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Road Running Shoes • August 17, 2021

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Performance Review

mizuno wave rebellion

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.4 oz. (268 g) for US M10.5 / 7.7 oz. (218 g) for US W7.5
  • Features glass-fiber (fiberglass?) plate, with a fork design, levered in the forefoot
  • 8 mm ramp (Mizuno’s term), though the drop seems much higher
  • It’s a move in the right direction, but the road in that direction is long and full of intense competition

NOTE: This review features (no pun intended) Feetures socks, which are some of the best running socks on the market. Use code BELIEVE10 to take 10% off any purchase on their website.

THOMAS: Mizuno has been pretty quiet the last couple of years. Like, quiet as a mouse in a mausoleum. Of course we’ve seen releases of their standards, but nothing too edgy or innovative. But hey – credit with them for being one of the first to bring a plate to the market with the Wave Plate way back then. But that was then and this is now and the game has changed.

We thought we might be getting something cool when we finally started seeing some leaks from Japan, but none of those racers have landed here in the USA, or even made it to production as far as we know. We tried a few of their models with their new ENERZY foam, which actually does feel very nice underfoot, but the foam is heavy and must be used as the core in “rim and core” construction. Meaning – Enerzy needs structure to contain it, so structure equals weight equals not what we like in a running shoe.

When we spoke with Mizuno in the spring, they showed us their lineup, and hands down the most intriguing shoe out of the bunch was the Wave Rebellion. At the time, we weren’t sure what category the Wave Rebellion would fall into – daily trainer, tempo shoe, or race day weapon? Now that we have run in it, we have a better idea of where the shoe lands.

So can this shoe lead the resistance against the dark side? Or does the super shoe empire strike back with a definitive force? Let’s find out.

MEAGHAN: I rarely find myself lacing up Mizuno. In fact, the last Mizuno I reviewed was the Enigma 5 back in 2015. It was not a glowing review (and likely the reason I haven’t had any since), but I’m hopeful the brand has evolved with the technology over the years.

mizuno wave rebellion - toe

The Good

THOMAS: Let’s start with the mesh upper of the Rebellion. It breathes well enough, and while it runs roomy on my narrow fit, Meaghan loved the fit for her wide paws. The gusseted tongue is skinny and works just fine. The collar around the ankle is well padded, and I did not experience any heel lift.

The midsole is where the magic is. The ENERZY LITE Pebax gives the Rebellion a light feel with some pop, and the glass fiber plate (not sure why it isn’t called fiberglass) provides the shoe stability and a snappy feel. According to Mizuno, the plate offers higher rigidity and is 1141% snappier than Pebax plates. The actual design of the plate is like a levered fork with a severe drop into the forefoot, so it definitely keeps you on your toes.

The outsole is tacky with teeth. The technical term is micro inject outsole, and it’s made of PU resin. That means that the rubber teeth are injected into a fabric that is then attached to the midsole. It does an excellent job of creating grip with a bite.

My size 10.5 weighed in at 9.4 oz/268 grams, with an 8 mm drop. Not super light, not overly heavy.

MEAGHAN: The first thing I noticed about the Wave Rebellion was the near-perfect fit. I used to find Mizuno shoes narrow, but the Rebellion provides plenty of room for my toes to splay. The upper is an engineered mesh with a 3D sublimated ‘run bird’ logo on the side. The collar and heel have decent padding, while the tongue is minimal, though relatively wide in its build. I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or hot spots, and the round laces worked well, though I wished they were a little longer. I found it difficult to double knot them.

Beneath the foot is Mizuno’s ENERZY LITE, a Pebax foam that’s light and bouncy. Sandwiched between the foam is a fiberglass reinforced plate with “higher rigidity” and “1141% snappier” than Pebax plates. That sounds substantial, and I have to say, I enjoyed the bounce and responsiveness of this shoe much more than I thought I would. I’m not sure if it’s the plate or the plate-foam combo, but this shoe feels worlds away from the clunky wave plate technology I’ve always associated with the brand.

Beneath the midsole is substantial rubber coverage that provides excellent traction; I found it felt similar to the PUMA Grip. Even with all that rubber, a plate, and decent cushioning – my W7.5 came in at 7.7 oz. Pretty decent for a daily trainer/up-tempo shoe.

Shop Wave Rebellion – Men Shop Wave Rebellion – Women mizuno wave rebellion - outsole

The Bad

THOMAS: What is bad for me will be good news for others. The toe box is too voluminous for my narrow feet. By the time I had a secure fit, the toe box material was buckled over. The tongue didn’t get in the way, but from a design aesthetic, it was overly generous. It looked like a piece of lettuce on my ankle. The plate and the positioning of it in the shoe is optimized for stability, not for propulsion. Right now, this is as close as you can come to a Mizuno super shoe, but honestly – it’s just not that super.

I am still waiting for the actual race competitor from Mizuno. The price tag of $180 is a little steep for this shoe (for comparison, you can pick up the nylon-plated Saucony Endorphin Speed for $20 less or the carbon-plated HOKA Carbon X 2 for the same price). That said, it’s relatively in line with what some of the other brands are asking for uptempo daily trainers.

MEAGHAN: I mentioned this briefly above, but I wish the laces were a little bit longer. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but worth noting. I also found the shoes to feel overall, a little stiff. I wish the upper had a little more give. Lastly, the price tag: $180. That’s pretty steep.

Shop Wave Rebellion – Men Shop Wave Rebellion – Women mizuno wave rebellion - running

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Conclusion

THOMAS: Overall, I enjoyed putting miles in on the Wave Rebellion, and the shoe is heading in the right direction for Mizuno. If you’re a Mizuno fan, this is one of the best Mizuno shoes I have run in. Shoes that fit in the same category would be the Puma Deviate Nitro (softer), New Balance Fuelcell TC (softer), ASICS Magic Speed (firmer, but with a rocker geometry), and the Saucony Endorphin Speed (comparable). All these shoes have a fair amount of cushioning, moderate weight, and a plate.

At the end of the day, I don’t think this has a chance at destroying the death star. But it’s nice that Mizuno is making a valid attempt to upgrade its arsenal. Keep moving, Mizuno, because the arms race is heating up.

MEAGHAN: The Wave Rebellion is easily the best Mizuno shoe I’ve worn. It’s light, fits well, and feels bouncy and responsive out on the run. It’s a much firmer shoe than I typically gravitate towards, but great for shorter runs or easy days that you may want to pick up the pace. I found the ride comparable to the Saucony Endorphin Speed or the PUMA Magnify.

You can pick up Mizuno Wave Rebellion for $180 in September (pre-order now) at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Wave Rebellion – Men Shop Wave Rebellion – Women mizuno wave rebellion - front mizuno wave rebellion - socks


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