Vying for my affection
The Mizuno Morelia Wave was a boot that never really caught my attention when it was available as a regular retail model. There were many people who praised the boot and would only wear the Morelia Wave. Even pros who did not wear the Morelia Wave often used a mixed version of the boot’s soleplate. I personally tried on the boot several times and it just never felt right for me. But with the release of the Morelia Wave Rebuild model, everything has changed. Whatever bothered me about the original model was gone, and in its place came something wonderful.
Fit and Feel
Straight out of the box, the boot feels softer than the original models and the fit is also improved. Part of this comes down to Mizuno’s decision to raise the toebox, which made a big difference for me. The leather is exactly what you would expect from a Mizuno boot: soft, pliable and with almost no break-in time required. In almost every review you read/see/hear on a Mizuno Japan model people will go on and on about the leather and it is no different here. The fit just helps you exude confidence.
Another part of the boot that is a welcome change from the original is the addition of the brushed synthetic suede that is found in the heel and around the mouth of the boot. From the first wear it feels luxurious, and it is something that I hope Mizuno includes on all of their models. It does an excellent job of gripping any socks that you are wearing and is super comfortable. Something that aids the plush feel in the heel is how soft the heel is up the back of the Achilles tendon. It works really well with the solid external counter, which gives the boot a lot of structure but still provides tons of comfort.
Stability is a big part of the Morelia Wave. As soft, comfortable, and pliable as the upper is, the soleplate ensures that the boot still feels responsive and supportive. Normally with responsive soleplates, you do tend to lose a bit of comfort but that really is not the case with the Morelia Wave. The insole has a good amount of cushion without being overly thick and has a bit of grip where it comes into contact with the foot. There is also the fact that the boots do have Mizuno’s Wave technology, which helps reduce stress on the joints during play. In addition to this tech, the insole itself has extra cushion on the heel.
The one possible drawback with this stability is that I was aware of the studs, though it was not uncomfortable, and it was not to the point that it will be an issue for anyone who wears the boots. The other thing that might not be to everyone’s taste is the addition of a fold over tongue that stays down with Velcro (@x.quetzalcoatl.x in particular is not a fan) but I liked because it fit well with the whole aesthetic of the boot.
As far as sizing goes, I went true to size and the fit was excellent. The last is actually slightly wider in the forefoot than boots like the regular Morelia, so if you have wider than average feet the Morelia Wave will be a good choice. This does not mean that the boot feels too wide for people with regular width though, rather that boot is more accommodating for different foot types.
Touch and Dribbling
Since the Morelia Wave has a full kangaroo leather upper, the touch is fantastic. The leather is just the right around of thickness to give you a natural feel on the ball. However, it is not overly thick to the point that you feel that ball is deadened with your touch. It is just the perfect mix, and everything feels so smooth when you trap or take a touch in the boots.
The same goes for dribbling the ball. The supple leather means that you are always aware of the ball when dribbling and it gives you a lot of confidence to the point that it feels as if the boots are willing you forward. It is just a joy and I really enjoyed dribbling in the boots to the point that I was wondering if these were one of the best boots I have ever worn, but more on that later.
There is no added technology to the upper when it comes to touch or dribbling, but it is nice to play in just a pure leather boot with no bells and whistles. Its you and the boots versus everyone else and the feel that you get from the boots makes you feel that you can take anyone on.
The soleplate was also super handy when it came to these aspects as well. I feel that maybe I do not give enough credit to boots that do this, but any boot with a rough to the touch surface on the bottom of the studs gives that little bit extra when it comes to controlling the ball or dragging it around with the bottom of your feet. I do not normally try tricks, but the stuff I do is always helped when the studs have that rough surface, and I found the same here with the Morelia Wave.
