We spent 6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

9 reasons to buy

  • Many of those who tried the New Balance 990 v4 appreciated the lace keeper, which is meant to secure the laces and keep the tongue in place.
  • Plenty number of runners noted the durable upper construction which had already been proven since its forerunner, the New Balance 990 v3.
  • The durability and stability of the blown rubber outsole were often mentioned by a number of buyers comparing it to the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9 which also has the same make for the outsole.
  • A lot of runners who enjoy night runs appreciated the 3M Reflectivity safety feature of the New Balance 990 v4 giving them a sense of security when it comes to their nighttime visibility.
  • Medial underfoot support and durability are handled by the ENCAP midsole technology making the ride feel more cushioned and stable.
  • The shoe comes in all possible width sizes which makes it very appealing to a lot of potential buyers.
  • Many testers generally lauded the reliable durability of this series, and that praise continues with this new version.
  • A few reviewers also like the fact that the collar foam is dual-density making the shoe just a little bit more comfortable than its previous versions.
  • Though sporting a very expensive price, the 990 v4 enthralled many runners because of its high quality and long-lasting performance.

5 reasons not to buy

  • Most of the complaints about the New Balance 990 v4 were directed at its bulky look, which made runners’ feet look awkwardly big.
  • It was too stiff for some athletes who wanted to get more flexibility for their feet.
  • Some reviewers did not like the fact that the shoe has a moderately heavy weight.
  • Several buyers were not too impressed with the cushioning ability of the 990 v4 claiming they don’t feel cushioned enough especially in the heel area.
  • A few users mentioned that the outsole lacks traction and tends to feel slippery especially on concrete floors.

Bottom line

In general, the New Balance 990 v4 is a great stability shoe choice for a wide range of runners. And although the New Balance 990 v4 feels a bit awkwardly bulky to some users because of its design, it is still given praise for its excellent fit. This shoe is well suited for performance training, exercises and even just for your daily walks or trips to the shops.



A top rated Road running shoe
Top 2% most popular running shoes
It has never been more popular than this August
Better rated than the previous version New Balance 990 v3

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  • Breathability is one of the most important standards in the 990 series, and New Balance made sure that it continues with the 4th version. They made the mesh material for the 990 v4 30% more open and breathable than the one used for the 990 v3.
  • New Balance also wanted this model to resemble the 1st version of the series.  In doing so, they designed the overall look of the 990 v4 to mimic the original 990 running shoes.  The “N” logo design has even been stripped down from the current reflective and colorful design to a more streamlined design scheme to evoke the simplicity that was the beginnings of the brand itself.
  • The 990 v4 now has a noticeable enhancement with its medial support thanks to how the midsole mold has been newly designed.  This new layout for the midsole mold is made with the ENCAP midsole technology, and this translates to the shoe giving more constant stability and comfort.  The improved ENCAP midsole unit has also been engineered to provide excellent support especially to runners who are moderate overpronators and would need additional assistance in the stability department.
  • Another update is that the shoelaces can now be looped through a lace keeper on the redesigned tongue.  This mechanic makes sure that the tongue is secured in place and that this also prevents the tongue from shifting to the side, therefore, making the runner feel uncomfortable.
  • Lastly, a very nifty addition to the overall silhouette of the New Balance 990 V4 is the 3M Reflectivity.  This feature was incorporated in the shoe, making sure that it is visible even on late night runs or low lighting conditions.  This also helps put the runners at ease about their security when it comes to being seen by motorists at night.

The 4th version of the New Balance 990 has a standard running shoe length, which means that anyone can get the size that they want and be satisfied with it.  It comes in size options ranging from 7 to 16. The shoe features a heel-to-toe drop of 12 mm, and it is often suggested to get the shoe a half size bigger than your usual go-to shoe size.  This is to make sure that you get the right fitting shoe for you.

To ensure that comfort is a top priority, the New Balance 990 v4 was made as a stability shoe that can adequately accommodate an impressive variety of width sizes.  It comes in the following six shoe size variance: men’s extra narrow, men’s narrow, men’s normal, men’s wide, men’s extra wide and men’s XX-wide. This hefty number of width selections has made many customers very satisfied when it comes to fit.

Made with durability and great performance in mind, the New Balance 990 v4 now features an outsole unit made of Blown Rubber with flexion grooves.  This robust rubber material, which is also used in the New Balance 890 v6, covers the entire surface of the outsole making the shoe more responsive when it comes to providing the cushioning support whenever it is needed.  The build of the 990v4 makes it durable enough to handle road and track running while providing improved traction even over mild trail runs.

