MIZUNO WAVE SHINKEN II: FOOTBALL BOOTS TEST

Mizuno are something of an enigma this side of the channel. A force to be reckoned with most everywhere on the continent (especially Spain and Italy), and wildly popular in their native Japan – I’ve often wondered why they haven’t been able to carve out a niche in the Premier League.

Step forward then, the Wave Shinken II – a football boot that combines the light-weight chassis of a ‘speed’ boot and sweet spot technology that’s not a million miles from the Predator or T90 Laser, mixed in with a few tricks from years of development.

football boots test mizuno wave shinken ii

Comfort/Fit

The Mizuno Wave Shinken II is a really unusual football boot in terms of fit. By rights, a boot with such a well crafted soleplate and K-leather upper should offer a great fit, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to live up to expectations. Admittedly, there’s no chance this boot will give you blisters as the forefoot is so loose fitting but this was also something of a hindrance, as I just couldn’t seem to get the boot tight enough to give the glove-like fit I’d hoped it would offer. That said, slipping on another pair of socks did help somewhat, but did make the boot a too tight around the toes, suggesting that had the boots been a size bigger the problem would have been worse rather than better.

One thing the upper really has going for it is the stitching. I know a lot of people balked at the amount of thread going on – but it really does add to the comfort of the football boot. As you can see from the photos, it runs across the top of the boot and does a fantastic job of lining up with the key points where your toes bend, giving the feeling that the boot is really working with you, rather than having the elastic resistance of some synthetic-upper boots. Couple this with some of the softest leather I’ve ever played in, in the boot does go some way to compensate in comfort what it lacks in fit.

wave shinken II football boots test

Credit to Mizuno though, the ‘Wave’ soleplate and heel counter are fantastic, it does a great job of locking your heel in place without being heavy – as part of the specification Mizuno have put gaps in most of the plastic to stop this part of the boot feeling weighty and cumbersome. This goes a long way to adding a sensation of speed, as you can rocket off your heels

Durability

The Wave Shinken II has a very light feel on your feet, its soft, thin K-leather is fantastic for comfort and touch but the boot does very little to protect your feet. Aside from the already mentioned ‘Wave’ system in the heel the boot offers no other safety features. While the boot has held up to the usual rigorous of a Footy Boots 2 week testing programme, I do have some reservations about the features, (like the heel counter and sole plate) coming away from the boot as time goes by – simply because they’re attached in a remarkably similar way to the Predators which, whilst they’ll serve you well for a season, will probably start to come loose after more than one heavy winter.

Feel

I’ve already mentioned how it feels on the ball – I love the thin, stitched K-leather which ensures no matter what position your foot’s in whilst running, you’re going to get a fantastic feel for what the ball’s doing; like playing in socks! Equally, the quilted upper and velcro-secured lace cover make first touches so pleasant that if it pings off your foot and into touch you can only blame yourself!

However, when it comes to kicking the ball; that loose fitting front end comes into play. Due to my forefoot moving around in the boot I found it somewhat tough to get a consistent contact with the ball. Maybe it’s from playing in much wider football boots recently, but when it came to really putting a foot through the ball and hammering it up the pitch; I just ended up getting frustrated at where the ball was going.

mizuno wave shinken ii football boots test

The FG sole-plate is once again, really well thought out. I had concerns over it’s unorthodox, asymmetrical design, but all the blades tied in with the ball and toes very creatively; with a special mention going to the ‘L’ shaped grouping supporting the ball of the foot, allowing for great traction when springing forward or sideways.

Features


Mizuno seem to have set out to create a feature heavy boot, looking at them from the most obvious is the ‘Bio-panels’ on the front-instep. I instantly took a liking to these – mainly because they were arranged in a way which made me nostalgic for the adidas Predator Mania. As usual, I’m a bit skeptical of the influence these panels have over ‘power, swerve and control’ like they claim to – they’re very low profile and quite understated to the touch – more like the vamps on the Predator Pulse than the Mania. That said, they serve as a nice visual reminder for anyone wearing the boot where the best place on your foot is to hit a free kick or cross.

