Are New Balance 990 Good for Running?

The New Balance 990 running shoe is one of the most iconic sneakers ever made. Loved by dads everywhere thanks to its classic dad shoe aesthetic, the 990 has developed a cult-like following over its multiple iterations.

But underneath the chunky exterior lies an impressive shoe equipped for logging high mileage. Here’s a deep dive into why the 990 makes an excellent running companion.

A Storied History

New Balance released the first 990 back in 1982. Priced at a then-expensive $100, the 990 introduced several new technologies like dual-density collar foam and a combination polyurethane and EVA midsole. The made in USA origins and high price tag signaled these were serious running shoes built for serious runners.

Over the years, NB continually updated the 990 while retaining its iconic silhouette. The latest versions employ the company’s premier cushioning and support features that adapt to all running gaits and foot shapes.

Specifically, the 990v5 incorporated a blown rubber outsole, ABZORB cushioning, and an ortholite insole providing soft landings without losing responsiveness.

Why the 990 Excels at Long Distances

The 990 series utilizes a number of proprietary technologies transforming these INTO versatile trainers ready for anything from short runs to marathons:

  • Dual-density collar foam – Hugely important for a secure, non-slip fit during miles of pounding the pavement. The plush foam collar literally grips your ankle while retaining its shape.
  • ABZORB cushioning – New Balance’s premium proprietary foam absorbs impact through both compression and expansion. It protects joints by reducing hard landings.
  • Blown rubber outsole – Providing the same cushioning as standard rubber but lighter, blown rubber gives the 990 incredible durability over hundreds of miles. Flex grooves also encourage smooth transitions.
  • Ortholite insole – Keeps feet cool and dry while wicking away moisture and inhibiting odor. Long runs mean lots of sweat!
  • Stabilizing technologies – Features like T-BEAM shanks, extended web guides, and full-length ABZORB Strobel boards provide a stable platform for each stride without adding rigidity.

Taken together, these techs make the 990 an ultra protective shoe able to stand up to the repeated pounding during long distance treks of 10, 15 or 26 miles.

The 990 is Especially Suited for:

  • Heavy Mileage Runners: With proper rotation, the 990 can hold up for 400-500 miles. The ample cushioning enables frequent high mileage training.
  • Runners with Plantar Fasciitis: Reviewers suffering from PF nearly unanimously praise the 990’s plush ride. The ABZORB and dual foam densitiesprevent the heel pain and discomfort associated with PF by softening each footstrike.
  • Older Runners: Mature runners appreciate both the soft landings which protect aging joints as well as the stability features guarding against injury. The 990 provides a responsive ride that accommodates low mileage.
  • Heavy Runners: Big guys experience less knee and hip pain from the top class shock absorption. And the wider profile fits larger feet while the foam collar still hugging the ankle. Heavy people like the 990’s durable build as well.

Any Downsides for Running?

The 990 evokes a decidedly old school, dad shoe vibe…which isn’t for everyone. While performance takes precedence over style, some simply can’t get past the chunky silhouette. Just know people will chuckle at the #DadSwag.

More significantly, the 990 falls on the heavy side at around 11-13 oz depending on the model. Yes the stability features add weight but contribute to a more protective ride. Regardless, faster runners and minimalists may balk at wearing what amounts to light hikers on tempo runs.

Finally that legendary durability comes with a break-in period. The stiff leather and ample padding requires a solid 25-50 miles before the midsole really starts flexing. Expect some materials tightness until you log some mileage.

Tips for Buying the 990

Since the 990 comes in different model iterations, you’ll need to learn the main differences to find the right one for you:

  • 990v3 – More structured and narrow through the midfoot with lots of midsole cushioning. Best for mild overpronators.
  • 990v4 – Wider than v3 but retains the snug midfoot fit. Softer underfoot feel with more flexibility. Accommodates medium to severe overpronation.
  • 990v5 – Complete redesign with fresh foam, modernized upper, and 10 mm drop. Appeals to a wider range of neutral runners beyond overpronators.

All versions employ premium, durable materials standing up to hardcore training. Try each on to determine the best model based on fit and cushioning preferences.

Going a half size up or wearing slightly looser laces can relieve any tightness issues as well during initial wear. After break-in, you’ll love the secure heel lockdown and foot-hugging support.

For the best prices, check out Joe’s New Balance Outlet or New Balance’s official eBay store for the biggest discounts. These outlets frequently run sale promotions allowing you to score a pair well under retail.

Ready to Run in the Iconic 990?

The 990 rightfully earned its status as a benchmarker for high mileage stability trainers after 40 years dominating the category. The latest edition continues the legacy incorporating updated materials and technologies tailored to neutral runners logging marathon training distances.

While a touch heavy and clunky looking, the 990 otherwise checks all the boxes as an accommodating workhorse ready to eat up road miles. Just be prepared to show off those stylish dad shoes along the way.

Similar Running Shoe FAQs:

Is the 990 good for walking?

With ample cushioning and support, the 990 makes an excellent walking shoe as well. The blown rubber outsole provides durability for sidewalk pounding while the ABZORB foam softens each footstrike. Just be aware of the break-in period.

Is the 992 better than the 990?

Very similar with key differences. The 992 has a lower 8mm drop encouraging midfoot striking, added Fresh Foam, and new upper materials. The 990 still has more overall cushioning while the 992 promotes softer landings through geometry. Comes down to personal preferences.

What is the difference between 990v4 and 990v5?

The v5 got slimmed down through the midfoot and introduced Fresh Foam cushioning for soft, bouncy landings. The upper modernized with an engineered mesh improving ventilation. It has a wider footprint appealing to more neutral runners vs severe overpronators.

Is the 990 good for flat feet?

With ample stability features, the 990 can accommodate flat feet. Technologies like the extended web guide prevent excessive inward rolling while the foam collar locks down flatter arches. May take experimenting with aftermarket orthotics to find the right balance of support.

How long do 990 shoes last?

Thanks to premium materials and rugged build, the 990 often lasts 400-500 miles with proper rotation. Heavier runners may get less mileage but the ABZORB foam retains cushioning longer than standard EVA. Use for hardcore training and the 990 keeps ticking for months.

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