Mizuno Updates its Legendary Boots
This year marks the 35th anniversary of Mizuno’s Morelia series. Originally launched in 1985 with the idea of producing a boot that had a “barefoot, flexible and lightweight feeling”, the Morelia has gone through various changes over the years. Today’s launch of the updated Morelia II marks the fourth change since the Morelia series was launched, with this one probably being the most significant. The first change is the Morelia name itself. For a long time the boot was called the Morelia II but instead of changing the name to the Morelia 3, the name has been changed to Morelia 2 Japan in keeping with the naming conventions Mizuno has been using with its other lines like the Rebula 3 Japan, etc.
Starting off with the weight the new Morelia 2 Japan actually has the same weight as the previous model, weighing in at 215 grams in a size 27 cm (9 US 8 UK). So no changes there. Where we start to see changes is the actual line up of the boots. Gone is the Easy Order System, and in its place are 3 styles: the classic black/white/red colourway, and short tongue white/black/red colourway with regular stitching and lastly the same short tongue white colourway except with a cross-stitch forefoot. My guess is that when it came to the Easy Order System, these were the three most popular styles that were ordered. What this does is allow for some variety while maintaining a slimmer offering. I have heard that other colourways will be available seasonally like they were in the past.
As far as the boots themselves, the first major change is the last. In the past Mizuno had been using what they called “Professional Fit Last”. The last has been changed to what has been called “Engineered Fit Last” to improve the fit of the shoe. According to Mizuno, thy updated the last because they found that the people’s footshape has changed over the years so the made changes to the last in order go along with this change. Mizuno says that only they can provide this kind of great fitting boot. Bold statement, to be sure.
Probably one of the biggest changes, aside from the changing of the last, is the leather is now produced differently. Before, Mizuno almost always used a Scotchguard water-repellent kangaroo leather for their top-level boots. It has now been changed to a water-proof washable leather upper. The main reason for this change is that the Scotchguard would wear off too quickly to have much of an effect. It is because of this that Mizuno decided to switch to a washable leather. Since the washable leather is also used on some of the other made in Japan products, like the Monarcida, Mizuno decided to tweak the leather slightly to be a higher quality on the new Morelias. In spite of this change, in testing nobody realized that the leather make up had been changed. Its pretty impressive that Mizuno changed the way they produced the leather without the testers realizing.
What the new last has also done is change the shape of the “mouth” of the boot. Basically, where you put your foot in the boot. In the previous versions of the Morelia, this could cause the section around your heel to bow out more and not fit as snug. The new last helps the boot have a tighter fit around the ankle in order to improve lockdown and fit. The improved lockdown and fit are also down to the fact that the heel cup itself has also been changed and improved. Previously, Mizuno was using a resin that they would heat up and bend into shape to form the heel counter. The issue they found with this was that is that over time the lockdown and stability would start to suffer. To combat this issue, Mizuno have created and “Engineered Fit Counter” which is molded heel cup which is stronger and more stable and won’t breakdown over time.
Since the last has been changed, the whole upper has been re-worked in order to properly fit with the new last. Everything has been restructured and according to Mizuno “only the new Morelia 2 can surpass the Morelia 2”. Another bold claim, but considering Mizuno’s excellent track record, I’m not sure I doubt them. Part of the way the upper was re-done is by changing from high-density taffeta to a micro taffeta. The micro taffeta has about 3 times the tensile strength versus a high-density taffeta. What this does is help keep the shape of the upper and forefoot through wear. It’s put together in a way the allows some stretching for width while stopping the boot from over-stretching length wise. I personally never had an issue in the past with overstretching, but I guess they got enough feedback that they felt it needed to change. In any case, the goal is to make sure the good fit is maintained over time.
The next major change is the tongue. The fold over tongue has been made slightly smaller and the Velcro on the underside of the tongue has been enlarged in order to make sure that the tongue stays in place a lot better and doesn’t get in the way while playing. The short tongue has also been improved versus the previous iterations. Whereas before it was just a square piece of leather with some thick padding, Mizuno have changed the shape so that it wraps around the ankle better and thinned out the padding so that it doesn’t get in the way of your touch.
Another change that Mizuno has made is with the insole. They changed the material of the insole to a softer synthetic leather and gave it a slight anti-slip grip to the surface. The insoles are now made in Japan like the rest of the boots. Mizuno consider the insoles a big enough upgrade to now sell them separately. Along with the insoles, the laces have also changed slightly. Morelia is now printed on the aglet of the laces to give just that little bit more of that premium look. Not that the Morelias need to look that more premium, but it’s a nice touch.
The fact that the Morelia is hand made in Japan and lasted for 24 hours makes you feel like you are getting the same treatment as a pro. In essence you are, since all of the professional’s boots are made in the same factory. Mizuno had already showed that they are leaders when it comes to modern kangaroo leather with the Rebula 3s but the updated Morelia shows that they are determined to dominate with classic boots as well. The previous model of the Morelia was already top of its class but this update confirms that even that is something to be improved upon. Early reviews suggest that these are a great option even if you currently wear the Rebula 3 or the Morelia Neo 2. It is always impressive that Mizuno seems determined to never rest on its laurels and I am really excited to give these a go. Lastly, they seem less bulky than previous models. With the amount of promise these have, they might become my go-to boots.
What are your thoughts on the new Morelia? Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.