A walk-through of the New Balance 990 series - The Drop Date

A walk-through of the New Balance 990 series


New Balance 990 series

Ever since its debut in 1982, the NEW BALANCE 990 has set the bar extremely for every sneaker that blends functionality and fashion focus. Originally hitting the market as an advanced running shoe intended to enhance performance, the 990 quickly gained popularity far beyond the track. After several reimaginations and collaborative efforts, the shoe is now globally recognised and applauded as both a lifestyle and sportswear model.

Despite longstanding success, New Balance are never afraid to spice things up through innovative adjustments within design and technical assets. The 990 series has seen its fair share of updates and releases, with the 990v6 being the newest edition to join the crew. Each 990 is reminiscent of the time in which it was released, elevating again and again to produce an untouchable roster, excelling in innovative technologies and strong visual identity. 

Join us as we take a trip down memory lane, and reflect upon the iconic 990 series that has allowed New Balance to claim its title as a global powerhouse.



New Balance 990v1 M990GR1

Let’s start right at the beginning, where it all began… 1982. The 990v1 had significant impact straight off the bat, with many surprised by the three figure price point that was unheard of for a running model. However, this model had no trouble talking the talk AND walking the walk, with a sleek combo of leading edge technology and ‘Made in USA’ craftsmanship. This set the bar extremely high for the NB models to follow, as well as competitors who aimed to produce something of a similarly high standard. 

Despite uncertainty surrounding how well the 990v1 would sell, New Balance’s chairman Jim Davis described the release as an instant success. The Boston-based brand had been toying with the possibilities of maximising support and flexibility since 1978, and it was this impeccable blend that ensured the 990v1 made its mark within the market. A stand-out element of this model was the inauguration of a footbed, branded by New Balance as a ‘Motion Control Device’. This feature is still included in NB models today.


New Balance 990v2 M990GY2

After a long 16 years saw the releases of the 995 to 999, the 990v2 arrived to shake things up. Featuring a mixture of both design and technicality experimentation, this model is remembered for its disruptive impact that paved the way for future innovations. Performance aspects were further advanced with the introduction of ABSORB technology, intended for shock absorbing within the midsole. 

In terms of visual aesthetic, the 990v2 flipped the identity of all prior models on its side. Up until this point, every NB model had drawn resemblance to the 990v1, sporting an understated and minimalist look. Flaunting a repurposed upper and new sole technology, the 990v2 went down a treat with fans and remains one of the most admired models of the series to date.



New Balance 990v3 M990GL3

In alignment with the 30th anniversary of the OG 990 silhouette, the awaited 990v3 took to the shelves in 2012. Featuring yet another upgrade in design elements, the 990v3 bridged the gap between the older and newer models. The utilisation of a predominantly mesh upper allowed the model to gain hype as a lifestyle shoe, in stark contrast to the originally intended performance-focus. Conventional pigskin panelling remained as a key element of the physical build, helping us reflect on just how far the 990v3 has progressed since its 1982 debut. 

The 990v3 saw the first revamp of the ENCAP midsole alongside ribbed ‘N’ branding which remains an integral feature of 990 models today.



New Balance 990v4 W990GL4

As a now legend-ranking silhouette, the 990v4 made its first appearance in the glory year of 2016. Taking inspiration from contemporary trends of the time,  this model utilised hype surrounding the ‘Dad shoe’ whilst threading new innovations into design features. 

The 990v4 saw the ever-so-slight enlargement of the traditional ‘N’ branding, alongside modifications surrounding the leather, pigskin suede and mesh that composed the upper of the 990v3. Continuing to hold significant focus surrounding comfortability and support, the 990v4 incorporated EVA foam cushioning as well as the established ENCAP sole unit. 



New Balance 990v5 M990GL5

2019 saw the launch of the New Balance 990v5. The v5 took a slightly different approach to the visual construction of the upper, featuring a textural TPU power strap intended to improve both flexibility and performance. As expected, premium pigskin graces the body of the model, coloured in a somewhat alternate palette to previous models titled as “Slate Grey” by New Balance.

Conventional branding elements also saw a revamp within this model, exhibiting reflective finishes on the foxing and tongue. The combination of a fresh white outsole and pearly laces conveys the simple yet effective vibe of the 990v5, boasting a versatile look that makes styling a piece of cake. 



New Balance 990v6 M990GL6 New Balance 990v6 BM990BK6

Finishing up with the most recently released New Balance 990 (dropping last November), we present to you the 990v6. Displaying a plethora of visual similarities to its iconic predecessors, such as the classic dimensional layered form, the v6 showcases a subtle modernisation through dashes of metallic silvers. One of the most notable updates for this model is presented through the positioning of the ‘N’ logo – now sitting proudly on a mesh panel as opposed to a suede one. 

Recently partnering with American rapper Action Bronson for a colourful reimagining of the model, we’re hopeful that the 990v6 will see some more collaborations in the future.

Shop the full New Balance 990 series by clicking the banner below. Stay locked on our socials @thedropdate for the latest drops and sneaker updates, and for more news on New Balance.

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