Passing and Shooting
Speaking of the soleplate, the Morelia Wave’s previously-mentioned stability comes into its own when passing the ball around and taking shots. It is stiffer than other Mizuno boots, like the regular Morelia II and the Wave Cup, though not as stiff as the Neo 3 or the Neo 3 Beta. Still, it is stiff enough to make a difference during play. It is also a bit wider than the Neo 3 and Neo 3 Beta soleplates, which where a lot of that stability comes from.
What this means that during play you feel more balanced when you strike the ball. Even when receiving the ball in awkward positions, that stability provides a sense of balance that goes a decent way towards keeping your footing. This translates to the Morelia Wave being excellent for pinging long balls and shooting. In fact, I found these really enjoyable to shoot in, since that stable base allowed me to attempt different kinds of shots easier.
Again, outside of the soleplate, there is not really anything to aid your shooting aside from the fantastic fit. But since the upper is so nice and soft, it really does not matter because there is nothing to get between you and your technique. The boot helps keep you balanced, but it is not there to do some of the work for you.
Putting all of this together means that, like dribbling and controlling the ball, the boot feels really enjoyable to hammer shots in. Long crosses, cross field balls, etc., all feel very satisfying to the point that again, I wondered if the boot was really making me reconsider whether I thought the Wave Cup should still be my top boot.
So, the soleplate helps a lot with keeping you balanced and is stiff enough to give a bit of spring back. It is also great to control and roll the ball around. All it needs is for the grip to be good to help round out the performance of the plate. Pleasingly, I can say there was plenty of grip to be found when it came to sprinting and cutting without feeling awkward in any way. It soon became obvious that there was a reason that pros liked to use it for mixed-SG soleplates and the bladed studs gave plenty of grip with still allowing for quicker turns and the like.
There are a few drawbacks. The studs are just ever-so-slightly too long for me. They were excellent with no issues on natural grass, and they still performed really well on artificial grass, but I felt they would have been a bit better if they were just that little bit shorter. To be clear, I play on excellent AG surfaces which have never given me any issues. However, not everyone gets to play on such nice, soft AG pitches. Because of this, I would not recommend you use the Morelia Wave on any AG surface that is not anything other than top notch.
Which is really a shame because the soleplate is put together superbly and there are so many positives to get from it, but just the height of the studs stops it from being that much better.
In spite of this, I loved running around in the boots and every surface I encountered was taken in stride by the Morelia Wave’s soleplate and I felt confident that the soleplate would perform to my expectations and was never let down. Also, Mizuno deserves credit for riveting the soleplate to the upper and stitching the heel to the upper. These small touches ensure that the boot has a lot more durability.
Versus the Wave Cup
This was a tough review in some respects. After a couple of sessions, I began wondering if I actually preferred the Morelia Wave over the Wave Cup. After all, the added stability found in the Morelia Wave’s soleplate was a big positive for me and I loved the performance of the boot overall. I was quite surprised given how much love I have for the Wave Cup. The Wave Cup’s weakness has always been the heel fit and heel cup for me and the Morelia Wave’s heel cup is one of its strong points. It goes further than that as the Morelia Wave’s soleplate gave me a bit more grip when sprinting and having a bit more springback makes a difference as well. But on the flipside the Wave Cup’s soleplate is performs a bit better on turf and the studs are the right height. The Wave Cup also fits my feet better overall and while the Morelia Wave is more balanced and stable, you do lose some of that freeness of the Wave Cup like JayMike mentioned on a recent BootNerds Podcast. So, the Morelia Wave came close, but ultimately the Wave Cup is still the top boot for me. Even as I am writing this, I am still thinking about it.
This is not the boot that I thought or had hoped that Mizuno would bring back, but I am pleased that Mizuno brought the Morelia Wave back. It went from a boot that I was not interested in, to becoming one of my favourite Mizuno boots. The stability, balance, fit, comfort, and quality of the upper and the soleplate means that Mizuno have put together an excellent package. The weight of boot is good, the performance is superb, and the boots are really enjoyable to play in. If you were sitting on the fence about whether to try the Mizuno Morelia Wave, I highly recommend them. They are easily one of the top releases of the year so far.
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