What Mizuno says about this boot: Timeless appeal fused with the latest advancements
Boot style: Speed/Comfort
Weight: 195g/ 6.87 ounces (US 9/27cm)
Previous model: Mizuno Morelia Neo II Beta
When Mizuno first introduced the Beta series with the launch of the original Mizuno Morelia Neo II Beta, it was met positively enough that Mizuno decided to make the Beta series part of the mainline Neo series.
The introduction of knit on its predecessor, the Mizuno Morelia Neo III Beta, gave Mizuno a killer knit boot to compete against the bigger brands in the boot market.
With the newest Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan, Mizuno have addressed some of the issues with the previous model, with the newest one getting a stiffer soleplate, more premium (and Japan-made) knit as well as redesigned heel counter. While the changes are minimal, the improvements are noticeable and make for a better boot overall.
New knit, tighter fit
One thing that Mizuno always excels at is the leather that they use on their boots and the Morelia Neo IV Beta is no exception to this. The leather is among some of the most premium found on any boot on the market and has a perfect balance between thinness, plushness and comfort.
For those who have never tried a Mizuno boot, you would be blown away by how good the leather is. There is a reason why Mizuno boots get hyped up so much and time and time again they deliver with the quality of the leather used.
Something that has changed compared to the previous generation is the knit.
Previously, Mizuno used a non-Japan made knit that came across as cheap considering the price point and the premium nature of the rest of the boot. The newer knit is now made-in-Japan and there is somewhat a noticeable improvement in the quality. But interestingly, even though the same last is used as the previous generation, the newer knit has led to a change with how the boot feels through the midfoot.
The fit is tighter and makes the Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan feel like more of a focused experience.
Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan: Still speedboot-esque
What this means is that the fit feels more like a knitted speed boot when it is compared to the previous generation of the Beta. While the Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta is technically no longer considered a speed boot in Mizuno’s lineup, the nature of the fit makes it feel like one.
Another reason why the boot feels like a speed boot is the incredible lockdown on offer. The newer knit produced does make the fit tighter on the sides, but also on the top of the foot as well which means the lockdown is excellent. It might almost be possible to wear the boots without laces, but it is not recommended as some of that great lockdown will be lost.
One positive thing that has carried over from the previous generation is the excellent fitting forefoot. Of course, one expects the leather to be exceptional on a Mizuno boot, but another thing Mizuno is always praised for is the fit. And the forefoot still ranks as one of the best on the market.
Unfortunately, there is something negative that has been carried over which is the heel fit.
While the shape and padding of the heel are decent, the newer heel shape does have hot spots through the initial few wears. This does go away, but it is disappointing that Mizuno has still not figured out the heel on the Beta.
This is a shame because it does hold back the boot from being almost perfect and considering the regular Neo IV Japan has an excellent fitting heel, one would think that Mizuno could just figure out how to do the same on a knit boot. Well, something to hope for with the next generation.
On the flip side, while the midfoot is tighter, this means that there is a good amount of support on offer and the arches of the foot do not feel tired during wear. This is the advantage of the way the Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan is built, which is that there is support and it does not tend to wear out over time.
As far as sizing goes, I still went a half a size down versus my normal size and found the fit to be excellent. So, if you have worn the previous generation, get the same size.
Barefoot and direct touch
As one would expect from such a superb leather upper, the touch on the ball is brilliant. It is soft and follows the contours of the feet almost perfectly which translates to an awesome feel for the ball.
The leather is not overly thin but not thick to the point that one cannot feel the ball. It is still one of the best barefoot sensations on a leather upper you can get on the market. If you have not experienced a Mizuno leather boot before, you are definitely missing out.
Interestingly, because of the raised and textured Mizuno logo on the midfoot, there is some sort of pass pad here. But the material of the logo is stiffer than a traditional pass pad there is not any of that dull feeling on the ball that normally occurs. Instead, it is sharper, and your touches are more precise. It is kind of an interesting juxtaposition from the softer leather forefoot.
When it comes to dribbling, the soft leather in combination with the symmetry of the leather forefoot means that the Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan provides a lovely feel for the ball and there are no distractions between your foot and the ball. It feels as if the boot allows you to express yourself more without worrying about any weird shapes and textures on the upper.
The right balance when hitting the ball
In a lot of ways, the Beta is about balance. There is a balance between the suppleness of the leather and how thin that same leather is. Another place where this occurs is when passing the ball around, as there are not any gimmicks to worry about, there is just the ball and your foot.
The leather is just thin enough to feel a pingy sensation when hitting the ball with power that one would normally expect from a synthetic boot. Yet, at the same time, the leather has just enough padding so that the foot does not feel the brunt of the force being put into the ball.
Since the upper provides such a consistent surface with which to hit ball, the boot feels particularly good when it comes to hitting the ball in a variety of ways. I like to hit crosses and long passes in a variety of ways so I am always happy when the boot keeps things simple so I can try complicated things.
Good traction but we want more
While Mizuno have changed the soleplate on the Neo IV Beta to make it stiffer, it is disappointing that the brand did not try to extend that stiffness to the forefoot.
The boot would benefit from having more springback in the forefoot to make the soleplate perform at the high level that the upper does. The soleplate can feel overly flimsy after a long time in the boots and while Mizuno does not want to scare away the customers that have the Neo series as their go to, I would argue that a stiffer soleplate would not only benefit the Neo diehards, but also lure in other people who prefer a more responsive soleplate.
As for the studs, they are really good and can be used on a multitude of surfaces and conditions with no issues to speak of. While some may argue that the Neo series needs more aggressive studs, this would probably be a drawback considering how many people rely on the boots for artificial grass surfaces.
Versus the regular Neo IV Japan
While I love the lockdown on offer on the Beta, the fact that the heel and overall fit is better on the regular model makes this choice a no brainer.
I am sure some people would prefer the overall tighter fit of the Beta, for me I cannot get past how frustrating the heel is in the Beta model. And when you add a price premium for the Beta, the regular Neo just makes more sense.
Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan: Beta in several ways
Mizuno has made the Beta better.
The newer knit with the fantastic lockdown means that it is a serious contender for anyone who values lockdown and comfort over everything else.
While there are still issues (and the soleplate could be stiffer) there is no taking away from the fact that the Mizuno Neo IV Beta Japan is still one of the best boots on the market. I personally prefer the regular model but this should not sway people from trying out an outstanding boot in the form of the Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan.
If you like the Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan, you’d also like these boots
It comes as no surprise that if you like the Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Beta Japan, you’d naturally also like other top level Japanese leather boots such as the Adler Yatagarashu, Mizuno Morelia Neo IV Japan, ASICS X Fly 5 and the ASICS X Fly Pro 2.
This review was done in collaboration with Andrew Lockhart from The Lockhart Boot Blog.