New Balance 990v3

8.2
8.2 score
[Editors rating (8.3) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.2)/10

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New Balance 990v3 Review Facts

The all-American manufactured 990 is a defining and iconic shoe for New Balance. The 990v3 has a similar near-angular design like its predecessors, but improves the soles, cushioning and support. It has a stable look and an excellent heel design. The forefoot is made from Blown Rubber for a soft feel while maintaining responsiveness with a second material being its NDurance rubber for durability. The midsole is made from ABZORB to cushion against shock and Encap EVA for support, durability, and cushioning. The collar is dual-density with a softer foam against the foot for cushioning and a firmer foam on the outside for support. The shoe is reflective for visibility in low-light conditions. It is flexible enough to run up and down in, but stable enough for daily running. The 990v3 is a good fit for a variety of foot profiles, such as over-pronation or plantar fasciitis. In short, the 990v3 is a nice addition to the iconic New Balance 990 series.

Pros
  • Comfortable and supportive shoe for a good price
  • Good breathability
  • Classic look available in a variety of color combinations
  • Stability shoe good for mild to moderate over-pronation
  • Good for runners with plantar fasciitis
  • Good push-off and leverage abilities
Cons
  • The outsole disintegrates after 70-80 miles,
  • Not designed for rough or irregular terrain:
  • A bit of a heavyweight; can be bulky for racing
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

New Balance 990v3's outsole makes it a good daily running shoe. It uses a blown rubber forefoot for the softer feel of cushioning while maintaining responsiveness and traction. The NDurance rubber in the lateral areas and heel is for maximum durability. It uses slightly less rubber than the previous versions in order to reduce weight and has bigger grooves in the forefoot for flexibility. The reviewers' two problem areas are that the outsole disintegrates after 70-80 miles and it smells when wet. The outsole provides cushioning, responsiveness, traction, and flexibility, and the grooves make the 990v3 a good choice for running on roads.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole offers excellent cushioning, as well as stability and shock absorption. The ABZORB foam lies directly beneath the foot in the form of a removable insole, providing cushioning and absorbing shock. It also provides stability for runners with a forefoot strike running pattern, as well as some arch support to prevent over-pronating. ACTEVA LITE, which is just above the outsole for improved responsiveness, is 24% lighter than average foam. The Encap foam in the heel provides even more cushioning and improves acceleration. Beneath the arch is a a TPU post that stabilizes the foot. The cushioning, support, and shock absorption make the New Balance 990v3 a good shoe choice for someone with plantar fasciitis because they help eliminate pain during walking and running.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper is made of Nubuck leather, pigskin, and mesh, giving it a classic New Balance look, reducing the weight of the shoe, and allowing for breathability during a run. It also provides durability and protection. The toe box is roomy and comfortable, so there are no problems with rubbing or itching during motion, even during descents. The reinforced sides near the heel of the upper give good ankle support to prevent rolling and, along with the lacing system, keep the foot in place. The dual-density collar provides a firm foam for support and a soft foam for cushioning. The tongue is padded. The upper also features reflective details for visibility in low-light conditions. The synthetic overlays aren't as thick as previous versions, providing comfort and stability but making the shoe lighter.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The 990v3 women's size 8 shoe weighs 10.5 oz. and the men's size 10 shoe weighs 13.4 oz. This is half an ounce lighter than the previous 990 shoe, using less rubber in the outsole, lighter foam in the midsole, and thinner overlays in the upper. However, the rubber and foam that make the shoe good for over-pronators and runners with plantar fasciitis make it a bit heavier than some other similar shoes, which is why some buyers stated that they don't recommend the 990v3 for racing, speed training, or long-distance runs.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The breathability of the 990v3 is due to the mesh lining in the upper, which is lightweight and breathable. The mesh creates good airflow that prevents blisters and overheating, even when under pressure. However, some reviewers noted that the suede in the upper doesn't provide good breathability in hot weather or during fast runs. This means that during the summer or in warmer climates, buyers should run in early mornings or evenings when the weather is cooler, and that, due to lack of breathability in heat and the heavy weight of the shoe, the 990v3 isn't a good racing shoe.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The New Balance 990v3 uses a few technologies that make it a comfortable shoe. Encap gives cushioning and stability to the rear of the foot. ABZORB foam in the removable insole provides cushioning, stability, support, and shock absorption. The dual-density foam in the collar cushions the ankle while also giving support, and the tongue is padded for additional comfort. The outsole's blown rubber in the forefoot provides a softer feel when walking or running but is also responsive enough to run up or down inclines. The shoe is flexible enough to move in, fits true to size so there is no rubbing or itching during motion, and has a comfortable amount of room in the toe area. Many reviewers noted how comfortable the shoe is and recommended it for various foot profiles.
Style
Style

