Verdict from 4 experts and +100 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Stable: One user describes the New Balance 990 v5 as a shoe with a “combination of cushioning and support.”
  • Supple: Some noted the flexible unit of the 990 v5.
  • Comfy: Many wearers comment that it was more comfortable than its predecessor, while some likened wearing the shoe to “walking on a cloud.” 
  • All-day comfort: Several runners had a pleasant experience with wearing the shoe all day.
  • All-around: The New Balance 990 v5 is suitable for treadmill running and elliptical workouts, according to a couple of wearers.
  • Cozy: The shoe gave a snug fit that was not too tight, says a reviewer.
  • Accurate: A number of wearers found the 990 v5 to fit true to size.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Insole: A couple of buyers have experienced the insole to flatten out quickly.
  • Weighty: The 990 v5 is heavier compared to its predecessor, according to some wearers.
  • Tongue: There were several who had issues with the tongue: some say it was too thick and long; another mentions the stitching of the tongue rubbed uncomfortably against the foot.
  • Flimsy: The upper’s construction is criticized by a couple of users: one comments that it is easily punctured by their big toe.

Bottom line

The New Balance 990 series has retained its cult following status with the overall positive reception of the 990 v5. The shoe is praised for the comfort it provides, as well as its fit and display of versatility. 

Despite these criticisms, the New Balance 990 v5 is 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.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

New Balance 990 v5 vs 990 v4

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.

Upper. 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.

Sole. The sole unit of the 990 v5 retains the same composition of blown rubber and the proprietary Ndurance compound by New Balance.

Weight. 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.

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.

The New Balance 990 series is part of the brand’s “Made” collection, which makes it one of the shoes that are custom-manufactured 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.

Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.