In February, fans of major European soccer leagues started noticing bright white N’s cropping up on the boots of high profile players like Samir Nasri, Marouane Fellaini and Aaron Ramsey. Although New Balance subsidiary Warrior signed sponsorship deals with big-name clubs in 2012, scattering their logo across jerseys and cleats in a variety of leagues, this was the first time the company’s flagship logo appeared on the soccer pitch. In late June, the brand unveiled the new boots and announced that they would launch to the public on July 1.
The two new models are designed with specific intentions: the Visaro, for midfield playmakers, has a textured upper made of New Balance’s “Vari-zone Ariaprene synthetic”, which is meant to increase ball control, and a “Superflex” soleplate for cleaner ground contact. The Furon model has a lightweight synthetic and mesh upper and a stiff nylon soleplate designed to increase return and speed for goal-scorers. Fans of the game will notice that similar designs and technologies have been used by competitors in their own recent models, most noticeably the Nike Hypervenom, which has a textured synthetic upper similar to the Visaro, and the Adidas f50, which has a stiff soleplate and a lightweight design resembling the Furon’s.
In addition to throwing their hat into the multi-billion-dollar ring that is the soccer gear industry, a writeup in Forbes suggests that New Balance hopes expanding directly into the soccer world will draw a new consumer base to their focus industry: running shoes. The move follows their recent emergence in other major sports footwear markets, most notably baseball, in which New Balance has set up 25 percent of major leaguers with their cleats. The boots are available for preorder now and will be in stores on July 1, alongside next season’s Liverpool, Porto, Stoke City and Celtic jerseys, most of which are available now and all of which feature an NB on the right of the chest.