New Balance X-90

The New Balance 99x series of running shoes has long been considered a classic since the early 1980s. Therefore, it only made sense that the brand would combine elements from each shoe within the range to create a brand new model. The end result is the X-90, which serves as the perfect balance between a vintage aesthetic and more modern functionality. The outsole's tread pattern is a throwback to older models that still provides decent traction on common surfaces. It features a full-length REVlite midsole that gives durable support and lightweight responsiveness. And its textile upper comes with suede or synthetic leather overlays depending on the buyer's preferences. As an added bonus, both men's and women's sizes are offered in a wide range of colorways to give buyers their perfect option.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons

-Versatile wear

-Easy to put on

-Fits true to size

-Impressive color range

-Lightweight and breathable


-Unusually stiff wear

Key Features
New Balance relies on a basic rubber compound to cover most of the X-90’s outsole unit. It completely coats the circumference of the underfoot and forms a geometric tread pattern that ensures decent traction on everyday surfaces such as roads and sidewalks. The center of the outsole is hollowed out, featuring only the brand’s name and a forefoot unit that includes a diamond pattern for a more secure and stabilized gait cycle. Short flex-groves are also added to the edges of the forefoot area to allow easier movement.
The brand’s REVlite midsole technology runs the full length of the X-90 to provide firm cushioning and support. And, according to the New Balance website, it also offers a high amount of responsiveness while being thirty percent lighter than standard materials. It’s also known to be surprisingly durable and enhance the overall stability of any shoe. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like this shoe would be so lightweight given its substantial midsole and bulky overlays, However, reviews show that this model is still able to give the runner a very lightweight and comfortable wear that lasts long and can easily carry them through both workouts and casual activities.
The X-90 has two different types of uppers, one with suede and textiles and another with synthetic leather and textiles. While both provide a supportive a breathable wear, the latter is obviously more vegan-friendly. Instead of a traditional tongue, it features a one-piece collar complete with a partial bootie construction for added overall support. The suede, or synthetic leather, form a combined midfoot cage and heel counter that wraps securely around the foot and integrates with the lacing system for a more lock-in fit. Its flat laces stay tied for much longer, and the metal eyelets ensure that the lacing system stays intact.
Product listings and reviews don't seem to mention the X-90's weight. Similar models found on retail sites, such as Zappos, average at around 11 oz. for men and 9 oz. for women. Given the use of suede for some versions, it's not a huge surprise to know that it weighs the same as an average stability shoe. However, according to reviewers, this model is still able to provide surprisingly a light wear no matter which version the runner chooses. This can be attributed to its REVlite midsole unit and the heavy use of textiles for its upper.
Given its heavy, stitched-on overlays, the X-90 was never going to be as breathable as several other shoes on the market. Its upper’s textile material is still completely exposed at the forefoot and along parts if the instep and collar. This allows a decent amount of air flow into the foot chamber and more specific targeting of hotspots where they occur most often. As a result, the wearer feels much more comfortable throughout the day whether they’re going out in warmer or cooler temperatures.
Most reviewers seem to be very happy with how comfortable the X-90’s wear is. The REVlite midsole runs the full length of the foot offer firm support and lightweight responsiveness. The use of two different materials for its upper ensures equal parts breathable comfort and stabilizing support. And the fact that it generally fits true to size is even better for buyers, especially considering how narrow other models have become recently. It’s still not without its downsides, however, as some buyers have complained that this shoe feels too stiff for their liking and that its break-in period is too long.
The X-90’s overall design was created by combining element’s from the brand’s 99x line, from the 1980’s all the way to modern day. The end result is an old-school aesthetic that also works in the present day. While there are some who label this model as a “dad shoe” due to is bulkier elements, most reviewers have praised its design and say that it can still pair well with a number of different casual looks. One of its best selling points is the fact that it comes in so many colorways. Buyers are offered a multitude of color combinations that include different shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, and purple. Neutral colors such as brown, white, and black are also thrown in.
Although reviews don’t indicate exactly how durable the X-90 really is, it can still be assumed that it lasts quite long. A rubber compound covers all ground-contact areas of its outsole, and its REVlite midsole unit is designed to be lightweight without sacrificing any amount of sturdiness. Its upper is also reinforced with stitched-on overlays to ensure that it maintains its overall shape for longer and can still resist damage even after being used constantly. While this model can definitely hold up to everyday wear, it’s still not a good idea to use it for more rugged activities.
