With Mizuno now a contender on the US market, it is a prime time for us to get testing the boots currently available to buy. First up is a boot I have personally being bursting at the seams to get my hands on over the past few months – the Mizuno Morelia Neo. The Morelia range has been a consistent top performer and players who wear them always seem to share positive thoughts. Lowering the weight of the boot gives them a more modern edge yet there are challenges involved in effectively pulling it off.
Check out the current line-up of Mizuno boots at soccer.com.
I’ve tested the Morelia in the past, so I’m interested to see how the lighter Morelia Neo checks out. There has been a real buzz about Mizuno since they announced their arrival in the US, and I am eager to figure out if they offer value for their high price point. They come in a really slick box and Mizuno include a trendy drawstring bag with each pair.
Breaking In and Comfort
When I put the Neo’s on for the first time, they felt tight. Almost too tight. Yet when I ran in them for the first time, my concerns were immediately dispelled and they started to mold into a pretty perfect fit. It is important to note that you should reverse fit them when you wear them for the first time. To do this, fully loosen all the laces right down to the bottom eyelet and then tighten the boot around your foot. It will help them shape correctly around your midfoot and the end result is a boot with a fantastic, very desirable, glove-like fit!
Right through the upper, the materials used are very minimal and the boot is very thin for a K-leather. Thankfully, this doesn’t result in any comfort issues and Mizuno has done a great job of piecing things together in a comfortable way. It is sort of like the meticulous systematic you would expect from a Japanese car manufacturer, except in this case we are talking about soccer boots! Unless you are wearing the incorrect size, you shouldn’t encounter any problems with these boots.
The actual weight of the boot is listed at around 6.3oz for a size 9US, which is phenomenally lightweight for a boot that features K-leather. You can definitely tell that there is minimal material used through the forefoot just by getting some touches on the ball, but that is what this boot is all about. Keeping things classy while introducing a deft touch is tough to do, yet it is pulled off in this package. It is a boot that has the potential to sway some traditionalists who have eluded the speed category in the past!
If you play in wet conditions, the materials will soak in water, the weight will increase slightly and durability will be threatened if you don’t follow the correct drying techniques. In other words, this is a boot you need to take seriously in order to get the most out of them.
Realistically, it is the simplicity of this release that makes it a true winner. Mizuno hasn’t cut corners in terms of quality but they have kept the boot to a minimum in terms of materials and technology. The entire body of the shoe is made of quality materials, pieced together with little fuss; the upper is a K-leather, very soft with some pleasant stitching; the tongue is a single piece of material that has no padding; the heel is lined with a light suede grip material; the soleplate flexes with ease and doesn’t feature any advanced spine of stud configuration. It all seems basic and mundane, but it comes together in the most elegant way, a mix of tradition styling with a modern fit and weight, to produce one of the best boots we currently have on the market. Many companies have tried similar designs and failed. Where Mizuno get it right is the details and how they craft a boot designed to suit the player and not their own piggy bank.
The inner lining of the boot should definitely be addressed. Let me rephrase that, the lack of inner padding along the lining should be addressed. For many, this might cause some hesitation to test the boot, and I can completely understand why. A lack of padding can often lead to blisters and discomfort, but if you are wearing the correct size and have a medium/wide fit, there shouldn’t be any problems. It is incredible how such a thin boot with a barefoot feel can fit so effectively in-game. The heel region in particular has very, very minimal padding yet they just work.
One of my favorite aspects of the boot is how the lacing system is constructed. Rather than being a straight seem down toward the toe, Mizuno employ a zig-zag design with each lace eyelet sitting on the inner curve of each side. This allows you to really pull the laces tight and brings the upper snug in around your foot.
When it comes to the soleplate and traction, these are the perfect FG boot for playing on AG surfaces. We are all accustomed to wearing FG boots on artifical grass and for those that want to double an indoor with outdoor boot, add these to the option column. In similar fashion to the effective Puma King 2013, the conical, low profile stud configuration offers enough foot movement without being too loose on the surface. What makes these even more effective is how flexible the soleplate is, without taking away from the rebound factor. The bend just below the big-toe socket very easily, but spring back into place when you release. They are very nicely balanced and provide a smooth, comfortable ride as a result.
