Every New Balance 99X Timeline and History! 1982-2024
Why is the 99X New Balance Line So Expensive?
From 1982 to 202 4 there are 18 99X models to have released and in this video I wanted to map out a timeline of the New Balance sneaker 99X and provide some key details of each respective model. Oddly they didn’t release these in order, and they skipped the 994 completely! One thing they did keep consistent is wide versions of all of the products, which still is produced today for us Wide Feet Gang people.
Shop All current models of New Balance in the 99X series here https://bit.ly/3OnDcJp
Shop all New Balance 990v4 or 990v6 here https://bit.ly/3FIByyL
Shop all New Balance 993 here https://bit.ly/3Oniadi
Shop all New Balance 996 here https://bit.ly/47UZiKd
Shop all New Balance 998 here https://bit.ly/3SxDVKP
Shop all New Balance 991v1 or 991v2 here https://bit.ly/3IebpZo
1:02 New Balance 990v1 – 1982 Retail $100, made in USA.
Original concept formed in 1978, instead of cashing in on overseas production, these were Made in the USA, which would soon invoke a loyal following who wanted locally made premium shoes.
After 4 yrs of R&D the $100 990 was born. Created with a Slip lasting process that was more complex than the normal method, they also featured a polyurethane heel called Motion Control Device.
In 1982 they had an advertisement showcasing 8 different models in the NB lineup:
375/76 – for casual budget conscience shoppers
390 – frugal training shoe
420 – for comfort
555 – for durability and larger runners
660 – mid / long distance runners with firm feel
730 – mid / long distance runners with cushioning
990 – devoted runners who want flexibility and motion control
Comps – for competitive runners
Shouldn’t have worked, but did, became a cornerstone of the line as most companies were trying to manufacture overseas. Premium materials, price and craftsmanship laid the foundation.
2:09 New Balance 995 – 1986
Featured the ENCAP sole unit. Unlike die-cut EVA midsoles of the past, the new tech featured a moulded polyurethane shell beneath the heel, which encapsulated an EVA wedge. This arrangement offered sure-footed stability without reducing shock absorption, while ensuring low compression set – meaning the midsole wouldn’t squish down and lose its springiness over time. The 995 also introduced a 3M Scotchlite reflective ‘N’ logo into the mix, which left a shining impression in the minds of joggers and jaywalkers alike.
2:31 New Balance 996 – 1988
Designed by Steven Smith who designed Yeezys with Kanye, but before that mad the NB550, 574, 997, and so much more. He also worked on the 995 and 997
More Tech, More cushioning. 996 was the first radical offshoot of the original 990. The 996’s technological features represented six years of evolution, and featured a subtly streamlined exterior design, making for an exceptionally wearable, high-performance shoe
adding a dual density C-Cap midsole to support the ENCAP wedge. It provided greater stability, support and cushioning, and was capped off with a two-tone outsole composed of blown and carbon rubber. The upper sported a contemporary feel with high tensile mesh and a revised MCD, defined by a more dynamic line that tapered down toward the midsole.
NB 996 Currently Available on New Balance Site here https://bit.ly/47UZiKd
3:06 New Balance 997 – 1990
Designed by Steven Smith
Overlapping panels that offer supportive fit and a contemporary aesthetic. Again, the midsole was completely redesigned and reconstructed. This time it came with a slick moulded finish that hinted at a technological enhancement, namely the fusing of C-Cap and ENCAP – an upgrade to the previous ‘sandwich’ technique. This release also included a heel strap that can be seen peeking out below the collar, a new component that ramped up the lateral support and reinforced the pigskin suede upper. The strap was made with Hytrel, a special kind of copolymer developed by American chemical manufacturer DuPont, which has the flexibility of rubber and the strength of plastic. Additionally, a new rubber compound known as XAR 1000 was added to the heel – elevating durability and traction to new heights. First NB made in both US and UK factories
997 ditched the traditional foam cushioning in favour of a radical Polyurethane shell that housed dual-density ENCAP inserts. A chunk of pliable C-CAP ran from the toe through to the medial midfoot, with removeable arch supports completing the cushioning quartet
The 997 seems to have a really unique profile at New Balance. Do you agree?
The shoe was definitely a big step forward technology-wise. Moulded upper components, multiple density midsoles and that super-thick, blown-rubber sole made it a standout in the running shoe environment. And the 997 was really tough, they lasted forever!
