unstable at the heel when walking around, and if you rock too far back on your heels, chances are you are going to feel like you are falling backwards. Fine, they are not walking shoes. 

The upper has moved away from a more traditional construct to a thin engineered mesh upper. There is some lamination around the edges of the ankle opening and tongue, but otherwise the upper is extremely minimal and simple. 

The main source of support in the shoe comes in the form of an internal support strap that reinforces the midfoot area. This is inelastic and adhered to the upper on both sides of the midfoot. It does not attach to the tongue. 

There is a small amount of padding built into the back of the ankle opening to support heel hold on either side of the Achilles, but otherwise the entire heel counter could easily be compressed. 

There is a well designed internal laminate that forms the basis of the internal toe guard up front. This toe guard does an excellent job of raising the height of the toe box and really gives the toe box a lot more volume. 

The tongue is only attached to the upper at the front, and is completely free-floating at the sides, but it eliminates movement by means of three different slots, through which the laces run. One at the front running centrally, and two more closer to the sides higher up. By comparison, v1’s tongue only uses the two slot design. Version 1 had 5 primary rows of eyelets plus an additional last eyelet located obliquely to facilitate a runner’s knot. Version 2 has 5 rows of eyelets but no additional eyelet for a runner’s knot. People who are prone to heel slippage with these minimal heel counters should take note of this as there is no easy solution. I count myself lucky because I have very poor heel hold with e.g. Hoka Rocket X 2 even with every special lacing method, but i managed to achieve very good heel hold in the Rebellion Pro 2 with just conventional lacing.

Although the more minimal upper of version 2 looks like it would be less effective than the conventional construct of version 1, it works just as well as version 1 for me. There is a little bit more room for the toes at the toebox now, but the volume and fit of the shoe is otherwise quite similar to version 1. 

Midsole & Platform

Derek: The material construct of the midsole is similar to version 1. The midsole is made of a plant-based material (Pebax Rnew) infused into Mizuno Enerzy Lite so now we have Mizuno Enerzy Lite+. Sandwiched in the foam is a carbon fiber infused nylon Mizuno Wave Plate. 

Mizuno has chosen to still not go with a full carbon plate, perhaps because they recognize that a more flexible plate works better for their shoe geometry. Mizuno calls this Smooth Speed Assist. It’s hard to argue with the results once you experience the ride of this shoe. I will say though, that the shoe does feel a little stiffer than version 1. While the v1 plate, (also carbon-infused nylon) had a perforated design, the v2 plate is solid with a more traditional spoon shape and so still has a little more torsional stiffness than before. 

The geometry is different, and it’s difficult to put into words how it’s different, but the heel is now angled up even more than before, yet with the higher forefoot stack than before, the official drop of the shoe sits at a measly 2mm. In reality, it rides like a 8-10mm type shoe, as the foot pivots across the “hump” that rests under the heel during transition. 

The platform is still relatively narrow at the heel and midfoot, so it is still strictly a neutral runner’s shoe. Not a lot of room for error if you have a sloppy landing. I do prefer it this way as it makes it feel nimbler on the run.  


Derek: The outsole is still the same excellent G3 outsole material as in version 1, with very good traction and durability, but instead of the disjointed coverage of the medial side, the coverage now runs the full length of the shoe on both sides. This actually accentuates the rocker action of the shoe. There is still a deep cutout of the midsole to expose the plate, and I think this is purely to save weight, though New Balance has employed something similar to improve the cushioning and stability of the shoe in their SC Elite and Trainer offerings. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Derek: The ride is incredibly dynamic for me, with a springy heel that quickly transitions to a more responsive forefoot. The shoe still favors running at a fast clip, and a little of the magic is lost when going at slower paces. Naturally, with its narrow last and high stack, you are going to enjoy it more when going in a straight line than when there is a lot of cornering to do.

 I have seen a few other reviews on this shoe, and my personal take is that the shoe is more suited for a rearward foot strike than version 1. I say rearward because a very extreme heel striker is going to struggle with the shoe, and yet it is also not really going to favor a pure midfoot striker. 

The zone of max rebound is located right at the pointy end of the outsole, and if you extrapolate that to where your foot sits in the shoe, you will find that the pivot point is right at the posterior arch/anterior heel interface. So that’s where I naturally gravitated to land with this shoe, and where I think the max benefit is for landing. 

The shoe tilts forward a little more than version 1, and so there is a more aggressive rocker here, while version 2 can actually feel a little flat if you don’t land midfoot. All these differences tell me that the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is a more user-friendly shoe for middle-of-the-pack runners, and a more viable option for the marathon distance than v1 was. 

