Summary

We spent 5.8 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

12 reasons to buy

  • The smooth, impressive suede detailing on the low-top New Balance 997 Desert Heat dominates the upper and offers a clean finish, described in some reviews.
  • The striking variance of colors on the upper and sole imparts a desirable style, highlighted by a couple of users.
  • The ankle collar of the black version has a reflective finish which pops at night, noted by a New Balance loyalist.
  • The reptile-like skin accent puts a high value on this 997 edition, one user explained.
  • Buyers are pleased that the upper is well stitched and does not have adhesive residues.
  • The rubber outsole does not wear right away as it is fabricated with a compound that lasts for a long time, attested by a significant sum of wearers.
  • The ENCAP cushioning placed in the heel of the low-top 997 Desert Heat absorbs shock, reducing a great deal of stress from that area of the foot up to the leg.
  • The C-cap foam that lies towards the forefoot grants flexibility which makes walking and running pleasurable.
  • A couple of buyers pointed out the embroideries on the tongue and heel are accurately and neatly done.
  • Quite a good number of wearers said the padded interior offers a comfortable, snug fit.
  • A decent choice of sneaker that is built with plush materials and worth its value.
  • Has a striking outsole that offers remarkable traction, mentioned by over a handful of users.

1 reasons not to buy

  • One unsatisfied reviewer was unamused that this shoe is offered in standard width only.

Bottom line

 

New Balance has developed an exceptional reputation on its own which is evident in the number of well-crafted variations of the 997 heritage classic. One that has an old-school character blended with modern styling is the low-top New Balance 997 Desert Heat. Its cover is constructed with premium decorative features, assembled with almost has zero blots, blemishes, and discoloration. It’s equipped with cutting-edge technologies that offer cushioning, comfort, flexibility, and support to the feet. Be ready though as this cannot be bought for a song.

Facts

Base model: New Balance 997
Top: Low
Inspired from: Running
Collection: New Balance 997
Designer: Steven Smith
Price: $210
Special editions: 2 special editions
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Expert Reviews

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  • First look | Samuel Sagua

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The New Balance’s 997 Desert Heat low-top sneakers are true to size and accessible in men’s sizes from 8 to 12 US. This variation of the 997 classic silhouette is designed with the same lace-up closure as the previous models, which offers a personalized, secure fit.

Several models that belong to the New Balance 990 series are given a splash of summer-inspired colorways, particularly the Desert Heat pack, and this includes the low-top New Balance 997. These men’s casual sneakers exude a classic appeal and available in bright but not flashy upper color combinations as well as summer midnight tones of black and lilac.

The lighter version has a mesh forefoot while the darker one has perforated suede in the same region. The low-top New Balance 997 Desert Heat puts a glow to one’s laid back casual wear whatever time of the day.

One of the standout characteristics of the low-top New Balance 997 Desert Heat is the fact that this model went through a meticulous process of craftsmanship as it is produced in NB’s USA and UK factories. The brand did not scrimp in sourcing out materials for this 997 edition as its upper is made of premium, velvety suede, breathable mesh, and synthetic textiles. The desirability of this model does not rest on its appearance as it is fabricated with cushioning features, mainly the proprietary ENCAP technology in the midsole, that increases the comfort advantages of this sneaker.

One brand that has remained steadfast in delivering products billed as “Made in the USA” is New Balance. For many decades, this Boston-based brand has been producing sneakers from its five factories based in Maine and Massachusetts, employed with American workers. The company carries on such tradition especially since its chairman and chief executive Jim Davis is very much committed to domestic manufacturing.

When running became a craze in the 1970s to 1980s, several competing shoe brands expanded overseas tapping laborers outside the USA, chiefly from Asia to meet the increasing demand of consumers. New Balance did not go with the trend and banked on local production, putting more value on quality over quantity. As a result, a significant percentage of American customers continued to patronize New Balance products.

One of the famous designs issued by New Balance in 1991 and labeled as “Made in the USA” is the 997. Constructed initially as a running shoe, the New Balance 997 is made with more visible heel counter and higher midsole height versus the earlier models, the New Balance 995 and 996.

The popularity of this 997 version prompted New Balance to manufacture this model concurrently in its UK factory and facilities in the USA. It is for this reason that in the coming years New Balance 997 Made in England are made available in the market. One of the variations of the 997 crafted both in USA and UK is the summer-inspired Desert Heat Pack. This iteration is composed of premium materials sourced from such regions.

Just like the USA versions, the UK-made low-top New Balance Desert Heat sneakers are fashioned with a high level of craftsmanship, which makes much appeal to sneakerheads and sneaker collectors. As such, this model comes with a steep high price tag, which retailed at $210 on its initial drop.

  • The ENCAP feature is a New Balance cushioning technology built into the midsole.
  • The ENCAP is made of a piece of foam compound bounded by a sturdy polyurethane (PU) material. This particular foam is placed in the heel area of specific models like the low-top New Balance 997 Desert Heat designed to absorb impact.
  • New Balance partnered up with lifestyle apparel retailers and fashion designers in producing original color patterns for the low top New Balance 997, namely: J. Crew x New Balance 997, Concepts x New Balance 997, Nonnative x New Balance 997, and Stance x New Balance 997, among others.

Comparison