Prince Rebel 2 Men's Shoe Review
- Lightweight feel
- 6-month durability guarantee
- Laces come untied easily
Our testers were very impressed with the Prince Rebel 2 shoe. They agreed that it is right up there with the best shoes they've ever worn from Prince. Not only that, the Rebel 2 is one of the best shoes they've worn this year -- impressive stuff considering we have been testing the top of the line from Nike, adidas and Asics. The combination of traction and durability from the Rebel 2's PRC 1000 outsole had our testers loving this shoe for hard court play. The shoe also features a durability guarantee, which only adds to its hard court potential. Traction and durability are nothing without support and stability, and here the Rebel 2 impressed as well. We threw everything we could at this shoe on the fit and comfort front. We have a wide-footed tester, one narrow foot and two mediums on this playtest, yet each found the uppers of the shoe to wrap to his feet with comfort and support. Scoring high marks in every category and winning constant praise from our testers, the Rebel 2 has become a go-to shoe with our crew. Give a pair a try and we're sure you'll be equally impressed.
Comfort - Score: 4.4
The Prince Rebel 2 scored high comfort marks with our team. This shoe really impressed Jason. He said, "Just like the previous version, these shoes needed no break-in period. The comfort was immediate, and the cushioning was excellent. The ride was responsive and low to the ground, which is ideal for me. I noticed that the padding around the ankle collar was nice and plush, adding to the overall comfort level. What made this shoe even better for me was that the forefoot seemed to be just slightly wider than the previous version."
Chris felt immediate comfort. He said, "I really liked the ride in this shoe. I found just the right amount of cushioning. There was enough for comfort, yet not so much as to make me feel too elevated inside the shoes. The uppers broke-in on the first wear and felt supple, yet supportive, from there on out. The shoes also fit my narrow feet well and felt comfortable throughout the test."
Spencer loved how the shoe felt and had no issues. He said, "I really liked the fit, first and foremost. They supported my feet in all the right places. This, in turn, allowed excellent comfort. The upper flexed and creased properly with my feet, so there was no discomfort from pinching or pressure."
The blend of comfort and performance had Sean raving. He said, "Any shoe that offers comfort without sacrificing performance for the serious tennis player gets great marks from me. I really enjoyed wearing this shoe from Day One because of the low-to-the-ground feel that aggressive tennis players like, yet the shoe was comfortable without feeling sloppy and overly cushioned. Prince did a great job of developing a cushioning system with a firm and supportive feel that can also withstand the pounding of a hard court player."
Ventilation - Score: 3.8
The Prince Rebel 2 provided enough breathability for our testers. Spencer liked the shoe's ventilation. He said, "The upper material, along with an open mesh tongue and several perforations in the vamp, made breathability good. I never noticed any extra heat or moisture."
Jason agreed. He said, "I had no issues with the breathability. My feet seemed to stay cool throughout hitting sessions. Not super breathable like the Asics Gel Solution Speed, but it didn't need to be."
"The ventilation was good. My feet never got too hot during or after play," said Chris, who wore multiple layers. "I was impressed, as I wear two pairs of socks when I play and that can often make my feet feel hot in other shoes."
Breathability could've been slightly improved for Sean. He said, "I expect decent ventilation out of shoes that have less weight to them, although I had hoped for a little more out of this shoe. I have no real complaints, as it performed well, but with the dark color scheme on a hot day I found myself thinking about how warm my feet were getting."
Arch Support - Score: 4.2
The medium arch of the Rebel 2 was able to appease our team. The arch fit was right on for Chris. He said, "The height of the arch support was sufficient for my higher than medium arches. I also liked the level of lateral support through the arch area of the shoe. I felt very safe and locked in, both when sprinting forward and back as well as when moving side to side."
Jason, who has the opposite foot type from Chris, said, "I did notice the arch, but it was faint. Even though it was there, it was in just the right place and didn't really make my arches too sore. I think the wider fit helped with that as well. After a few wears the arch was an afterthought."