Touch and Shooting
Realistically, I think most of you can work out exactly what I am going to write here because of the make-up of the boot. When you mix a thin, K-leather upper with and overall lightweight boot, there is only one end result; a clean, crisp touch on the ball with a decent upper for striking shots. The one thing that gives these an edge over synthetic boots is the fact Mizuno has created some padding compliments of the stitching design. You get slightly more protection than you would from a lightweight synthetic, but they are definitely not going to increase power when shooting or provide optimal protection across the forefoot. Personally, I really enjoyed shooting in these and I found them to be ideal when placing shots.
The K-leather has a slightly tacky texture to it and in turn this gives you a more controlled feel on the ball as you dribble and connect. It is the initial clean and crisp touch on the ball that makes these an ideal option for pacey players or those of you that like to get on the ball and take defenders on. You get the full feel of the ball and are not hindered by extra material between your foot and the ball.
How do they Fit?
Starting out they seemed slightly tight, but having tested them I wouldn’t have switched sizes if given the opportunity. True to size is the way to go length wise and they offer a nice spacious fit across the forefoot that should suit most medium/wide players. If you compare them to something like the new Nike Tiempo V, they are probably built on the same sizing construction except the Tiempo V has a lot more padding and that results in a boot that fits a lot tighter. Since there is less material used, the Morelia Neo is going to accommodate a wider selection of sizes.
And a final note, they do have the same closed in heel design we have seen across the Mizuno series. I love it as it allows the boot to hug your heel and sit comfortably without any unnecessary movement, but it doesn’t make for the perfect option if you have any pre-existing heel problems.
Mizuno to the US
As you are probably aware by this stage, Mizuno are finally part of the US market! We are proud to be able to take some credit for encouraging them to bring their soccer boots stateside, but that being said we are not in anyway affiliated or directly associated with their company/brand (as has been misstated across certain channels). They provide quality boots and improve the options we currently have available, and that to us is a big win/win for consumers and the market as a whole.
Compared to the MIJ Version
A lot of you are immediately going to question how these perform compared to the Made in Japan version. Personally, I can’t answer that yet as I haven’t kicked off reviewing the Morelia Neo MIJ. We do have a review available, here for those that want to check it out. If the MIJ version offers a higher quality, it is going to rank among the best boots ever released, I’m just not sure how it gets better than this release but I’ll have a full side by side comparison once we get them tested.
There isn’t a great deal to write in this section from a performance perspective. Mizuno has been a quality boot that fits great, feels comfortable and offers a clean touch on the ball. Price wise, they are on the higher end and that is likely to scare off some consumers. Plus, the boots are only available to purchase directly from Mizuno and not in stores, so you won’t have the opportunity to try them on before buying. As you can see, I’m getting a little desperate for content to add here!
To pick up a pair, find them listed at soccer.com.
The Skinny Summary
Highlight: Mizuno mesh quality materials with top class fit all in a lightweight package. K-leather upper is clean and provides great feel on the ball.
Category: A lightweight heritage release, a hybrid of sorts.
Would I Buy Them: I’ve been crying out for Mizuno to enter the US market because of the quality they offer, so yes I would most certainly recommend picking up a pair.
Player Position: This is the type of package that will appeal to a broad range of playing styles and there is no particular position that they won’t work for. As an attacking player, I loved them and I can see them being just a complimentary option for defensive players.
I really am I big Mizuno fan. I have had the opportunity to hold a few pairs but never wear them. I hope for my birthday this summer my parents will consider purchasing a pair of MIJ Morelias.
I wear the Neo's and because I loved it so much I bought the MIJ's. In my opinion, the MIJ's is one hell of a boot, if you think the leather on the Neo is soft, the MIJ is 3 times softer. On that note, because the of the softness, you will find the MIJ's will feel abit wider at the toe even though they are both exactly the same dimensions (which is downside for me since I have a narrow forefoot, but no big problem, might suit alot of people though)
Its worth the money
I too rock the MIJ version. Amazing piece of work. Almost too nice to play in.
