Since we’ve seen Doffy’s Awakening, some people have believed that Luffy may learn to turn his environment into rubber, and use some sort of bounce house shenanigans to throw his enemies off their game. I don’t believe that this is how it will work for Luffy.
Awakenings have been a concept for a long time now, going all the way back to Impel Down with the awakened Zoan beast guards. All of these characters’ awakenings followed the same concept: a large, monsteresque, vaguely-humanoid form of their animal (similar to Chopper’s monster point, which is definitely hype, but irrelevant to this post). So what you can infer from this is that all Zoan fruits follow this rule for awakenings, the same way all Zoan fruits follow the same characteristics in their base form.
It can be argued that we’ve seen awakened Logias: Crocodile, Akainu, and Aokiji. Logias’ abilities are to produce, manipulate, and transform into their given element (some force of nature). We saw that Crocodile could dehydrate any substance he touches, and turn certain inanimate structures into sand (Giant wooden door in Impel Down). Way later, in Punk Hazard, we witnessed Akainu and Aokiji’s effects on the island, permanently altering the landscape into magma and ice, respectively. These feats don’t match up with the basic description of a Logia’s abilities, but once again, they do seem to follow a pattern within their fruit type, that being a higher level of abilities that we’ve only seen within a few characters.
This leads us to Paramecia awakenings. Logia and Zoan fruits are categorized based off of a set of characteristics, while Paramecia fruits are the fruits that have abilities that don’t fit into the other two categories. Luffy’s fruit and Doffy’s fruit don’t have any similar qualities, so why should their awakenings be the same? Luffy can’t produce or manipulate existing rubber, he’s just made of it. If his awakening were to be transforming things into rubber, it would simply be inconsistent with how the devil fruit systems seems to be working.
I believe Luffy’s Awakening should just be a major improvement in his ability to manipulate his own body. As he is right now, the basic way he uses his rubber body is to stretch his limbs further to hit people. His gears are a way of improving himself, so that he can move faster, hit harder, or both.
The problem with his gears is that they are taxing on his body, and he has to train extensively to be able to use them with more ease. If his ability to manipulate his body is improved, say to the level of Mr. Fantastic, suddenly the gears are a breeze. In Gear 2, he would no longer need a higher level of stamina to have his heart sustain the increased blood pressure, it’ll be able to support that without any struggle at all. In Gear 3, he might not even need to blow air into his bones, he can just have his hand stretch out to a larger size, similar to the way that a certain character can to match Luffy’s current Gear 3. As for Gear 4, there is actually a time that Mr. Fantastic bulked himself up using his stretching abilities.
With this style of Awakening, Luffy doesn’t suddenly need to change his fighting style with some power that doesn’t make sense, the awakening is just a huge enhancement to his current abilities (he may also be able to stretch to 100 gomu gomus). In addition to improving his gears, Luffy can also become insane at dodging and maneuvering in general with an awakening like this. It’s a simple concept with huge potential, I think.
*Theory by axelexo