New Balance 990 vs. New Balance 993 – What’s the Difference?

Updated On

New Balance is a corporation in the United States founded over a century ago.

They continue to create some of the most popular running shoes, although they tend to be more expensive.

This extra cost is because New Balance creates many more specialty shoes when compared to other companies, especially for people with odd arches and heels.

Two of the most popular brands right now are the New Balance 990 vs the New Balance 993.

Since so many companies release dozens of new running shoes a year, it can be hard for consumers to tell the difference between the models and whether one is better than another.

What are the differences between these two shoes, and do they count as good great running shoes?

New Balance Men's 990v4
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
New Balance Men's 990v4
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
Prime Status
-
-
Rating
Flexibility
Only the top
Only the top
Weight
11-13 oz.
12-14 oz.
Arch Style
Standard
Standard
Slope
12 mm.
14 mm.
Heel Thickness
Thick
Extremely Thick
Padding
Standard
Extra
Reviews
725 Reviews
127 Reviews
Price not available
Price not available
New Balance Men's 990v4
New Balance Men's 990v4
Prime Status
-
Rating
Flexibility
Only the top
Weight
11-13 oz.
Arch Style
Standard
Slope
12 mm.
Heel Thickness
Thick
Padding
Standard
Reviews
725 Reviews
Price not available
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
Prime Status
-
Rating
Flexibility
Only the top
Weight
12-14 oz.
Arch Style
Standard
Slope
14 mm.
Heel Thickness
Extremely Thick
Padding
Extra
Reviews
127 Reviews
Price not available

What Makes a Running Shoes Good? 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), one of the leading institutions dedicated to ensuring the health of athletes, provides some of the simplistic and clearest guidelines for how to pick a running shoe.

According to them, there are three factors which an individual should look at: weight, slope, and extra features. But what do these mean?

Weight

  • According to the ACSM, no shoe should weigh more than 8-10 oz. for maximum comfort and efficiency. This prevents there being too much strain on the muscles and ensures there isn’t a bunch of extra material in the footwear.

Slope

  • The ACSM doesn’t give a specific measurement for this bit of criteria, but the premise is the same. Any good running shoe should have a small slope between the heel and toe, or basically little to no incline. This means shoes with high heels are out.

Extra Features

  • People really can’t get better than the basics when it comes to shoes. The ACSM advices against including a bunch of unnecessary niceties when it comes to picking a shoe. Is a lot of cushioning really necessary? Does the heel need to be padded? Are the zippers and lights actually helping a runner at all?

Overall, a good shoe complements the foot and doesn’t try to change a person’s natural posture too much.

Naturally, this might be different for some individuals prone to pronation or supination, which the ACSM admits might need correction.

"What is overpronation?"

New Balance Men's 990v4

A small amount of pronation occurs naturally. This is when the ankle rolls slightly inward when someone steps, allowing the foot to support the weight of the body.

Medical News Today identifies some problems individuals can have though, like overpronation.

Overpronation occurs when the ankle rolls inward too much and the arches of a person’s feet lower and often hit the ground.

The body is not receiving the support it should and injuries like sprained ankles become more common. 

New Balance Women's WR993 Running Shoe

Someone who has this problem should invest in a running shoe which helps by adding extra support, so this could be a possible exception to the ACSM rules.

Supination is the opposite of pronation.

This means the ankle might roll too little or will actually roll outward, which has the same risks as overpronation. In this case, a good running shoe might need more support as well.


How to Tell if a Running Shoes Fits

Running shoes should fit the foot or else the runner is at risk of injury yet again. A shoe with the best fit will mold to the curves of the foot without squeezing.

This means the area around the heel and the middle should be snug, while there should be room in the toe box for movement and flexing.

Many individuals need to pay attention to their arches when picking a shoe.

The arch is the curve that appears in the middle of the foot, and is caused by the muscles there.

New Balance Men's 990v4

There are three types a person can have, which changes how they land on the foot and how much support they need: low, average, and high.

Most people don’t know what kind of arch they have.

Thankfully, there are some at home tests to help individuals figure it out. The most common and easy to do is the wet test.

Heel That Pain provides some of the best instructions for the test.

  1. Fill a pan with enough water that the lower half of the foot is completely covered.
  2. Remove the foot from the pan and step on a sheet of clean, absorbent material.
  3. Repeat the process with the other foot.

Someone with regular arches should be able to see the ball of their foot, the heel, and about half of the midsection.

A person with flat feet will have a complete foot staring back at them, while someone with high arches might barely see the midsection.

New Balance Women's WR993 Running Shoe

If these instructions seem difficult, this video provides a visual demonstration of how the test works:

"Foot Arch Wet Test"

People with high or low arches will need more support to ensure pressure and force lands more evenly throughout the foot.