I've had the MIJ version for a couple of weeks. I can't say how they compare to the regular neo's but they are they best boot I've ever had by far. And they should be based on the price. I use to have the CTR's but these the MIJ neo's are better in every way. I don't think I can wear anything else now.
I have one paire in green made in Japan the reall profisional ones…I have worm them 3 time..I got new sponsor, I can’t wear them. Size us 9 will fit us 9.5…
Interested [email protected]
Hey Bryan, quick question! I'm thinking about buying a pair, but I was wondering how the durability is? Can they hold up for a season?
That is a tricky one. I still wear my pair and I have noticed some separation with the soleplate/upper. It isn't at a problematic stage yet, but given I have only had them for a few months, wearing on and off, it is a slight concern.
Morelia Neo will hold up for more than a season. However, if you need reason to get new cleats every season, don't get these because they will last especially the MIJ version
Hey currently I wear a vapor 9 in size 8.5 with some space at the toe box. I live in Canada so I can’t try on a pair of the neo’s. Do you think a size 8 should be correct?
As a attacking midfielder to a striker,would you recommend the Mizuno Ignitus or this Mizuno Morelia Neo?I need deadly strikes!
Wave Ignitus – designed for shooting!
Je souhaite acheter des mizuno morelia néo a la place de mes Copa mondial ce sont du 42 ⅓ dois je commander la même taille ou commander plus grand ? Je sais pas comment taille les mizuno morelia néo pouvez vous m'informer svp ?
Will the leather peel off of these, like the "thin k-leather" did on the tiempo v's?
they won't peel off that easily. these are worth it!
I was very excited when Mizuno finally started selling back in the US. They sponsored our college team (Go Gauchos!) back in the '90s and the Morelia's and Grandeza's were great shoes 15-20 years ago and still are! I just couldn't justify the $200+ price tag so waited until they went on sale on soccer.com (black and green).
Pros- finally a lightweight k-leather boot, sadly very few of these are around any more. The heel fit can not be understated, they lock you in and don't slip with the faux suede lining. Also, the insole is very grippy thus your foot does not slide at all on the footbed, I really found this a notable feature that I had not seen on any other pair of shoes before! (my son even commented that they felt like sand paper?). As contrast, I have a pair of Puma King SL's and while they are too tight for me to wear, the insole was very slippery. Lastly, the heel cleats are nice and wide, which is great for my weak ankles and are prone to rolling.
Cons- the leather is good, but not as soft as I would have hoped (I did not get the MIJ version); however they feel the same as the mizuno Grandeza's I had 15 years ago which were my favorite boot previously. Also, the stitching between the k-leather and the synthetic materials is right in a contact area- hopefully I won't notice it as they wear.
Fit- I wear a 9.5 in a Copa and wear a 10 in the Neo (note that I wear my soccer boots very tight). I have a medium-wide foot and these fit great!
First of all, great review by Bryan!!! Love your stuff!
I have both the MIJ (Made in Japan) version and the Indonesia version. For readers, please note that the one on Bryan's review is the Indonesia version.
LEATHER QUALITY: MIJ version is superior to the Indonesia version due to its shape and also doesn't soak up water during the rain.
COMFORT: Made in Japan version all the way. The suede had better quality. I am very sensitive to blisters and Mizunos made sure players don't have blisters. For Indo version, after you break them in they fit and mold to feet well. I recommend readers to break them in by applying leather food/cream and they will eventually feel as soft as MIJ. If you have wide feet, Neo's soleplate (both MIJ and Indo) will pinch and hurt your wide feet like Nike Mercurials or F50s do.
DURABILITY: I would have to answer that they are more durable than all Nike's I have had in the past. I used the White Neo MIJ's when they first came out in 2011 and still works. There is a small sign of split on the toe due to playing on Artificial turf but quality Mizunos have the soleplate mounted down with the pins. All my Nike's (Total 90, Tiempo V, Mercurial) broke within a year or so.
FIT: I wear Tiempos and Total 90s in the past and they fit exactly the same for US sizing. Indonesia version is a little tight due to little softness of the leather out of the box.