It may take a little while to feel comfortable in the new Tekela v4s, but for confident, skilful players, these are worth it
Snug fit, and easy to get on
Unique stud design pays off
Light and nippy
A bit of initial discomfort, especially for unusual feet shapes
Outer design could have more grip
Probably a better option for more advanced players
The New Balance Tekela v4 is the latest in a range designed for close-ball control players, and will be worn by the likes of Liverpool's Harvey Elliott.
If you're keen on laceless boots, these are a pair worth looking at. They're super light, and once you've worn them in a bit, can be really comfortable. They're a very narrow boot, and they come with studs designed to stop you slipping that can take a little getting used to at first.
So how do they compare to some of the best football boots around right now?
How we tested the New Balance Tekela v4 football boots
Like the New Balance Furon v7, we did our initial run out with the Tekela v4 at the New Balance centre The Track on an artificial pitch, mainly doing training drills to test the elements of the boots the brand wanted to put focus on.
But we've also taken them out independently, trying them out on grass surfaces (mostly worse for wear surfaces, at that) in more informal kickabouts and small-sided games.
We tested a pair of the New Balance Tekela v4 in a UK size 10 (US 10.5/EUR 44.5/BR 43.5/CM 28.5).
Comfort and fit
Laceless boots can be a bit hit-or-miss, trading control for a decent fit. But New Balance have put a lot of effort into creating a snug boot that is easy to get on – or at least, easier than plenty of other boots with ankle socks, laces or not.
And while these lightweight boots are comfy, that effort into creating a tight fit means they do need a bit of bedding in time.
The big selling point of the Tekela v4s are the rim studs – blades around the edge of the boot that contrast to the conical studs in the middle – that are specifically designed to give you more grip (more on that below). That extra grip can take a bit of getting used to at first, and we found it actually was counter-intuitive at first, particularly on grass, and left us nearly rolling our ankle.
Once we got used to them, though, they did become a big selling point that New Balance were hoping for.
These boots can cause some early discomfort. For our flat feet, we found a bit of soreness on the instep quite quickly – while others with more arched feet reported to us that they found soreness on the outside of their feet after trying them out.
It seems to be an effect of both the narrowness of the boot, but also the unique studs around the outer rim.
On subsequent uses, though, we found discomfort subsided, and so it's just a wearing in pain that's slightly exacerbated by unusual feet shape. These are laceless boots, and are supposed to be a snug fit, so this kind of thing should be expected – but bear that in mind before your first time out in them. And if you're looking for the best football boots for wide feet, these might not be for you.
On the pitch
• RRP: £220
• Gender specification: No difference in gender specs
• Sizes available: 3.5 -12
• Colours: Metallic silver/Black
• Recommended for: Nippy, confident players
Tekelas are designed with close-ball control in mind, and for quick changes of speed.
The rim studs are an innovative bit of boot tech that the New Balance designers are clearly proud of. Having studied every instance in which a player slipped at the 2018 World Cup – more than 800 incidents – the team came up with the stud design on the outer sole to eliminate the circumstances they identified. That means the conical studs in the middle allow players to swivel and turn quickly, while the blades on the outer portion (the 'rim studs') keep traction and prevent you losing your footing.
While it takes a little bit of getting used to (see above), from our experience these lived up to the promise, and are an excellent addition. The Tekelas have a very quick feel to them as a result.
The boots' tight fit also encourage a confident first touch, although we found it also took a bit of time get our eye in (unlike the New Balance Furon v7s). The laceless element gives you a clean strike with any part of your foot, but not lots of grip; we didn't find pinging long balls was easy at the start as a result.
They are designed to avoid extra material along the top of your foot – a common issue with laceless boots, which can create pockets between foot and boot that reduces feel and impairs touch. That has paid off: they really aren't baggy at all.
The metallic silver design is a little bit flashy, perhaps – but if we're honest, this kind of boot is for a flashy kind of player. The all-black version with gold sprinkling, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous.
The rim studs have been made with clear silicon, which is apparently a psychological trick to convey the idea of a lighter weight. We can't comment on that, but either the boots are very light anyway, or it totally worked on us.
Which players wear New Balance Tekela v4 football boots?
Liverpool's Harvey Elliott will be wearing the New Balance Tekela v4 football boots.
These are good football boots, for good football players.
What we mean by that is that the Tekela v4s don't feel like boots that will immediately raise the game of the average player. They've been specifically designed to enhance the game of players who want to receive the ball close to feet, turn, and go; for the type of player that is likely to be tightly-marked, who has a confident first touch and likes to play on the front foot.
If that sounds like you, we really recommend this boot. The work New Balance has done to ensure the new Tekelas don't have the issues of other laceless boots – such as difficulty getting them on, or a loose fit – has worked well, and the anti-slip technology of the rim studs is genuinely impressive. It's another sign that New Balance are a genuine mover in the football boot market.
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Conor Pope is the former Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content. He plays football regularly, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.
He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.