Failing to do so can result in injuries like planar fasciitis, which can kick a runner out of their game.

With all of this information, how do the New Balance 990 and 993 measure up?

"Learn Your Foot Arch Type With The Wet Test"


New Balance 990

The New Balance 990 is a running shoe released recently. It typically costs between $90 and $120 for a pair and is known for having a low top, which is great for runners worried about chafing.

It works well for daily running and was designed for the road, not rugged terrain.

The men’s version of the shoe weighs about 13 oz. while a women’s version is around 11 oz.

This makes it slightly heavier than the ACSM’s requirements. The shoe possesses a slope of roughly 12 mm.

New Balance Men's 990v4

The New Balance 990 is made from a combination of mesh and pigskin, making it breathable, flexible, and reliable.

There is a lace keeper to keep pesky shoelaces out of the way while running, and extra arch support for stability.

The soles of the shoe are thick and tough so the shoes last longer, and there is enough room in the toe box for people who have slightly longer than average feet.

People who have wide or narrow feet can special order versions of the 990 designed to suit their needs.

The shoe comes in a variety of colors but is known to have an almost bland, drab look since variations of gray make up many of the options.

New Balance Men's 990v4
725 Reviews
New Balance Men's 990v4
  • Lace-up running shoe featuring breathable-mesh upper with supportive-leather overlays
  • Blown rubber outsole. Dual-density collar foam
  • ENCAP PU ring with EVA core in heel

New Balance 993

The New Balance 990 is a running shoe released recently. It typically costs between $90 and $120 for a pair and is known for having a low top, which is great for wearers worried about chafing.

It works well for daily running and was designed for the road, not rugged terrain.

The men’s version of the shoe weighs about 13 oz. while a women’s version is around 11 oz.

This makes it slightly heavier than the ACSM’s requirements. The shoe possesses a slope of roughly 12 mm.

New Balance Women's WR993 Running Shoe

The New Balance 990 is made from a combination of mesh and pigskin, making it breathable, flexible, and reliable.

There is a lace keeper to keep pesky shoelaces out of the way while running, and extra arch support for stability.

The soles of the shoe are thick and tough so the shoes last longer, and there is enough room in the toe box for people who have slightly longer than average feet.

People who have wide or narrow feet can special order versions of the 990 designed to suit their needs.

The shoe comes in a variety of colors but is known to have an almost bland, drab look since variations of gray make up many of the options.

New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
127 Reviews
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
  • ABZORB DTS provides a superior blend of cushioning and compression set features with Dupont Engage and Isoprene rubber for the ultimate ride
  • ABZORB SBS is an engineered, non-cellular elastomer designed to provide optimal shock absorption and no compression set
  • ACTEVA is 12% lighter than standard midsole foam with DuPont Engage for exceptional durability
  • Single-density polyurethane heel
  • Made in USA

Comparison: 

So, what really is the difference? At a glance, the 993 is the heavier, tougher model designed to last longer, but this can be a problem for people looking for speed and flexibility.

The 993 is also more expensive. Otherwise, there aren’t many differences at all, as seen in this handy chart.

Both shoes commit some major blunders based on the ACSM’s standards, including being heavy.

However, they work well for runners who exercise long and hard and need something that will last.

New Balance Men's 990v4
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
New Balance Men's 990v4
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
Prime Status
-
-
Rating
Flexibility
Only the top
Only the top
Weight
11-13 oz.
12-14 oz.
Arch Style
Standard
Standard
Slope
12 mm.
14 mm.
Heel Thickness
Thick
Extremely Thick
Padding
Standard
Extra
Reviews
725 Reviews
127 Reviews
Price not available
Price not available
New Balance Men's 990v4
New Balance Men's 990v4
Prime Status
-
Rating
Flexibility
Only the top
Weight
11-13 oz.
Arch Style
Standard
Slope
12 mm.
Heel Thickness
Thick
Padding
Standard
Reviews
725 Reviews
Price not available
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
New Balance Womens WR993 Running Shoe, Grey, One Size
Prime Status
-
Rating
Flexibility
Only the top
Weight
12-14 oz.
Arch Style
Standard
Slope
14 mm.
Heel Thickness
Extremely Thick
Padding
Extra
Reviews
127 Reviews
Price not available

Conclusion: 

Both of these shoes work well for people who are road runners but would be uncomfortable for someone who exercises on trails or needs something lightweight.

Both are also relatively expensive but also highly durable. In general, they are almost the same shoe, but the 993 is the larger and tougher of the pair.


Last update on 2020-08-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API