Style

The 990v3 has a classic New Balance style that many reviewers love. The shoe is available in many color combinations for runners with different tastes, although some styles may have limited availability because some stores have discontinued the 990v3 after the 990v4 was released. Men can choose between grey, black, navy, dark grey, granite, burgundy, denim blue/grey, red/white/black, red/gold, grey/white, blue/red/white, beige, grey/light grey, and navy/grey. Women have the choice of black, grey, white/blue, navy, grey/pink, aquamarine, black/black, or navy/white. Reflective detailing enhances visibility in low-light conditions, such as darkness or fog, which makes the shoe a good choice for foggy morning walks or evening jogs.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The two main features that improve durability are the NDurance rubber in the lateral area and heel and the Encap EVA midsole that also provides support and cushioning. While the design improves flexibility, comfort, weight, and stability compared to previous version, reviewers have reported that the 990v3 outsole disintegrates after 70-80 miles, with some reviewers noticing bits of rubber coming off after just one run over a rough surface. The disintegration factor makes the 990v3 not a good choice for long distance runs such as marathons or half-marathons, or for going over rough surfaces like trails or cross-country running, but it is good for short distance daily road runs.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The 990v3 is a popular shoe choice for mild to moderate over-pronators and for runners with plantar fasciitis, with multiple buyers stating that their doctor recommended this shoe to them. The ABZORB midsole offers both support and shock absorption, and the collar and heel support help keep the ankle from rolling. The cushioning and stability features work together to make this a good shoe choice for runners who have suffered from knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and over-pronation.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

This shoe has good push-off and leverage abilities. The ENCAP midsole makes stride patterns more comfortable and aids pushing off and acceleration. The blown rubber forefoot gives a soft feel while allowing responsiveness. The heel support gives spring while providing enough resistance to keep it from rolling. The 12mm drop promotes forward momentum. The 990v3 is half an ounce lighter than the previous version, which gives even more spring to the runner's step and makes it good for running, walking, and everyday use.
Support
Support

Support

The New Balance 990v3 utilizes a few different technologies to provide support to runners. The dual-density collar offers cushioned support around the ankle. The Encap EVA midsole provides support near the rear of the foot. The ABZORB midsole offers good support for runners with a forefoot strike running pattern. The heel support keeps the ankle from rolling. Some buyers noted a lack of arch support, so runners who need more support may want to consider using an arch support or adding an insole. The 990v3 is a good shoe for over-pronators and runners with plantar fasciitis.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The outsole of the 990v3 makes it a good choice for running on roads, in gyms, or surfaces with only minimal irregularities. It is durable enough to get a good number of miles for daily runners, but not durable enough for long distance runs or runs over rough surfaces. Many reviewers have reported that the rubber smells when wet, so this isn't a good shoe for wet surfaces. It doesn't have the right grip for icy surfaces. The sole is flexible and moves with the runner's foot, which makes climbing and descending paved roads easy.
Price
Price

Price

The New Balance 990v3 was initially on the pricey side for a road running shoe, which was a major complaint from multiple reviewers, but after the 990v4 came out many retailers listed the shoe at half price or less. This new price, along with the many features improved from the older 990 shoes, makes this shoe a great choice either for daily walks and runs or for use as an everyday shoe.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The 990v3 has grooves that provide traction for roads, gyms, or flat surfaces with small irregularities. It doesn't have proper traction for icy or slippery terrain, nor is it durable enough for going on rough trails or cross country. The traction means this is a good daily walking or running shoe but isn't a good choice for longer runs or going over rough terrain.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The New Balance 990v3 is a flexible shoe by design. The outsole is uses big flex grooves in the forefoot, making climbing and descending easy. The foam in the midsole provides cushioning but also allows the foot to bend in order to push off during strides. The upper is sturdy enough to prevent rolling and over-pronation but flexible enough to run over inclines. Overall, the shoe is flexible enough to allow the foot to move comfortably during running, but stable enough to keep the foot in place in order to prevent injury.
Stability
Stability

Stability

New Balance's 990 series is categorized under stability. These shoes are designed for runners who have flexible arches that over-pronate, or collapse inwardly, and are designed to prevent problems such as knee pain, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. The Encap midsole provides stability to the rear of the foot. The ABZORB insole provides stability for runners with a forefoot strike running pattern. The overlays reinforce the heel lockdown and the dual-density collar helps keep the ankle from rolling. This shoe is stable enough for mild to moderate over-pronators, the majority of runners that over-pronate, but a severe over-pronator would require a shoe with more structure.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Both the men's and women's shoe have a heel height of 32 mm and a toe height of 20 mm, giving the shoe a drop of 12 mm. New Balance notes that due to variances during development and manufacturing, this number is approximate. A 12 mm drop has been the standard since the 1980s because it promotes forward momentum, adds cushioning to the heel, and takes strain off the Achilles tendon.
Key Features of the 990v3
Key Features of the 990v3

Key Features of the 990v3

  • Dual-density collar provides a soft foam for cushioning and a firm foam for support

  • Blown rubber forefoot gives a softer feel while maintaining responsiveness

  • ABZORB midfoot cushioning reduces shock

  • Encap EVA midsole provides cushioning and support while maintaining durability

  • NDurance rubber outsole provides maximum durability

  • Reflective detailing enhances visibility in low-light conditions
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The New Balance 990v3 is a good road running shoe for daily runs. It gives support to mild to moderate over-pronators and is comfortable enough for someone who suffers from plantar fasciitis, with multiple reviewers stating that their doctor recommended this shoe to them. It is lighter than the previous version and has improved cushioning, support, and flexibility. It also has good breathability and responsiveness.

The weight, durability over long distances and rough surfaces, and the problem with the rubber's reaction to water could use improvement, but the attractive price and improved features make the 990v3 a good daily walking and running or everyday shoe.