The Best Modern Leather Boot
When the first Rebula released there was good level of excitement around the boot. Mizuno are the masters of leather and the Made in Japan product has always been the highest quality a boot can get in the market so there were reasons behind the excitement. Although they were quite popular, it always seemed that a few improvements could be made. The Rebula 2 did improve the boot but it came at the cost to fit and while it was still popular, more than a few people thought that the boot could have been better. This brings us to the release of the Rebula 3 and Mizuno seems to have made the best boot in the series.
Fit and Feel
Putting on the Rebula 3 on the for the first time you immediately feel the difference and improvement over the previous two generations. The fit is more accommodating to a variety of foot types and adjusts easily to the shape of your foot. Lacing the boots up gives you a nice, locked-in sensation thanks to the Wave Lacing system that is used on other boots like the Morelia Neo 2 MiJ. I recommend going true to size because although it is a leather boot, there is not that much stretch to the upper. If you have narrower feet then you might want to go down a half size, though it might not be necessary. (Edit: Actually go for the half size down, it’ll provide for a better fit.)
The fit in the heel has improved a lot over the previous two models. It locks your heel in better than the first Rebula without being too tight like the Rebula 2 was. I also want to point out the clever use of cables that extend from the heel to the leather part of the boot that helps lock in your heel and foot. A quick word too about the tongue, which is thin but has these lines running through them that prevents lace bite. It is quite a wide tongue but once laced up, it isn’t noticeable at all and helps with the overall lockdown of the boot.
Being a Mizuno Made in Japan boot means that the star of the show is the leather. It is top notch and time and time again Mizuno always produce the best leather on the market. It is supple and pliable even from the first wear which means the break-in period for the boots is minimal. It is also fairly thin for leather boot but at the same time still feels plush. To add structure, support and to help with touch a little bit Mizuno is continuing to use their 3D CT Frame technology on the upper. The 3D CT frame doesn’t feel bulky at all on feet and isn’t really noticeable. It is also thick enough at the same time to allow you have protection and take some tackles. What the frame also helps with is the touch on the ball, which we will go over next.
Touch and Dribbling
The Rebula 3 excels in this category, because of the softness of the leather and the 3D CT Frame. What the 3D CT Frame helps do is provide a dampening sensation when touching the ball. I must admit that because of how noticeable the frame is visually; one would expect it to be felt more in the when touching or dribbling the ball. This isn’t the case however; the frame does not get in the way which allows you to have a pure and clean touch on the ball.
You might wonder if the 3D CT frame has any effect at all, but it just quietly goes about doing its job without disturbing yours. The frame provides good support and lockdown which stops the boot from feeling sloppy. It is very slight, but I did notice a difference in touch with the Rebula 3 versus other leather boots. Again, its superb. It allows to the leather to be soft and flexible without losing the shape or support of the upper. There is a certain something in these boots that allows you receive the ball in tight spaces and feel confidence when going to take a touch or make a pass.
The soleplate has been revamped from the previous two models. Even though it is still mostly rounded studs, it provides a good bit more aggressiveness than we have seen previously for this series. It keeps the D-Frame from the previous models (and the discontinued Basara) which is used to help provide grip and allow the boot to torsion with your foot while running and cutting.
Things have been added to the soleplate in other places. A spine has been added to the middle of the soleplate to provide support and stability to the bottom of your foot and to stop the boot from over-twisting when running. Three rotational studs have been added to the ball of the area of the foot to allow you to turn without too much stud resistance. What I also like about these studs is that they help relieve pressure on the ball of your foot, which takes a lot of hits while running.
Mizuno have reinforced the four rear studs, putting a harder TPU material in the middle of the studs that Mizuno says provides 54 percent more stability. In action, I will say that the changes add up to a more stable soleplate. It also doesn’t feel too stiff and you get a nice smooth and aggressive ride in the boots, giving you a lot of confidence while sprinting.
Furthermore, I mostly play on AG pitches these days and I do not really recommend wearing FG boots on AG pitches. To Mizuno’s credit I will say I didn’t feel any “drag” that you get sometimes from wearing FG boots on a synthetic surface and I think this comes down mostly to the shape of the studs. Since they are mostly rounded there is much less chance for them to get “stuck” in the turf. The studs also felt nice and grippy on grass as well. It seems as if the studs were designed to work on both surfaces equally well.
Passing and Shooting
As one would expect of a soft leather boot passing in this boot is a dream. The 3D CT Frame seems to let you do all the work yourself and I didn’t feel as if I had to hit the ball harder or anything to make up for the cushioned frame. Pinging the ball and hitting crosses feels great in the Rebulas thanks the softness of the leather and in the case of crosses I didn’t feel my heel sliding around as you sometimes might do when running and crossing the ball. My heel felt stable which I really like because I sometimes have issues in boots when I hammer a cross in. The same can be said when taking shots in the Rebulas.
I find that with some boots there is a tendency to “slide” ever-so-slightly when shooting. This wasn’t felt as much with the Rebula 3s and I felt the like the four rear studs did a good job of stabilizing my foot while shooting. The leather once again is the star because its softness allows you to get great contact on the ball. You’re not going to get that “ping” feeling that you would from a synthetic boot, but that’s not what the Rebula is made for. It’s made to be a classy boot that feels silky (for lack of a better word) when shooting. I loved how clean and pure the contact on the ball felt when hitting the ball.
The Rebula isn’t meant to be the next big thing when it comes to passing and shooting, but I don’t think that is the point of the boot. It’s there to support you while to your job by doing it’s, giving you fantastic leather and a great soleplate to help you get on with it.
One last thing is that shape of the Rebula 3 seems to be somewhat like the leather Wave Ignitus 1 and 2s. The leather on the instep covers the foot high enough to cover the area that used to be covered by the Mukaiten panel on the Ignitus series. If it were another brand this could be written off as a coincidence, but this is Mizuno we are talking about and their attention to detail is second to none. It is nice that this area is once covered by leather and because of this, the boots should allow you to hit some nice knuckleballs, if you have the skill of course.
The Reubula 3 proves once again that Mizuno is king of the leather throne and everybody else is just pretenders to the throne. While not overly revolutionary, the updated technology and brilliance of the leather make the Rebula 3 the best modern leather boot on the market. If this boot signals the direction that Mizuno is taking this series in, then I very excited t see what they have coming for us next. It also means that Mizuno will continue to be king of leather boot mountain for the foreseeable future and it will take some doing for other companies to reach the peak. It is because of this that I recommend the Rebula 3 as the go-to boot for anyone considering a modern leather boot.
But what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!