The Wave system in the heel fully compliments the carbon fibre shank that runs through the sole – which may surprise many as a carbon fibre soleplate is often the hallmark of more prestigious, expensive football boots and brands.

There are a couple of nice details that clearly demonstrate the boot was crafted with time and care; little touches like the way the tongue acts as ‘pouch’ that keeps unruly laces in check. It’s a great example of why players who seek something a little more tailor-made than mass-produced would love a pair of boots like the ones Mizuno are turning out.

footy boots test mizuno wave shinken ii

Conclusion

The Wave Shinken II’s are a boot that, on paper, any player who is willing to look past the brand that produces them would love; and as such I desperately want to like them. But after playing in them for two weeks I was frustrated with that overly roomy front end (which could be down to my stubbornness as I just don’t like wearing 2 pairs of socks!).

However, I can see this football boot being a great investment for a few types of player. If you’ve been let down by other ‘speed boots’ you could really find a match in Mizuno: If you find that the Vapor or v1.08’s are too narrow for your feet I can almost guarantee you won’t have the same problem here.

Likewise, if you are aching for that ‘true’ touch on a pair of super light cleats (weighing in at a mere 250g per boot) that only comes with a leather upper then you will love putting these boots on a savouring every run, combining a soft touch with blistering speed.

wave shinken II football boots test footy boots

You’ll also have noticed a fair few Predator comparisons in this review, and they’re not just aesthetic. If you’re looking for a lighter, thinner more unorthodox alternative to adidas’ finest -'  you could indeed find a new favourite in the Wave Shinken II football boots.

Update:

Since publishing this post, Footy Boots has been contacted by Mizuno who, in response to one of Kyle’s concerns, gave us the following statement:

mizuno wave shinken ii football boots test The way we connect the outsole / heel counter to the upper (bonding) is different to many of our competitors, we use a much stronger bonding agent and leave the boot on the last for longer.

This has several implications, firstly the boot takes longer to make and its a more expensive process but the result is a fit that is much closer to the last along with a better build quality.

We are very proud of the fact that since 2006 when the Shinken was launched we have recieved no returns for the outsole detaching from the upper prematurely.


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25 Comments

  • hey kyle, i actually worked briefly for mizuno and your review is quite accurate. though for the part where in the forefoot feels a bit wide, i believe that, in japan at least, you can get a regular version and a wide version. maybe they released the wide version in general for the western market (banking on the westerners having big feet)

  • I personally love this shoe. I do agree the forefoot is a bit loose but I feel that is due to the softness of the shoe. I have vapors and lasers and the upper is much firmer. The pads that are supposed to add power and spin, dont really. I have mixed feelings about this shoe. Its light, its great to run in, but it doesnt have pop in the shot. If they only made a wide fit vapor or wide fit adipure…

  • Solid review but I would like to see more than one person on the review staff because while your forefoot might not work with the boot someone else’s would, and I think it would add to the value of the review to have contrasting opinions.

    I also wonder about the heel and soleplate being durable comment. The heel seems to be stitched to the upper and sole plate has various rivets (from pictures anyway) that seem to keep things secure. The only Preds to have this were the Mania (which is usually viewed as the highpoint of the Pred line)amd the recent Super Legeria were lauded for their “tough” outsole which featured 5 or 6 sections that were riveted to the lasting board/upper.

    Over at Big Soccer where I mod the boot forum these seem to get steller reviews and I am thinking of having some shipped to the USA for myself.

  • Good points John but it’s hard enough getting one pair of boots out of a brand to review – let alone 2 or 3!! But I like your thinking.

    Also, please see the update at the foot of the post with views from Mizuno.

  • this was a great review and i really like these cleats, but i can’t find a place that sells them in the u.s. does anyone know if there’s a site that would ship them to the u.s. or if mizuno is bringing them to the u.s. anytime soon?

  • this was a great review and i really want to get a pair of these cleats, is there anywhere in the uk that will ship to the us or any places in the us that sell them?

