In-Hand Review of the Teddy Santis New Balance 990V2

July 01, 2022 by Joey Birch

In-Hand Review of the Teddy Santis New Balance 990V2

Earlier this year, we covered the announcement of Teddy Santis’ first collection with New Balance after his inauguration as Creative Director within their ‘Made in USA’ sector (read it here). When he first arrived, little was known regarding what exactly he was doing with the brand besides a leaked image posted by the founder of Aimé Leon Dore himself of the yet-to-be-released 990V6 which many have been waiting for. 

However, finally, we have the opportunity to not only see images of the sneakers online but have them in hand following the UK release over the past couple of weeks. The pair that caught our attention the most from the trio, was the 990V2. New Balance 990V1, 1982

The second silhouette in the 990 series, the V2 was released in 1998 - 17 years after its predecessor which debuted in 1982. At the time the OG 990V1 was released, New Balance had already set itself apart from other brands, pricing the shoe at $100 which at the time was incredibly expensive for a training shoe. 

In addition to the high-quality materials, the V1 also introduced New Balance’s motion control device technology in the midsole which works to correct the wearer's step, providing further comfort. The technology is still used in the Boston-based brands' footwear today.

During the 17 years between the 990V1 and V2, NB was working and releasing the 995, 996, 997, 998 and 999, all of which featured a very similar or the same upper from the previous release and paired it with a new mid/outsole.

While this design decision has been seen in the 990V3, V4, V5 and upcoming V6, the silhouette between the V1 and V2 are completely different. Where the initial 990 provided a slimmer upper and overall finish, the follow-up lends itself to a much more chunky aesthetic. In addition, NB introduced a myriad of details including ‘ABZORB’ technology in the midsole to assist with the impact of running. 

Additionally, a subtle see-through section was added to the heel to allow the wearer to see the new technology inside the shoe, similar to what Nike was doing with the Air Max lineage at the time, as well as hits of reflective 3M on the ‘N’ logo on medial and lateral sides including the heel panel. 

Before getting into Santis’ take on the timeless 990V2, we arrive at the shoebox. In line with the whole collection, the shoebox features a pre-aged style yellowing with a bold red New Balance logo emblazoned on top. On the sides of the lid, the text reads “Made in USA for over 75 years”, further referencing the celebration of the 'Made in' line that has become so popular. 

Turn over the lid, and this sentiment is continued, celebrating the “authentic American craftsmanship” of the brand.

A small card is placed upon the ‘NB’ monogram wrapped sneakers featuring the image that has circulated previously of the full lineup of releases from Santis, printed in a pre-vintaged colour, a trend that seems to have become a staple in 2022. On the reverse side of the card, the full 990 series is documented from the 990V1 in 1982 to the 999 in 1996. 

As with all three of the initial 990 releases, the V2 takes the original all-grey aesthetic and adds the aged details, referenced on the shoebox. A long-haired suede is utilised around the toe and side panels, flexing the impeccable quality we have come to expect from New Balance. 

Thicker mesh panels cover the toebox and lower half of the tongue in addition to around the heel. Despite the all-grey supper usually seen within the 990 V series, the large short-haired suede heel panel uses a light brown aged colourway that, while standing out from the overall design and being a key detail featured within the latest V1, V2 and V3, seamlessly blends into the colourway as if has naturally aged over time. 

As with the rest of the design, the thick midsole features a lightly aged aesthetic with the usual details including the raised ‘ABZORB’ writing under the toe in addition to the transparent panel in the heel. Reflective ‘3M’ is found on the ‘N’ logo on the medial and lateral sides as well as the heel - as introduced back in ‘98. 

As with Santis’ previous collaborations and work in both his brand with New Balance, the 990V2 is the perfect love letter to an iconic silhouette. Using the ‘Made in USA’ premium materials, the overall finish provides a welcome revitalisation of the 1998 silhouette, with a modern twist.

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