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Review: Mizuno Wave Cup Legend (Made in Japan)

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
9
out of 10
Shop Mizuno Wave Cup Legend below

The return of a legend. Only 3000 pairs worldwide.

When it comes to football boots, discerning gimmick from innovation is not an easy task. Sure, a knitted upper that offers a leather-like touch and a harder strike sounds great, but from experience that’s rarely true. It’s a large reason why I still gravitate back to my Mizuno Morelia 2 frequently. I know exactly what I’m getting.

What the classics bring me, are familiar comforts. A padded but natural touch on the ball that helps me caress and stroke the ball into travelling where I want it to.

A One-to-One Remake

The Mizuno Wave Cup Legend is a near one to one remake of the original Mizuno Wave Cup with only a minor update to the soleplate construction.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
The Wave Cup Legend is a near perfect remake of the 2002 classic.

The Wave Cup series is unique because it was made to the exact specifications of one player – Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira. For the younger ones out there, Rivaldo was a third of the legendary 3R alongside (the original) Ronaldo and Ronaldinho who brought home the World Cup in 2002. I would wax lyrical about him, but we don’t have all day, so I’ll leave you watch one of his best World Cup goals below.

Dressed for Comfort

On the surface, the Wave Cup Legend shares many similarities with the Mizuno Morelia 2. Both boots are dressed in Mizuno’s premium scotchguard kangaroo leather, protected by a water repellent finish. Internally, a thin layer of sponge is sandwiched by a dense taffeta polyester backing for extra comfort and durability. On the Wave Cup Legend though, the leather is stitched vertically on the sides to prevent it from overstretching laterally. A normal lacing system adorns the Wave Cup Legend instead of the Wave-Fit system found on the Morelia 2 and Morelia Neo 2.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
Soft AF leather.

It also goes without saying that the leather upper is as soft and supple as leather can be, offering a padded touch while keeping your foot closely connected to the ball.

One of the three changes the Wave Cup Legend makes from the original is to add a 5th Star on the tongue – a tribute to Rivaldo’s role in winning Brazil’s last World Cup. The tongue is still made from kangaroo leather, while the heel is generously padded to hug your heel and lock it down.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
A 5 Star remake

Wave Goodbye to Pain

Mizuno has also updated the soleplate, with cues from the Morelia 2. The dual density soleplate made of nylon better withstands heat and friction soleplate increasing durability for use on AG whilst reducing weight. Mizuno’s trademark Wave technology, adapted from their running line, is also present in the soleplate. Impact is channeled away from the heel to a broader area through the Wave Bars to help prevent injury to the knees.

From experience, I felt lesser knee pains after playing in older Mizuno models such as the Supersonic Wave 3 and the Wave Ignitus 2, which also had the wave unit.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
A grippy but thin insole

If this Wave Cup Legend had a weak link, it’s the thin cardboard-like insole with a grippy texture. It’s a sharp contrast from the original Wave Cup, which had a nice plush non-removable insole. That said, Mizuno’s reasoning for reducing the padding is that a padded insole loses its cushioning over time, changing the feel of the boot. A thinner insole maintains its thickness throughout the lifespan of the boot, ensuring you get the same feeling from Day One until you retire the boot.

From Stud to Sprint

The star of the show, and what makes the Wave Cup so special, is its unique stud configuration built specifically to Rivaldo’s demands. In 2001, Rivaldo was invited down to the Mizuno lab where his every movement was tracked and tested resulting in the Wave Cup stud pattern of its time. The uniquely shaped blades follow closely to where the individual bones contact the ground during a sprint, from the toes to the metatarsals. This serves a dual purpose of giving you enough grip when pushing off as well as to prevent loss of energy when planting the foot to strike the ball.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
A stud pattern tailored to the needs of a runner.

The stud pattern is so effective that Mizuno endorsed athletes such as Shinji Okazaki and Maya Yoshida have actually customised their Rebula 2s to use the Wave Cup stud pattern instead. Surprisingly, despite the bladed studs, the configuration works well on AG without too much drag.

From Rivaldo, With Love

For the older folks around, this has been a brilliant year for nostalgia. Adidas came through with their near identical Predator Accelerator remake, Nike with their Ronaldinho Tiempo and even Umbro were pulling out their classic Speciali remakes too.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
Hark back to the days of
“joga bonito” with the Wave Cup Legend.

The Wave Cup Legend doesn’t just look the part, it even plays and feels the part, transporting me back to a time when football was less Gegenpressing and more joga bonito. Keep your knit uppers and your rubber elements, if I’m playing in a tournament with something on the line, I’m channeling my inner Rivaldo with my warm legendary leather slippers.

Mizuno Wave Cup Legend: Made in Japan
Final Thoughts
A near perfect remake of the original. Buy it if you're looking for a quality boot and a splash of nostalgia.
The Good
A like-for-like remake of a top grade classic
Plush leather upper
That beautiful tongue
Super grippy insole
The Bad
Thin insole not to everyone's taste
9
out of 10
Shop Mizuno Wave Cup Legend below
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