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New Balance re-introduced its 896 tennis shoe with a more modern and straightforward aesthetic. By striking out the leather covering from the previous profile and carving the outsole, this re-invented trainer turns out to be a lot lighter.
Mesh is stretched out on the entire cover as well as in the liner to promote breathability. Synthetics and sturdy components are assembled on high-wear zones of the upper to enhance durability. For improved traction, this second iteration is modified with a full-length herringbone tread.
New Balance 896 versions 2 and 3 offer the same supportive and adaptive shape utilizing the Fantom Fit technology. These profiles also feature the lightweight and innovative REVlite midsole that’s designed to deliver responsive cushioning.
The significant difference between the two court-dominating shoes lies in the design of the upper. The New Balance 896v2 is assembled with the NDure foot cage for added durability, while the 896v3 has a fused synthetic, which is thinner to keep its weight ultra-light. The latter version also comes with a moisture-wicking liner to keep it fast-drying and more comfortable than its predecessor.
Composition. To prolong the operational life of the shoe, New Balance incorporated an abrasion-resistant rubber compound called NDurance in the outsole.
Traction. The high-wear medial section has a solid modified herringbone tread pattern. On the lateral side, it has tight tread for stability during slides.
Weight. Unlike the previous model, the underside of this shoe has a cut out under the arch to make its weight lighter.
Extra support. As additional support on the forefoot, the proprietary NDure cage is placed at the tip. It also works as a protective guard during toe dragging.
Shock-absorption. Still, in the context of keeping this shoe light, the brand devised it with the REVlite shock-absorbing technology. Such a foam compound is 30 percent lighter than the standard midsole units. This material is crafted to provide an equal amount of responsiveness and stability without minimizing underfoot cushioning.
Heel drop. There’s an approximately 10mm difference between the heights of the heel and toe. Such heel drop grants a noticeably raised heel. The added height on the rear side provides the springiness when readying for a swing, pushing towards the net, moving sideways, or doing a variety of stances.
Lightness. New Balance utilizes a form-fitting, engineered cover called Fantom Fit. It’s a fusion of two materials that helps to slash down tons of weight while keeping the shoe flexible. Specifically, NB replaced the leather material used in the first version of the 896 with more substantial synthetic leather. The synthetic is fused to a mesh material using a no-sew process that’s supposed to deliver a pliable and soft feel.
Breathability. The combination of synthetic and mesh is meant to allow air to circulate in and out of the shoe. The perforated tongue lets more air to flow throughout the shoe.
Moisture-absorption. Using the NB Ice inner fabric, this shoe features a fast-drying process, which intends to grant comfort, especially during prolonged game sessions.
Added protection. For extra comfort, the heel collar is developed with padding. It also helps lock the heel down during directional movements.