We spent 9.5 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

7 reasons to buy

  • One user described the New Balance 990 v5 as a shoe with a “combination of cushioning and support.”
  • Some noted the flexible unit of the 990 v5.
  • Many wearers commented about the comfortability of the shoe. Others said it was more comfortable than its predecessor, while some likened wearing the shoe to “walking on a cloud.” 
  • Several runners had a pleasant experience with wearing the shoe all day.
  • The New Balance 990 v5 was also suitable for treadmill running and elliptical workouts, according to a couple of athletes.
  • The shoe gave a snug fit that was not too tight, said a reviewer.
  • A number of wearers found the 990 v5 to fit true to size.

4 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of buyers experienced the insole to flatten out quickly.
  • The 990 v5 was heavier compared to its predecessor, according to some wearers.
  • There were several who had issues with the tongue: some said it was too thick and long; another mentioned the stitching of the tongue rubbed uncomfortable against the foot.
  • The upper’s construction was criticized by a couple of users: one commented that it was easily punctured by their big toe, while another relayed that the part that covers the instep was cutting at their skin.

Bottom line

The New Balance 990 series has retained its cult following status with the overall positive reception of the 990 v5. The shoe was praised for the comfort it provided, as well as its fit and display of versatility. However, many runners had less than satisfying experiences when it came to the shoe’s durability and weight. Despite these criticisms, the New Balance 990 v5 was still a successful release as users have recognized its improvements from the previous version and expressed their desire to repurchase the shoe in the future.



A top rated Road running shoe
A popular pick
Better rated than the previous version New Balance 990 v4

Expert Reviews

93 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews

  • 90 / 100 | Sean Go | Level 3 expert

    It gives you that good balance between a soft cushioning and just enough ground feel.

  • 98 / 100 | Samuel Sagua | Level 2 expert

    This is probably the most comfortable shoe I have... The 990 v5 has a clean design and, most importantly, zero gimmicks.

  • 94 / 100 | Picsoleated | | Level 1 expert

    The fit on these is incredible. They don't feel too loose, they don't feel too tight.

  • 93 / 100 | Vaughn JogBlog | | Level 1 expert

    If you're looking for an adult casual shoe that you can wear, possibly, at work, give [the New Balance 990 v5] a go.

  • First look | PATisDOPE

  • First look | Hibbett Sports

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  • Although some might argue that the changes are relatively insignificant, the New Balance 990 v5 strives to bring a new edition of a classic shoe by presenting an updated design, making use of premium materials, and guaranteeing superior comfort and stability. Because of its iconic and timeless appearance, the 990 v5 only updates structural elements and technologies while retaining the styling that many are familiar with.
  • The upper presents a styling that wearers of the 990 series would consider retro. In this version, it is made from suede and is aided by details from the previous iteration that were tweaked in this one, such as the TPU Powerstrap.
  • The sole unit of the 990 v5 retains the same composition of blown rubber and the proprietary Ndurance compound by New Balance.
  • Despite similarities in their heel-to-toe drops, silhouettes, and most structural elements, the New Balance 990 v5 runs a bit heavier than the previous versions.

The structure and sizing of the New Balance 990 v5 follow that of the standard running shoe. It is intended to fit true to size; however, it is recommended that buyers try the shoe in store first before buying to ensure accurate sizing. Like the previous release, the New Balance 990 v5 comes in several width options: Extra Narrow, Narrow, Medium, Wide, and Extra Wide for men’s version; Narrow, Medium, Wide, and Extra Wide for the women’s version.

The Ndurance rubber compound is a hard carbon rubber that is created to possess exceptional durability and endurance. Placed in the heel area and the lateral side of the outsole, the Ndurance promotes a sturdy shoe that is stronger and with a longer lifespan.

Meanwhile, the rest of the outsole of the New Balance 990 v5 uses standard blown rubber. This material is a little softer compared to carbon rubber, which gives the outsole a bit of cushioning. It can also withstand high levels of impact, thus providing an adequate amount of grip without unnecessary fatigue.

The midsole of the New Balance 990 v5 works with the Encap technology, which is a soft midsole cushioning that is surrounded by a rim of polyurethane. The Encap corrects foot stability and maintains the durability of the shoe; it takes the form of the ABZORB and Acteva midsole compounds.

New Balance’s ABZORB midsole is a full-length foam made from injection-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). It provides the wearer with cushioning needed for long-distance runs. In addition, the ABZORB foam encourages smooth heel-to-toe transitions.

A variant of the ABZORB foam, called the ABZORB SBS, takes cushioning up a notch in the forefoot area. The existing ABZORB material is enhanced with the help of styrene butadiene styrene (SBS), resulting in a foam that resists compression and maximizes the momentum. ABZORB SBS gives the 990 v5 a shock-absorbent unit that displaces energy for dynamic toe-offs.

A second midsole foam, the Acteva, is also present in the New Balance 990 v5. Placed directly underfoot, this component boasts of being 12% lighter than the traditional foam, as it specifically uses DuPont™ Engage® polyolefin elastomer. The Acteva provides cushioning that is flexible, resilient, and durable. 

The main components of the 990 v5’s upper are pigskin suede and open mesh. PIgskin is a material that is soft like silk but is firmer than other suede materials, thus more durable. In this shoe, the pigskin provides comfort, durability, and breathability.

On the other hand, the mesh portion can be seen as panels that are strategically placed around the shoe. It contributes to the 990 v5’s lightweight quality and gives the foot ventilation by allowing airflow.

The heel area features two significant elements. First, the collar is constructed with a dual-density foam that promotes comfort and security for a smooth, worry-free ride. Second, a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) power strap is placed near the Achilles area, which augments the snug fit of the 990 v5 by bringing a locked-down feel to the foot.

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.

The New Balance 990 series is part of the brand’s “Made” collection, which makes it one of the shoes that are custom-manufactured either in the United States or the United Kingdom. For the 990 v5, it was produced in the United States. Running shoes that belong to the Made collection are considered premium and contains a domestic value of 70% or greater.

When the 990 series was given the green-light to be produced in 1978, developers were focused on creating an ambitious running shoe that maximizes the benefits of the technologies utilized, as well as the functionalities provided by the structural elements. Cost in time and money were 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 is ready to take on a contemporary design with new features and technologies while still retaining the familiar look and innovative tradition of New Balance.

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.