New Balance has also given particular attention to the outsole traction compartment of the 990v4 designing the midfoot area to be in contact with the ground.  In doing so, they have made this running shoe much more adaptable than it was compared to the 990v3. This also makes the shoe ideal for slower paced long distance runs.

The New Balance 990 v4 is now made with their signature ENCAP midsole technology.  The technology is made with the lightweight and resilient ACTEVA LITE foam and a Polyurethane rim, which adds durability.  The foam gives cushioning to the shoe while the polyurethane provides stability and helps in keeping the foam from losing its responsiveness and bounce over a long period of time.

Besides durability, this also guarantees extra soft cushioning specifically designed for users with low arches.  The ACTEVA LITE cushioning also works with the Polyurethane rim to correct overpronation thus avoiding damage that usually happens with low arches.  It also helps in relieving areas prone to injuries such as the foot, knee, and hip.

The midsole for the New Balance 990 v4 is compatible with runners that tend to land hard on their foot.  The ENCAP midsole technology will help insulate the sole from the landing and provides goods response giving the runner much-needed stability and comfort along the duration of the run.

For the 990 v4, this stability midsole unit has been reconfigured to deliver increased support for the medial mid-foot section, reducing the rate of overpronation.  To guarantee enhanced stability, the ENCAP and the Polyurethane rim work together with the EVA core that wraps the lateral midfoot area through the heel, and around the medial midfoot providing more cushioning and comfort.

The mix of EVA and Polyurethane in the mid-sole extends the lifespan of this shoe. These materials are of high quality, and they do not easily succumb to wear or breakage, so runners can get more performance for a long time when it comes to this model.

Mesh material covers the entire upper of the New Balance 990v4. This fabric is not anymore as tightly woven or restricted as before. It has a slightly more open construction, leading to a well-ventilated and more comfortable experience for the wearer.  This construction allows maximum circulation while protecting the foot from injuries.

Lightweight pigskin leather covers the mesh material. It’s a sturdy leather that can withstand time and activity. It acts as an overlay system which assists in adjusting the fit to the preference of the wearer.   Runners can be assured that the upper unit will last longer because of the high-quality components that are featured in it.

The improved tongue design features a lace keeper, a tab that the shoelaces can loop into. It is meant to secure the tongue and help it stay in place, thus reducing the risk of the tongue slipping to the side and affecting the comfort and efficiency of the wearer.

The New Balance 990v4’s upper also offers an ankle collar with dual-density foam padding.  Having such an ample amount of cushioning makes the shoe a compatible option for runners of different types and ages.

Origin and Design. After over 30 years, New Balance has decided to give their oldest running shoe an update.  Boasting to be made in the USA at the New Balance’s New England factories, the 990 v4 is a great shoe model for what the company believes in.  This belief is rooted in New Balance giving a high priority to great performance, comfort, and practicality over having flashy designs. The New Balance 990 v4 aims at being timeless and versatile when it comes to its design.  These are just a few of the reasons on why different types of individuals are drawn to the shoe and not just because of its functionality and impeccable comfort. Among the most excited about this revival are the 990 avid users.  They are more than glad that their favorite line of New Balance shoes has been revived and made even better without compromising the original aesthetic of the shoe. Also, another feature worthy of good acclamation for the 990 v4’s design is the added 3M Reflectivity.  This enhancement makes the user feel more secure about their visibility during late night training sessions.

Comfort. New Balance 990 restores its iconic form in the new 990 v4 reliving the 30-year-old heritage.  The subtle updates are mostly on the aspects of the shoe that have always been important to all its users, comfort and durability.  New Balance has also always believed in the ideal blend of cushioning and stability thus it is certain that all these are made available in the new 990 v4s.  The shoe’s style and color range may also not be the most appealing in the market, but it is still always appreciated by the type of users that put functionality first before the look and design of the shoe.  With its uncomplicated design, this makes the New Balance 990 v4 easy to use and can easily be anyone’s staple everyday shoes.

Fit. The New Balance 990 v4 is made for daily practical use because of its strength being stability.  Their vast array of width size options is one of the shoe’s strong point, and it also proves that it is made to be used for maximum versatility.  New Balance clearly developed the 990 v4 with a wide range of runners and potential users in mind. The number of width selection guarantees that it can accommodate a variety of foot shapes.  All these width choices are also most helpful especially for dedicated runners that they will be able to acclimate well to the shoe measurements.

Another job well-done for New Balance based on the majority of positive reviews for the 990 v4.  The shoe aims to help aspiring athletes, professional runners, and even just a daily brisk walker reach their full potential by providing the needed stability and comfort that they require.  The New Balance 990 v4 is committed to delivering the right combination of durability and cushioning, making this shoe one of the most reliable update to an already loved classic.

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.