New Balance 992- Worth Every Penny, All Shoe, No Endorsements
Cushion, Durable, Quality to Price Ratio
The Bottom Line:
My favorite no matter what else I have tried for decades.
The bottom line up front, these are a great shoe, well worth the money. Especially if you are a heavier (like 185 pounds or so up) runner. Get them. Plain and simple.
This design incorporates the best technology in the upper to keep your foot where it belongs in the shoe and also provide breathability. The laces are not the lower priced over seas versions that keep slipping knots like some competitors have.
It also uses flagship New Balance Abzorb SBS in the heel and sole to ensure the most possible cushioning and shock absorption. It continues C-Cap Midsole components as well. What you get with this shoe, and its street price of about 100$, is a shoe worth what you pay for. This is not a 50$ running shoe from a company spending the other 50$ you pay on advertising and endorsements.
For a long time, this line only came in gray. I have a gray pair and also have gotten two black pair as replacements. You should also be able to find white and navy. So, limited colors should not deter you.
They offer a very wide range of sizes,to include half sizes. Unlike most other companies, several widths are available. You can get the perfect fit. They come in a wider range of sizes than any competitor will offer.
The breath well, make running on pavement less harsh, dry fast, and are very durable. You will not need to replace these every three months like many people say to do with running shoes. They also have reflective pieces that add to your visiblity in lower light conditions.
I have tried competitors shoes offering the same functions, and always come back to these. I have tried lighter shoes, trail running shoes, and models meant to compete directly with these, both from competitors and New Balance itself.
This model of New Balance has been around for almost thirty years. They have treated it like a flagship product, and incorporate all of their best research and development into it. You are not just getting a model of sneaker, you are getting the updated model from a long line of trial and modification.
Hopefully my review of the current 990 series New Balance shoes has sold you on them. Stop reading now for all the information you need version on the New Balance 992.
For those that want more information on the history of these shoes, keep reading. The 992, as mentioned above, is the culmination of almost thirty years of ground breaking develpment and improvements by New Balance.
Ok, the 992 has a long history of development and improvements behind it. This is not some flashy name, line, or star celebrity athlete endorsed products to make a quick buck. If you really want an informed decision, let me fill you in on them.
I have been wearing the 990 series of New Balance running shoes since 1986. The 990 series began with the 990s in 1979. They retailed for a then astromonical one hundred dollars. I had no idea there were shoes that expensive then. I was a kid much more interested in Yaz and the Red Sox than serious running shoes then. It was not until I started High School in 1982 that I began to seriously run. I used whatever 20$ running "sneaker" I got at K-Mart, Ames, The Giant Store, or whatever was the discount chain was where I grew up back then. I even remember a ten mile loop I ran for about two months in white leather high top basket ball shoes because I did not have a usable pair of running shoes at the time.
In 1979, the M990s three layers of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) to increase shock attenuation, the SuperFlex outsole, made from a Vibram material called VibramFlex, for longer wearing ability and shock absorbing were ground breaking and ahead of anything at the time. New Balance has continued to evolve this shoe. I never had a pair of this model.
In 1986 my mileage and intensity seriously increased. My feet were going numb on runs. I went to a special running shoe store where the workers were runners and shoe experts. I was fitted for and reccommended the New Balance 995s, which had been out for about a year then. I noticed thats what the people that worked there wore when running I paid the full 120$ retail price. This was long before internet shopping, super discounts, etc. That was about one quarter of my monthly take home pay back then! But my feet felt a ton better! I was hooked. They started the ENCAP, which involved encapsulating the EVA core with polyurethane, in order to improve the already gret shock dispersion and stabilization. This was a new and unsurpassed combination of cushioning and stability in a running shoe at the time. This is a trend they have continued.
Back then, just like now with New Balance 990 series shoes, the shoe was made in a factory in New England, not an overseas sweat shop. And most of your money went into the shoe. When you buy a 120 dollar Nike shoe, for example, you are supporting a much higher advertising budget, and the fact that they pay endorsements to guys like Michael Jordon and Tiger Woods 30 million dollars or whatever. The bottom line is you buy a shoe from New Balance, support US workers, don't support a sweat shop, and get a great shoe worth the money, not pay half the money to cover endorsement and advertising fees.
I ran those shoes heavily for about two years. (I do not subscribe to the new shoes every 3 months theory. If your feet start hurting, and you are wearing decently built shoes, work on your impact and stride. A worn / wearing out well built shoe is better than a new poorly built and designed shoe. You will know when your shoe is "trashed" and truly needs replacement). Plus, they were a major expense for me back then. I now replace them when I think they are worn past the "feel" I like, more like a year.
When they were literally falling apart, in 1988 I bought a pair of M996s. They were at least as good if not better than the 995s. Retail was still about 120$. Then at about fifteen percent of my monthly take home pay, they were well worth it. They continued with the ENCAP technology, and added C-CAP technolgy to the midsole, again increasing the stability and cushioning combination. They also added 3M Scotchlight reflective trim for night time running reflectors.
I think I splurged on 3 pairs of them over five years. The retail on them was still about 120 dollars, but I was able to get them for closer to 100 dollars. Even more worth the money! In 1993 I bought a pair of the 997s. They were even more comfortable. This version had a three-density insert to increase cushioning, along a three-density outsole made from a blown rubber forefoot, XAR1000 carbon rubber in the heel, and an exposed C-CAP for reduced weight compression. Hytrel Straps were introduced into the upper, to help keep the midfoot in place. The shoe exceeded the comfort and cushioning of the previous models, and made them even more durable. I went through two pairs over a four year period. I was running less, but was heavier. My weight did in the shoes despite the lesser mileage. But I still got two years out of each pair.
In 1997, I got a pair of the 998s. They added "Abzorb" technology for even more cushioning. I was running triathlons in the clydesdale and even super clydesdale categories then, and appreciated the increased cushioning. The retail still remained around 120 dollars, but you could find them for about 100 dollars, then like only 4% of my monthly take home pay! I could not be happier with the decreasing economy of them.
About a year later, I got a pair of the 999s. This was a short lived model and I do not remember any thing unusual or significant about them. I had them for about a year, and then and then the next model went back to being called 990.
I had this model 990 in about 1999. They put the Abzorb cushioning in both the heel and forefoot. They also made the upper more breathable and comfortable. Again, you could pick these up for about 100 dollars street price. That was like down to two percent of my monthly take home pay! I was ready to splurge and get a pair every nine months. My knees, ankles, and feet - both by age and heaviness, seemed more sensitive to the "feel" of my shoe. Even though they were more cushioned and durable than ever, I feel the mileage more. After a couple of pairs of these, they updated again.
In 2001 I got a pair of the 991s. I don't know the technical updates, but I could not be happier with them. I went through a couple of pairs and they again got updated.
Since 2005, they have been the New Balance 992. The Absorb is now the Absorb SBS and it is in the heel and fore foot. C-Cap remains in the midsole. They have the most durability, cushioning, and breathability than ever and are even a touch lighter. I once again weight what I did in 1994, and do a lot of interval running, or shorter, high intensity running. I use a pair every six months. I then put the old pair in my travel bag or locker. That's how I rotate through them. You can find a deal for UNDER 100 dollars on them!!
Over the years described above, I have also tried high quality Asics, Nike, and Brooks shoes. I have tried other New Balance models. I keep coming back to this line.
Go for it. These are the lightest, but most comfortable, shock absorbing, and breatable shoes for anyone. You will appreciate it a whole lot if you are over 185 pounds.