For Spencer, it was a non-issue. He said, "Whenever I don't have to think about the arch support, I know it's good. And in this case, it's good."
Sean needed a short break-in period. He said, "At first I felt like the arch support was a little too low for my liking, and I had a few aches and pains after I played in them the first time. The shoe settled in nicely after that first use and seemed to conform to my foot much better with a couple hours of play time. This was really the only aspect of this shoe that took some time to break-in."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 4.4
Our team loved the high level of support that the Prince Rebel 2 provided. Sean said, "I was actually very surprised by the stability this shoe offered considering it's a lightweight shoe with a maneuverability-oriented design. When laced down tightly this shoe held my foot in place perfectly, to the point where I never had to think about the shoes while I was playing."
"I got excellent support from the get go. Once I had my laces laced up tight my foot felt very secure and locked into place," said Jason, who found the level of stability to be reassuring. "During aggressive or sudden movements on the court my feet were held firmly in place. Just like State Farm, it was there when I needed it."
Chris also felt locked in. He said, "These shoes offered a very secure feel from the tip to the heel. Every part of my foot felt locked in and secure. The ride was also low enough that the shoes felt very stable. I never had to worry about rolling an ankle or any undue strain to my feet. I didn't like the feel of the laces, as they felt too stiff, but I was still able to lace the shoes securely and keep them tied with a double-knot. On aggressive lateral lunges I found the shoes to hold my feet securely and allow me to push off for the next ball at full speed. I also liked how the shoes held my feet on quick stops, and I had no issues with toe jamming."
Feeling well supported was Spencer. He said, "Like I mentioned in the comfort section, the support was excellent. The fit was dynamite, supporting my feet in the right places. The low-to-the-ground feel, especially in the forefoot, helped increase the stability. I liked my lateral movement in this shoe, as the stable feel on directional changes allowed for efficient movement."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 4.1
The PRC 1000 outsole stood up well to the wear and tear of our playtesters. Spencer ranked the durability with some of the best. He said, "Like any other top outsole, this one combines a nice blend of traction and durability. I noticed the usual wear I get with all my tennis shoes, but nothing substantial or alarming."
Sean gave it his stamp of approval. He said, "The outsole seemed to hold up well through all of my testing. I would definitely consider this shoe resilient when compared to some others that I've tested, and I would recommend this sneaker to anyone looking for a shoe that will stand up to a lot of use."
The concerns Jason had were put to rest. He said, "In the previous model this was the one area where I thought there could be improvement. I think Prince did just that, making this shoe's rubber outsole more durable. Is it as durable as a Barricade or 4.3? No, but it certainly is an improvement. With the 6-month durability guarantee any worries about durability are put to bed for me."
"The durability for me was good, but not great," said Chris. "The outsoles started to wear down under the big toe of my right foot the most. This is the area I drag when serving and when hitting forehands, so it is the most abused part of an outsole for me. I have worn away part of the black outsole material and can now see more of the secondary white material peeking through. The wear is less than I've seen from other guaranteed shoes, but I would still be wearing them out before the end of the warranty period."
Toe Durability - Score: 4.5
Our two toe-dragging playtesters were amazed by the durability of the Duraskin material. Chris loved the toe durability. He said, "The toe tip and medial side of the toe box proved to be exceptionally durable, and I scored the shoes top marks here. I drag the tip of my shoes heavily, and these have held up very well. I'm very, very impressed."
The protection was more than enough for Sean. He said, "I had no problems whatsoever with the durability of the toe or the surrounding area of the shoe. I liked the addition of the guard over the toe area, as well as the increased protection on the medial side of the toebox for those who get a little lazy with their footwork, like me."
Traction - Score: 4.6
The Prince Rebel 2 provided the high level of traction our playtesters were seeking. Jason moved very well on court. He said, "I felt like these shoes gripped the court very well. With the modified herringbone tread pattern and pivot point I felt like I had great contact with the court whether stopping, starting or changing direction. I think the trade-off for having an outsole that isn't the most durable is that it melds and grips the court very well. The tiny slips here and there were negligible."
