A massive update for an important boot
The first Morelia Neo was originally released in 2011 and changed expectations on what a speed boot could offer. There were subtle changes made to the boot in 2016 to warrant calling the boot the Neo 2 but it was largely more of the same excellent boot that Mizuno had launched before. For the new Morelia Neo 3, Mizuno have given the boot a large overall without changing what was loved about the series.
To begin, the last has been change ever so slightly to give a more barefoot sensation using what Mizuno calls their “Engineered Fit Last Neo”. One of the things that has changed with this new last is that the toebox is taller than the Neo 2 and provides for more of a one to one fit, whereas the previous generations could feel slightly awkward in the toe because of the shape. As part of this, the outsole has been changed to curve up slightly more so that the durability of the flex points where the outsole connects to the upper is increased.
At launch, only the White/Red/Black colourway has been released but I am certain we will see some new colourways in the coming months. Not that I personally mind because I have always loved the way this series looks in white colourways.
A lot of changes have been made to the upper and as always with a made in Japan Mizuno boot, the kangaroo leather is the first thing to talk about. Mizuno is again using a washable kangaroo leather that they had redesigned last year to make the upper more durable. A massive part of the change to the upper is the introduction of BF (Bare Foot) Leather and BF (same) Knit. The BF Leather is a synthetic material that has been introduced to replace the synthetic material that was used on previous generations.
According to Mizuno, the material is comparable to a k leather in terms of softness. It’s also 0.2mm thinner than the previous material used without sacrificing the lockdown. The BF Knit material replaces the stiffer synthetic that was around the “mouth” of the boot in order to make the boot softer and more comfortable in these areas. It is more elastic, so it won’t rub the back of your heel like the previous generations did, though I personally never had any issues.
Another small change that personally made me happy is that the top lace has been moved slightly closer to the ankle and an extra lace hole has been added so you can make a runner’s knot and the like. I love having more lockdown in the heel so I am all about this change. Even the logo has undergone a slight tweak becoming softer and has a slight design change to make it look “faster” and to differentiate it from the previous generations.
Speaking of the heel, the height of the top of the heel has been raised slightly to help lock the rear part of the foot in. The Morelia Neo 3 also has the stitching construction that locks the upper to itself now located on the rear of the heel instead of on the sides towards the rear as was found in previous generations. This was done because Mizuno found that the previous models had a tendency to be loose for some people because of where the stitching was located and led to a loss of lockdown. The heel cup has been slightly lowered at the rear so that the heel is more stable on the sides. This also has the added effect of decreasing pressure on hot spots in the heel. And to round up the heel, the Neo 3 has increased cushioning in this section to allow for more comfort and to increase the locked-in feeling.
One more small but nice (and needed) touch is that the laces have become thinner and more modern. They are now 4mm instead of 6mm wide. Added too this is a new insole that Mizuno are calling the “Bioguard CG-X” insole. This insole is designed to have antibacterial properties by using a deodorant mixture to make sure that the boots smell better and stay “fresh” longer.
Returning to the outsole, the amount of resin used in the studs has been increased 1.5X more than the previous generations so that the studs won’t wear down as easily. This is a pretty big deal for those of us who play on artificial grass and hard ground. The most noticeable change is the structure ribs have been taken out and replaced by a honeycomb structure that enables the boot to have more structure and provide support without added weight. In fact, the honeycomb structure is claimed to be stronger than the previous ribs used because of the shape of the honeycomb. It is probably one of the most visually striking things about this boot. A lighter resin is also used on the sides of the heel counter in order to decrease weight.
Another weight saving measure is that the curved support beams between the four rear studs have been straightened out to make the boot lighter without sacrificing support and structure. The studs are also more vertical than the previous generations so that they may provide more stability in the heel and the boot overall. One also might be surprised to learn that Mizuno has also gotten rid of the rivets at the front of the boot to also decrease weight. This might normally be worrisome, since rivets help increase durability but even as early as four years ago, the then top dog at Mizuno Football Miyamoto Satoshi said that the rivets weren’t necessarily need because the shoe bond that Mizuno uses is so strong.
The studs now have a little bit of indentation in them in order to improve grip on variety of ground types and it would be interesting to see if there is much of a difference against the studs from the previous models.
So one might be expecting the boots to become much lighter than the previous model. Well, the soleplate has dropped 5 grams down to 80 grams overall but overall the boot itself is 5 grams heavier coming in 200 grams versus 195 grams for the Morelia Neo 2. But with these kind of weights you’re splitting hairs if the little weight gain bothers you.
This is probably the most important release for Mizuno since globally the Morelia Neo series is their most popular boot. They seem to have smashed all expectations, but we will know more once they get on players feet.
What do you think about the updates made to the Morelia Neo series? Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
All Photo Credit: Kemari87/Kishispo unless otherwise stated.