I’d call this a dad shoe but that would be quite redundant. It’s a New Balance classic after all. With all the hype surrounding the 997, it’s easy to overlook its sibling, the New Balance 996. And that’s quite unfortunate because the 996 is a splendid shoe in its own right and it excels in many areas. Here’s why you shouldn’t be sleeping on the 996:
For the most part, it is true to size unlike the 997h; it might feel a little snug at first but it’s perfect once you wear it a few times and ‘break it in’. Like all sports shoes, don’t think that half a size up or down doesn’t matter, because it does matter. Otherwise, you don’t really get to experience the shoe like the designer intended.
The Look and Materials
As to be expected, the New Balance 996 has an old school retro and 80s vibe and it really nails it. I really dig the simple grey one, it, ironically, just screams minimalist. These shoes pretty much go with everything, they can function as both work and informal shoes. Though, they are not ideal shoes for overpronation, low arches etc; the New Balance XX40 series is designed for those type of needs. But besides that the shoes basically got a bit of everything. Nobody makes plain grey runners look as cool as new balance does.
The shoe mainly consists of an all premium suede upper with tight knit mesh. The suede not only looks good but also feels buttery smooth. Besides that, it’s got a plastic heel cup with blown carbon-rubber outsole underneath. That’s pretty much it, it’s a relatively simplistic design but it still looks phenomenal.
Comfort is one of the main aspects in which New Balance excels at. All of the classic New Balance shoes still feel super comfortable even when compared with newer shoes and their newer technologies. The New Balance 996 is no exception, it holds up just fine to this day. There is something about the craftsmanship of the New Balances made in the USA; you won’t find it anywhere else.
It weighs about 330g; so not very light or very heavy. In fact, I would say that it hits right at the sweet spot. The pair feels light enough to run comfortably and heavy enough to provide stability on the court.
It packs a ‘Dual Density C-Cap’ midsole in tandem with an ‘EN-CAP’ wedge. Now this technology is pretty old and therefore, not used in any of the newer New Balance shoes, however it is still remarkably comfortable while providing great stability and support. Although, some users have reported that the heel cushioning is somewhat lacking and there is a risk of scraping your heels.
The New Balance 996 is a running sneaker in its roots, however, it is very versatile and can function as a casual, work or tennis sneaker as well. Its beauty is in its simplicity and minimalistic design and it is a classic New Balance dad shoe. It has the old school retro 90s vibe down to a tee. The pair is very comfortable and provides good stability and support for running and many sports. Although it wouldn’t be the first on my list for any specific sport (except tennis), I still think it’s an overall solid shoe. You can get it from here.