Chris agreed, adding, "The traction was great. I only played on hard courts, and the shoes offered lots of grip on that surface. The only times I slipped in them was when I was pulled wide onto the dustier edges of the court, and pretty much every shoe we test loses traction there. When sprinting forward, and when making lateral cuts, the shoes gripped very well, and I felt like I was moving quickly in them."
"The tack was reliable from Day One to the end of the testing period," said Spencer. "I could rely on the outsole to hold when it came to changes of direction, stops and starts."
Giving top marks was Sean, who said, "If I could give this shoe a score that was higher than a 5 in this category, I would definitely do so. The traction from the very first wear was fantastic, and I always felt balanced and in control of my movements. That all important first step to the ball can make or break whether I get to the shot with enough time, and this shoe made me feel faster around the court because I could get a great jump on my opponent's shot."
Weight - Score: 4.5
At 15.5 ounces (size 10.5), the Prince Rebel 2 felt much lighter than the static weight would suggest. Enjoying the lightweight feel was Chris, who said, "I never really noticed the weight of the shoes, which is always a good thing. The shoes transitioned very well from heel to toe, which gave them a light and fast feel around the court. I also think the low-to-the-ground ride helped make them feel light and fast."
The weight was surprising to Spencer. He said, "I didn't take note of the actual weight of the shoe before testing it. I was surprised when I learned the weight, as I would have guessed close to a whole ounce lighter! The Rebel 2 has a light feel on court. I was very happy with my movement in these shoes."
Sean couldn't be happier. He said, "I really enjoyed the combination of the lightweight feel and the added stability that I would usually find in a heavier shoe. I was able to move around the court with ease, and I felt like my movements to each shot were quicker. During longer matches my feet feel clunky sometimes, but I had no problems keeping my feet moving with these shoes, which was a big advantage."
Jason offered, "For me, the weight wasn't much of an issue because of how it felt on my foot, and all the other things it had going for it. The propulsion plate, combined with the low to the ground cushioning, made this shoe feel fast and light. I was able to move around the court without feeling like the shoes weighed me down. Once I had them on I didn't think about the weight at all."
Overall - Score: 4.3
Jason - "The new, slightly wider fit, the weight, traction, support and looks."
Chris - "I liked everything. This is my favorite shoe this year, and I prefer wearing it over everything I've tested from all the brands, including Nike and adidas. This is by far the best Prince shoe I've ever worn, and it is currently my go-to shoe."
Spencer - "First would be the supportive fit. Along with that would be the overall performance and feel of the shoe."
Sean - "Lightweight and supportive feel."
Jason - "Strangely enough, the laces. They don't seem to stay laced for very long."
Chris - "The laces required a firm double-knot to stay tied."
Spencer - "The shoelaces, if that counts. They have a stiffness and coating that seems to help them come untied frequently."
Sean - "The laces for these shoes were some of the worst I've encountered. They failed to keep the shoe tight on my foot without frequent adjustment, and they failed to stay tied in general."
Comparing the Rebel 2s to other shoes they've worn, our testers said:
Jason - "If I could borrow some computer terminology, this shoe should be called the Rebel 2.0. It's an improved version of the original in almost every aspect."
Chris - "This shoe offered a glove-like fit somewhat similar to the old Prince M Series, but these are not as restrictive. The level of cushioning reminds me of Zoom Air -- low and fast, but still providing enough comfort. This is my favorite shoe to wear right now and I can't see that changing anytime soon."
Spencer - "Similar to the Prince Rebel, except better in all areas. The outsole has a slightly softer feel and the durability seems a bit better. Along with that, it's a much, much better looking shoe."
Sean - "This turned out to be one of my favorite shoe playtests. It's an all-around solid shoe, similar to the Nike Court Ballistec 3.3 when it comes to pure performance and traction, while more similar to an Asics with its comfort and stable feel."
Playtester Foot Types:
Jason - Wide width / Low arch
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Spencer - Medium width / Medium arch
Sean - Medium width / Medium arch
Review date: March 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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