If you ask someone what the defining shoe is from New Balance, they will tell you that it is the 990, the all-American manufactured running shoe that has become iconic within the brands catalogue. This is a make of shoe that mixes a distinct, near angular design with excellent foot support and cushioning abilities to provide you with a comfortable stride everywhere you go. The latest incarnation, the 990V3 does all this and more, pushing the New Balance name forward into new and exciting territories. There are some key issues with it, however, that should also be noted before you purchase.
The design of the classic 990 was something to behold within the New Balance catalog. It had a chunky, angular appearance that basically served as a blueprint for the company, whilst incorporating a bold dark gray and white design that made the shoe just as suitable for walking as it did for full running. The V3 attempts to continue this key feature, but it does so with mixed success.
The actual shape of the shoe is visually very pleasing. It is solid, looks supportive with a good heel design. The color scheme, however, is incredibly bland, opting for various shades of gray all over which make it look jumbled and confused. Arguably this is far from the most important thing for a running shoe, but for saying its predecessor was so visually striking, this one considerably misses the mark.
Thankfully, the sole of the shoe is much better and is just as supportive as previous incarnations. The main features to be made aware of is the Blown Rubber forefoot dual density collar and ABZORB midsole, which offers excellent stability alongside good support if you have a forefoot strike running pattern. Climbing and descending is also just as easy, as the sole is flexible and bends easily to the shape of your feet, whilst being solid enough to withstand major bumps and scrapes.
ENCAP midsole cushioning is also installed, to make your mid-stride patterns even more comfortable thanks to the excellent support it offers. Pushing off an acceleration is also aided by this feature.
As previously mentioned, the upper of the 990 was its true defining feature and whilst this design is nowhere near as eye catching, other features of this half of the shoe are much more appealing. The integral design of the shoe in both men and women designs is a mix of leather and mesh, reducing the weight of the shoe considerably and also allowing for good breathability when the shoe is placed under pressure. Much like with other New Balance products, the toe cap of the shoe is also good and roomy, with no issues of rubbing or itching when in motion.
The ankle support of the shoe is also good thanks to reinforced sides towards the rear of the upper. Not too weighty, but comfortable and supportive enough for most, this is a plus point and reduces the issue of rolling and strike unevenness considerably.
CUSHIONING AND FLEXIBILITY
When running with the 990V3, initially all starts out incredibly well. The design is supportive and flexible, being virtually ready to run as soon as you open the box and the heel support is also excellent, having spring and enough resistance.
After a while, though, several issues start to arise from the shoe. For one, the material comprising the sole of the shoe literally disintegrates, losing its stability and integral structure. For saying it is a compound mix of several materials, this is worrying. Furthermore, as soon as you get water on the sole of your shoe, it will literally start dissolving, giving off an incredibly unpleasant smell as the ammonia present in the heel material is released. This is an issue New Balance is more than aware of, yet has continually failed to fix.
- When first worn, incredibly comfy and supportive
- Good breathability
- Good leverage and push off abilities too, especially when accelerating
- The shoes literally disintegrate after 80 miles, no matter how well you choose to care for them
- The smell given off by ammonia composites when in contact with water is incredibly off-putting and has not yet been addressed.
The New Balance 990V3 is, at its core a good shoe. It is incredibly comfortable, it fits a wide variety of foot profiles and it flexible and springy enough to be utilised straight out the box. New Balances‘ continual failure to fix two integral issues with the shoe is incredibly unsatisfying however and thus this shoe simply cannot come recommended. I hope that this New Balance 990V3 review has been helpful.