This summer, New Balance found themselves in the unenviable position of having to face up to life without newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool under their banner. With no way to replace the team, the American brand instead appear to be looking at player recruitment, reinvesting in their on-pitch representation.

Losing both Liverpool and Celtic at the end of last season was a big blow for New Balance. But every cloud has a silver lining, and despite rumours that the brand could've potentially been looking for a route out of the football market, instead what we’ve seen is a marked shift in approach, with a clear focus on youth, boots and increasing their player roster.


Turn the clock back five years, and New Balance re-entered the world of football footwear, amassing an impressive list of players under its banner, including the likes of Tim Cahill, Vincent Kompany, Alvaro Negredo, Adnan Januzaj, Fernando, Marouane Fellaini, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Joe Ledley, Yohann Cabaye, and Aaron Ramsey. While this list in no way compared with adidas and Nike's superstar rosters, it did stand up well on the second tier. But as the years ticked by, players left and were not replaced, leaving Sadio Mané as the last man standing after his signing in 2018, holding the torch as the sole premium player for the brand for the last couple of seasons.

The decline started with the introduction of the second generation of the Visaro silo. Following a strong start, in which the Visaro was positioned as the lead asset for New Balance’s return to football footwear, receiving widespread praise from both players and critics alike, the second iteration simply didn’t stand up to the demands of the players. Ramsey was given customised pairs, Cahill made dramatic modifications to his, and Fellaini notoriously stated that the boots were too uncomfortable to wear. It was the beginning of the end of not only the Visaro, but of New Balance’s roster as it was, with the brand noticeably not replacing the outgoing players as, one by one, they all left for other brands.

It left Sadio Mané as the only big name asset on the books, but fortunately for New Balance, the Senegalese attacker was fervently loyal to them. This loyalty was repaid with signature editions and the kind of premium treatment usually reserved for the likes of Messi and Ronaldo at adidas and Nike respectively. Mané and Liverpool together propelled New Balance into the footballing stratosphere as they conquered Europe, the world, and then the Premier League. But it was with this last accolade that the fairy tale ended for New Balance and Liverpool, with the Reds making their well documented switch to Nike, a move that coincided with Scottish champions Celtic also moving to adidas.

While the two teams’ departure will have undoubtedly been a blow, it does not mean the end of New Balance’s interest in team partnerships, with the likes of Porto, Standard Liege, Athletic Bilbao and Lille still being sponsored by them, along with links to a potential move for Roma. However, the Liverpool deal will have required big money, and along with Celtic and the Republic of Ireland, whose deal has also expired, there is likely to be a significant amount of finance freed up, allowing New Balance to not only aim its appeal at a younger audience through sponsorships such as that with the Baiteze Squad, but to also once again turn their attention to football footwear.

nb 2-min.jpg
nb 4-min.jpg

Since the decline of the Visaro, the Furon – currently on its sixth iteration – had taken on prime position, moving from strength to strength with each new version. And it was also given a new supporting partner in the Teklela, with the Visaro graciously fading out of the spotlight and into retirement.

While currently only supported by USWNT player Rose Lavelle, the Tekela has made huge strides, with the second iteration marking the first time that New Balance had moved into the laceless arena. Over the last eight months, the brand have been busy laying out plenty of impressive colour options for both the Furon v6 and Tekela v2, and with the third generation of the latter expected early next year, it’s quite the prospect. All it needs is some top level talent to represent it. And that’s where New Balance have been making moves.

bs saka 1-min.jpg
bs weah 1-min.jpg

As mentioned previously, Sadio Mané has been the sole standard bearer for the brand over the last couple of seasons, but that has changed recently, with young talent in the form of Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Lille’s Timothy Weah both seemingly joining him in the Furon. And it looks increasingly likely that they will not be alone, with numerous players spotted in various forms of New Balance boots over the last few months, as the brand casts its net far and wide to increase the list of players on its books.

bs elliott 1-min.jpg
bs elliott 2-min.jpg

Liverpool loanee, Harvey Elliott has been playing for Blackburn in what appears to be a red special edition of the Furon. This is certainly a player for the future who was previously on Nike’s books, and the fact he’s been wearing coloured versions of New Balance’s boots suggests that that is either a completed deal, or as near as.

dcl 4-min.jpg
bs ramsey 1-min.jpg

Everton’s in-form striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is unsurprisingly gaining attention from other brands, and he was seen training in what appeared to be a blacked out Furon recently. Spurs’ Tanguy Ndombele has played in the ‘Ignite Hype’ Furon, and even the old familiar face of Aaron Ramsey has been seen testing out the Tekela recently. But there is one name that’s been linked to New Balance that stands out above the rest: that of Raheem Sterling.

Sterling’s contract with Nike ended at the end of last season, and the England attacker has since been seen playing in whatever he chooses as he mulls over his next move. Indications were that it would be to PUMA, however nothing has yet come of that and the Neymar switch may have scuppered any potential deal. Recently, he has been playing in a mystery white pair of boots, complete with a shimmering golden soleplate – could this be part of New Balance’s attempts to lure him in? While speculation continues to mount, nothing has been officially announced… yet. Sterling would certainly come with a hefty price tag, but that’s something New Balance could currently probably afford. And if Sterling himself needs convincing? All he has to do is look at how well Mané has been treated over the last couple of years.


If it were to come off, the capture of Raheem Sterling would be a huge bonus to the brand and a positive indicator of their direction and intent for the future. Sterling and Mané up top? Makes for a tasty proposition.

One thing is clear with most of the names currently linked with New Balance though; on the most part this is a collection of young players, of up and coming talent, an arena that Nike currently dominates, as exemplified by the fact that the Swoosh boasted nine of the 10 candidates for the recent Golden Boy awards. If New Balance can get a handle on that with a few more fresh recruits to promote their ever-improving boot offerings, then it could well be exciting times ahead.

Shop New Balance boots at