The first step in breaking the stranglehold of the biggest brands is by giving the world a choice. The next step is by making that choice superior to the other options. With the arrival of New Balance boots it's the Visaro that has been enrolled as the lead asset for the brand but what's it got to offer? We lace up to find out.

What's the Visaro's objective?

With New Balance claiming the boot is made for players hoping to “Make Chances,” we were interested to see if the American brand took full advantage of their “chance” to reintroduce themselves to the market after moving beyond Warrior. Would the Visaro quickly become the spark that sees New Balance catch fire in the boot market?

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The Visaro was repeatedly compared to the first-gen Nike Hypervenom in the run up to release and it does has a few similarities visually, but the Visaro still has a unique look when everything comes together. We see a slight nod towards the now deceased Warrior Gambler with the raised elements near the forefront of the boot, some nice contrast between the boot colour and the accents, a very plain “N” on the outside of the boot, the “NB” logo on the heel, and one last “New Balance” callout right underneath the ankle cut on the instep of the boot. The honeycomb divots definitely dominate the upper with a smaller criss-cross texture that you see when you look closely. Out of all the boots on the market today, the Visaro might have the most mentions of its brand on the upper...a very important thing to do when you are relaunching yourself back into the world.

The Visaro does feel light on your feet, but that's down more to the make-up and build of the boot than the actual weight. A boot near the 7.5 oz mark, the Visaro is thick enough to satisfy players wanting some padding, but light enough to intrigue the speed demons.

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Comfortable sneakers, comfortable boots?

The first few moments in the Visaro leave little doubt that New Balance is trying to ensure comfort across the entirety of their brand. With the laces drawn tight, you feel like the upper forms to your foot and takes advantage of the suede-style padding that runs across the entirety of the boot’s innards. While the upper material feels quite soft out of the box, it did take us a session or two before we really felt that the Visaro was truly broken-in. When wider footed players tried the boot on, it did force their toes to stick up in an awkward way towards the edge of the toe-box (from the toes being squished together), but with the option of a wide version we think that the comfort could be experienced by any foot type and player.

One interesting thing to note is that the insole (made from an impressive New Balance Fresh Foam) is glued into the boot and cannot be removed. For any players set on using custom insoles, you should definitely be aware.

On the bottom of the boot, we find a soleplate that is made up of a combination of rounded triangles and four conical studs on the instep/forefoot side of the toebox. Made from a very thick plastic, the boot wasn’t stiff nor was it extremely pliable out of the box. The comfort is largely unaffected, and the build of the plate helps aid in the boot’s responsiveness and is extremely durable/dependable.

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How does it perform?

We were pleasantly surprised throughout our experience, the thoughts of Hypervenom similarities were certainly founded as the upper only really differentiated from the Phantom with the Visaro’s suede-like liner. The touch is extremely close to the ball, but the upper provides a light level of padding to give a great feel. The boot has enough texture to provide some good grip on the ball, but we never found the ball to get stuck under our feet. There is a slight difference in the feel of the boot where the upper is ridged instead of honeycombed, but not a great deal of difference.

Shooting and long-range passing felt great in the boot, the ridged area looked just like something that would be a shooting element in the launch images, but it has little to no effect when actually addressing the ball. The slight bit of padding throughout the boot, including a bit in the tongue, gives you that nice warm feeling of pressure when driving a ball goalwards. With the lacing system shifted to provide a larger striking surface, the boot will definitely appeal to anyone that likes putting some serious “oomph” into their play.

The soleplate was dependable, but the FG pattern is a bit short for anybody running around a soggy pitch. On dry surfaces, we never even noticed the studs or had any issues, but this set-up is not made for players that occasionally have to deal with pitches that are watered down right between the FG and SG line. While the Visaro would definitely last a player over a full season, one of our “N” logos on the outside of the boot did start to peel near the end of testing. Only a cosmetic issue, the Visaro definitely doesn’t have any durability issues. When it comes to sizing on the Visaro, we found that the boot fit true to size in terms of the length. However, it isn’t an overly wide boot, but New Balance offers a wide version to anybody that finds most boots to be too narrow for their needs.

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What's the verdict?

The Visaro is an impressive boot. New Balance definitely took all their time with Warrior in preparation to make a boot of this calibre, and the brand is certainly moving in the right direction. The thin/slightly padded upper, build, and comfort will make the Visaro find a home with many boot fans that are looking for something new. While a brand needs a solid line-up all around to truly create major change, the Visaro is a good base for New Balance to move forward from. Is this the greatest boot we’ve ever seen? No. Is it the best boot Warrior/New Balance has created in the last decade? Definitely.

Got a pair? Let us know your verdict. Want a pair? This way.