A Closer Look At The New Balance 990V6

October 18, 2022 by Joey Birch

A Closer Look At The New Balance 990V6

Three years following the illustrious New Balance 990V5 which saw the Boston-based footwear manufacturer skyrocket back to the forefront of sneaker culture with everyone from “supermodels in London to dads in Ohio” as the ad spotted everywhere from the London tubes to everyone's Instagram feed proudly proclaimed.

Despite its resurgence during the height of the ‘dad shoe’ trend, New Balance has been able to continue its trajectory by demonstrating its keen storytelling through a set of carefully planned collaborations with the likes of Joe Freshgoods, Salehe Bembury and Bodega just to name a few.

In addition to their collaborations with some of the leading designers of this generation, New Balance has also been providing some of the best GRs (General Release) to hit the market, with the 990 series standing at the epicentre.

Originally launched in 1982, 21 years after the ‘Trackster’, New Balance's first shoe, the 990 series was made to be their premium line with the first edition being the first sneaker to cost over $100, utilising materials such as pigskin suede.

Despite being one of the most expensive sneakers at retail in the world upon its release, the initial 990 was fairly juvenile in its technology. It was the arrival of the V2 16 years later that introduced the sneaker with a level of comfort we’ve become more accustomed to today. 

The V2 was seen as a highly disruptive shoe upon its release with prior models New Balance were working on, including the 990V1 and 995-999 looking fairly similar. The 990V2 introduced a junkier midsole and upper while also incorporating NB’s ABZORB technology to provide additional comfort. 

As with the initial two, the third iteration of the 990 series took a substantial amount of time to arrive, this time taking 14 years. It was with the 2012 release that we saw a version of the 990 that the current audience has become familiar with. Still featuring the premium suede and thick mesh introduced on the V2, the 990V3 was originally released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its first predecessor. 

In addition to the ABZORB midsole, the V3 further innovated the comfortability and design of the 990 series with the introduction of ENCAP which led to the more regularly released follow-up pairs taking smaller steps in terms of adaptive design. The V4 released in 2016 and the V5 released just 3 years later in 2019 continued to feature the ENCAP midsole along with the classic all-grey upper made of premium suede, providing what is arguably the most wearable sneaker on the market. 

Following the 990V5, and after New Balance’s revitalised fandom, people began wondering what was next for the pivotal lineage. The answer arrived shortly after the announcement of Aimé Leon Dore’s founder Teddy Santis’ appointment as the Creative Director of New Balance’s ‘Made In USA’ branch when he uploaded a teaser image of the yet-to-be-released pair. 

Over a year on and official images have finally arrived for what is set to be the next 990.

For the most part, the V6 looks largely similar to the 2016 V4 with the upper broken up by a slue of mesh panelling in conjunction with a large italic ‘N’ logo on the medial and lateral sides. A variety of branding elements have been added to the upper, from the 990 on the heel to the New Balance logo on the tongue with a small hint of red all of which sit within the usual suede elements we’re used to seeing.

Nevertheless, the most noticeable element is the midsole which has an almost platform style to it, presumably to house the ABZORB and ENCAP elements in addition to the FuelCell technology debuted by NB in 2019. 

At the time of writing, the New Balance 990V6 is yet to receive an official release date, however, it’s all but confirmed that we can expect to see the pair arrive before the end of 2022. 

With the newly imagined design, the next question arises as to how the audience will respond to the silhouette. While it’s confirmed that an all-blue colourway and a collaboration with Action Bronson are in the works, the 990 moving away to some extent from what the current fanbase is used to, could mean a make-or-break moment for the future of the lineage. 

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