Facts

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Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

Summary

We spent 8.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

10 reasons to buy

  • The majority of the buyers were very pleased that the classic New Balance 996 is back in the market.
  • Numerous reviewers were satisfied with the comfort that this classic shoe provides.
  • More than a few reviewers mentioned that the hefty price tag of this shoe is worth it given its superior quality and durability.
  • Many also appreciate its retro appeal. There were also comments that it looks great and stylish.
  • This shoe delivers in terms of support and traction, as mentioned by a number of buyers.
  • The New Balance 966 is an excellent shoe that most of the reviewers buy year after year.
  • A large number of buyers said that this is the kind of shoe that they will highly recommend to their friends and family.
  • This particular shoe is lightweight compared to other New Balance shoe models, according to a few users.
  • Many buyers appreciate that this shoe is made in the USA.
  • Some were pleased that the shoe they purchased is the same as how it is described online.

3 reasons not to buy

  • There were some comments mentioned that this shoe is narrower than the other New Balance models.
  • Since lots of people wanted to get a hand on a pair of this shoe, one reviewer finds it difficult to get one in his size.
  • A small number of reviewers said that the New Balance 996 could use a little more cushioning and stability.

Bottom line

A favorite go-to shoe by many since ’88, the New Balance 996 has been one of those sneakers that provide comfort and support to the feet without sacrificing style. It has this cool look of a classic, old-school shoe that goes well with almost anything. Those who have tried on and tested a pair were generally impressed with its superior quality and the excellent support and comfort that it provides to the feet. Further, New Balance takes pride in the fact that their shoes are made in the USA, unlike other shoes from other shoe brands and it is something that many consumers appreciate.


Rankings

Best rated New Balance sneakers: Add to compare

Ratings

4.4 / 5 based on 54 ratings

5 star
69%
4 star
20%
3 star
0%
2 star
9%
1 star
2%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

Experts are running shoe geeks, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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New Balance 996 History

The New Balance 996 was first released in 1988 and one of its main selling points? It was made in America, unlike shoes from other brands that outsourced their shoes from Asian factories.

It belongs to the New Balance 990 Series, which was first conceptualized in 1978 and took four long years of research and development before the first shoe was released. The first of this series, the New Balance 990, dropped in 1982 as a running shoe that perfectly balances flexibility and support. Back in the day, running shoes were made in a way such that these two factors cannot be both applied on a shoe; it was always either of the two but the introduction of the 990 changed that perception. New Balance made it possible by utilizing a “slip-lasting” technique on the upper and a polyurethane heel-cradle or the “Motion Control Device (MCD)”.

It took another four years before the next model in the 990 Series was released, the New Balance 995. It made history as the first running shoe to cost $100. It was a risky move for the brand, but consumers welcomed it positively mainly because the shoe featured one of the brand’s technologies, the ENCAP sole unit.

Next in the list is the New Balance 996. Unlike the minor upgrades on the 995 from the original 990, the 996 release was considered a “complete overhaul” and it was presented as the “ultimate hybrid”. It still features the ENCAP sole unit, but is enhanced with a dual density C-cap midsole for greater stability and cushioning, as well as overall support. The outsole of this model is two-toned, which is composed of blown and carbon rubber.

Several other models were released under the 990 series throughout the years, such as the 997 in 1990, the 998 in 1993, the 999 in 1996, the 990V2 in 1998, the 991 in 2001, the 992 in 2006, the 993 in 2008, the 990V3 in 2012, and the 997.5 and the 990V4 in 2016.

New Balance 996 Style

The New Balance 996 is a classic shoe that still remains relevant in the sneaker market 29 years after it initially dropped. With its silhouette based on a running shoe, it exhibits a sporty appeal that will surely make any outfit stylish without sacrificing comfort. It is often worn with a casual outfit or even as a business-casual shoe.

Fit & Sizing                                                          

This classic New Balance 996 is a shoe that both men and women could wear. It is offered on the market in sizes 6 to 13 in D Standard width for men, and in sizes 5.5 to 11 in B Standard width for women. It features a lace up closure that allows a customized, adjustable fit and leather overlays for the needed additional foot support.

Notable Features

The New Balance 996 has been known for its classic cut and style. It features a combination of high-quality suede and mesh materials on the upper, usually with reflective “N” logo, heel tab, and lateral accents. Unlike most New Balance models, the 996 also features perforation details (three small holes) on the lateral sides for added breathability.

Additional Info

  • The tongue of this shoe displays the New Balance 996 branding.
  • Maximum support and stability are achieved in this shoe through its ENCAP midsole technology. It is a technology that combines a sturdy and supportive rim of polyurethane and a supple cushioning core of EVA.
  • ABZORB cushioning, another technology from New Balance, is utilized in this shoe as well. It provides outstanding shock absorption in the midfoot.
  • In 2006, New Balance collaborated with two Japanese retailers, Whiz Limited and Mita Sneakers in dressing up the classic 996. The Whiz Limited x Mita Sneakers x New Balance 996 features shades of brown leather, off-white accents, and vibrant orange suede upper on the toe cap. The perforation details were updated to three small stars.
  • New Balance also collaborated with J. Crew for the 996 model. In July 2015, the “Neptune Blue” colorway was released, which features different shades of blue in suede and mesh upper.