New Balance 990 v4 Reviewed & Tested

New Balance 990 v4 Review Facts

The New Balance 990 v4 are a high-quality pair of shoes for the runner who is looking for superior support, stability and cushioning. The brand boasts thirty years of quality design and execution, and this model follows those same high expectations. These shoes utilize some of the best technologies to provide each runner with a uniquely pleasing experience.

Although this shoe comes in at the higher end of the pricing spectrum, runners commented again and again about the shoe’s durability and long lifespan. A combination of a durable leather pigskin upper combined with EVA and ENCAP midsole technology help keep this shoe from breaking mile after mile. For the overpronator, this is an ideal shoe. It provided extra cushioning and runner reported that it helped to provide additional arch support and eliminate foot, knee and hip pain they experienced from other shoes.

All of these features are designed and manufactured in America, so you can feel good about buying this shoe because you are supporting American businesses.

Outsole

Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the New Balance 990 v4 is made of blown rubber. Using blown rubber is a common practice in the creation of a stability shoe. When this material is created, air is mixed into the rubber and more cushioned feel is achieved. This material is durable and adds traction so you can take this shoe running even on mild offroad trails. One of the highest rated areas for this shoe is the durability it offers. It won’t break down easily and it is known to last longer than an average running shoe. The combination of this design and these technologies give this shoe the combination of a stable and comfortable ride.

Midsole

Midsole

Midsole

This shoe uses some of the newest technologies to provide a cushioned and durable midsole. New Balance uses ENCAP midsole technology. This technology was made using lightweight and long lasting ACTEVA LITE foam for cushioning. The durability comes in through the shoe’s Polyurethane rim. The outsole and midsole construction of this shoe provide each runner with the perfect combination of comfort and support.

Upper

Upper

Upper

The upper of the New Balance 990 v4 comes equipt with unique and thoughtful features to improve your all-around running experience. This shoe offers a unique combination of breathable mesh and pigskin. This laces of the shoe are equipped with a lace keeper technology that is designed to keep the laces tied and prevent the tongue from moving around.

In addition to these new features, New Balance has added the 3M Reflectivity feature to the upper which helps protect the runner in low visibility areas. The upper of this shoe is designed to provide the runner with a comfortable and also breathable fit.

Weight

Weight

Weight

As technology becomes more and more advanced, the average weight of running shoes continues to decline. As of 2010, the average weight of a running shoe dropped to 9.6 ounces. The New Balance 990 v4 break this rule though. They weigh in at 13.6 ounces which can be considered quite heavy for today’s shoes. This is not by any means a deal breaker. For many runners, they are happy to sacrifice a few added ounces for the extra cushioning, support and stability that these shoes can give them.

Breathability

Breathability

Breathability

While the unique combination of mesh and pigskin leather keeps this shoe breathable, New Balance actually improved the breathability by 30 percent on this model. It employs a more open construction which leads to higher rates of breathability and comfort for the wearer. One reviewer even commented that even in Arizona with the intense heat, her feet still cool and dry. All runners, but especially those going longer distances, can agree that a shoe that provided moisture control and protected against hot spots is a winning shoe.

Comfort

Comfort

Comfort

One of the places where this shoe received the highest praise is in the comfort department. Runners commented that with the extra cushioning of the midsole and the durable rubber of the outsole, these shoes were a great choice for people who stand on their feet all day. Additionally, runners commented that these were a great option for performance and cross training. Overall, this is a great choice for the runner who needs added comfort and is willing to sacrifice the addition of a few extra ounces to achieve that.

Style

Style

Style

Runners didn’t love the look of these shoes. They appear rather bulky. Some of the reviewers reported that these were not the shoes for people who hope to look fashionable while running errands around town. While the shoe does come in a few different colors (navy and burgundy are a few of the different options), overall, the color scheme is on the bland side. If you like colorful shoes, this is not the shoe for you; however, if you are looking for more of a classic style, this could be a great option. Expect to see a more streamlined signature “N” logo along the side. This is a classic looking shoe for those looking for a more traditional look.

Durability

Durability

Durability

Runners appreciated the reliability and durability of these shoes. A combination of EVA and Polyurethane found in the midsole keep these shoes from breaking down quickly. This is a shoe that can rack up miles without needing to be replaced. Plus, the upper of this shoe is made of a durable leather pigskin that doesn’t easily break down. Though they are on the pricey side, they last longer than the average shoe, so the cost is justifiable.

