New Balance 690 v4 Fully Reviewed & Compared

The New Balance 690 v4 is a streamlined, back to basics kind of shoe. This is not the shoe for the individual looking for all the bells and whistles; however, this is a great shoe if you want a neutral running shoe that can take you through your speed workouts and your long runs.

New Balance is known for the quality construction and the 690 is no different. The fourth version of this shoe adds elements to up the traction, durability and cushioning. Runners loved the flexibility and stretch that these shoes offered, but commented that if you are looking for a show with added stability, this won't be your top choice.

Although they are light shoes, runners were pleasantly surprised that these shoes could go the distance and still feel cushioned and comfortable. Plus these shoes are a stylish choice for the runner who cares about looking good as they cross the finish line or as they run errands around time. Add to all of this an extremely reasonable price tag and you'll have a hard time finding something to dislike about the New Balance 690 v4.


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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Affordable price tag
  • Comes in a variety of sizes, including width sizes D, B, 2E, and 4E
  • Feather-light and bouncy feel
  • Very long-lasting
  • Cons
    • Runs one size too small
    • Some felt the shoe was too firm
    • Doesn't offer extra stability
    • Key Features
      The fourth version of the 690s added improved treads to the outsoles to raise the level of traction and durability. Other than this feature, however, the outsole of this model is a no-frills, durable, streamlined rubber. A no-frills ride does not mean that this is not a good shoe. In fact, the outsole of this shoe was reported to keep this shoe running much longer than other brands of similar design.
      The fourth version of the 690s uses IMEVA (injection-molded) foam in the midsole. Overall, most midsole materials fall into two categories: IMEVA (injection-molded EVA foam) or CMEVA (compression molded EVA foam).

      All in all, injection molded midsoles have a higher rate of cushioning and responsiveness while the CMEVA tends to be more firm. Plus, IMEVA midsoles tends to be lighter than their compression counterparts, so this is a shoe for a runner looking for a lighter, more cushioned midsole.
      The upper of this New Balance 690 v4 is made using a combination of synthetic materials and a breathable mesh. This shoe utilizes a seamless construction to reduce friction and irritation during runs. In addition to seamless construction, the upper also includes an extra large overlay that extends the length of the upper.

      The construction is designed to secure the heel and reduce slippage or irritation. The combination of limiting the irritation a runner will feel during a run combined with added breathability makes this a smart shoe for a runner who cares about staying comfortable on their runs.
      At 9.1 ounces, this is not a shoe that is going to weigh you down. Currently, the average weight of a running shoe is 9.6 ounces. While this shoe does not come in too much below that mark, it does have a feather like feel to it. Runners reported that the New Balance 690 v4 was a great shoe for their daily run and they appreciated the glove-like feel of the shoe, including its lightness.
      An air mesh and synthetic upper create a well-ventilated system. This shoe offers top quality breathability to the runner in order to keep the foot cool and dry. For those of us who are running in warmer climates or during the summer months, we know the difficulty of training in the heat. The New Balance 690 v4 reduces hot spots and helps keep your feet nice and dry.
      The New Balance 690 v4 received high marks for their comfort. They are lightweight shoes and have a more natural feel, but they still provide added cushioning. In addition to the cushioned feel of the IMEVA foam of the midsole, added comfort comes from the roomy toe box and added stretch in the heel. The upper is breathable and designed to keep the foot dry and cool even in hot long runs. While you won't get a plush ride from these shoes, they do offer a supportive, firm, cushioning that gives the runner the best of both worlds.
      If you want a shoe that is going to look good whether you are running errands around town or running across the finish line, this shoe is a nice choice for you. Stylish runners agreed that the fourth version of the 690s has a streamlined upper that looks great on the foot.
      Additionally, these shoes come in a choice of either the more classic style in navy, black or gray, but you can also get them with a unique lighting design, an eye-catching neon green or a vibrant royal blue. If fashion is your passion, these are a classically good looking shoe for you.
      The rubber of the outsole keeps these shoes going mile after mile. For a lightweight shoe, reviewers raved about their durability. The synthetic and mesh combination of the upper keeps them looking new even after extended wear. The IMEVA foam of the midsole keeps the shoe light with just the right amount of cushioning, and it absorbs shock and doesn't easily break down. These shoes last long and they are much lower on the price scale than some other running shoes in their category. They have a reputation for their long-lasting durability.
      The fourth version of the 690s greatly reduced the amount of stitching, especially on the forefoot overlay. The new construction is designed to reduce irritation and friction. Less friction means that the runner can run longer without needing to stop due to discomfort. Another new addition to the New Balance 690 v4 is the extended overlay on the upper that helps to keep the heel in place.
      One of the best-reported features of this shoe is the high level of responsiveness. It is a lightweight racer for the neutral runner. The rubber outsole material is durable, but that doesn't mean it is overly thick. The flexible material of the upper and midsole help this shoe feel very close and responsive to the road.
      While this shoe does offer a light degree of cushioning from the IMEVA foam in the midsole, runners should not expect to receive a high level of support from this shoe. It is a great shoe for the neutral runner who doesn't need extra arch support. The upper provides a snug feel that hugs the foot without feeling constrictive. The eight mm drop is great for the neutral runner.
      The New Balance 690 v4 is made for the road and the track. Runners reported that because of its lightweight design and fast feel, this is a great shoe to take to the track for sprints. Likewise, it is also a great shoe to take on your long runs as part of your marathon training. The versatility of this roadrunner makes it a great buy because there is no need to purchase one shoe for your speed workouts and another to log your long runs. This is a shoe that is great for both distance and intensity.
      New Balance is a trusted brand, and while some of their models are certainly on the high-end of the price spectrum, but this shoe is very affordable. If affordability is your top priority, this is a good choice for you. When considering the price, it is just as important to consider a shoe's durability as it is to consider the shoe's price tag.

