Facts

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Inspired from
Collection
Price
$180
Special editions

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

18 reasons to buy

  • Big fans of the New Balance 990 series loved the 998 version as it is very comfortable; some even plan to buy more pairs.
  • This New Balance running shoe has good stability, according to a reviewer who tried it in different terrains.
  • Super cushiony with the ABZORB feature.
  • The upper is well constructed, no blemishes or stain marks.
  • The New Balance 998 has a lot of heel support.
  • Excellent quality with buttery smooth suede all around the shoe.
  • A nostalgic pair of sneakers that brings one back to the 1980s.
  • An owner of the New Balance 998 pool blue colorway said the shoe is so stylish and can be paired with almost all casual clothes.
  • Timeless casual shoe.
  • A fitness expert said this shoe is really durable with great amount of cushioning.
  • A good value for money as the shoe is made with superb workmanship.
  • A runner achieved awesome mileage using this shoe.
  • A very pleased buyer said this shoe is definitely a steal as its quality is truly exceptional.
  • One reviewer who uses the New Balance 998 customized colorway said this sneaker is dependable as it can used for training in the gym and daily errands.
  • A clydesdale runner revealed that having the extra pounds is hard on the feet, but the New Balance 998 never gave him a discomfort. He has bought 16 pairs of this model since it was released.
  • One runner said he has been using the New Balance 998 for years and considers it as the best one he has used.
  • An excellent purchase.
  • Provides good slip control.

4 reasons not to buy

  • The lining of this sneaker started to wear down in less than six months.
  • A number of reviewers noticed that the leather on the toe area of the New Balance 998 has a slight dent.
  • At least one buyer mentioned that the sole came unglued in less than one year.
  • A couple of reviewers noticed that the fit is half size bigger than their standard size.

Bottom line

New Balance 998, a runner by origin comes in an elegant cover made of premium quality suede paired with a reliable ABZORB midsole cushioning in the heel. A stylish and sporty casual shoe with a well-structured upper, excellent cushioning, and long-lasting outsole. This vintage looking shoe continues to be adored by runners, sneaker enthusiasts, and collectors globally as it has retained the high standards of workmanship New Balance training shoes have been known for, which makes its high price tag worth every cent.


Rankings


Ratings

4 / 5 based on 41 ratings

5 star
46%
4 star
27%
3 star
15%
2 star
7%
1 star
5%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

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New Balance 998 History

New Balance, a footwear brand that started out from humble beginnings in Belmont, Massachusetts as a manufacturer or orthopedic shoes and arch supports in 1906, has witnessed the transformation of athletic footwear for over a century now. The brand saw the upswing of the jogging craze during the 1980s as well as its eclipse towards the 1990s as contenders in athletic footwear became more aggressive in introducing advanced technologies for various sports shoes.

As this happens, technological evolution was taking shape as well in New Balance’s design process which led to the birth of its 990 series in 1982 and the release of New Balance 998 in the coming years.

The New Balance 990 commodity was unveiled in an era when computers were gaining popularity. In fact, Steve Jobs, a staunch New Balance supporter and the iconic co-founder of today’s leading computer software company the Apple Inc., reportedly had a hand in formulating the design concept of the original 990.

Apparently, in a letter to New Balance owner and Chairman Jim Davies back in the day, Jobs suggested revisions and attached a rough drawing of his innovation, which had more trendy and sporty features than the earlier silhouettes made by the brand.

It was later said that Jobs’ sketch became the foundation of New Balance’s creative team in conceiving the 990, a shoe with the most advanced technologies during that time fit for the high-mileage running category. It was easily received in the market as consumers were ready to pay out a huge amount for premium quality goods.

In terms of construction, the shoe cover was made with a slip-lasting technique wherein an insole board was sewn around the underside of the upper thus producing an interior without protruding seams. This involved series of work which made it more complex than the standard process of attaching the upper to the sole.

One of the advancements made on the 990 silhouette was the New Balance 998, a classic, buttery suede with breathable mesh cover unveiled in 1993, which instantly drew throngs of supporters. At the time the 998 was envisioned, New Balance was in the works of acquiring computerized equipment and highly advanced machinery for its research and development efforts. This led to the introduction of the proprietary ABZORB cushioning system.

This cushioning compound found in the heel and forefoot is made to absorb shock and disperse energy. It can also withstand impact longer than the EVA foam. It replaced the ENCAP technology used in the earlier releases like the New Balance 997.

The 998 is considered as one of the most recognizable silhouettes in the New Balance lineage that continues to have an appeal among consumers, particularly to those who favor classic style, which is why this model has been revamped sporadically since its release.

New Balance 998 Style

The New Balance 998 is highly noticeable for its premium suede upper that’s very supple and smooth. An ideal all-around shoe that’s suitable for running, workouts, business work, and everyday duties. The very plush cover and reflective detailing coming from the heel accent, heel tab, and branding of this retro-styled sneaker makes heads turn. The combination of its tonal midsole and the darker shade on its outsole give this shoe a clean, sleek allure. In totality, it offers casual elegance even when matched with a modest set of outfit.

Fit & Sizing

New Balance puts high emphasis on the fit of their shoes by strictly abiding by its prescribed shoe last standards. The shoe last is a plastic or wooden mold used in constructing the shape of the shoe and the varying dimensions of the last affect the general fit of the shoe. The New Balance 998 uses a standard measurement for the heel width, instep height, toebox depth, and forefoot width, making the shoe’s general fit true to size. This is available in US sizes from 5.5 to 11 for the women’s and 6 to 13 for the men’s.

Notable Features

The New Balance 998 is well-loved for its elegantly appealing upper made of premium materials which is why it is one of the favored vintage silhouettes by the brand that has received a number of reissues. The reflective detailing around the shoe makes it even more visible and heightens the general aesthetic look of the shoe. The oversized tongue gives it a nostalgic look and at the same time a modern appeal that keeps this vintage styled shoe on trend to this day.

Additional Info

  • The upper is mostly made of pig suede and segmented into different layers. One can come up with a personalized version of this much-sought vintage profile through the NB1 customization platform.
  • The areas of the New Balance 998 that can be altered in terms of colors are the suede toe, saddle, and heel; base underlay on the vamp which is made of mesh; sole, lining, laces, molded plastic collar accent and speedlace.
  • Thread color for the heel tab and tongue embroideries may also be customized. While there are certain areas of the shoe that can be changed to synthetic, reflective, or suede material  such as the base accent, heel tab, tongue top, heel accent, and two layers of branding on the lateral and medial sides.
  • The forefoot region of the outsole is made of rubber and offers cushioning and flexibility.
  • The carbon rubber on the heel provides durability that extends the lifespan of its sole.
  • The New Balance 998 version that has suede material on the tongue top and heel tab are designed and crafted in England. While the 998 Made in USA edition with Nubuck or Horween leather on the tongue and heel tab is 70 percent US-made. The latter bears a higher price tag.
  • Steve Jobs is a die-hard New Balance supporter who was drawn to the 99x series. It was said that he utilized each version of the shoe in most of his public engagements until it wears down. He used the shabby pair for lawn mowing.
  • Actor Ben Affleck was seen sporting the New Balance 998.
  • The most expensive variation of this vintage profile is the New Balance 998 x Horween Leather which was unveiled in two colorways: brown  and dark brown/ burgundy blend. Both colors have an entire upper covered with premium Horween leather while the ABZORB midsole is in place for the needed cushioning. This shoe eretailed at $400 at the time it was dropped in 2014.