This no-thrills boot values comfort and durability above all, and would make a decent choice for players after a cheaper option
- Very comfortable K-leather
- Durable and long-lasting
- Choice of colourways
- Not as stylish
- Lacking in tech
- Slightly heavier than some ranges
The first pair of proper boots this FFT reviewer owned as a kid – bought from P&P Sports in Wallsend many many moons ago – were non other than New Balance Bryan Robsons. They were majestic. They were leather. They made us faster (probably not) and they were worth their weight in gold.
Cut to 30+ years later and these actually golden New Balance boots arrived for review, embroidered with the world's football magazine of choice: New Balance 442.
New Balance's 442 range is, as the nod to the meat-and-potatoes formation (as opposed to the world's favourite mag) suggests, an old school design made for everyday players who prefer comfort and durability over gadgetry and style.
We reviewed the 2.0 version, which sees the previous instalment's oversized tongue removed and the simple black and white colourway swapped out for two new versions - gold and black, and black and silver.
Looking for the best football boots to suit your needs? FFT has you covered, with our comprehensive guide to the best on the market right now.
How we tested the New Balance 442 v2 football boots
For this review, FFT wore the New Balance 442 v2 football boots to its weekly Monday night seven-aside match on artificial grass. The 4G surface was ideal for testing the boots, with no excuses for poor passes and scuffed shots. FFT then wore them again on each of the following two weeks, totalling at more than three hours' playing-time ahead of writing this review.
Comfort and fit
When the New Balance 442 v2 was released in April, the world was promised "unparalleled comfort and definitive lock-in". And, to be fair to NB, they don't disappoint. These boots are a nice fit straight out of the box, were true to size, and felt comfortable immediately as as FFT went through its stretches pre-game.
They were easy to get on and off – unlike some of the Adidas and Nike "sock" designs that can sometimes leaves you out of breath before a ball's even been kicked.
The inner heel has a snug red bedding which is delicate on the heel and achilles. The material also feels quite grippy and, ultimately, you're confident of not ending up with huge heel blisters after a kick about. The boots were nice and snug with the laces tied and remained firmly locked on the foot from start to finish.
We can't fault these whatsoever for comfort and grip.
On the pitch
• RRP: £125
• Gender specification: No difference in gender specs
• Sizes available: 3.5 -12
• Colors: Gold and black; black and silver
• Recommended for: Players who value comfort and price above all
Aside from feeling snug and comfortable, FFT was impressed with the traction the New Balance 442 v2 offers, especially given the price. No, these weren't as advanced when it came to pushing off and changing direction as, say, Nike Mercurials or the Adidas Speedflow, but, at around £100 cheaper than both, they're a decent low-budget alternative. The studs have been designed specifically for firm ground and they do a great job, but remember that you'll need something far sturdier for soft, muddier pitches.
The K-leather was not only comfortable but also kept our feet dry during a wet session and at no point did it feel like FFT was wearing a cheap boot. These were quality.
Downsides? They could be a little lighter and, if you're playing with a no-nonsense bunch, we seriously recommend the black and silver version as this reviewer was lampooned for his glowing gold slippers at first.
You can't expect serious gadgetry and mind-blowing innovation for £125 so don't get your hopes up. That being said, the New Balance 442 v2 offers some nice touches.
The premium K-leather upper is, as mentioned, comfortable, dry and durable. The studs are specifically designed for use on firm ground and internal cushioned pillows deliver incredible comfort and solid support. The colourways, meanwhile, are simple yet smart.
If you want little pods to help with your first touch or unparalleled traction, look elsewhere. There are far pricier boots on the market designed to fine-tune your game and improve technique.
The New Balance 442 v2 is a cheaper, no-thrills boot, offering great comfort and two stylish colourways. These are a boot to keep in locker or boot of the car to pull out for the occasional kick about or work seven-aside.
Whatever your level and whatever you look for in a football boot, the two most important things will always be comfort and price, and the New Balance 442 v2 delivers on both fronts without going too much further.
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