  • LOVE Mizuno boots, the best pair i ever had were Mizuno Professionales that i bought in Arizona back in 94-95. WOre them all thru university and when i played pro/semi/pro here in Canada, was devastated when i wore them out, so i have been wanting to go back to them for quite a while, i like having rare boots…..also tried a pair of the original Wave Shinkens on, and i thought they were lovely

  • I have worn these boots for a rugby season, but the earlier version of the Shinkin 2. Mine didn’t have the pouch, the velcro, and had a different shaped tongue.

    I reckon they are the most comfy boots I have ever had, straight out of the box. For rugby, they stood up to the play quite well.

    Top boot in my book.

  • meteora says the truth there are two versions, one for wide feet and another for normal narrow feet.
    i have nice comments read about the mizuno leather.

  • Japanese and asians usually have feet with wider front end, like duck feet. Mine included. Therefore I am not surprise the mizuno have wide fitting on the front end. if you look at japanese sites that selling football boot, a lot of them offer wide-fit adidas.

    in the US I cant find any boot that fit my duck feet, except wide-fit Predator. I am actually considering buying this wave shinken II after you complaining wide fitting at the front end. Thanks a lot for the review. It’s about time manufacturers make wider fit boot, I am tired playing soccer like running on heels.

  • I go to bed a normal guy, and wake up controversial!

    First of all thanks to Mizuno for getting in touch – it’s great to see that the brands read this site and take our feedback on board. It’s a testiment to Mizuno’s eye for quality and how well respected footy-boots.com is in the industry.

    John – it’s great to see one of the guys from BigSoccer over here, especially one of the staff! I love the work you do over there.

    Matt D is also on equal footing with me in terms of reviews and has written two quality pieces, but being based in the US, there are certainly less opportunities for him to get boots to test.

    I do my best to acknowledge qualities in a boot that, whilst may not work for me, well certainly work for others – maybe one day we’ll be able to get a few pairs in multiple sizes from companies, then we could get the multiple views you’re after.

    Thanks for all the comments for everyone else, I’m glad to see so may people with wide feet seriously consider these boots – they seem tailor made for guys like you!

  • In terms of comfort/fit – Mizunos are known for their glove like fit and the quality/durability of the kangaroo leather.

    I have yet to even try on a pair because I just never loved the boots but from what I hear from my mates, their quotes are “once you go Mizuno, you never go back.”

    The reason being is because they are designed for Asian/Eastern people’s wide feet. Yes. If you actually know a little bit about the difference between the western mens and eastern mens footshape, Asian people have a wider feet/a big forefoot, hence for that awkard space Kyle wrote about.

    Perhaps English people have a similar foot situation going on because Reeboks and Umbros are known for a extra big fit and I guess meteora above mentioned how there are two versions.

    But I can assure you from personal experience, as a native of South Korea, people LOVE Mizunos… it’s just a matter of price. But these sound reasonable!

  • I ordered these and just recently tried them out on a dry pitch and all of a sudden wet pitch. The fit is great especially with the lacing system though I’m a 1/4 asian so I’m not sure how much that affects it.

    I don’t think the bio panel really does much though I was more consistent in my striking today than usual. The only thing I think the panel does do is help grip the ball when turning etc.

    These boots are wonderfully light and remind me of the predator absolutes without the weight insert I was trying to replace (to no avail before now) but of course not as narrow in the forefoot. The k-leather is very soft and thin. This boot breaks in very quickly.

    The “speed holes” in the sole plate, that were cut out to reduce weight, are hard to clean however. I like the blades arrangement much more than my old absolutes. There is much less stud pressure on your foot.

    I have no idea how well these will hold up but they are stiched all around and have 5 rivets. Three on the toe, 1 near the instep, and one parallel to it out on the outside of the foot. I might pop in with an update once I’ve given them a good long run through.

    I’d say Kyle’s review is spot on. I am very happy with my purchase. Worth every penny…..so far.

  • Good review Just like to add that as a goalkeeper these boots are fantastic for goalkick much better than previous boots such as puma kings and predators.

  • I know this post is a bit old, but I am seeing on here that people mention the Asian and especially Japanese sites offering not only this boot, but also other brands (i.e. Adidas) in a wide version. Does anyone have any links to any of these Asian sites, or know where one would be able to purchase these wide boots? Thanks for your help

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