A samurai with a sharpened sword. Mizuno has given the world another round of power from the Far East, and the high standard of the RunBird means that it’s power with a capital “p.” Will the fourth round of the Wave Ignitus hit the same heights we expect from every Mizuno release?

Is it supposed to give me power? Help me knuckle a ball? What, exactly, does it do?

The Mizuno Wave Ignitus has always been one of the most desirable boots on the market, but with a mystique created by always feeling slightly out of reach for the average player. Not only an air of mystery because of how rarely it is seen outside of the Far East, but a wealth of curiousity by everything that the Ignitus wanted to bring to the table. While the Mukaiten and Tatekaiten panels might have been one of the biggest talking points for the Ignitus series in the past, the future of no-spin and Mizuno’s power boot is labeled a bit differently. Still meant to be a blast of power and incredible tool for anyone standing over a dead-ball, the Wave Ignitus is chocked full of tech. A bio panel of raised zones to create superior spin dominates the forefoot of the boot, looking like fish scales with one raised portion.

The no-spin panel has been replaced by a three piece grouping of zones that extend across the instep and right up to the first four lace holes. Each pad in the group is filled with foam that is meant to still allow someone with the right technique to produce a shot with zero-spin (and meant to drive players still trying to master the right knuckling technique mad). There’s plenty of horsepower under the hood, but what happens when you stomp on the gas?

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Is this boot as perfect for a black-tie affair as it looks?

This boot has us wishing that every boot that’s ever been created would eventually find their way into a black/white, half/half combo. Factor in the gold Mizuno branding on the tongue and you have a nearly flawless look for a boot that, if we’re honest, was (in our opinion) a bit hit or miss with how the third incarnation tended to look. The tech on the black side of the upper is fairly obvious from a distance, but it doesn’t take away from the look of the boot. The Runbird logo sits on both sides of the boot AND on the heel (leaving no doubt who created this tuxedo masterpiece) with an Ignitus callsign sitting on the lateral side of the boot. We’re anxious to see if Mizuno keeps this boot as a two-tone creation with future versions, because the launch version is a great example of what a boot needs to look like.

Mizuno is known for the brand’s ridiculous comfort level...does the Wave Ignitus 4 stack up?

While this version of the Ignitus does offer a MIJ option (unlike earlier boots carrying the Wave Ignitus moniker), we’ve used the standard synthetic version for testing. The first two versions of the Ignitus drew comfort from an incredible kangaroo leather, the last version drew comfort using Mizuno’s talent with synthetics, and this version tries to make the Mizuno PrimeSkin sing in harmony with everything that’s packed on the upper. It’s a heck of a job, and one that we think only Mizuno could pull off.

Unlike most Mizuno boots, the Wave Ignitus does need a bit of a break-in period. After about thirty minutes, the synthetic PrimeSkin does start to shift to your foot. It takes a wear or two before you hit the highest level of comfort, but you quickly see the typical Mizuno comfort start to shine through. The edge of the toe-box can be a bit narrow for some foot types, but it will still fit most foot types. None of the shooting or control elements on the upper ever really factor in on the comfort, and other brands would do well to take a lesson from the Runbird.

The soleplate has nice level of stiffness to aid in responsiveness, but it never becomes an issue in terms of comfort.

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Are we dealing with a black belt? Or just some kid that’s watched too many kung fu movies?

It has never been difficult to see what Mizuno hopes to achieve with their power boot, and the newest version is no different. From pads on the instep to aid in control, a spot near the top of the laces to help knuckleball specialists, and all of the raised tabs on the forefoot to create spin and swerve come together to create a shot specialists dream. It takes a steady hand and an established brand to take everything that this boot is crafted to do and make it work.

Mizuno have never dropped a flop before, and they certainly aren’t about to start now.

Despite everything that adorns the Wave Ignitus, the play on the ball isn’t hampered. One of our biggest worries when we test any boot with such an extensive array of shooting elements is how the ball might be hampered when dribbling. The PrimeSkin element that isn’t covered with the shooting elements does have a bit of stickiness when it first arrives, but a few encounters with some game time sees it reduced to a fairly standard level of grip. The instep does have some padding, but even that doesn’t keep your foot from ever feeling too far removed from the ball. Despite most quick dribblers probably looking elsewhere, there’s nothing on the Wave Ignitus 4 that will negatively affect having the ball at your feet.

When you finally start to play the ball around the pitch, the Wave Ignitus 4 starts to really shine. The pads on the instep and the small bit of padding on the tongue help give a perfect light dampening sensation when receiving a zipped pass from someone doing their best Stevie G impersonation or taking a ball out of the air. For anyone that already has the knuckleball in their locker, the top pad does give a nice feel when launching your favorite method of driving a keeper bonkers. If the knuckleball has always eluded your skill-set, it does provide a great example of where to try and strike the ball to obtain the lack of spin knuckleballers are looking for. Don’t go in thinking any of the stuff on the upper will magically give you types of shots that you didn’t have, but they’ll be a great addition to your play.

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The raised nubs on the forefoot of the boot cover a huge chunk of the boot and is one of the things that draws people to the Ignitus range. When you are trying to get some serious spin and curl on a ball, striking on the forefoot makes it feel like you are getting that extra bit of grip that we always loved from this type of shooting element. Old school Pred fans or T90 aficionados will know exactly what this shooting element is trying to achieve, and will get some serious joy from the Wave Ignitus 4’s shooting element. There’s almost too much going on with the boot’s upper, but it all somehow blends together into a boot that is a true joy to play in.

Although the Wave Ignitus might have the oddest stud pattern on the market, there’s a reason why Mizuno has stuck with this particular stud layout throughout the life of the Ignitus. A mish-mash of standard blades, triangular studs, and “L” shaped blades, the boot performs well on any type of natural grass surface. However, because of the studs being shaped the way that they are, it would be best to avoid most artificial surfaces when using Mizuno’s power option. The Wave Ignitus 4 also fits absolutely true to size, but wouldn’t be the best option for anyone who has ever had issues with boots fitting tightly in the toe-box as the boot tapers down to be fairly narrow.

Mizuno never fails to disappoint, and the Wave Ignitus 4 continues the longstanding tradition held forth by the brand.

Mizuno will always be a brand that nearly every player wants to try, but so few of them actually take the chance. However, for those players that do finally make the jump to the runbird, it’s fairly rare to see them ever depart Mizuno’s waters. With the newest generation of boots, it merely continues to show us what we were already painfully aware of: Mizuno is always at the top of the game. For the new Wave Ignitus 4, the comfort might not ever reach the drool inducing levels of most of Mizuno’s roster, but it’s still a big-time winner.

There might be a perceived void for those hunting a power boot, but any player that finds their way into the Wave Ignitus will be completely aware: the power boot is alive and well.

Don’t expect Mizuno to ever depart far from what has worked so well for them for decades, and we certainly have no problem with that. The Wave Ignitus 4 might be a big basket of crazy, but Mizuno somehow makes it feel like this is exactly the type of boot we’d expect from such a storied brand. Are you still out there trying to fill the void in your footwear life? Then it’s finally time to make the switch to Mizuno and the Wave Ignitus 4...seriously, it’s time.