Sure, the title is the punniest thing you've ever heard. But, despite a fairly impressive stable of players, plenty of hype built up for their upcoming releases, and the backing of one of the most storied and successful companies in the entirety of footwear...can New Balance actually compete on the world’s stage?

While many have tried and failed to make a huge mark on the landscape of football, will the story be different for a brand that has already walked within the confines of football boots and has decided to return with bigger brand recognition and bigger personalities?

There is no doubt that New Balance could become the very next Pele Sports. A brand that, if you can recall, absolutely burst onto the scene with an original speed boot (Trinity 3E) and classic heritage boot stylings (1970/1962/1958). A brand that created a very quick and loyal following, but now floats as a discussion piece for those talking about brands that never made a lasting impact. New Balance could suffer the same fate, but the brand feels built to withstand much more than Pele Sports ever could.

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New Balance is not just a small arm of the company as Warrior was. New Balance is not a brand that has only lived long enough to see the profits from spring and fall seasons, yet suffer through the chill of winter as we all snag indoor and futsal boots instead of our preferred FG weapons. New Balance is not going to wait for the quality of their boots to snag professional uptake as they have made inroads onto players feet via opening their wallets. New Balance not only has a large pantheon of gear that any football gear failings can be equaled out by, but they are a company with a history within the game. New Balance is prepared.

New Balance has every ability to make an impact...but will they?

The first test will be how the public reacts to their first salvo of boots. It feels as if we have only seen one New Balance model on most of their newly minted players. The honeycomb style upper and high likelihood that we will see multiple uppers does have us dreaming of what NB has in store, but it feels practically impossible that New Balance will only have one boot available. Considering how the world views what a “perfect” boot brand looks like, the creators over at NB will probably have something for the lightweight nuts, the fans of the classics, and something made either for power or control. Expanding any bigger than three silos feels like a mistake this early in the game, and one that their time as “Warrior” will have taught them. Quality from all of their releases will help their case as they move forward, and let’s hope that they do not spread themselves too thin.

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The second test will be how appealing they can make everything that they touch. While being under the name of “Warrior” allowed them to get away with some crazy color combinations and some, to be fair, questionable boots, New Balance will not be afforded the same level of “crazy.” From what the world has seen on the feet of Aaron Ramsey and other NB sponsored athletes, the first few colorways seem to be simple enough to please any boot fan. Although, the black boots with the white “N” would certainly be a welcome addition to the boot world, it remains to be seen whether that colorway will be available. Plus, NB has their hands in a few more cookie jars. The upcoming kits for teams like Liverpool and Porto will also factor into the longevity of the brand and their ability to compete with the big dogs, especially as Warrior actually did a fairly decent job with a lot of their kits.

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The true judgement of New Balance will not come upon their first boot’s launch date, nor will it fall within the first full year of the brand shaking the “Warrior” moniker. It will take us until we see how they handle a few big tournaments as a contender and how they retain/gain club and player sponsorships before we can even see if NB will stand as a contender to the big companies or if they will just float along, content with the scraps that are left over. Luckily for New Balance, they will be able to take all of the experience that they gained from Warrior and place it into their future efforts. Because of the change, it genuinely feels like the brands are not even connected and that New Balance will not be judged by the moves made during the age of “Warrior.”

We love more competition in the world of football boots as it always pushes each brand to do bigger and better things. New Balance will make 2015 a very interesting year and their history in the game means that they will be a welcome addition back to the scene.

Our only regret is how fantastic the name “Warrior” was for a sporting goods company! Oh’s to 2015!