Differences Between the New Balance 990 vs 993 Shoes Comparison

Last Updated: January 08, 2024 | Author: Jake Thompson

Nearly 70% of consumers consider comfort and fit as their top priorities when purchasing athletic footwear, a better choice you're likely grappling with as you compare the New Balance 990 vs 993.

Spurring from the ever-growing New Balance Shoe brand, our picks share some noticeable differences worth considering.

As you weigh your options, it's essential to consider how the nuanced differences in design and technology can impact your daily comfort and athletic performance. The 990v5's reputation for a sleek and supportive fit may sway you at first glance, yet the 993's enhanced cushioning and stability are factors that shouldn't be overlooked.

New Balance 990 v5 VS 993-Size and Fit - hero

You're standing at a crossroads of premium footwear, faced with the task of selecting the shoe that will seamlessly integrate into your lifestyle. Will it be the 990v5, with its contemporary charm, or the 993, with its promise of unmatched endurance?

It's a decision that warrants a closer look at what lies beneath their iconic exteriors.

For a broader view of New Balance's offerings, explore our detailed review of New Balance 574 vs. 515 , which offers insights into these popular lifestyle sneakers.

Table of Content:

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Table: New Balance 993 vs 990 Comparison
  3. Upper Construction Comparison
  4. Breathability
  5. Midsole Technology Breakdown
  6. Outsole Features
  7. Traction
  8. Fit and Sizing Insights
  9. Heel-to-Toe Drop and Weight
  10. Durability
  11. Frequently Asked Questions

Key Takeaways

  • - The New Balance 990v5 has a slimmer profile and denser shoelaces compared to the 993.
  • - The 990v5 has a more breathable tongue material and a modern look with a metallic Made in USA flag on top.
  • - The 993 has a wider tongue profile and a taller, thicker logo with a sporty vibe.
  • - Both shoes provide excellent comfort and cushioning, but the 993 offers slightly more cushioning under the foot.

Table: New Balance 993 vs 990 Comparison

New Balance 990v5 New Balance 993
Feature New Balance 990v5 New Balance 993
Cushioning ENCAP midsole blend of EVA and polyurethane ABZORB SBS full-length midsole with additional heel pad
Upper Material Premium pigskin suede and mesh, reflective details Pigskin leather and mesh with dual-density collar foam
Midsole Dual-density foam with polyurethane rim Encap technology with EVA core and polyurethane rim
Outsole Blown rubber with Ndurance compound in high-wear areas Ndurance rubber with lugged design for traction
Weight 13.6 oz 13.7 oz
Arch Support Excellent for all-day comfort Enhanced with dual-density foam ankle support
Stability Stable for various activities Exceptional stability, beneficial for overpronation
Flexibility Flex grooves in the outsole Flex grooves and multi-directional lug pattern
Breathability Mesh panels for enhanced breathability Mesh and perforations for ventilation
Toe Box Roomy for comfort and varied foot shapes Ample space for natural toe splay
Lacing System Traditional lace-up closure Standard with additional eyelets for customization
Insole Removable polyurethane for added cushioning Removable polyurethane insert with extra cushioning
Available Widths Multiple options for different foot widths Various widths catering to every type of foot

Upper Construction Comparison

When you're examining the upper construction of the New Balance 990 vs 993, focus on the materials' interplay with breathability.

Both models utilize a 50/50 mesh-to-synthetic pigskin ratio, ensuring high endurance while also facilitating airflow.

However, the structural design differences may influence their breathability performance, with the 993 potentially offering a slightly wider toe box for increased air circulation.


Assessing the breathability of the New Balance 990 vs 993's upper construction, one finds that both incorporate a 50% mesh and 50% synthetic pigskin design which facilitates air circulation while maintaining structural integrity.

This mesh component is crucial for a breathable top, allowing for efficient moisture-wicking and temperature regulation during rigorous activities. The strategic placement around the forefoot and along the tongue enhances airflow, further ameliorated by the padded lining which, while providing comfort, also supports ventilation.

The shoelaces, traversing this breathable network, offer a secure fit without compromising the upper's permeability. Both models showcase a thoughtful balance between robust support and breathable performance, catering to the demands of an active lifestyle with a technical and analytical approach to upper construction.

Midsole Technology Breakdown

Delving into the midsole technologies, the New Balance 993 features a multi-density midsole with ABZORB DTS and ACTEVA cushioning. This provides top-tier shock absorption through its advanced cushioning materials, ensuring a soft landing and responsive ride. The ACTEVA cushioning further enhances the midsole's lightweight performance.

On the other hand, the 990v5 utilizes ENCAP technology, combining soft EVA with a supportive polyurethane rim. This technology emphasizes a balanced and stable underfoot experience, offering a robust core with a soft cushioning perimeter.

You'll notice the difference in the heel-to-toe drop, with the 993's slightly higher elevation affecting stride transition. Understanding these key differences between New Balance models is vital to selecting the right shoe to match your personal comfort and performance requirements.

Outsole Features

When you examine the outsoles of the New Balance 990v5 and 993, traction is a critical factor to consider.

The 993 features a long rubber sole with Ndurance technology at the heel, designed for superior grip and longevity.

Insole incorporates strategically placed flex grooves, aiming to enhance flexibility but potentially sacrificing some durability.


While both the New Balance 993 and 990v5 are designed for durability, their soles differ significantly in material composition and tread pattern, affecting overall traction performance on various surfaces.

