An excellent experience
Starting all the way back towards the end of 2009, the Mizuno Wave Ignitus series has amassed a cult following over the years thanks to its take on the power boot. Every model had a unique power zone/control panel set up and even among models that were not as popular, like the Wave Ignitus III, Mizuno always tried to keep things fresh. The Wave Ignitus 4 finally gave us a made in Japan model, which fans had demanded for years. While it was not regarded as highly as the first two models in the series, it was still a great boot. Now, The Wave Ignitus Japan remake brings back a more refined version of the Wave Ignitus 4. This time it comes in the iconic Yellow/Black colourway, which was the one worn by free kick specialist Keisuke Honda during the 2010 World Cup.
Fit and Feel
One of the things that is immediately noticeable versus the original Wave Ignitus 4 is that the remake has a better overall fit. The last used for the remake is from the current Morelia Neo 3 Japan. Interestingly, despite using the last from a slightly narrower boot, they boot does not feel as narrow as the Neo 3. The fit is excellent but the split between is noticeable between the leather part of the forefoot and the rubber Biocontol Panel. However, it is not uncomfortable or anything like that.
An improvement on The Wave Ignitus Japan Remake is the addition of a brushed, suede-like heel liner. Not only does it feel softer on the foot, but there is slightly more cushioning, and it is placed in a way that really locks in the heel. Again because of the new last used, the rear of the foot feels more locked into the back of the boot.
What also helps with the overall lockdown of the boot is the inclusion of Mizuno’s excellent ZeroGlide laces. The one complaint many people have with the Mizuno boots are the laces and switching to the ZeroGlide laces on the remakes is a fantastic idea. It seems simple, but the laces do a great job of keeping the foot locked in the boot. The laces of the boot also are grippy enough that they hold throughout use during a match, which means whether it is the start or the end of the match, the Wave Ignitus Remake will feel just as wrapped around the foot.
There is not much leather available on the Mizuno Wave Ignitus Remake, but what is there is that same brilliant quality found on other Mizuno boots. While there is that wish for more leather, like what was found on the Wave Ignitus 1 or 2, it is not an issue.
The synthetic material used on the upper has also undergone an update. While it is not as soft or pliable as what can be found on the Morelia Neo 3 Japan, it is still softer than expected and performs well. The break in time for the material was also minimal.
As far as sizing, I stuck with my normal size for the Ignitus, which is a half-size down from normal. However, I would recommend people stay true to size since the boot has little stretch.
Touch and Dribbling
Obviously, with the giant BioControl panel on the boot, the touch is grippy. But the newer synthetic material is also grippier to the touch. This means that even the area to the rear of the BioControl Panel has a nice amount of grip to it. As a result of this, the touch is solid. There are three memory foam pods located in this section that do an excellent job cushioning the ball and they are thick enough to make a difference even when shooting.
For those that dribble with the outside of the foot, the presence of kangaroo leather means there is a soft, natural feel when dribbling. Given how much tech is packed in the rest of the boot, it is interesting. However, in combination, both work well together.
There is surprisingly a more tactile feel on the ball with the BioControl panel than anticipated. Part of this comes down to the indentations found on the panel itself and the softer material underneath means the touch in the area does not feel weird or take a lot of getting used to.
It is also appreciated that the bottom of the studs have an etched pattern, which means it is easier to drag the ball around the bottom of the foot.
Passing and Shooting
This is where the Wave Ignitus remake shows what it is all about. The BioControl Panel is exceptional when it comes to hitting a multitude of passes and it does feel like almost any kind of pass can be accomplished. Whether it is a short, straight, pass or an across the pitch ping, the boot feels comfortable with doing both. It is also really enjoyable, and the fun factor is something that should be taken into account when deciding on buying the Wave Ignitus. They are a lot of fun to hit passes in and the memory foam pods mean that the even straight passes can be hit with a good amount of power.
Of course, shooting is where the Ignitus Remake performs best. The BioControl Panel is excellent when it comes to hammering the ball, curling into the top corner, or just adding swerve to any shot. The revamped Mukaiten Panel is a step back from the first two models in the Ignitus series, but it is still a great feeling to hit the ball in this area of the boot. The indentations on the BioControl Panel help make sure that it is possible to add some whip or bend on the ball, and it is very noticeable. Even in wet conditions there is still a lot of grip avaible throughout the upper of the boot.
It is just enjoyable, and a lot of boots could learn from the Wave Ignitus Remake about the approach to how a boot should perform and feel when shooting or even hitting passes.
A special mention must also go to the soleplate, which does a brilliant job of keeping the foot anchored to the ground when shooting. A lot of boots seem to focus more on overall performance rather than the benefits that could be had with a soleplate that is focused on helping keep the foot from sliding in the ground when hitting the ball.
Here is where there is another improvement on the Ignitus remakes versus the original. That previously mentioned etched pattern helps provide just that little bit more grip on harder surfaces as previous tests have shown that an etched pattern on the bottom on the studs help with grip on various surfaces.
Mizuno deserves a lot of praise for their approach to the shape of studs and the soleplates they design. It would be easy to follow the crowd with soleplate design, but like the Wave Cup and the previous Ignitus models before it, the Ignitus Remake shows how Mizuno thinks when it comes to designing soleplates.
There are three angular studs below the ball of the foot that help dissipate pressure from this area, while providing a lot of grip on a part of the foot that uses a lot of force while running.
Instead of having four long bladed studs on the heel, there are three and the fourth rear stud is more squared to help keep the foot locked to the ground when hitting the ball.
The overall grip is good. It is not going to compete with modern speed boots, but it was never supposed to. Instead, it is a solid experience from a soleplate that can be depended on in various situations and there is never a feeling that there is not grip available, not matter the surface or conditions.
The studs are quite long however, so it is not recommended to use these on artificial grass, even though there are no issues when playing on that surface.
Some people would have loved for Mizuno to bring back the first two models of the Wave Ignitus series over this iteration. However, the small tweaks and upgrades made to the Wave Ignitus Remake, as well as the fun factor show that Wave Ignitus 4 is also a formidable boot in its own right. If you are on the fence about buying these, don’t be as they are an awesome experience that is hard to find on the market right now. Truly, a class above in this regard.
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