Mizuno Morelia Neo Review
The Morelia Neo is Mizuno's first go at an ultra-lightweight soccer shoe, and it definitely packs some unique features for being so lightweight. One thing that you can always expect from Mizuno soccer shoes is a very comfortable, well fitting boot, and the Neo is no different. The front of the shoe is made from a very thin kangaroo leather, that is soft and flexible from right out of the box, while the rest of the boot is a very thin synthetic, which is also very soft and flexible. The heel is lined in suede, which does a really good job of keeping your heel locked in place. You also get a leather tongue, backed by suede as well, so the overall fit is very comfortable. The sole is nice and flexible in the forefoot, while still maintaining a thickness where you’re not going to have any issues with stud pressure. If I had to make a complaint regarding the comfort of the shoe it would have to be the heel. While there is a solid plastic heel counter, which is on the smaller side, the main make-up of the heel has no structural rigidity, so what you end up with is having your heel wrapped in what is essentially a thin synthetic. While this isn’t an issue at first, I did find that if I was wearing this shoe for longer periods of time, I did start to have some discomfort, but that was only after around 2 hours or more of use, so the problem is not that much of a concern. As far as how they fit, I would definitely say that this is easily the most narrow fitting Mizuno in the line. The forefoot has a fair amount of width, and because it is leather, it will stretch a little if need be. The midfoot definitely fits much tighter, which isn’t a problem, but if you do have a wider foot, you may have some discomfort. The heel is also very narrow, meaning that it will grab your heel very tightly, but again, this could cause discomfort if your feet are on the wider side. The sizing on the Neo is true to size. I wore my usual size 9US for review and the fit in the length was perfect, so if you are looking to order a pair, go with your normal size. The Neo is definitely one of the more comfortable ultra-lightweight shoes on the market.
The Morelia Neo weighs in at a very impressive 6.2oz! While there have been lighter shoes in the past, none of them included a kangaroo leather upper and a suede liner. The weight loss can definitely be credited to the one piece sole plate, that is undeniably similar to the Sprintframe from the adizero. You can still see where the weight was shed, with the use of such a thin leather on the upper. The Neo beats out the competition as far as lightweight “leather” soccer shoes go, and sets a new standard for everyone else to follow.
The Neo stud pattern is a tweaked version of a classic conical stud pattern. What you get is an all round studs, with four on each side under the forefoot, with one blade in the middle and the standard four studs on the heel. The unique part is how the studs are slightly angled to the outside, similar to how the wheels would sit on a sports car. The reason for this is to create a wider, more stable stance. When your run, you will notice that your foot never touches down completely flat, it will always be at a slight angle, so making the studs slightly angled to the outside means that you are going to get the entire stud dig into the ground rather than just a small part of the stud. This makes for a traditional feel, but with this added element of stability. The studs themselves are also very skinny, so they do tend to dig into the ground just a little deeper than your standard conical stud pattern. The design is simple, but also very innovative and really does work well. This is a stud pattern that can be used on nearly any surface, and is also turf friendly.
The reason why the Neo got the soccer world so excited was because it included that lightweight feel, that everybody loves, while also incorporating easily the most popular upper material with the use of kangaroo leather. I think that what I was expecting, was a leather upper reminiscent to the standard Morelia Pro, but while the Neo does hold the Morelia name, it certainly doesn’t provide the same Morelia feel. The kangaroo leather on the Neo is easily the thinnest leather that I have ever used on a soccer shoe, and while the quality is still great, it is so thin to the point where you do not get that same soft leather touch that you might expect. The leather has very little padding, and while it still has that leather feel against the ball, it definitely is more reminiscent of a synthetic when touching the ball. I also appreciate the use of a full leather tongue. The feel is definitely unique and arguably offers the best of both worlds, but if the classic leather feel is what you’re looking for, the Neo is not going to offer that. The thin leather upper also flows really nicely with the thin synthetic midfoot, mainly because there is very little difference in thickness between the two. While the feel is not that classic leather feel, it is still traditional enough, given how light the shoe actually is. You get a very thin feel, with the slightly dampening touch of leather.
Shooting the ball with the Neo feels great. The sole of the Neo offers a very solid amount of stiffness when shooting the ball, arguably the stiffest sole in this weight range. The leather tongue gives the Neo a more solid feel and it doesn’t feel like you are striking the ball with such a lightweight shoe. There are no gimmicks or anything like that on the Neo, so what you see is what you get. If you like that lightweight feel when striking the ball you are going to like the feel of the Neo.
The Neo is not going to provide much in the way of protection. Other than a slightly thicker leather tongue, your foot is pretty much exposed. Keep in mind that the leather is going to provide some minor padding should you get stepped on, but you are still going to feel the majority of the blow. If you are stepping out on the field in an ultra-lightweight pair of soccer shoes, protection is something that you just don’t get.
Mizuno makes some of the best quality boots on the market. The build quality as well as the quality of materials used on the Neo is top class, and you probably aren’t going to find many other ultra-lightweight shoes that can match it in terms of quality. With that being said, this is a thin shoe, and anytime you take away so much weight, durability is generally one of the main sacrifices. While I do think that this is a very solidly built shoe, it certainly isn’t going to be up to that same standard as a more hefty boot. Also keep in mind that this shoe does use a natural leather, so some maintenance is required to keep them in optimal condition. As long as you are not playing regularly on turf, I am completely confident in saying that the Neo will certainly last an entire season of play.
So, does the Neo live up to all the hype? The answer is yes, but I can’t say that I did expect a little more. It offers some of the best leather quality in such a lightweight package, but the feel of that leather does not provide that traditional feel, something that I think a lot of people were expecting, including myself. That being said, the feel that the Neo does provide is still very unique, and as a package, with the unique upper, the innovative soleplate and stud pattern, the Neo does offer something that truly is a stand alone. Unfortunately, if you are in North America, the Neo can be a tough to get ahold of, and if you do manage to pick up a pair online, it can be very pricey. The Neo is an impressive boot, which is exactly what you would expect from Mizuno, and I can guarantee that they will not disappoint.
Comfort/ Fit 9 out of 10
Weight 10 out of 10
Traction 9 out of 10
Touch 9 out of 10
Shooting 8 out of 10
Protection 7 out of 10
Durability 8 out of 10
Final Score 60 out of 70 or 86%