Here's what you need to know about their traction qualities:

  1. 1. New Balance 993: It features a full-length rubber sole, ensuring consistent contact with the ground. Additionally, the Ndurance rubber heel adds to its endurance, providing you with a reliable grip, especially in high-wear areas.
  2. 2. New Balance 990v5: The sole is constructed with rubber, known for its comfort benefits. However, it may not provide enough traction on sleeker surfaces as compared to full-length rubber.
  3. 3. Tread Design: Both shoes offer distinct tread patterns designed to support different activities. The 990v5's tread is engineered for running, offering flexibility, while the 993's is optimized for casual wear with its durability-focused design.

Fit and Sizing Insights

New Balance 990 v5 VS 993-Size and Fit - hero

Understanding the fit and sizing nuances of New Balance's 993 and 990v5 models is crucial for consumers seeking the optimal balance of comfort and support for their unique foot shape. Both shoes fit true to size for most individuals, providing a reliable benchmark for your selection process.

However, if you find the forefoot to be a bit snug, you may want to order a half size up to ensure ample space, especially in the 993. The shoes last longer when they fit well, preventing undue wear from improper foot alignment.

Shoes are available in a range of sizes, accommodating both wide and narrow feet. Thus, to secure a tailored fit, it's vital to consider the width of your foot in addition to your usual size.

Heel-to-Toe Drop and Weight

Beyond fit and sizing, it's essential to consider the heel-to-toe drop and weight of each model, as these factors significantly influence running mechanics and overall comfort.

When you're comparing the New Balance 990v5 and New Balance 993, here's what you need to know:

  1. 1. Heel-to-Toe Drop: The New Balance 993 has a heel-to-toe drop of 14mm, compared to the New Balance 990's slightly lower drop of 12mm. This slight difference can affect how your foot strikes the ground during a run.
  2. 2. Shoe Weight: The 993 tips the scales at approximately 13.7 ounces, while the 990v5 is a tad lighter at around 13.6 ounces.
  3. 3. Impact on Running: These differences between new models may seem minimal, but they can alter your running shoe experience, impacting stride and endurance.

To understand the nuances between other popular New Balance running shoes, explore our comparison of New Balance 992 vs 993 , which delves into their unique features and suitability for various running styles.


When assessing the durability of the New Balance 990v5 and 993 models, it's crucial to consider the composition and wear resistance of their outsoles and midsoles. Both models are crafted with high-quality suede and pigskin, reinforcing their premium status. However, the differences between the New Balance 990v5 and 993 in terms of durability lie in their construction details.

Feature New Balance 990v5 New Balance 993
Outsole Blown rubber Ndurance rubber
Midsole ENCAP technology ABZORB & ACTEVA
Upper Material Pigskin/mesh hybrid Pigskin/mesh hybrid
Origin Made in USA Made in USA

The New Balance 993's Ndurance rubber sole is particularly noteworthy for being as durable as the high expectations you've set, likely outlasting the 990's rubber when faced with abrasive surfaces.

Gain more insights into the world of athletic footwear by exploring our article on Best Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis , which discusses essential considerations for choosing shoes that support your health and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do the New Balance 990v5 and New Balance 993 Perform in Inclement Weather Conditions, Such as Rain or Snow?

In inclement weather, you'll want shoes with good traction and water resistance. Consider the sole grip and upper material endurance when choosing footwear to handle rain or snow effectively.

2. What Are the Environmental Sustainability Features of the New Balance 990v5 and 993, if Any?

You won't find specific eco-friendly features advertised for these shoes; sustainability isn't their main focus. Rather, they're built for durability, which indirectly reduces waste by lasting longer before needing replacement.

3. Can the New Balance 990v5 or 993 Be Used as a Cross-Training Shoe for Gym Workouts or Other Sports?

You can use cross-training shoes for gym workouts; however, neither the New Balance 990 nor 993 is specifically designed for this. They're running shoes, so they might not provide optimal support for lateral movements.

4. Are There Any Special Limited Editions or Collaborations for the New Balance 990 or 993 Models That Might Have Unique Features?

You'll find limited editions and collaborations of popular shoe models often feature unique designs, materials, or tech enhancements, potentially altering performance or aesthetics to suit specific themes or partnerships.

5. How Do the New Balance 990v5 and 993 Models Impact Those With Specific Foot Conditions, Such as Plantar Fasciitis or Flat Feet, During Extended Wear?

For plantar fasciitis or flat feet, you'll need shoes with strong arch support and comfort. Extended wear demands stability and a comfortable insole to mitigate discomfort and prevent further strain on your feet.

6. What are the key differences between New Balance 990 and 993 models, and what sets these two iconic sneakers apart in terms of their heel design?

The New Balance 990 and 993 differ in heel design. The 990, with its ENCAP midsole technology, addresses chafing concerns and offers a lace keeper for secure fastening. It caters to various preferences, providing options for low ankle and low ankle collar, along with diverse color options, making it a versatile option for different wearers.

7. How does the durability of New Balance 993 compare to 990v5, and what are the differences in construction, style, and features?

Both the New Balance 993 and 990v5, made in the USA, offer durability, ankle support, and a neutral design in sizes 5 to 13 for men. While sharing a similar style, the 990v5 is slightly heavier, made from a mix of 50% mesh and 50% soft EVA cushioning, whereas the 993 is made from blown rubber. Both serve as quality running and casual shoes, providing various color options.

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Jake Thompson

Jake Thompson

I am Jake, a sports enthusiast, love everything about sports, particularly basketball and volleyball. I've played both sports at a local level. Here to share my passion for sports and sports gear experiences with you.