Could this be the best boot to show off your tekkers?
The New Balance Visaro Pro 1.0 launched to great acclaim in 2015 with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Vincent Kompany being the face of New Balance’s push into football apparel and boots. Marketed as its leading control boot, the Visaro 1.0 may have looked a little like the Nike Hypervenom 1 with its honey-comb upper but held its own with players enjoying its touch on the ball and the soft inner lining. We felt that this was a new dawn for New Balance who could have used more of their running technology to improve the performance of an already good boot.
However, it was not to be as the Visaro Pro 2.0 was a major let down. The upper felt plasticky and the fit was not as supple and soft as the first generation version. Design wise, it looked more dated than the 1.0 and it was not well-received by critics and their own players. Sponsored players started moving out of the brand with Aaron Ramsey moving to Adidas and Marouane Fellaini suing the footwear company for “defective boots”. New Balance needed something to take them back to its prime in 2015.
Enter the Tekela 1.0
New Balance decided to right the wrongs of the Visaro 2.0 by developing a new control boot from the ground up – the Tekela. They moved away from the honey-comb/pods concept altogether by doing more tests and research with players who crave a good touch on the ball and loves spraying passes across the field.
New Balance adopted a holistic approach to the fit and feel, wanting to bring comfort to the player across the whole of the foot. They developed a one piece upper (with a padded tongue stitched on) to provide a sock-like, seamless transition from boot-to-foot. This is something many brands have embarked on and we are glad that the New Balance will bring such a feature to the Tekela.
The upper material is thinner, more supple and simpler in its texture as compared to the Visaro of old to allow the player to have no distractions and full comfort on the ball. The memory foam-like material is meant to mould to the shape of your foot with minimal break-in time. A new innovation to the upper is Kinetic Stitch (K-stitch) which is the subtle web-like material that runs across the upper. This reinforces the boot where there is most pressure in movement by the player to ensure lockdown and durability as you make tackles, passes and change directions in the game. The stitch provides some texture but don’t expect your touch to be like Dimitar Berbatov’s when you put this one.
The interior of the Tekela has also seen some nifty upgrades with a padded tongue to reduce friction from the laces, silicone strips to reduce movement within the boot and pads around the ankle for comfort.
Can it wrest control from the other brands?
The Tekela 1.0 is launched as part of the Otruska pack meant for the World Cup in Russia. The silhouette of the boot is beautiful and its innovations finally seem modern as compared to the Visaro. This is a big statement to the world that New Balance is ready to compete again in the football boot arena and are to be taken seriously by consumers.
However, one gripe with the Tekela is in its price point of SG$279 which is in the same price bracket as the Adidas Predator 18.1 and Nike Magista Obra Elite. It may be a good boot on its own right but might stand to lose out to these popular models who have a greater brand presence through player endorsements and marketing. Perhaps a slight drop in price point could help introduce the Tekela to control boot enthusiasts
The Tekela will be worn at the World Cup by Australians, Massimo Luongo and the veteran Tim Cahill. They will be relishing their underdog status at the tournament, a perfect fit for New Balance as a brand of quality that is on the rise.