I have owned the New Balance 996 tennis shoes for 6 months, so it’s time for a tennis shoe review. Usually, I like to replace my tennis shoes at the 6 month mark because after that, they seem to lose their support and I start to feel unbalanced, along with pain and stiffness in my joints that I usually don’t get. That for me is the sign for replacement. Below, you will find my tennis shoe review and more specific details on the New Balance 996 Tennis Shoes.
Weight: 16.3 oz oz / 462 g gr (based on size 12)
Technology: Revlite – foam compound providing the same responsiveness and durability of New Balance foams 30% heavier, NDurance – Rubber compound for maximum durability used in high wear areas, ProBank – A lightweight stability technology designed to guide foot positioning during lateral cutting movements.
Word by ATP star Milos Raonic, The New Balance 996 Tennis Shoes are a lightweight, high performance model constructed with a TPU cage for supreme flexibility, strength and elasticity. The PROBANK technology found near the front of the shoe provides lateral stability to support the quick lateral moves required in the game. The Ndurance rubber compound is found in the higher wear areas to give the 996 extra durability with no sacrifice in comfort and support.
I chose the New Balance 996 primarily because of their style. From my past experience with New Balance footwear, I knew that the fit and the cushioning would be up to my standards. I enjoyed the shoes, they felt great on my feet. The sole was very durable and only wore on the outer edges. I felt that the support the shoe provided was adequate. My foot over pronates and these shoes felt like my foot was always locked in place. I’m sure that New Balance’s Ndure forefoot cage feature was the main reason for this. The look of the shoe was top notch. Very fashionable and sharp looking. Besides the Blue/black combination of the pair I had, the New Balance 996 is also available in White/Black, Blue/Green and White/Blue. Each of these colors are on the conservative side of the spectrum and go well with any of the newest styles and colors of tennis outfits now available. The upper is made of synthetic and mesh, but not enough mesh for my liking to survive playing tennis in the extreme heat. The ventilation was not that great, foot temp comfort rose in the summer until it became nearly uncomfortable. Some days I felt like treating my feet like a marathon runner and pour water over them to release steam. The herringbone pattern of the sole never left me feeling a lack of traction, even after the soles started to wear down. Overall wear was not as great as I hoped. The Revlite foam compound weighs 30% less, maybe at the expense of cushion longevity because I felt the cushioning gave way faster than other New Balance and other tennis shoe models I’ve worn and lead to alignment and pain issues. The style was good and would recommend purchase but replacement sooner than 6 months. This is based on a schedule of playing 2-3 times per week for about 90-160 minutes per tennis session.
New Balance 996 Pros & Cons:
Style and available colors – these shoes go with anything you wear on the tennis court
Support – The shoes keep your feet laterally supported. The cushioning also felt great, definitely up to the standards expected from New Balance
Not enough mesh to provide adequate ventilation when playing in hot weather
cushioning seemed to wear down quicker than normal
I would recommend this shoe, with a few reservations. If you play tennis in a really hot climate, be aware that the shoes may not offer enough ventilation to keep your foot comfortable. Also, pay attention to the level of cushioning as it may wear faster than you are use to.
New Balance guarantees the outsole of the 996 tennis shoe for 1 year against premature wear with a new or similar pair.
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