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With World Cup on Horizon, New Balance Debuts Headline Taker Cleat Pack

When Senegal’s Sadio Mané takes the pitch next month at the World Cup, the African Cup of Nations champion will be donning the latest innovation in cleats from the Boston-based brand.

New Balance revealed its Headline Taker pack on Monday featuring two boots set to make their on-field debut in Qatar. Developed “for the moment the world erupts,” the Furon v7 and Tekela v4 incorporate fresh technology alongside eye-catching hues.

Described as a “Bright Lapis/Hi Lite/Silver” colorway, the Furon v7 is designed to eliminate distractions. It features an innovative Hypoknit upper, mesh lining, and offset lacing that promises superb comfort, support, and an increased strike zone. Additional features include a 3D tongue tab for added grip, a unique stud configuration for dynamic movement, and a nylon outsole constructed specifically for firm ground use.

“To achieve this final product, we looked into the ball’s contact on the upper when it’s being kicked,” New Balance Senior Creative Design Manager Luc Fusaro told Boardroom. “Our goal was to really create the cleanest strike zone, which means removing everything that served as a distraction between the ball and the foot. The offset lacing and floating canopy in the Furon are not just there for aesthetics, but they’re also functional.”

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As for the laceless Tekela, Fusaro explained the mechanics behind the sole were first adopted by the New Balance lacrosse team. After consulting with a number of football consumers and focus groups, Fusaro and his team decided to eliminate the 360-degree distribution of the rim stud all over the plate, keeping it strictly in the forefoot. Another goal was to make it as lightweight as possible, hence why they went with the clear TPU rim to prevent slippage on the pitch. The Furon and Tekela respectively weigh 6 and 7.1 ounces.

Seeing as the likes of Mané and English national team stars Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka will rely on these boots to score goals for their respective sides, it was all too important to gather their opinion on everything from the design to the fit to even the colorway.

“Our athlete roster has grown so much in the last 12 months, and every person New Balance signs on is a fresh opportunity for insight gathering and testing,” New Balance Head of Product Rob Sheldon told Boardroom. “It’s a perpetual cycle that we do with all male and female athletes whether they are Tier 1 or academy players.”

Sheldon said the Furon is built for the attacking player, someone who likes to be unpredictable at times while still relying on that speed and agility to dominate their game. The Tekela, meanwhile, should be worn by someone looking for more control, perhaps a free-kick specialist or world-class defender.

While the focus is directed toward male players at the moment, Sheldon teased something special for the women arriving in 2023.

“We’ve done a very specific program that’s collaborative with female athletes across four different territories,” he said. “That was an exceptional process to go through, not just from an aesthetic driver, but also really analyzing the needs of the women we work alongside. You’ll see a certain extract of that come out in the middle of 2023 and into 2024 as well. Except engineering solutions specifically tailored for our female audience. Everything we try to do is reflective of amplifying their natural capabilities.”

The new New Balance Furon v7 and Tekela v4 both retail for $215. They are available at select retailers and online at newbalance.com.

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