Following the releases of their Visaro and Furon soccer boot lines, New Balance Football have launched their first shoe for 3G artificial grass surfaces in the form of the Audazo Pro Turf. With such grounds becoming increasingly common in soccer (resulting in all season play), there is definitely a need for boots of this nature. This is our World Exclusive review of the new turf shoe from NB.
Before we delve into our look at the New Balance Audazo, here are New Balance’s official specifications for the shoe.
The Audazo range boasts an impressive range of technology designed to meet the demands of both turf and court football. A Fresh Foam insock provides ultra-cushioning and comfort, ensuring that players feel supported and have the freedom of movement to dominate the game. The REVLite midsole provides added cushioning and shock absorption, vital for players who need to control the ball under high pressure situations.
The ProBank Midsole gives additional support and protection to key areas of stress on the foot for lateral movement which is key given the court and turf games require quick passing, and sharp and short cutting and turning movements in order to control the game.
The small sided shoe upper has a transparent TPU overlay with no sew panels for a clean strike of the ball. The futsal shoe upper is made of a lightweight and synthetic material with breathable mono mesh woven into the design.
Often lower end versions of only the biggest soccer boot releases soled out for 3G surfaces, turf shoes have been the poorer cousins of professional grade cleats since they became a genre in the 1990s. The New Balance Audazo Pro Turf is an exception given that it a release specifically designed for soccer on artificial grass. As NB Football’s first offering of this nature, they US firm have given it a clever look that is both functional and eye catching.
The Audazo Pro Turf looks like it means business on AG thanks to its traditional turf shoe design that includes a wide forefoot area (great for toe splay on turf) that is stitched around a toe cap made of texturized rubber. At the back it has a solid heel counter with a rubberized New Balance branded strip at its bottom. From thereon, the Audazo gets lightweight and sexy with a stunning dark blue and orange colorway (it also comes in white, blue and orange design) with a comparatively large and lightweight tongue. Its outside midfoot area is has a mesh effect in two tones of blue that lends itself well to the flash of orange above it.
Put all of this together on a blue sole and you’ve got one of the better looking turf shoes on the market today. The designers at the fledgling NB Football division have done a brilliant job in getting this shoe to be an object of design among soccer shoe shoppers and something that will be admired on the pitch.
The fit of the New Balance Audazo Pro Turf is true to size. We definitely suggest getting them in your normal shoe size for an optimal fit. Going down half of a size if not out of the question if you prefer an extra snug fit got your soccer shoe.
Our testers didn’t encounter any hotspots or unwanted rubbing when wearing the Audazo. The only issue that he ran into was a bit of tightness on the outside of the small toes where he had already developed a corns from years of wearing form-fitting footie boots.
The New Balance Audazo Pro Turf provides a comfortable with good shock absorption ride on artificial grass straight out of the box. We think that this is largely a result of the use of NB’s Fresh Foam footbed and REVlite midsole. When worn on grass its feel can be likened to that of a mid-grade (less than $100 in cost) running shoe. We estimate that the Audazo reduces impact on the ankles and knees by at least 30% when running on 3G surfaces when compared to even high end cleated soccer shoes.
The Audazo has a weight of just above 9 oz. Therefore, it is on the heavier side compared to today’s sub 8 oz. cleated boots. This extra weight is quite perceptible if you’ve been playing with professional grade boots before trying them it. Needless to say it does take a little getting used to.
A single runout in the Audazo Pro Turf that includes some light running, sprints and ballwork will have you ready to use them in a practice session or casual match.
On Artificial Grass
The traction that the New Balance Audazo Pro Turf provides on artificial grass is excellent. We’ve experienced absolutely no footing problems (from slipping to the dreaded ankle turn that can occur while wearing bladed boots on 3G surfaces) in them. They’re the type of shoe that you really do not have to think in the traction department when you wear them on AG. This is definitely a mental advantage during match play.
On Natural Grass
While the Audazo Pro Turf is not designed with natural grass in mind, it can be worn on hardened surfaces of this nature. Our tester experienced this when playing on a natural grass surface that had not been rained on or watered for over two weeks. As a result it was extremely hard and unpleasant to run on in soccer shoes with blades, conical studs or a combination of both. He tried the Audazo on in order to avoid the discomfort caused on his shins and knees. He said that it solved all of his discomfort problems and made running on a “rock hard” ground feel like playing on an indoor soccer court with the right shoes on. Therefore we definitely suggest trying on the NB Football Audazo if you have no choice but to play on a summer-worn, overused ground that can at times be little more than packed dirt.
The New Balance Audazo Pro Turf provides a good, clean touch on the ball on artificial grass. This is particularly the case for any ball that you’re handling on the ground whether you’re trapping, passing and shooting. The shoe’s somewhat classic-styled front combined with a decent level of padding (somewhat rear nowadays) lets you kill the momentum of incoming passes to get the ball quickly under control. It also contributes to letting you get the right weight on the ball for passes, shots and dribbling. It’s a shoe designed with play on turf in mind and is works well for the close control and short ball movements involved in it.
We’ve had a hard time mastering chipped passes and shots when wearing the Audazo Pro Turf on both artificial and natural grass. This isn’t surprising given that they are non-cleat shoes intended for small-sided matches in which air balls are generally wasteful. With some practice our tester said that he can get some decent lift on them but not the accuracy he wants. This is certainly something to consider if you plan to wear them on sundried natural surfaces.
Given its padding and textured toe cap, the New Balance Audazo Pro Turf offers a great level of protection. The only area of the foot that is really exposed to force from stamps is the fairly large, meshed tongue (incidentally wonderful for keeping the foot cool and for a good feel on the ball while dribbling). Wear these in a match in which other players don turf shoes and your feet are well-guarded.
They Audazo Pro Turf also offers a fair amount of protection from cleated boots. This is another characteristic of the boot that can be attributed to their padding. The area of the feet under the mono mesh tongue are subject to potential damage from the boots of players opting to wear stud and / or blades however.
New Balance has done well with their first ever dedicated artificial grass soccer shoe in the Audazo Pro Turf. It provides everything that’s needed for playing on the latest 3G surfaces from comfort to good ball touch to solid protection. It is also a viable option for small-sided games played on hard natural grounds. At a relatively low price point of $99.99 (cheap for a high-grade soccer shoe nowadays), the Audazo is definitely worth a look at if you play much of your soccer on turf.