Continuing to raise prices poses issues
I am a massive fan of Mizuno. Since the first time I wore their boots bout thirteen years ago, there has never been a time when I did not have at least one pair in rotation and at least a couple of pairs in my collection. Even now, though I am doing part time work for Adler, I still have several pairs in my assortment. For me, it is not difficult to see why. Their boots are comfortable, fit my feet well and are of high quality. Plus, they always seem to offer something that bit different. The Alpha, for example, is a speed boot that share similarities to others in the market but has additional grip on the inside of the boot, and the heel seems like it was actually designed properly instead of just being an afterthought. But while there are a lot of positives to Mizuno boots, the biggest negative is their price outside of Asia.
The Alpha Japan is a great example of this. As mentioned in my review of the Mizuno Alpha Japan, the price in Japan comes out to 23,650 yen, which is roughly equivalent to 175 USD, 166 EUR, and 143 UK Pounds. Great pricing here but unfortunately, the pricing overseas is 320 Dollars in the US, 320 EUR in Europe, and 285 Pounds in the UK. While I wouldn’t expect the pricing to be the same outside of Japan since there are import fees, shipping, handling and the like, it is a massive disappointment to see the boots around double the price and it significantly limits the type of customer than are likely to buy the boots.
In the most recent (it’s the 16th of Dec, 2022 as I am writing this) BootNerds podcast, JayMike and Josh both bring up the pricing of the Alpha as an issue to it being more widely successful. They come to an agreement that it might be because Mizuno wants to stay a niche company. But they also correctly point out that outside of football boots, Mizuno is a massive sportswear brand (the Runbird has a market cap of 471 million US Dollars) and that in most other sports the pricing is nowhere near as high. Now, it can be argued that since around half of Mizuno’s sales occur inside of Japan that the brand may see sales outside of Japan as a way of increasing profits, but surely the brand would also want to increase market share.
They are already making moves to do so. Sponsoring Sergio Ramos as well as SS Lazio and VFL Bochum are not the moves a brand that wants to stay niche would make. Sure, sponsorships are a way of increasing brand awareness but for a brand that has been so hesitant to sponsor players and teams outside of Japan, doing so now seems like they are wanting to increase their brand presence in Europe and elsewhere. It can be argued that if this is the case, then it is even more baffling that Mizuno is continuing to raise their prices.
This is especially egregious considering the that it bears worth repeating that their boot prices seem to be almost double of what they are in Asia. Another example of this is the classic Morelia II Japan. In Japan you can find a pair for about 20,000 yen or 146 USD, 137 EUR, 120 UK Pounds. A great price and it makes it easy to see why the boots are so widespread in the game in Japan. That same excellent boot is 280 Dollars in the US, 320 EUR in Europe and 285 Pounds in the UK. Which puts it out of the hands of most people.
As a massive Mizuno fan and a fan of the smaller brands in general, I want them to be more successful and more popular as time goes on and it will become increasing more difficult to do so if the brand keeps raising prices. Now, Mizuno are not alone in this as almost every brand is raising prices to absurd levels, (this is partially because they don’t want some of the profit in the market, they want all of it) and boots as a whole are too damn expensive. Every company can do with slashing their prices by at least twenty-five precent and I include Mizuno among this as well.
Again, I have to reiterate that I absolute love Mizuno and their boots, but it is become more difficult to recommend as time goes on because people, for good reason, are hesitant to spend so much money on one pair of boots. Mizuno could have come in with a much better price on the Alpha (especially since it’s not kangaroo leather) and made a much bigger splash in the boots. In Japan, they pre-orders and the follow up colourway have sold out almost immediately and the same thing could have happened elsewhere in Mizuno hadn’t had been so stubborn about their pricing. The Alpha Japan is the killer boot that people have been wanting to see from Mizuno but if their prices continue to stay so high, they will be chasing decreasing returns.
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