Like any other casual running shoe, the X-90 gives the wearer all the protection that they’ll need for everyday life. The rubber compound covering its outsole keeps the rest of the shoe safeguarded from potential damage, and its geometric tread pattern provides decent traction on paved roads. Aside from its supportive cushioning and lightweight responsiveness, its full-length REVlite midsole is also substantial enough to protect the underfoot against jagged surfaces or sharp objects. And while the combined heel counter and midfoot cage support the foot and prevent accidental removal, its textile upper ensures proper airflow to keep odor and irritations at bay.
Aside from its firm and supportive cushioning, the X-90’s REVlite midsole provides just as much responsiveness as other materials that are 30 percent heavier. This is particularly impressive considering that the full-length unit on this model is quite substantial. As it completely supports the runner, it also permits enough shock absorption to keep their pain and fatigue levels reduced. While it may not be enough for long distance runs, this model's particular design is still perfect for a work setting or a full day of errands.
Most of the X-90’s supportive qualities are thanks to its full-length REVlite midsole, which is firm to keep the foot stabilized yet still surprisingly lightweight. It’s also quite thick, especially at the back, meaning that the runner will be sufficiently cushioned in areas where they need it most. Its upper features a partial bootie construction that comes complete with a one-piece collar unit, keeping the foot secure and providing more accurate ankle support. It suede, or synthetic, overlays also help by wrapping around the back and middle of the foot to prevent over-flexing and keep it locked into place throughout the day.
Since it’s meant for casual use, the X-90 works best on paved roads, sidewalks, and other everyday surfaces. Its outsole features a geometric tread pattern all along the outer rim for a decent grip on concrete and cement. The lightweight responsiveness of its REVlite midsole makes for supportive wear that pays off during casual runs, multiple errands, or a long day of site-seeing. And the use of two different materials for its upper allow equal amounts of comfort in both warmer and cooler weather. There’s no indication of how well it handles wet surfaces, and its materials definitely show that it’s not meant for rainy conditions.
New Balance is known to keep their prices at a much more reasonable level than Adidas or Nike, and the X-90 is further proof of this. Across all online platforms, including the brand's own website, this model runs for a reasonable $110. Even more impressive is the fact that this is just for the suede/textile version, as the one with synthetic leather is priced at only $100. Regardless of which version the runner chooses, they're still guaranteed a comfortable and casual shoe that's made with high-quality materials and can easily be worn in a number of different everyday environments.
Reviews don’t really emphasize the X-90’s level of traction, so this obviously isn’t the shoes biggest selling point. However, it does seem to be decent enough to carry the wearer securely through everyday activities and casual workouts. The circumference of it outsole features a geometric tread pattern for a continuous grip on paved roads. While most of its center portion is hollow, it does feature a diamond-shaped pattern near the forefoot to better stabilize the gait cycle. As stated before, reviews don’t indicate how well it performs on wet or slippery surfaces.
While the X-90 has been praised repeatedly for its comfortable wear and appealing design, some reviewers are not happy with how stiff it wear is. The full-length REVlite midsole unit is highly responsive and up to 30 percent lighter than standard materials, but it lacks the softness and pliability of the brand’s Fresh Foam technology. While it does work for those who prefer more stabilizing wear, others find it harder to move around in and feel that its break-in period is too long. Those who want a more cushiony feel that allows easier movement can definitely find other New Balance models that fit their needs.
Aside from ensuring a secure grip on road surfaces, the X-90’s unique tread pattern also works to steady the runner’s gait cycle and ensure a smoother toe-off. The firm cushioning provided by its REVlite midsole prevents over-flexing while its responsive nature absorbs each impact to keep the runner as stable as possible. And its stitched-on suede or synthetic, overlays form a combined heel counter and midfoot cage to help maintain the upper’s shape and prevent in-shoe wobbling or accidental removal. Its one-piece collar helps out by providing more accurate ankle support.
There is no online information that details the X-90's heel-to-toe drop height. Although, when comparing its product photos to several other models, it can be assumed that it features the average drop height of 10mm. Most runners seem to be comfortable with this particular measurement, as it gives them plenty of heel cushion without impeding on the natural gait cycle. It does, however, mean that it's not for those who prefer a low drop platform.
Key Features
-Rubber compound for outsole
-Full-length REVlite midsole
-Textile upper with suede or synthetic
-Traditional lacing system
-Partial bootie construction
-Multiple color options available
-Priced between $100 and $110
-Generally fits true to size
Bottom Line
By combing multiple design elements that were featured throughout their 99x series, New Balance created a running shoe that serves as a stylish throwback while also being able to fit into the modern day. Reviewers are offered lightweight and responsive cushioning that keeps them stable throughout the day. Its upper is offered with the standard suede overlays as well as synthetic ones for those who prefer their footwear to be vegan-friendly. As an added bonus, its impressive range of color combinations gives almost everyone the perfect option based on their lifestyle or preferences. Whether consumers choose to use this particular model for work, casual settings, or even simple training sessions is completely up to them.
Where to Buy
By Jessica Pilla
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Aug. 05. 2021

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