Our verdict

The New Balance 990 series has retained its cult following status with the overall positive reception of the 990 v5. We commend the shoe mainly for the comfort it provides, as well as its fit and display of versatility. Despite not being completely perfect, we still recognize the New Balance 990 v5 as a successful release as we greatly benefited from its improvements from the previous version.

Pros

  • Supportive
  • Flexible
  • Comfy
  • All-around
  • Glove-like
  • Moderately springy midsole

Cons

  • Yielding footbed
  • Weighty
  • Bunching issues
  • Frail toebox material

Audience verdict

93
Superb!

Who should buy the New Balance 990 v5

With its blend of comfort and enduring support, the New Balance 990 v5 makes longer city excursions much more enjoyable. Add this to your shopping cart if:

  • You collect sneakers that double as fitness kicks.
  • Sneakers in which you can sprint with ease are must-haves for you.
  • You're into shoes that leave no room for air pockets or heel lift.

New Balance 990 v5 buy 

Who should not buy it

If you need something extra durable, skip the 990 v5 for the New Balance 530. Also, you're better off with the New Balance 997H if lightness is a huge deal for you.

New Balance 990 v5 dura

Keeps the arch wobble at bay

We had firsthand experience of being provided with a good combination of cushioning and support by the New Balance 990 v5.

New Balance 990 v5 support

The 990 v5's extraordinary comfort level

We can attest that this sneaker is more comfortable than its predecessor. We felt an exceptional degree of in-shoe sensation in this shoe that we thought we were strolling on pillows. 

New Balance 990 v5 comfort

A clunkier update

We discovered that the 990 v5 is heavier than its predecessor.

New Balance 990 v5 heavy

New Balance 990 v5: A multi-faceted gem

The New Balance 990 v5 is suitable for both treadmill running and elliptical workouts.

New Balance 990 v5 multi

A forgettable footbed

We are quite dismayed to realize that the shoe's insole flattens quickly.

New Balance 990 v5 footbedx

The 990 v5's agile shell

We are pleased by its combination of flexible construction and no-lift engineering as it made super-focused rides possible.

New Balance 990 v5 agile

A smothering tongue

The shoe's tongue is too thick and long, giving us that dreaded bunching feeling as a result.

New Balance 990 v5 tongue

The New Balance 990 series and its origin

One of, if not the most, popular running shoes from New Balance is the 990. With reference to the brand’s numerical naming convention, the 990 is considered to be a technologically-packed running shoe among New Balance’s line-up. Right from its inception in 1982, the New Balance 990 series has offered a combination of protection, comfort, and stability within a sophisticated package.

When the 990 series was given the green light to be produced in 1978, developers were focused on creating an ambitious running shoe that maximized the benefits of the technologies utilized, as well as the functionalities provided by the structural elements. Cost in time and money was irrelevant because the brand was determined to introduce an exceptional shoe. Thus, when the first 990 debuted in 1982, it was priced at $100, which was already considered expensive during that time.

The subsequent iterations of the 990 proved that the series only gets better with time. In 1998, the 990 v2 laid out the silhouette that became the signature look of the 990. The third version of the 990 in 2012 introduced a utilitarian look, while the fourth version in 2016 combined all the outstanding elements of the previous editions. Thus, when the time came for the 990 v5, the shoe was ready to take on a contemporary design with new features and technologies while still retaining the familiar look and innovative tradition of New Balance.

New Balance 990 v5 history