The Evolution of the New Balance 990

Friend to Your Feet and Icon on the Street
New Balance 990v6 Made in the USA
Sneaker culture has become a global phenomenon, with iconic brands and models taking center stage. One such model that has stood the test of time is the New Balance 990. But, Why is it so popular?

Since its inception in the 1980s, the 990 has continually evolved, improving its technology and silhouette, and reaching a broad base of customers- solidifying its position as a sneaker icon. 

Beck’s Shoes is a proud New Balance distributor, and is particularly honored to be the first distributor in Northern California of the 990v6! This latest model is evidence of the company’s persistence in continuing to create and evolve, as knowledge of shoe science expands through time. 

To see how this sneaker icon has made its name, let’s delve into the rich history and evolution of the New Balance 990, exploring its enduring popularity and influence on the sneaker industry!

The 990v1 - The Birth of a Legend:

New Balance 990v1
The Original New Balance 990v1 Running Shoes

New Balance History began to be made when the New Balance 990 was first introduced in 1982, breaking new ground with its innovative design and made in USA-craftsmanship. At a time when quality was repeatedly being sacrificed in an attempt to lower prices, and work was being outsourced overseas, New Balance maintained integrity and pushed to create a quality, domestically made shoe. 

Notably, It was the first performance running shoe to feature a price tag over $100, making it a symbol of luxury and caliber. The 990 quickly gained a cult following among serious runners for its exceptional comfort and durability, offering a supportive motion control footbed. But, it was revered by daily wearers as well.

Truly, the 990 was an overnight sensation that would go on to become a well deserved icon.

The 990v2 - Refining the Classic:

New Balance 990v2
New Balance MADE990v2 Sneakers

In 1998, New Balance released the 990v2, building upon the success of its predecessor. For years, after the 990v1 was first introduced, the company continued to evolve on the classic with other such models as the 995 and 999. But, this new iteration flipped the company’s strategy on its head, as they went back to the original for an overhaul that would include updates such as an improved shock absorbing midsole and a sleeker silhouette. 

New Balance 990 celebrity endorsements during this time included Teddy Santis, the brain behind the fashion and lifestyle brand, “Aimé Leon Dore”, a prominent figure in the urban menswear scene of New York City. Much like the success of the New Balance 990, Santis made an unsuspecting rise to the top, as with no previous fashion experience, he garnered the attention of urban fashion enthusiasts with his work for New Balance. Combined with Santis’s endorsement and appreciation for design, the 990v2 continued to showcase New Balance’s commitment to quality and performance, solidifying its reputation as a go-to choice for athletes and sneaker enthusiasts alike.

The 990v3 - Modernizing the Classic:

New Balance 990v3
New Balance MADE990v3 Sneakers

As the new millennium dawned, New Balance unveiled the 990v3 in 2012. Widely regarded as the New Balance 990 most popular model, this version brought significant updates to the beloved shoe, incorporating advanced technologies and materials. Visually, the most noticeable difference is the use of mesh, rather than the typical pig skin suede that New Balance had become famous for. This addition made the shoe more breathable and focused on daily wear rather than simply performance. In addition, the midsole shock absorption technology of the previous generation of shoe was swapped out for the ENCAP midsole, which was more focused on heel support. The shoe’s design was refined for a more streamlined look, while still maintaining the iconic elements that made the 990 a fan favorite.

The 990v4 - A Shoe For the Ages

New Balance 990v4
New Balance 990v4 Sneakers

The 990v4, released in 2016, exemplified the perfect balance between heritage and innovation. Building upon the success of its predecessors, this iteration featured a sleeker profile, improved cushioning, and a premium pigskin suede upper. The 990v4 became a staple in both athletic and fashion circles, particularly as they partnered with California based brand, “Stussi”, reaching a new demographic and garnering praise for its comfort and timeless design. As they embraced the “dad shoe“ label they had been dubbed with, even enlarging the “N” branding, the New Balance 990v4 swarmed the market, and found an audience of all ages and lifestyles. Now, including an EVA sole known for shock absorbency, incredibly durability, and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, the 990v4 truly became a shoe for the ages.

The 990v5 - Elevating the Legacy:

New Balance 990v5 Red and Blue
New Balance 990v5 ColorUps

In 2019, New Balance introduced the 990v5, taking the sneaker world by storm. With a focus on performance and style, the v5 featured a refined silhouette, enhanced cushioning, and updated materials. With its chunky design and renown New Balance 990 performance, Its popularity soared, attracting new fans while maintaining the loyalty of longtime supporters. New Balance 990 reviews continued to boost the brand as the 990v5 showcased New Balance’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. The stability of the TPU power straps combined with ortholite antimicrobial memory foam insoles, which combined the technology used in previous iterations to create a shock absorbent and sturdy base, took the 990 to a new level.

The 990v6 - The Perfect Balance

New Balance 990v6
New Balance 990v6 in Black

2023 has brought us the latest version to date, the New Balance 990v6! Offering all the dependability and quality New Balance has become known for, with a plethora of colorway options, this model dons some of the most dramatic changes seen from one generation of shoe to the next. This evolution of design keeps the 990 fresh and exciting, while continuing to adhere to the brand’s mandate to produce the best quality running shoe on the market. This generation of the 990 boasts the addition of a FuelCell insole, and promises increased comfort and stability. Continuing their mission, New Balance has stayed true to its original goal of creating quality shoes made in the USA. The 990v6 is sure to impress, as its modern style continues to integrate the 990’s trademark quality, stability, function, durability, and style.

New Balance 990 Where to Buy:

As a long time distributor of the New Balance brand, Beck’s Shoes is gratified to continue on its mission to offer quality shoes to its customers. We are proud to be the first retailer to offer the 990v6 in Northern California! Buying at Beck’s Shoes means you’re supporting a family owned, quality oriented, small business that has stood the test of time. Our trained employees thrive as they help you to achieve your perfect fit. Beck’s Shoes is proud to partner with New Balance, and serve a loyal and expanding fanbase!

New Balance 990 Price: $192.99 - $210.99

Supporting quality oriented businesses as they continue to create and distribute premium footwear that evolves with time and expanding technology is central to the continued success of iconic brands such as this. The evolution of the New Balance 990 is a testament to the brand’s dedication to quality, craftsmanship, and innovation. From its humble beginnings as a performance running shoe to its status as a fashion icon, the New Balance 990 legacy has transcended generations and trends. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless design, exceptional comfort, and unwavering commitment to excellence. As sneaker culture continues to evolve, the New Balance 990 design remains a symbol of authenticity and enduring style.

New Balance 990v6 M990GL6 Grey Sneakers Pair
New Balance 990v6 in Grey
New Balance 990 V5 W990BK5 Black Shoes Pair
New Balance 990v5 in Black / Grey

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