When Mizuno label a boot with “MIJ”, you are immediately entitled to associate them with extreme quality. “Made In Japan” basically means that the boots are handcrafted in Japan without stressing out about how long it takes to piece them together.
Digging a little deeper, each pair is placed and shaped on a last for 24 hours in order to create the perfect shape. In comparison, your average boot on the market gets just 20 minutes on a last. That is a HUGE difference, and one that allows Mizuno to provide players with a boot built on detail and not hype. Think of the natural stress and fit tat occurs in the material before they even get to your feet.
It has been nearly 2 years since Mizuno entered the US market, with soccer.com leading the way as the “exclusive distributor for Mizuno Soccer Cleats in the United States.” Initially, there was huge desire from fans who wanted easier access to the Japanese specialists boots. But since, and because their was substantially higher interest in the more expensive MIJ selection, the regular versions have been removed from the market. With the top-tier price of MIJ comes a boot with double the quality, comfort and natural fit. Key to deciding they are the right boot for you involves having confidence to drop some serious cash on a pair with their price tag!
Thus, we take a look at the current 2016 line-up and offer some feedback on what each boot has to offer. You can find the entire line-up currently available at soccer.com.
Mizuno Morelia Neo II
The Morelia Neo MIJ is a blend of quality materials, craftsmanship and innovation. The upper features an ultra thin, yet super soft, Kangaroo Leather. Weighing in at 6.8oz, this cleat is built for speed, comfort and a clean first touch. One of the boots top features is the inner sock liner that is made from a soft suede-like microfiber. Just to note, when it comes to a versatile boot that easily jumps between FG and AG surfaces, the Morelia Neo series sits right at the top of my list. It is all about that low profile, conical stud configuration that is perfectly balanced. You won’t encounter any stud pressure because of its layout, and they provide excellent traction in dry playing conditions. There are many traditional style boots to compare these against right now, but the overall quality of the leather upper makes them a contender for top k-leather boot on the market. Side by side with other k-leather boots, you can see and feel the quality difference. There is something special about these!
Mizuno Wave Ignitus 4
Colorway: Neon Yellow/Black
For players in need of a pair of boots to replace their lost adidas Predator or Nike T90 Laser boots, this is about the best option you are likely to find. They are a power boot with a clean, spacious fit throughout. Up across the forefoot, there is plenty of technology to help you connect and perfect your strike. The highly defined strike zone consists of a new Bio Vamp Zone, intended to allow for a sweeter connection and extra grip with the ball. It is not the same Muiketan panel found on the Wave Ignitus 3, so players should expect a different experience through the important strike zone. Personally, I enjoy the padded area through the midfoot that helps cushion long passes or firm passes in tight situations.
Mizuno Basara 101
As you’d expect, Mizuno has left nothing to chance with the quality of the upper material, so a super soft K-Leather is added to the boot. Out of the box, it is extremely classy, and we are talking buttery to the touch. When it comes to getting on the ball, you can’t get much better than these boots. As the ball connects with your foot, the K-leather easily folds and shapes to help provide better touch and control. We have seen many different styles of leather upper in recent times, but there is something just a little special about the Basara. They really mimic your foot shape and allow for a clinical, natural feel through wear. Size wise, they are slightly tricky. As you slip them on for the first time, they are guaranteed to feel extremely snug. You’ll need to loosen up the laces to really allow for a truly natural fit.
Are They Really Worth the Money?
Given that you are spending the same amount on a pair of these as you would on something like the Nike Superfly, that is a very legitimate question. Dropping over $250 on any boot seems a little crazy, so my answer would be a response question to you – what exactly are you looking for? If your answer is “something uniquely different, built using pure and traditional techniques, surrounded by culture and proven performance“, then you should probably take the time to give these a look. Even after having the opportunity to test them, I personally feel like the price is too high, and being honest that goes for any boot with a similar price range. So, they are not exactly offering value for money. But, on feet they do feel that little bit extra special, with the leather really molding and contouring from first wear. Again, I find it tough to say they are a “must-have” considering their price, but I did thoroughly enjoy what each pair has to offer.
What Is In The Box?
If you do order a pair, there are some “extras” included in the box. You will get a tidy black boot-bag that features “Made In Japan” text on one side, so other players will know you have the real deal. Also, a mini pouch that includes a small tube of Mizuno leather food and a piece of fabric to rub it across the upper. It goes to show how much respect Mizuno has for their own boots by adding such a simple, yet useful extra.
Again, you can find the entire line-up only available at soccer.com.