The new Furon v5 ‘Maagum’ provides Sadio Mané with a signature style that’s entwined with his own personal and unique story, as New Balance honour their key asset with his second special edition boot. The impressive design celebrates his Senegalese heritage while also incorporating nods to the Liverpool attacker’s footballing journey so far.

Deeply rooted with personal meaning, we were keen to find out the design process behind the ‘Maagum’ as well as exactly how you go about following up Mané’s first-ever signature edition from last year, the equally unique and impressive ‘Bambaly’. And so we were fortunate enough to sit down with New Balance Football Performance Footwear Designer Dave Gall as he gave us the inside scoop on Sadio's second signature style... 

To start, does creating a bespoke boot for a player like Mané allow you to puncture the market with something truly different?

Working on a bespoke boot for a top-class athlete like Sadio is very exciting for us. His unique story and personality is very different from most of the marketed players we see currently. This allows us to explore his signature boots in a different style to what the market has seen before. The new Furon v5 'Maagum' is very humble in its design, nothing flashy, the richest parts are internal. This humble approach is unique to Sadio and New Balance.  

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We wanted to tell the amazing story of his journey towards professional football and his relentless desire to play at the highest level and to one day become the best footballer Senegal has ever produced. "

Can you tell us the story behind Furon v5 'Maagum’?

Sadio’s first signature boot was a nod to his roots and home village of Bambaly. To follow this up we wanted to tell the amazing story of his journey towards professional football and his relentless desire to play football at the highest level and to one day become the best footballer Senegal has ever produced. 

Where did the design process start and how do you know when you are done with a project like this?

The design process really started following the Bambaly Limited Edition. We wanted to follow this up with something truly unique and more personal to Sadio. The great thing about diving into a story such as Sadio’s is that you are never really done. Working on his signature boots only brings more ideas to explore for future editions.

Can you pick out some of the finer details you’re pleased to have incorporated in this boot?

The boot has many elements celebrating Sadio’s personal journey. A few of my favourites include the significance of the limited number of pairs, 405. This number represents the 405km Sadio travelled from his home town of Bambaly to Dakar where he attended trials and ultimately was selected to join the Senegalese football academy, Académie Generation Foot. The vamp graphic is also significant in telling this part of Sadio’s story. The upper is made up of 15 fur chevrons which are a nod to Sadio’s age when he made this journey. We wanted the heel lining to be really rich, so we focused on Senegalese traditional face painting where deep reds and yellows are used along with distinctive swirl patterns. The lions head and star icon are a nod to the Senegal national flag and the national team which are commonly referred to as the lions of Teranga.

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How fresh from a creative perspective can this make you feel? You must start a project like this with relative free reign creatively…

It’s great to be involved in a project that gives you the freedom to get really creative and step away from normal design influences. As a designer working on Sadio’s signature boots really allows you to look for inspiration in areas that you probably wouldn’t normally look. It allows you to really hone in on the details and storytelling aspect of the brief and incorporate materials and finishes that usually wouldn’t be available to use for large scale production models.

The AFCON and Senegal are naturally two integral influences behind the boot but where did you start when looking for inspiration?

We definitely still wanted the boot to have a strong African identity however this time it was important for us to do this in a much more subtle way and with a more intriguing story. We looked into Senegalese culture and traditions to pull our design inspirations in terms of graphics, colours, finishes.

A player who is so proud of his roots, what was Sadio’s reaction to this boot?

Sadio was so excited when we presented him with the first development sample of his boot. We were in a private room at Anfield and after unboxing them he couldn’t wait to get them on he wanted to start wearing them straight away, it was great to see!

Did you go through phases of design with him and have him involved in the process at all?

Yes, Sadio was heavily involved. We pitched our initial ideas and concepts to get his thoughts and feedback and then worked closely with him all the way through the process. The athlete’s involvement in this process is so important. We wanted the boot to be truly unique and personal to him. It was very important to reflect Sadio’s journey, culture and personality so it is something he is proud to wear. You can only be sure of this by working closely with him. 

The limited number of pairs, 405, represents the 405km Sadio travelled from his home town of Bambaly to Dakar where he attended trials and ultimately was selected to join the Senegalese football academy."
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Putting a limited edition boot like this out there, it shows what can be done when it comes to design. Do you think it can provide a platform to really shake things up like creating a new boot for every match?

New Balance football wants to shake things up and be fearlessly independent. We are always looking for new and exciting ways to do this in all aspects from technology and materials to graphics and colour. We have the capabilities to do a new boot for every game now but delivering a boot that truly performs to the standard required by top athletes has always got to be our first goal.

What would you say the litmus test is for a football boot these days? Does it come down to sales or hype?

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, but at the end of the day we remember the boots that created emotions when we first saw them. This is what we are designing for, making great boots that all players are proud to wear and that always create this wow experience when unboxing them on the first day, in the same way Sadio reacted to Bambaly or Maagum. 

What would your predictions be when it comes to custom boots and collaborations like this? They must really appeal to players?

I feel working with players directly on a personal level and giving them something unique to them will always appeal. Collaborations and personalisation beyond your standard name and number is something special. Each player has their own story, their own background.  They have their own personal interests and opinions on design. This is a great source of inspiration for a designer and can really open up so many avenues to create something new and fresh that has never been seen before.

Do you think New Balance could be a brand for players to go if they want the personalised treatment?

Working closely with our players and making them feel part of the New Balance family is very important to us. One way we can do this is through limited edition product. New Balance as a brand tends to prefer to work with a smaller number of athletes with very unique identities and personalities. This really gives us the opportunity to dive deep into their stories, personalities, style and understanding their performance needs. This is what creates the feeling of a tight family between athletes themselves but also between the athletes and all the minds behind the creation of his products. This is a culture New Balance is known for.

Limited pairs of the New Balance Furon v5 Maagum boots are available at