It’s safe to say England and Arsenal’s golden boy, Bukayo Saka had a busy 2022. Fresh off the Qatar World Cup with three goals under his belt as well as his club currently being at the top of the Premier League, the young star has now unveiled his debut boot with New Balance, the Furon v7 Signature edition.
Having been on the receiving end of a barrage of racist abuse following the Euro 2020 finals, it witnessed swathes of support from fans driving demand for anti-racism merchandise and calls for Instagram to act on hate-fuelled trolling.
Despite the negativity, from the press and public, his efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the things that mattered most: his community. He became the youngest recipient of the Freedom of Ealing award in 2020 following his stellar performance at the tournament and these are the moments of recognition that make it all worthwhile. “Ealing’s home,” Saka says. “It shaped my life. All of the opportunities I’ve had started in Ealing.”
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But it’s his family, who travel with him to every game, that are his backbone, offering support both on and off the pitch. “That support system is unrivaled. There’s nothing like it,” Saka expresses. “I feel secure, I feel stable and feel like I always have people behind me during difficult moments, so them always being there is really important.” Alongside his tight-knit family, faith is an equally important part of his life. Asked about his pre-game rituals Saka replies, “I always pray. That’s the number one thing.” And once grounded, he lists more performance-focused tasks, “I also like to eat my Twix [laughs]. Pretty much everything else is football related, making sure I’m ready mentally and physically for the game.”
After joining New Balance in 2021, the 21-year-old has fronted several of the brand’s campaigns including its Aimé Leon Dore collaboration as well as the most recent We Got Now advertisement going back-to-back with fellow England teammate Raheem Sterling. However, it’s an unforgettable visit to the Boston HQ that brought him closer to the brand and surpasses it all as one of his fondest memories since signing, “Once I left, it made me feel part of the family and more connected with the brand.”1 of 5
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Much like how his relationship to his hometown is present throughout the theme of these boots, Ealing will always remain the core of his inspiration across the board, “Growing up here, I was in a lot of tracksuits and casual wear. That’s how I like to dress, just comfortable,” he explains. “However, I still like to try new things and I’m always open to wearing different fashion pieces.”
Despite his genius on the pitch, he doesn’t overload himself with personal possessions, so his essentials list is relatively short: “I can’t leave the house without my phone, comb, wallet, and headphones. I don’t really need much else.” But of course, there are always subconscious pieces that become second nature in everyone’s routine, “I feel like I’m forgetting one more thing and I know I’m gonna regret it.”
“When I tried on the Furon, I knew that this is me.”1 of 4
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Having received bespoke boots early last year, customized by London-based artist Feyi Badejo, Saka has now teamed up with New Balance to release his very own signature boot to the public. “I got the opportunity to try on the Tekela’s and Furon’s. But when I tried on the Furon, I knew that this is me,” he recalls. From Ealing’s coat of arms, represented by a decorative baroque oak leaf print, emblazoned on the upper to the borough’s motto “Progress” and “Unity,” two words that resonate deeply with Saka’s character, the Furon v7 Signature edition is an ode to his west London home.
“The main thing is comfort,” Saka describes of what makes the perfect football boot. “At the same time I like my boots to be snug so I feel sharp when changing direction on the pitch — it makes me quick.” Boasting an all-red upper with silver accents as well as the aforementioned decorative prints, the boot’s aesthetics are just the cherry on top second to its performance characteristics. “[New Balance] have made the perfect boot, it’s striking. The colorway is special and I love [wearing] bold boots on the pitch.”
Check out the official campaign images, produced by Hypebeast, in the galleries above. The Bukayo Saka x New Balance Furon v7 Signature edition is available to purchase now from the brand’s website and retails for £200 GBP (approximately $245 USD).
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