Who should buy the New Balance 997

It’s one of the classic-styled kicks that will mean a lot to you if you’re after:

  • oldschool sneaks in premium materials
  • superbly comfy for multiple activities
  • long-lasting NB shoes 

New Balance 997 997

Who should NOT buy it 

If its $170 price is a deal-breaker, but you prefer the same unassuming style to add among your sneaker staple, check out other vintage-inspired choices like the 574s or the all-rounder 515. These shoes are among the cheapest, falling below $80 a pair. 

Classic style with impeccable quality 

Many New Balance 997 reviewers declare that the shoes are well-made, especially the Made in USA version. Long-time followers of the 99x line consider this re-issue plusher than the earlier models.

New Balance 997 usa

Impressive impact absorption

Numerous reviewers like the REVlite cushioning for its superior impact protection and comfort.

New Balance 997 revlite

Screams ‘90s without looking outdated

Some customers love the re-issue of this early 1990s sneaker as its style reflects the nineties look that has been trending lately. 

New Balance 997 90s

It lets you enjoy stable strides

The ENCAP midsole gives protection and stability. Many users attest to the remarkable support and protection this kick offers, making it suitable for daily activities.

New Balance 997 back

Composed of well-polished layering of materials

Many buyers appreciate the excellent mixing and matching of pig suede and mesh upper material of the New Balance 997 shoes.

New Balance 997 materials

Its heel support won't disintegrate soon

A few users claim the tough polyurethane rim doesn’t chip off easily and keeps the entire shoe together.

New Balance 997 heel counter

Fewer slips with its grippy sole 

Some wearers claim the rubber outsole of the NB997 provides traction and a good grip to the ground.

New Balance 997 grip

Falls on the narrow side

Reviewers find this shoe partly slim fitting.

New Balance 997 slim

It needs frequent brushing to keep it tidy 

Lint and dirt stick to its suede cover easily. Users find it a bit challenging to keep it clean.

Lots of colors to choose from

Many users like the new color palettes used for the newly released sneakers as they are highly fashionable.

New Balance 997 history

Homegrown US brand New Balance has always been the patriotic All-American brand from Boston, Massachusetts.

The brand has remained an athletic shoe top seller because it is based on the idea that better fit and technology results in an excellent performance. The message the brand has been sending its multitude of fans is relatively simple: the shoes speak for themselves and not the stars that endorse them.

Investing in research, design, and new technology, New Balance, through the years, has shunned substantial endorsement deals in favor of shifting more focus on the shoes than on the stars.

New Balance 997 NB

The seemingly conservative principles of the brand trace back to its roots in 1906, when William J. Riley founded the company as the New Balance Arch Company in Belmont, Massachusetts. The company focused on manufacturing arch support and orthopedic shoes for several decades, concentrating on this small niche market that rarely went out of state.

New Balance’s strength lies in the quality of their shoe, durability and comfort, and their ability to respond to market needs and demands. Soon, manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts and Maine were improved, introducing computer-assisted design systems that lessen product development and production times by half.

While competitors seem to be rolling out new designs only after a year, New Balance can do it in just four months. They continued to focus on domestic production. From the 2000s up to the present, more than 70 percent of their output remained in the United States. Their production for the European market also stayed in their manufacturing plant in Flimby, England, in the United Kingdom.

Among the shoe models that have been made in the manufacturing plants of New Balance up to this day is the NB 997 of designer Steven Smith. Initially released in 1991 that resulted in huge sales, the running shoe was re-issued in 2015 with newer colorways and design collaborations with top retailers. The American brand has also maintained its pig suede upper and mesh material combination to retrograde to the 1990s hit design.

New Balance 997 nb 997

The classic New Balance 997 has released Made in USA versions promising All-American craftsmanship. It also features an upper made with Horween leather sourced from Chicago and crafted by American workers in American factories. The favorite sneaker pays homage and tribute by only using the finest high-end leathers, timeless details, and unique comfort elements.

 New Balance 997 collaborations, colorways

The new silhouette of the New Balance 997 sneaker was a favorite of many shoe retailers and personalities to tweak with their unique colorways and designs. Some of the early colorways for the New Balance 997 running shoe are grey, navy, white, and red tones.

American sneaker retailer Concepts came out with the New Balance 997 Rosé colorway for their Concepts x New Balance 997 collaboration. Dropped in their Boston and New York stores, the “Rosé” colorway was named after the famous celebratory drink and not that of the flower. The shoe has a rosy pink theme in the suede upper with an embossed crocodile textile in the tongue and heel.

In 2015, Concepts collaborated with the American brand with the New Balance 997  “Luxury Goods,” a tonal colorway released in February 2015. Hermes's luxury brand is the personal inspiration in the supple leather and suede upper dropped exclusively in the CNCPTS New York store.

In 2016, New Balance collaborated again with Horween tannery to offer the highest quality leather sneaker possible. The 997 profile received a navy with brown leather cover, soft inner lining, and a durable TPU heel counter.

American specialty fashion retailer J. Crew also collaborated with the American shoe brand in the J.Crew x New Balance 997 “Butterscotch Candy” for Spring 2016. It was followed by the New Balance 997 “Moonshot” with lunar-inspired colorway features in the off-white pigskin suede upper with midnight navy blue and white accents to mimic the look of the moon in the night sky.

Meanwhile, a New Balance 997 Air Exploration Pack offered a combination of cloud-white leather with red and blue accents inspired by US astronaut suits. Concepts renewed its collaborative partnership with New Balance for the New Balance 997 Rivalry Pack. Iced Blue and Tonal Blue colorways were also released in 2016.

Japanese lifestyle label Beauty & Youth also came out with a minimalist design, while another Horween leather-designed NB 997 was also released in the same year. 

The year 2017 was a good year for a follow-up between J. Crew and New Balance Classics. The New Balance 997 Cortado had a light tan suede upper with a dark grey midsection, with a premium vachetta tan-colored N-logo.

The classic and much-loved retro runner received the deconstructed style in the same year, followed by another collaboration, the Stance Socks x New Balance 997 First of All Pack.

Facts / Specs

Style: Classic, Sporty, Chunky
Top: Low
Inspired from: Running
Collection: New Balance ENCAP, New Balance REVlite
Closure: Laces
Designed by: Steven Smith
Material: Leather, Suede, Mesh, Rubber Sole, EVA, Denim / Fabric

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New Balance 997 unboxing and on-feet videos


Sheena is a wordsmith turned sneaker addict. Her sneaker fixation intensified as her passion for writing grew. A hands-on mom of two sweet yet spunky kids (plus three dogs and two cats), she finds solitude in leafing through shoe catalogs to find the next "it" sneaker. Scrutinizing hugely popular and underrated kicks is her favorite pastime.