With all the buzz and excitement behind this new player in town (New Balance), I had to find out for myself just what everyone was talking about. I got my hands on a pretty special pair of New Balance’s control boots: the Visaro Pro. After putting them through their paces, here’s what I had to say:
Once I pulled these boots out of the bag, every muscle fiber in my body wanted to slip them on and see what they had to offer. Being a New Balance shoe, I have no idea what to expect so naturally I was crazy anxious to discover the unknown.
Now don’t get the wrong idea, these cleats are beautiful in their own unique way. The silhouette and shape of the cleat is something that has never been offered before, looking out of this world compared to the vastly known molds of Adidas, Nike, Puma etc.
Much like its fellow silo the Furon, the Visaro has a mildly lifted toe area if you at it from the side (hopefully you can see it better in the pictures provided). Also unique about the shaping is the anatomical rounding of the toe box which is common in the football world from the German brand Puma, it isn’t exactly the same however the concept of their shaping boasts the same idea.
This colourway is what NB call “Galaxy with Bright Cherry & Firefly”. The galaxy blue is deceiving, as depending on the lighting they might look light a shade of purple, however they truly are a dark navy blue. Same goes for the cherry as it looks very much more on the pink side than it does a red. This being said, all together these colours bring out an amazingly clean and unique pair of boots.
Now I’ve personally held a brand new pair of NB Visaro Pro’s in my hand, and I tried on that same pair. Out of the box and right on your feet, these cleats are pretty stiff. Sadly, this drives many people away when they are shopping for cleats, and I’ve seen this first hand in the sports store I work at.
Now I was very lucky to receive these particular boots as these were worn for a short period of time at a New Balance event at Liverpool’s own Anfield training pitch. Now as dull as that might be to some, it is vastly exciting for me to own a pair of boots that shared the same grass as some football legends. This being said, the boots were slightly worn and because of this the upper was already on the softer side and this was very noticeable to my eyes. Compared to the fresh pair out of the box, these were drastically different both in hand and on feet when I first laced them up, and this is a key fact to note in this review.
First thing I notice, the sizing and fit. Now the size I reviewed was purposely larger than my actual size as these do tend to be more comfortable if you go up a tad in size. However, my personal preference is a snug fit and I found these to be a bit larger than I usually prefer, this takes nothing away from the shoe as I simply added a thin sock under my soccer socks and got the preferred fit that I was looking for.
For people looking to buy these for themselves online, staying true to size will give you that snug fit however a lot of people don’t enjoy this the same way I do, in which case I would highly recommend trying them in store before buying.
First time on my feet, and all I was thinking was comfort. The upper being already softened up did help my case, but rarely am I able to lace up a new pair of boots tightly and feel the comfort level I had in these. The lock-down in the heel is superb and although I did have some problems with blisters, it was mostly my fault as I wasn’t being careful that day. I give huge credit to New Balance for their shaping and fit of the shoe, being a well known running shoe brand, they crafted these to fit and form to your foot so well. My feet were snug and comfortable as the upper wrapped them, leaving no extra space at all while causing no discomfort.
So here’s where the Visaro truly got to shine, where all the time and effort that New Balance spent engineering the Visaro came into effect. I put the Visaro Pro’s through several training sessions and added some game time in them and I’ve been able to put together a few words on this relative newcomer to the soccer boot world.
The Stud-Pattern: The cleats themselves are nothing revolutionary or extreme, New Balance kept them basic and modern as they were generally looking to optimise comfort in this boot. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts I’ve worn dozens of different pairs of boots before, both FG, AG and hybrids. When it comes to firm ground grass surfaces, the stud configurations may come in all different shapes and sizes, but the standard 4 in the back and 8-10 in the front always perform similarly well. This configuration actually reminds me a lot of what Adidas rolls out with their boots, a one piece frame with triangular shaped studs in the heel and a mix of conical and triangular shaped studs in the front. NB takes pride in their Visaro stud pattern as they apparently put much time and research into the exact placement and angle of the studs, and if you do look carefully you can clearly see the diverse spacing and positioning of the studs in the forefoot. I especially liked the positioning of the front three studs as they provided not too much of an aggressive feel but enough bite for me to push off very well.
Now I’ve only used these on natural grass, and I plan to keep it that way as they’re meant for exactly that. I have nothing extreme to point out about the performance of the studs, they did their job and I had no issues with slippage or grip. Being a running shoe brand they kept it very comfy with the insole, the sole is not too stiff but just enough to feel responsive and although the positioning of the studs is diverse, the performance is superb once again.
The Upper: Much like my review of the adidas ACE 15.1, the most difficult aspect of this boot to describe has got to be the upper. Now I’ve read and heard everything there is about NB apparently copying Nike’s Hypervenom concept with the whole honey-comb shaped upper, and I’m here to clear it up now. New Balance have in no way copied or duplicated that concept. I will agree and say that both uppers looks very similar, however they do not feel or perform even remotely the same.
Now the upper is clearly a synthetic which is mesh based and then fused with a polyurethane material on the surface. The mesh is spaced out in the honey-comb pattern that you see in the pictures. The pattern runs along the majority of the upper except for the big toe area of the boot, which I will get to in just a moment.
The upper itself becomes very soft and flexible however it holds your foot in place not allowing any stretch or roll-over. The thickness is on the thinner side, but the liner that is placed on the inside of the shoe, actually gives it a more padded sensation and since I was forced to wear a thin sock with my soccer socks I didn’t truly get a barefoot sensation that most thin synthetics provide. That being said, I quite enjoyed this sensation over a thin barefoot feel and I would go as far as saying it reminded me a tad of Adidas’ hybrid-touch, which was used on several discontinued models including the NitroCharge and the most recent synthetic Predators.
The most intriguing part of the entire shoe for me in terms of technology, was actually the ribbed area at the medial side around the big toe. New Balance shifted the laces to the side a tad and gave more surface to the medial side of your foot. Honestly, I adore hitting the ball with a nice curl to it, it’s always been something I enjoy and always implemented in my playing style, and that is why I loved this element so much.
Now for people who read my posts you’ll know I adore Adidas boots in general and especially loved the entire concept behind the Predator. I still believe it to be the best boot ever created. However, did all those predator elements make my shot or control any better? Probably not, but they definitely made striking the ball feel great and NB have done something very similar with this ribbed pattern. In all the time I spent in testing these boots, nothing was more exciting that curling some balls into the net. The ribbed area is stiffer than the rest of the upper giving you something to back up your curl, and NB placed it at the exact area of the foot where you’re supposed to strike the ball for a proper curve.
So after some proper time in these marvelous boots, I have to admit I’ve been blown away. I try not to stray away from my Adidas boots as I’m usually disappointed by other brands, but New Balance has actually changed my vision in terms of being a one brand athlete.
The Visaro Pro is no ordinary looking boot, but the beauty lies in the simplicity and the truly diverse colourways NB has implemented on them. The aesthetics are merely forgotten as these cleats literally redefine the word “comfort”, providing an out-sole crafted by one of the best running shoe brands on the market.
Every time I see the opportunity for a curl free-kick, I feel that much more confident knowing striking the ball in my Visaro’s just feels that good!
So overall NB offers an all around comfortable and reliable boot, great for any player or even coach on the field. The only negatives of my time testing these were the unfortunate blisters I caused myself and the issue of sizing, otherwise I have nothing bad to say about these incredible soccer shoes.
Players: Aaron Ramsey, Marouane Fellaini, Massimo Luongo, Vincent Kompany
Colourway: Galaxy, Bright Cherry & Firefly
Availability: Released 6th June 2016
Retail Price: £130
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