After plenty of miles in the Mizuno Wave Rebellion, we’re just as intrigued as when we first opened the box. The industry standard “plate plus bouncy foam” combo is now available in a Mizuno. Many Mizuno shoes featured plates since the 1997 introduction of the Wave Plate. With the introduction of Enerzy Lite, Mizuno has a space age foam to complement its plate technology.
How’s it all work together? Pretty darn well.
This review is cowritten by Tyler Herrin. He’s an Atlanta native who primarily runs (mid-pack) for an excuse to buy shoes. He’s a sneakerhead when the silhouette is right and an eBay fanatic since 2004. Follow his running shoe centric Instagram account @chimpnamedenid.
Tyler: I haven’t worn a pair of Mizuno running shoes since the Wave Rider 12 back in 2009-2010. I don’t remember much about them except for a lot of mesh overlays and plastic accents.
The Wave Rebellion removed all of my preconceived notions of current-day Mizuno running. It’s Mizuno’s first entry into the “super shoe” world of a plated, cushioned, neutral offering and it does a mighty fine job.
I find this to be a true runner’s shoe. If you’re looking for an extremely cushioned, plated shoe that keeps the legs fresh during and after a workout, this isn’t quite as forgiving as other shoes. But the responsiveness/ground feel and ability to really pick up the pace is easy and rewarding.
The shoe is straightforward in design and execution with no frills and that’s what makes it so desirable. The Enerzy Lite midsole is a strong balance of pop and cushion, while the plate remained unnoticed during each wear. Turnover was easy and effortless. I wasn’t constantly thinking about the shoes which is always a good sign.
But, in my opinion, the real star of the show is the G3 outsole. On top of its fantastic grip in varying conditions, I’ve seen absolutely no wear in the 30+ miles I’ve run so far. For someone who likes to keep their running shoes clean, that’s the icing on top.
Drew: The last Mizuno shoe I tested, the Mizuno Wave Sky 5, showed me the promised of Enerzy foam. It also showed me Mizuno is currently making some very comfortable shoes. The Mizuno Wave Rebellion continues the evolution with a midsole/outsole combo I absolutely loved.
The midsole made of Mizuno Enerzy Lite is light and bouncy. It’s easily Mizuno’s bounciest foam to date. It’s perfect for speeding up a run as it responds and assists in getting those feet moving faster. The G3 outsole is at first jarring because there appears to be a layer of mesh between the foam and the rubber. I’m assuming that layer is there because glue doesn’t stick well to the Enerzy Lite. But as different as it looks, the grip and durability are great. That the outsole shows no wear after ample testing is impressive and rarely happens at WearTesters HQ. You won’t find many midsole/outsole combos that perform this well.
Tyler: My complaints are minimal: the tongue and the eyelets. The tongue is enormous, flat and has a lot of room for improvement. If I wore ankle socks, I’d be even more annoyed by the tongue.
The eyelets need some adjustment. I rarely lace into the top eyelet (as many do for a runner’s knot), but found that the lockdown felt much more normal when using it. If you’re like me, and usually have an empty top eyelet, you’re going to feel a lack of lockdown. While we’re here, I’d also call out that the shoelaces are way too long, but I find this among a lot of brands, so it’s not a showstopper.
When it comes to price, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion comes in at $180. Whew, that’s a good bit of money for this shoe. Unlike other brands, which may have deeper pockets for advertising, I think Mizuno has the opportunity to reintroduce itself to runners who have either abandoned the brand or are new to it. $180 just seems aggressive. Considering how straightforward the shoe is, I think a $130-$150 price point would be more enticing. Mizuno could up instead up their marketing budget to reinforce its message and then the $180 price tag may not seem so expensive. (I’ve fallen victim to buying a $180 plated shoe that should be $140, but the Instagram ads and digital advertising really got me – I’m looking at you, Hoka.)
Drew: Tyler’s right, the price is a bit high. I think at $160 it would match up really well with competitors like the Saucony Endorphin Speed. I also agree with him on the lockdown. You’ll need to use that top eyelet to keep your heel in place. I rarely have to do that on my shoes but it didn’t feel weird at all. It’s just something to note before you purchase.
The only other thing I didn’t like was the upper. It’s too bulbous and roomy. I had too much room above my toes and to the sides of my feet. Ultra wide footers will be delighted. This is one of the wider shoes I’ve ever reviewed. And that’s ok, but it fits completely different from other Mizuno running shoes. I feel like Mizuno fans coming over to the Wave Rebellion are going to wonder if they accidentally picked up a different brand. This is a shoe that should be tried on at your local running store to make sure you enjoy the roomy upper.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Summary
Tyler: As a larger runner (6’1″/205lbs), this is a shoe that I would prefer for faster workouts, uptempo runs, and most likely distances up to 10K (possibly a half marathon distance, based on my conditioning), but I do think that I would feel the effects post run. That’s not to say it couldn’t handle more, but I think the Mizuno Wave Rebellion will reward an everyday, mile-racking runner much more than a weekend warrior.
If you’ve been a regular in the Mizuno running line, I think this shoe is a terrific evolution, has the firmer ride that you’ve been used to, but propels (see what I did there?) into the mix of today’s super-shoe world. While a V2 definitely has room for improvement, this is a solid offering that should not go unnoticed.
Drew: I’m really impressed by the midsole and outsole Mizuno created. It’s a winning combo and I really loved uptempo runs in them. If the upper fit better, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion would be in my non-testing rotation (an exclusive group). If you like the upper’s fit, you’ll really enjoy this shoe. It’s a shoe that shows Mizuno is just as capable as the other brands of making the bouncy plated shoes that are so popular these days.
- Bouncy midsole
- Outsole traction
- Outsole durability
- Upper fit issues