      A shoe could be on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, but if it breaks down easily and needs to be replaced more frequently than it isn't really a bargain. With the New Balance 690 v4, you get the best of both worlds: a shoe that is affordable and durable!
      The rubber outsole of the New Balance 690 v4 can take you safely on the track or the road. This is not a shoe that is suggested for offroad hiking or intense terrains. The improved treads on the 4th version of this shoe help add traction to this shoe, but not so much that you should be attempting to take this shoe on overly slippery, uneven terrain. There are lots of great trail running shoes on the market today, but this shoe is not one of them.
      The lightweight design, breathable air mesh of the upper, the thinner outsole, and IMEVA midsole foam help to make this a very flexible shoe. Runners appreciated that they felt that their foot could move easily on their runs, but still felt secure. This shoe offers a nice combination of flexibility and security for the runner who is concerned with both.
      This is not a stability shoe. An overpronator (a runner who tends to roll their ankles inward on each stride) needs a shoe that offers more support and stability, but the New Balance 690 v4 is designed for a neutral runner. It offers a firmly cushioned feel and limited arch support.

      There are many wonderful options for a runner who is in need of extra stability, but this shoe does not fall into that category. Runner reported that this was a great choice for running, but not a suitable shoe to use in activities that required a lot of side to side movement.
      The 8 mm drop of the New Balance 690 v6 classifies it as a neutral running shoe. The weight of the shoe (9.1 ounces) affords it light and responsive feel for the runner who enjoys feeling the road beneath them but still needs a slight level of arch support.
      This not the shoe for a runner who is looking for extreme arch support or for a runner looking a zero drop. This shoe is the baby bear of the running world. Not too cushioned, but not too minimalistic, but just right!
      Key Features
      - IMEVA foam in the midsole
      - Affordable price tag
      - Stylish look
      Bottom Line
      New Balance is a quality, trusted brand. Not only are they designed and produced in America, but New Balance also doesn't spend money on celebrity endorsements because they believe in putting their money into the research and development it takes to make the best running shoe possible.

      The 690 v4 is no exception to the quality and trust of the New Balance brand. This is a no frills shoe that is ideal for logging long miles. New Balance 690 v4 is a perfect shoe for a neutral runner who is looking for a lightweight shoe that is flexible and responsive. It is a low cost running partner that has great durability and holds up to the miles you can put on it.
      Where to Buy
      By Stacey O'Connor
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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