We have previously reviewed the Morelia Neo II vs Monarcida Neo. Since last year, Mizuno has refreshed their Monarcida (Read: Japan domestic models of Mizuno football shoes) line-up so it's time for another round of face-off.
The shoes come in identical MIJ exclusive black boxes. Both pairs used for this review are 26.5cm.
The Morelia Neo 3 comes with a drawstring bag while the Monarcida Neo 2 doesn't.
The first impression is superb. Both the Morelia Neo 3 and Monarcida Neo 2 are very lightweight and extremely well-made.
Let's address the elephant in the room. Yes, the Monarcida Neo 2 is wider. They are made with a 2E wide fit and visibly wider than the Morelia Neo 2, which is a standard fit, when placed side by side.
No surprise here in the department of leather. The uppers on both Monarcida Neo 2 and Morelia Neo 3 are crafted from the same kangaroo leather of the highest quality in the industry. Truly class-leading. The only visible difference is the anti-abrasion coating on the Monarcida Neo 2.
Aside from the difference in width, both the Monarcida Neo 2 and Morelia Neo 3 fit the streamlined speed boots profile. The same super-soft microfibre material is used on the sides of both boots to provide lasting support and stability.
We are not sure what Mizuno's marketing team has been feeding the consumers to justify their update on the heels of the Morelia Neo 3, but those on the Monarcida Neo 2 just fit better. The traditional heel lip on the Monarcida Neo 2 is at the right height and gently hugs the Achilles, while that flappy piece of fabric serves no real purpose on the Morelia Neo 3.
The ankle opening on the Monarcida Neo 2 also fits a lot better than the Morelia Neo 3. There is really no excuse for the sloppy fit on the Morelia Neo 3. And whatever Mizuno is telling you how that 3mm of fabric collar is supposed to work, it does not.
The single-layer tongue on the Morelia Neo 3 is almost perfect. It's so thin that no one would feel it, yet it has a soft leathery touch and blocks any lace bites. The tongue on the Monarcida Neo 2, although appears less premium, is still soft with some padding that wraps up the instep nicely.
There's absolutely no complaint from us for sticking to the same soleplates of the Morelia Neo 3 on the Monarcida Neo 2. Lightweight, sturdy and with just the right amount of flex, the soleplates work like a charm. The conical studs are versatile on both natural and artificial grass too.
The insoles of the Monarcida Neo 2 have a grippy, rubbery finish while those of the Morelia Neo 3 are plain fabric.
The Morelia Neo 3 and Monarcida Neo 2 may not be the lightest boots on the market (they are not even the lightest in the Mizuno family, that goes to the Monarcida Neo II Pro), but they are not going to slow you down either. The incredible barefoot touch and 360° comfort make them one of the best leather speed boots available.
Mizuno Monarcida Neo II, the best-kept secret from Mizuno, is available here for S$229 only.