Protection

Protection

Protection

New Balance has added the 3M Reflectivity feature to the upper of this shoe in order to protect the runner during runs in low visibility areas. This is also a great shoe for the runner who overpronates. This tends to lead to knee, hip, and foot pain, but because this shoe provides added support and stability, runner reported that this shoe helped protect him against that.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Because of the added cushioning in this midsole and outsole and the 12 mm drop of the New Balance 990 v4, these are not shoes that received high marks for responsiveness. Runners reported that they felt confident logging longs miles with these shoes, using them for their everyday shoe, or wearing them during cross training or other activities, but they did not experience high levels of responsiveness and did not suggest that these are good shoes for speed work or switching from one terrain to another within the same run.

Support

Support

Support

Runners who overpronate are used to soreness in their foot, shin, and knee. This running pattern tends to add stress and tightness to muscles, and this shoe does a nice job to protect against those elements. It adds extra support through the midsole and outsole and provides added arch support for the flat-footed runner. Runner appreciated that with the New Balance 990 v4 they were able to find the optimal balance between the right amount of comfort and the right amount of support.

Terrain

Terrain

Terrain

This is a great shoe for your everyday wear. Many runners appreciated how much stability this shoe gave them, and because of that combined with the extra cushioning, this is a shoe that is loved by individuals who spend long hours on their feet.

This shoe is designed for the road or track, but because of the blown rubber outsole, it can also be used on mild offroad trails. Runners mentioned that because of the extra durability of the shoe, they felt confident taking this model on their long runs during their marathon training. In addition, many runners suggested that these are great shoes to use on the treadmill.

Price

Price

Price

Today, the average running shoe costs around 115 dollars. Some runners were scared away from these shoes by the price tag since they are considerably higher than the cost of the average running shoe. However, since the shoe received high marks in durability and reliability, some runners commented that although the price is high, you have to replace these less frequently than you would other shoes, so it does justify the price tag. If a low price tag is your number one priority, there are many good shoes to choose from, but these might not be ideal for you.

Traction

Traction

Traction

While this isn’t a good shoe to take on extreme off-trail hikes or runs like some others, the Blown Rubber outsole provides traction that will protect you on mild trails, roads, and the track. This rubber provides extra cushioning and the grooves on the bottom of the outsole provide higher than average traction.

Flexibility

Flexibility

Flexibility

If you are looking for a shoe that earned high reviews for flexibilities, this might not be the best shoe for you. Although this shoe moves easily with each of your foot strikes, this shoe is more for someone looking for stability over flexibility. While the shoe offers extended stability and support, it lacks in the flexibility department.

Stability

Stability

Stability

Due to the ENCAP technology, this shoe offers improved stability to runners. This shoe is built for the overpronator (runners whose feet tend to tilt inwards). This is a great shoe for the flatfooted runner who needs more arch support. Runners felt confident in the stability offered by these shoes.

Drop

Drop

Drop

These are not at all going to give you a minimalistic, natural feel if that is what you are after. The drop on the New Balance 990 v4 is 12 mm which an average heel drop. If you think about the spectrum of running shoes, where on the one extreme you have minimalistic, natural feel shoes with a zero drop, and at the other end of that spectrum you have denser, more durable shoes with a higher heel drop, the New Balance 990 v4’s find themselves in the section with the high heel drop and thick midsole and outsole.

Key Features

Key Features

Key Features

– ENCAP midsole material
– ACTEVA LITE foam in the midsole
– EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) midsole core
– Lace Keeper tongue design
– Blown Rubber outsole

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a high quality, trusted brand that comes with extra support, cushioning, and stability, this is a great choice for you. New Balance shoes are made in America using state of the art technology. The brand comes with thirty years of quality. This shoe earns high marks for durability and breathability; however, this is a pricey shoe, so if a low budget shoe is your top priority, this might not be your top choice. This is a great choice for the runner who overpronates and is looking for added support and cushioning. Flat-footed runners gave this shoe high marks and commented that the added cushioning and stability were perfect for their stride. The technology of the midsole helps to absorb the impact of each stride and can help reduce knee and hip pain.

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