So to summarize, if you are a little bit rear of mid-foot striking, try this shoe. If you like to land in a very supinated way, definitely try this shoe. If you need midfoot or heel stability , you probably should look elsewhere. 

Derek’s Score: 9.8 / 10 

Ride (50%): 10 Fit (30%): 9.6 Value (15%): 10 Style (5%): 9

Small deductions for fit and style. I preferred the snugger forefoot of version 1. 

The style points - well, the colours are a big step down from Zebra for me. I was a huge fan of the zebra, and the current colors are a little bland.  


10 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 1 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. V2 is softer and bouncier with a more effective rocker, that is easier to engage for heel strikers, requiring a less aggressive mid-forefoot engagement than before. I prefer the overall fit of v1, but v2 is pretty darn good if you don’t have heel slippage issues. V2 also solves the constrictive toebox issue that some people experienced with v1. Overall, I prefer the fit of v1, but the ride of v2. I would say that v2 is a worthy upgrade. 

Saucony Endorphin Elite  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Endorphin Elite feels a bit flat by comparison, requiring an aggressive mid-forefoot strike with strong calf action to engage the foam. The EE outsole is also a bit slippery on wet roads. The Rebellion Pro 2 (RP2) is easier to engage and has a more effective rocker. The outsole also one of the best among supershoes. Overall, the RP2 is the better shoe.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The EP3 is a firmer shoe with a more traditional (4%ish) type of transition style. The RP2 has the more dynamic and cushioned ride, and the more comfortable fit for me. Overall i prefer the RP2, especially for the HM and FM distance.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 (Embargo)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. EP4 is the softer shoe, but with a much milder rocker, and actually feels a bit flat with a more sluggish transition as a result. The outsole is better than EP3 in terms of grip but is still slightly slippery on wet roads. The Rebellion Pro 2 definitely has the more assistive geometry and more fun, dynamic ride. 

Nike Alphafly 1 & 2  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in the Rebellion Pro 2, and US9.0 in AF1 and AF2, and US9.5 in AF3. It’s now a very very close contest and we are really splitting hairs, but I think AF1 is still marginally better than RP2. It’s just as assistive, but is a bit more forgiving underfoot. AF2 doesn’t work for me, as I get bad arch blisters with it, so I didn’t run far enough in the shoe to make any good judgment on it, the shoe doesn’t feel very assistive on short runs though. 

Nike Vaporfly 3  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The VF3 has a less dynamic ride, though its relatively traditional underfoot feel also makes it a more stable and predictable shoe. The RP2 is the more assistive and fun ride, and i would say, the more cushioned ride over the marathon distance.

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes, though I would say the Adidas arguably runs just a smidge longer than the Mizuno. The Adidas is similar to the VF3 in that it is also more stable and less dynamic in ride than the Mizuno RP2. Again, the RP2 also feels more cushioned than the AP3 for the marathon distance. 

ASICS Metaspeed Sky OG  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The OG Sky has an excellent bouncy forefoot that favors a mid-forefoot strike more, while that same sort of rebound lies more toward the heel for the RP2, making it more suitable for heel strikers. OG Sky is lower stack, and wider in width so is a bit more stable. The  RP2’s outsole is more grippy for me. I think the Sky is still the better 5/10/21k racer for me, while I would favor the RP2 for the marathon distance. 

ASICS Metaspeed Sky+  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Sky+ requires an even stronger forefoot action than OG Sky, and the ride feels less dynamic than OG Sky so it’s not really a better shoe for me. I don’t have the stride that works well with Sky+ so take that for what it’s worth. RP2 is better for all run distances for me. 

New Balance SC Elite 4  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes, though I think i would be better off going a half size down in SCE4. The SCE4 is an overall softer shoe, but is also less bouncy than RP2. In terms of rocker geometry, RP2 wins by a mile as the SCE4 can feel a bit flat if you don’t have a good mid-forefoot strike. If you need stability, the SCE4 is definitely the better shoe given its wider platform. Overall, the RP2 is the faster shoe for me, for all distances. 

Xtep 160 3.0 Pro  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Xtep geometry is basically a carbon copy of the Nike AF1, but with a continuous midsole configuration. It is a very good shoe, with weight being its own drawback. It has already featured on the podium at the world championships marathon at Budapest in 2023, and was worn by the male winner of the 2023 Sydney Marathon, slated to be a WMM race in 2025. I would say the Xtep is a more forgiving and bouncy shoe than the RP2, but the RP2 feels more efficient and faster when you are pushing at a fast pace. The Xtep is also a more stable shoe with a wider platform. I think runners over 3h for the marathon would probably prefer the Xtep, while faster runners would enjoy the RP2 more. 

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The Wave Rebellion Pro 2 was a personal purchase. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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