The football boot market is an ever-evolving, highly competitive place, and if you want to be successful within this industry, you have to keep your product relevant, fresh and ready to perform at the highest levels of the game. With the release of the Furon v5, it’s something New Balance Football Performance Footwear Designer Dave Gall knows all too well.

The Furon is undoubtedly New Balance’s current top performing boot. With its fifth version hitting shelves last month, we sat down with Dave to speak about the whole process behind its development, from what influenced its design to how the success of a boot is determined.

What were the key considerations when developing the Furon v5?

The key consideration and starting point for designing any boot at New Balance is the athlete. The athlete is at the heart of everything we do. We focus on three key components: speed, accuracy and acceleration. Having this at the heart of all our designs enables us to work closely with players and to really focus on their unique needs. We collect feedback from all levels of the game in order to do this. For the Furon v5 we need to understand the Furon player specifically. The Furon player is the unstoppable attacker, someone who plays with explosive power and speed. We have to ask questions like what does that involve, what movements are critical to them during a game, what are the specific attributes they require from a boot.  

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What are the main callouts that differentiate the v5 from the 4.0?

The main callouts for the Furon v5 are the fully bonded and re-engineered Fantom Fit upper. Still based around player insight and data we have created an upper package that has allowed us to remove the stitching that was present on the Furon v4 around the tongue and collar while delivering the all-important targeted lockdown. We have also re-designed the laces so that they now sit externally, giving the boot a smooth fuss free internal finish. In addition to this we now offer the player 2 insert types. The first being a super lightweight insert for those players obsessed by shedding grams and increasing speed and the second an Orthoclase version that provides a more cushioned and comfort driven underfoot feel.

When did you start working on the Furon v5? How long after the 4.0 launched?

The design process usually takes from 18 months to 2 years. We are constantly thinking and developing new ideas and concepts for all our silos it is a continuous cycle.

Did you seek feedback from your players? How did their input influence the design direction?

Yes we are always seeking feedback from players and that is not just at the elite level. We need to validate our products and ensure they are the best they can be. Feedback is so important and forms our decision making throughout the whole process. 

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When a new boot that you’ve designed comes out, do you allow yourself a moment to say “nailed it”, or is your mind already moving onto how you can improve it next time?

I don’t think I would ever say I’ve “Nailed It” as there are always things that can be improved. As a team we are always pushing to deliver better products, we are relentless and are always thinking about what’s next, there is no time to rest. Having said that it’s a great feeling to see Sadio running out for Liverpool and Senegal wearing the Furon v5 and putting his faith in a product I’ve been involved in, after all these are the tools of his trade.

We’re on the fifth generation of the Furon now. How do you look back on the journey to date?

It’s been a very interesting and exciting journey we have learnt a lot since the Furon v1 launched back in 2015. The Furon v5 is our next generation boot and it’s a real step forward for us in terms of in-game performance. It is a culmination of all those learnings and all the feedback. We believe this is the best Furon yet.

The Furon v5 features the Clean Lace Contact Zone for a larger, cleaner strike zone. Can you tell us a little more about how you’ve maintained the lockdown with less lace?

The lockdown is delivered through the bonded upper construction and specifically the Fantom Fit frame. The frame itself is designed using acceleration, cutting and braking data so we can target specific areas of the boot that are under the most stress during key movements and add support.

The Multi-zonal soleplate looks really interesting. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes the Multi-zonal soleplate is designed for explosive acceleration. The TPU chasis allows the forefoot to flex while the nylon shank provides stability and strength through the midfoot. The directional stud placement is designed for an ultra-aggressive take-off allowing the player to get to their maximum speed in the shortest time.

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What’s the most rewarding part of designing a new boot?

I would say the most rewarding thing about designing a new boot is finally seeing it on pitch being worn at the top level by the likes of Sadio Mane. Knowing that they are putting their faith in something you have delivered is a big compliment, not just for me but for the whole NB football team.

Why do you think the Furon is currently more popular than the Tekela at the top level of the game?

We are finding positive cut through in both boots in all levels of the game; a great response to each of the boot personalities based upon players’ preference and playing style. Obviously Sadio has drawn greater attention to the Furon but the Tekela is really holding its own and gaining a great following since its introduction.

How do you determine the success of the boot?

Ultimately the consumer decides on the success of the boots but we work hard to ensure we capture the right insights at the right time to reflect the needs of the players in the design and engineering phase. It’s amazing we operate in a sport where people are passionate about the products you provide – it keeps us focussing on creating a better experience each time we launch a new boot. 

How do you assess the football boot market right now?

The football market is as competitive as ever. We love football it’s our passion and we take an original approach to designing and developing new products. Ultimately all of our releases and advancements are driven by insight. By focusing on the needs of players and the game, we aim to create boots that we know the players will respond to and feel comfortable wearing. By taking this approach we believe this will set us apart within the market place.

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Where do you see it going?

Technology, materials and manufacturing are constantly evolving. It’s our goal at New Balance to be at the forefront of developments in these areas. This in turn will allow us to deliver new and exciting products, which are firmly rooted in the players requirements, insight and feedback. Watch this space!

How much do you look at what other brands are doing with their boots?

For sure it’s important to be aware of your competition and what they are doing. However, it is our aim to be relentless and disruptive offering players something new, something original and most importantly, something that is tailored specifically to their game.

How do you define New Balance’s position in the football boot market?

We position ourselves as being ‘fearlessly independent’ and always strive to live by those values. This consistently comes through in our creation process and allows us to take a separate path to our competitors; we’re insistent on creating new space in the Football boot market.

Pick up the New Balance Furon v5 from