An incredible boot – with one noticeable flaw
The Morelia Ultralight is another boot that I have quite a long history with. The white colourway, which was originally released in 2008, was the second ever pair of Mizuno boots I bought, and I had them for years. I bought a second pair after they were discontinued in 2015 and kept those for some time as well. That means that these Gold Morelia UL Rebuild Project model are my third pair I have had. They are almost the same as the original, aside from the last being based on the newest Morelia II last. This means that these were relatively quick to review, since I have a lot of prior experience with the boots. But given that my boot of the year last year was the newest Morelia II, there is a high bar for the Morelia UL to reach.
Fit and Feel
Straight out of the box the Morelia UL is ridiculously soft. Softer than even the Morelia II MiJ, which is saying something. The first time you put the boots on your feet you can immediately feel the plush (but not overly so) upper. The boots begin to mold to the feet quite quickly which means there is (almost) no break in time (a bit more on that soon). The soleplate is solid but more pliable than the regular Morelia and also has a bit less springback. In fact, pliable is a great word to sum up the boot as a whole. The midfoot has a good amount of softness and aids in that breaking in that quick break-in time. The inside of the heel liner is lined with a soft brushed faux suede material that is soft to the touch. The boot feels almost as if it was made to the specifications of your foot because of how soft and supple it is.
For some people this can be a drawback. Because the upper is so soft, you do get that almost custom fit but that also means that the boot has less support through the midfoot than other leather boots like its sibling the Morelia II. Personally, I don’t mind this all that much because the fit is so damn good on feet, for the most part. But it might be any issue for others who want more support and stability. Once fully broken in there are almost no distractions. Aesthetically and in terms of the suppleness of the boot as a whole, this is almost the archetypical leather boot. The one that most leather boots should look to, except for the one issue than cannot be ignored.
Which is the heel. I don’t remember the heel being as tight in the previous models of the Morelia Ultralight. This is probably because the new Morelia II last is built with a more snug heel cup but because of the shape of the heel in the Morelia II, it’s a positive. In the Morelia UL, however, the first few sessions have drawbacks because of the shape of the heel. It does break in and softens up decently but from the get-go, it can’t be ignored. Jay of BOOTHYPE.COM and @nosajpbootreviews on Instagram found this problem to negated by doing a runner’s knot. Aussie Rules Footballer Tom McDonald added an extra lacehole to his pair to help improve lockdown, something which I will also do. But as standard, out of the box, its not at the same level as the rest of the boot. Jay and I talked about a deeper, taller heel cup helping, but the flip side is that it would be a little bit hard to distinguish itself from the regular Morelia II. Still, its something I wish the boot had.
As far as sizing, I recommend everyone go a half a size down from their normal size. Even if it is a little snug at first, the soft upper means that they will quickly mold around your feet.
Touch and Dribbling
As one would expect, so much leather on the boot means the touch is top tier. Since the leather on the Morelia UL is thinner than what you will find on the regular Morelia, this means that there is a slightly closer to the ball feel. The boot is stripped down to the point that there is almost nothing between you and the ball. Probably because it had been a little while since I’ve worn a pair of Morelia UL and I had forgotten just how “easy” it is to play in the boots.
This also means that they are fantastic for dribbling. Since the soleplate is a bit thinner than the normal Morelia, there is more flexibility. The result of this is that the boots feel somewhat akin to a futsal boot in that the soleplate allows you to move your feet more freely and there is a feeling of having that little bit more control over what you can do with the ball. The strength of the upper has seemed to have improved but there is still more give to them over the regular Morelia.
Passing and Shooting
Its almost a copy paste from the previous section in that the pliable leather upper allows for pretty much any type of play you wish to do. While the soleplate is flexible, it is still solid enough that long range passes won’t be an issue. Its not like the soleplate has any warping or makes you feel unstable. Like the regular Morelia, its all down to you. Anything good or bad that happens is the effect of your abilities and not something additional added to the boots.
One will experience the same thing with shooting in the boots as well. Its clean, no fuss and solid. The advantage of the bigger studs that the Morelia series uses over, say a Copa, is that you feel more balanced when shooting. This stability is pretty handy in situations where you are taking quick strikes at the ball and you don’t have time to properly adjust your body. There is also a very slight pingy sensation because you have a thinner leather upper.
It’s the same layout as the standard Morelia, so the soleplate has a similar performance in terms of grip. As I mentioned earlier, there is more flex to the soleplate over time, so you won’t get much springback. That’s not really the point of this soleplate, but it is something to be aware of if you prefer a stiffer soleplate.
In spite of the fact that the soleplate is lighter and thinner than the regular Morelia, I still didn’t experience any stud pressure on any surface I played in. This is something that can be again attributed to the broader studs that Mizuno uses on their classic soleplates. There was no slippage and the boots offered plenty of grip in any conditions. I had argued previously in my Morelia II review that in order to have something that works seamlessly on multiple surfaces, then a stud layout like this is the way to go I stand by that statement and especially having just recently tested Nike’s AG-Pro soleplate found on the Vapor, the contrast of what companies think might work versus what actually works is quite stark.
In my Morelia II review, I mentioned that the Morelia II was the pinnacle of leather football boots. I still believe that but in terms of the purist leather boot, the Morelia UL takes over. Its so soft out of the box and the break in time is minimal. However, the fit of the heel and the relatively lack of stability can be a concern for some people. It actually reminded me of another classic leather boot, the adidas adiPURE I, which had similar heel issues and stability. Not everyone will have issues with the boot, though and personally I enjoyed my time in them to the point that they will be in my matchday bag for the big occasions. And it does feel like a big occasion boot, not at least because of the colourway.
If you want a ridiculously soft and supple boot that has a solid build quality, the Morelia UL is probably one of the best options out there. The overall design could use some updates but that’s understandable given the boot was originally released 12 years ago and the fact that the current Morelia is such and excellent boot. I still highly recommend the Morelia UL because its an experience that’s quite rare these days and given that it’s a Mizuno, you’ll be able to keep experiencing them for a long time.
What do ya’ll think of the Morelia UL? Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!