New Balance 993 vs 990


New Balance makes excellent quality running shoes and are known for their variety of sizes and widths that can accommodate every type of foot.

If you’re looking for a daily running shoe that looks good, has adequate cushioning and doesn’t have complicated technology, the 993 and 990v5 are two good options.

These shoes are extremely similar and there may be some confusion about which is best.

Let’s look at the similarities and differences of the New Balance 993 vs 990.


Both the New Balance 993 and 990v5 shoes feature uppers that are made from 50% mesh and 50% synthetic pigskin.

This makes the upper on both shoes durable, breathable and light, as well as having enough flexibility to allow your foot to move naturally.

The only downside to the upper on both shoes is that it may not be as water-resistant as some of the materials on other New Balance shoes.

They’re also both known for their low ankle collar, which is a bonus for runners who often experience chafing in the area.

Both shoes have a spacious toe box that will allow your toes to splay naturally and accommodate swollen feet, whether from a run, an injury, or being on your feet all day.

The New Balance 993 and 990v5 both have padded tongues and the heels have a soft, padded lining that also provides support for the ankles.

There is a nifty lace keeper on both shoes that provides additional arch support, as well as helping to keep the flat shoelaces out of your way while walking or running.

While both the New Balance 993 and 990v5 are dual-toned, the 993 does provide more color options than the 990v5.


When we look at the midsoles of both the 993 and 990, we then see the main differences in the shoes.

The 993 has extra cushioning, as it has a multi-density midsole with ABZORB DTS—Dynamic Transition System—and ACTEVA cushioning, which provides a smooth transition and optimal cushioning.

The New Balance 990v5 uses ENCAP midsole technology, which is made up of two different materials.

The core of the cushioning uses soft EVA cushioning, which is then surrounded by polyurethane to provide support and durability. For extra comfort and support, this shoe has an Ortholite insert.


The outsole of the 993 has a full-length rubber out sole and features an Ndurance rubber heel. This provides excellent traction and shock absorption, as well as being durable, which means runners should find that these shoes last a while if properly taken care of.

When we look at the outsole of the 990v5, it’s made from blown rubber and there are flex grooves in the forefoot for added flexibility.

Blown rubber is lightweight and flexible, but some people may find that it isn’t as durable as the 993 and that it doesn’t provide enough traction on some surfaces.

Specific Features


Both the 993 and 990v5 should fit true to size. The 993 is available in narrow, wide, and extra-wide.

If you do have wide feet then you may want to order these shoes a half size up, as you may find the forefoot to be a bit too snug.


For women, the shoes are available from size 5 to 13 and for men they’re available from size 7 to 16.

The New Balance 990v5 comes with more width options, as this shoe is available from extra-narrow to XX wide. The shoes also range in size starting at size 7 to 16 for men and are available from size 5 to 13 for women.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

There’s a slight difference in the heel-to-toe drop between the 993 and the 990v5. The 993 has a heel-to-toe drop of 14 mm and the 990v5 has a heel-to-toe drop of 12 mm.

Both of these are considered to be high, so the difference may not be noticeable to most people.


The 993 is slightly heavier—it has extra cushioning—than the 990v5, as it weighs 14 ounces—399 grams—while the 990v5 weighs 13.6 ounces—388 grams.

Both these shoes may be considered heavy for a running shoe, but this doesn’t mean that it will be a deal-breaker for many runners. Some runners may be willing to sacrifice the light weight for stability, support, and extra cushioning.

That being said, neither of these shoes are made to be fast enough for races.


Keeping in mind that both shoes are extremely similar, you’ll find that the 993 is $10 dollars more expensive than the 990v5 on the New Balance website.

Keep in mind that you will find the same shoes at varying price points online—some cheaper and some more expensive—depending on the stockist.

It’s worth shopping around before buying, but you can’t guarantee the authenticity of the shoes if not buying directly from the manufacturer.

Because the prices are so close, it shouldn’t affect one’s decision when it comes to choosing between these two shoes.

Where They’re Made

Both the New Balance 993 and 990v5 are made in America and the 993 sports a proudly USA stars-and-stripes heel patch.

The 990v5 features the “USA” patch on the tongue that resembles the American flag.


The New Balance 993 and 990v5 are very similar in both style and features. They’re both neutral shoes that are ideal for daily training but weigh a little too much to be effective for racing.

Neither shoe stands out clearly as the better choice. At the end of the day, it will depend on personal choice.

If you’re looking for a little more cushioning, then it would be worth it to get the 993.

However, if you want a shoe that’s slightly lighter and not as soft, the 990v5 would be the better choice.

Photo of author


Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.