A made in Japan coming together
Regular readers of this blog will know my love the of the Mizuno Morelia II Made in Japan. You will have also no doubt have read my recent review of the Adler Yatagarashu in which I gave it high praise. But now down to what everyone wants to know: Which one is better? After all, both boots are made in Japan and are made of premium kangaroo leather. To be clear, this is one of the more difficult questions I have tried to answer as both boots have their strengths and relative weaknesses. However, both boots are currently among the best leather models on the market in my mind, so this should be interesting.
To begin, we obviously need to consider the relative quality of the leather uppers on offer. Mizuno’s Morelia has for years set the standard for soft leather uppers in their best form and have only occasionally had a challenger. Until now. The Adler Yatagarashu is not as plush as the Morelia, but the leather is softer out of the box. Though to be fair, both boots require almost no break in time to speak of and when it comes to this, I would probably call it a tie. You have a winner no matter which boot you choose here.
Next, we will take a look at the soleplates, and it is here where we begin to see more differences. The Yatagarashu has a simple but solid soleplate, however the Morelia’s soleplate feels more balanced, and it offers better grip on multiple surfaces. This is not to say the Yatagarashu has a bad soleplate; far from it. It is just that the Morelia offers a bit more here.
But this changes when we explore the midsoles that the soleplates are attached to. One complaint that I have heard over the years is that the Morelia soleplate gets too soft and does not offer any springback. Part of this is by design as Mizuno always want the Morelia to have a natural flex to it. In the Yatagarashu, however, you get the wildcard KaRVO midsole that not only makes the midsole stronger but offers a decent amount of springback as well. The inclusion of a midfoot shank along with the KaRVO means that there is more support to be found here and the soleplate feels more of a solid piece. The Yatagarashu wins here.
Of course, we also need to talk about the insoles. The standard Morelia insole is nice and has a premium feel to it. So much so that in Japan the insoles are even sold separately. And versus the standard Adler insole, there is no competition. However, Adler also includes a pair of ReaLine insoles that are designed to support the foot and arch and have more support than the Morelia insole. The ReaLine insole does require a little bit of getting used to, but they are comfortable and offer good supporrt once you do so. It must be added that these insoles are also sold separately but are a bit more premium than the standard Morelia insole. Another score for the Yatagarashu.
One of the things I complain about the most in this blog when it comes to my boot reviews are the heel cups. It seems like a lot of brands treat the heel fit as an afterthought and most heels seem like they are designed in way that supposes the user will wear grip socks, which is not always the case. With both the Yatagarashu and the Morelia, both heel cups have an excellent fit and are comfortable and supportive. And the Morelia’s heel is one of my favourites, so this should be an easy pick. However, Between the two boots, I find the Yatagarashu to have a softer, more comfortable and nicer heel than the Morelia. Which even shocks me as I am typing this. Mizuno put a lot of work into the Morelia’s heel fit on this current generation, but Adler just seem to have nailed it coming out of the gates. To be clear, both are excellent, but the Yatagarashu edges out a win here too.
Next, we have a look (or feel) at the tongues. Both are great with the Morelia being more padded and the Yatagarashu being softer and natural feeling. It really depends what you are you looking for here and on one day I might prefer the padding, but on another, I might want the more pliable leather. If I was being super picky, the Yatagarshu could maybe use a bit of padding, but I have had no issues. This one is pretty much a tie.
The lacing setups are virtually the same in that both the Yatagarashu and the Morelia have the lace holes set up in a zigzag pattern in order to provide better lock down and on both boots it works excellent. They also both have deep lacing systems which means there is a ton of adjustability when it comes to the fit of the boot and it means that the boots work for a large variety of foot shapes. Score draw.
Lastly, we can look at the laces themselves. Now, my Morelia have a pair of Mizuno’s excellent ZeroGlide laces in them, of which I have several pairs, so one might think this is unfair. But as good as they are, the Yatagarashu’s laces are nicer and of higher quality. They are not grip laces but there is no stretchiness to them and once they are laced up, the boot feels firmly on the foot. It does help that the Yatagarshu’s laces are made by a company in Japan that specializes in shoelaces. So, another win for the Yatagarashu.
A quick word about pricing. In Japan the Yatagarashu is more expensive than the Morelia (25300 yen versus 22550 yen) which makes the choice more difficult. However, given that most of the readers of this blog are overseas, this changes things. The Morelia retails for 280 USD/320 EUR/285 UK Pounds versus the Yatagarashu, which since the Yen is weak and the boots are only available from Adler comes in at 178 USD/176 EUR/153 UK Pounds (yes, of course shipping adds a bit afterwards). When comparing the prices internationally, the Yatagarashu is better value for money.
Really, no matter which boot you choose between the Mizuno Morelia and the Adler Yatagarashu, you are going to have a winner. And really, even after writing this, it is a difficult choice for me. The Mizuno Morelia II Made in Japan have an excellent upper and an awesome soleplate, but it is matched blow for blow by the Yatagarashu, which has a super soft upper and more than good soleplae itself. Just tallying up the scores it looks like the Yatagarashu is the winner, but again, it is hard to choose because the Morelia is such a superb boot. And both boots are even handmade in Japan. I think what ultimately tilts the scales in the favour of the Yatagarashu for is that KaRVO midsole. It is a gamechanger in a leather boot and really puts the boots out there.
What would you choose between the Mizuno Morelia 2 MiJ and the Alder Yatagarashu? Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!
Buy the Adler Yatagarashu here by clicking on this link. Be sure to send me your order number after purchasing a pair.