I’m not sure anyone could have anticipated the direction New Balance would take the third generation Tekela, transforming the control silo into a dynamic laceless option. I really want to use the term radical when describing them, not because they are what has become a mainstream laceless style, but more because its predecessor the second generation Tekela proved so successful. It was a release that elevated the brand, and made a name for its quality fit and performance on foot.
So, why the need to create something so risky in the NB Tekela v3? I’m guessing for New Balance it was a case of taking a chance and trying something new that shocks the market. Stepping up their game to challenge what the big brands have to offer. Personally, it isn’t a decision I would have made since the Tekela had really established itself as a quality option, a boot with potential that raised a new level of intrigue with players.
Here, I wanted to share a few important initial observations about the Tekela v3 in case anyone was struggling with a decision on whether to pick up a pair or not.
1 – How They Fit
These are a definite true to size option, with a little extra space around your toes. So, no fears of your toes being squashed up against the upper. One important note is that it takes a minute to get your feet into them – pretty much the same experience you get with laceless boots. The collar is very tight, so you need a shoe horn to help squeeze your foot in through the opening. There is also a strap layer that sits just inside the boot – make sure to move it to the side so it doesn’t get caught up in your toes!
2 – Laceless = Time
Again, it takes time to get used to a laceless boot, don’t expect to wear them first time and feel comfortable doing so. The overall composition and cut around your ankle is completely different and you should expect a lot of compression. I definitely feel like the collar on these offers the least amount of stretch of any laceless boot on the market. If you want them to work, the key is easing them in over a few wears. If you can, wear them around your house to get familiar with how they contour and hug your foot. One of the key complaints will be foot cramps, where you don’t normally have material compressing against your foot.
3 – Upper Design and Performance
The New Balance design team really went to work on creating a cutting-edge type upper that would elevate touch and control on the ball. What they came up with is a redesigned, algorithm-driven KINETIC STITCH technology. It is intended to deliver high-resolution touch with a graduated strike zone for ultimate control and contact accuracy. It plays out well on foot, although the overall composition seems thicker than a traditional synthetic. Don’t expect a natural touch with plenty of feel. Instead, you get a material and texture that compliments cushioned touch and added rebound in strike areas. Ultimately, there is a lot of undulation and definition that places it comfortably right into the control/power category.
4 – Underfoot, They Are Advanced
There are numerous reasons why I really like the soleplate. First, the stud configuration and shape is simple yet effective on both FG and turf surfaces. There isn’t anything that is overly complicated, with a good balance across the plate helping disperse pressure evenly. I did, however, find it to be stiff through the first few wears. Coupled with the fact the upper fits snug around the ankle, there is the potential to cause comfort issues initially – at lease until you familiarize yourself with the shape and they start to adjust to your personal foot shape.
5 – Check Those Sale Prices!
One final point, and probably the most important. Some of the deals available on pairs recently have been so incredibly good that they need to be shared. For example, this pictured colorway (and others) is available right now for only $129.99 – their original retail price is $229.99.
The Final Verdict
Listen, these are definitely a decent first attempt at creating a laceless style boot. The cut is solid, they sit securely on foot, and players can really benefit from the textured upper. They work for what they are and should be added to the shortlist of players in need of a laceless boot. BUT, did New Balance really need to release a laceless boot? I don’t think they did. Maybe it is a case of not wanting to fall behind the big brands in the advanced tech race, or maybe they wanted to play the risk game. But, there was no reason to push the boundary when the brand was starting to gain popularity with fans. I’d personally choose a pair of first or second generation Tekela over the laceless v3.
Tekela v3 Tech Specs
Visually, the laceless design is the first thing you notice. The full foot stretch-knit upper with an integrated hypoknit, laceless closure is designed to offer a secure and comfortable lockdown. Along the strike zone, a new algorithm-driven KINETIC STITCH technology offers high-resolution touch and a graduated strike area, designed for “ultimate mastery of the ball.” Underfoot, the sole boasts a lightweight nylon chassis with multi-directional TPU studs for incredible traction and acceleration on firm ground pitches.