It is no secret that we haven’t been big fans of New Balance and their range of boots released this year. Given the amount of time they had to release their line-up, and the fact they were building off the Warrior brand, we expected some killer performing boots. Yet, that hasn’t been the case and the end product has been put up against harsh criticism from multiple quarters since their introduction to the market.
But, there is also one boot that we hadn’t featured to date, a K-leather version that makes a much more appealing option. The NB Visaro K is a boot that hasn’t garnered much of the attention it deserves to date. I can tell you right now that of all the NB boots, these are definitely the top performing, and they are an option that players should add to the consideration category going forward!
Available from soccer.com.
So, what is it that makes these so different? Here is our take.
The one aspect of their range of releases that New Balance did exceptionally well is create top quality visual designs. Their boots look classy and definitely offer a professional appearance. These fall right into that category, with a simple Black design highlighted by strategic stitching through the forefoot. It also presents the perfect platform to highlight the large N logo on the side of the boot in white.
When it comes to the upper, you are getting a high quality K-leather material. It offers a soft feel, but not in the way most other K-leather boots do. That has a lot to do with the vast amount of stitching that NB has employed. The stitching adds a higher level of durability and it also creates texture through the region. There is a modern feel about them, so don’t expect to have that Copa Mundial feel when you get to hold them for the first time. Anyone with experience of the Copa will immediately think of that buttery soft K-leather upper and how it folds so easily under your fingers. NB offer something a lot more modern, created for today’s player that wants to expose a faster nature of play.
On the outer side of the forefoot, the Visaro features a honeycomb panel style, useful when you look to bend some passes with the outside of your boot. Each panel is slightly more padded so you get a little extra protection. On the inner side, things look a lot different! A series of horizontal stitch lines create grooved definition to improve touch on the ball. It should also prove useful when adding some spin as there is more surface area to connect with.
Then there is the instep, where NB has taken to what I would call a “CTR360 Meastri design“. Think of a cushioned control zone that provides more spring back as you connect with the ball. I’m a fan of little additions like this on the instep as it is an area players use a lot and a little extra grip in the region can only prove beneficial for controlling and playing short passes. You can see the image below that there is plenty of definition and it covers a significant area, covering the entire region.
Underfoot, everything is the same as you will find on the synthetic Visaro – a boot we tested several months ago. Flip them over and you will find a very clean, yet advanced Super-Flex soleplate. A smooth white base is covered with a balanced layer of triangular style studs and a red area called the Medial Pivot Zone that sits right under the big toe joint. The latter is in place to provide a quick pivot and faster acceleration as players turn with or without the ball. Four conical studs cover the region and it is a noticeable component through play. Basically, the stud positioning coupled with an altered plate increases the speed your foot hits and releases from the surface.
Designed as an FG boot, that is where they are at their optimal best but don’t rule out using these on AG. The low profile setup ensures they will also be very proficient when you are playing on turf.
One of the more complex aspects for a brand integrating their boots to the market is finding the right price point. List them too low and players find them tacky, too expensive and they have to compete with proven silos on the market. In this instance, and with a $210 price tag, I think New Balance has it got it wrong. In order to garner attention, you need players wearing your boots and that is not going to happen when other options in the price range include Nike Mercurial Vapors and adidas X15.
Is the quality there? Yes – New Balance has produced top performing boot in the K-leather Visaro that ticks most of boxes you need in a boot. They feel great to wear, offer additional elements to improve touch and control, and keep you balanced through wear. But, I only know this because I’ve had an opportunity to test them. Would I choose these over other silos in their price bracket? The straight answer is no and I imagine the same is true for many that simply don’t know enough about the boots to fork out a larger sum. From my experience I can tell you that they have plenty of potential, and if you are looking for something with a little extra spice, you need to at least add them to the consider category!
What are your thoughts on the boots and what they have on offer? By now I imagine there are a few of you who’ve had a chance to test them for yourselves. If you are part of that group, hit up the comments and let us know exactly what you experience from them!
If you want a pair, find them currently listed at Soccer.com.