We were always driven to make the best possible shoe at the moment in time we were working on it. The 997’s look is definitely driven by the fit and the design lines. As a team, we had a collective knowledge of what needed to go into the shoes from a runner’s perspective, and that helped the design process immensely.
The 997 also was the first 99X to have a made for Women version with a NB logo on the side
4:08 New Balance 997.5 2008
In late 2008, the 997 nameplate was unexpectedly refreshed, albeit in circumstances that would add another ambiguous chapter to the narrative. Japan’s United Arrows & Sons approached New Balance with a request to bring the 997 back from hibernation as a collaborative project. After some robust discussions around the cost of recreating sole units and the definition of amortisation, New Balance agreed to an unconventional compromise. They would take the 997 upper and Frankenstein it to the ABZORB-enhanced 998 sole unit, creating an all-new model known as the 997.5.
Apparently inspired by a heritage colour scheme seen on the NBX M900 runner from 1991, United Arrows & Sons licked the 997.5 in a coat of light grey suede with hot pink and purple pops. Sold exclusively at their own retail outlets in Japan, the hybrid model’s dynamite looks and extreme exclusivity ensured it sold out and disappeared in a nanosecond.
in 2014 the 997 came back in full rotation, after almost 20 yrs off from the OG.
New Balance M997S – 2018
2 versions of 997 came back, the 997S and 997H
4:29 997H (Hypothosys) – Revlite midsole, lower retail price.
4:39 997S (Sport) – Encap Reveal midsole
4:46 New Balance 998 – 1993
DuPont, and together they worked to create ENCAP II which debuted in the 998. The shock-absorbing compound had initially been developed for use on the railroad, creating ABZORB foam in the process. The new isoprene rubber had been designed to resist compression and maximise energy displacement on a cellular level, making it perfectly engineered for life inside an ENCAP shell.
Years ago you could “Nike ID” your own pair of 998s on NB website.
Shop New Balance 998 here https://bit.ly/3SxDVKP
5:33 New Balance 999 – 1996 ENCAP, C-Cap and ABZORB
but added a metatarsal pad to cushion the forefoot and expose a section of ABZORB beneath the heel. The retooling left the midsole with a much more intricately sculpted sidewall, something that would only become more pronounced in the editions that would follow
M999 is made in US, ML999 or MRL999 is made in Asia.
Concepts “The Kennedy” colorway is probably the most popular one to date, released in 2011, retroed in 2017
6:10 New Balance 990v2 – 1998 ABZORB midsole
For shock absorbing, been 15yrs since the 990v1. with ABZORB foam running the entire length of the ENCAP sole before popping out at the heel in a sealed bubble
6:29 New Balance 991 – 2001 streamlined toe box. For the first time, the ABZORB foam peeked out not only from beneath the heel but also from below the forefoot, alluding to the superior cushioning that lay within. The svelte design seamlessly incorporated motion control, which flowed from the midsole and gave the design an edge of modern minimalism. The outsole also introduced the new Ndurance rubber compound, which promised maximum durability in high-wear areas.
6:50 New Balance 992 – 2006
Celebrating NBs 100 yr anniversary, all-new ABZORB SBS to the table, which enabled it to stand tall among a throng of hyped anniversary drops. Where previous iterations of the proprietary cushioning contained foamed rubber, the new version was a non-cellular elastomer – squishy rubber that would always bounce back, even after years of use. The new tech was placed under the heel and forefoot to provide optimal cushioning and a smooth transition throughout the stride
7:12 New Balance 993 – 2008
combining elements of the 991 and 992 into one clean package. The big addition was ABZORB DTS, or ‘Dynamic Transitioning System’, a new form of cushioning that utilised ABZORB foam together with the SBS elastomer to target different areas with support and stability. The upper underwent a few minor tweaks, including the addition of an elegant ‘993’ stamp on the heel
7:33 New Balance 990v3 – 2012 30th birthday, and as it entered middle age there was no doubt it had embraced the role at the head of the rapidly expanding 99x family. To celebrate, New Balance introduced the 990v3. The update showed a little more mesh between its pigskin paneling and perforations for extra breathability. The design had a more utilitarian look than its predecessors, emphasised by the diamond patterning on the tongue and ribbed N logo. Aesthetics aside, the shoe’s technology remained relatively unchanged.
8:24 New Balance 990v4 – 2016
modern, streamlined look alludes to its athletic pedigree, channelling design cues inspired by the OG era. The panels span out from the N logo, with layers of mesh accented by shadows of leather that are set against the pigskin contours. The ENCAP sole is made up of a polyurethane ring with an EVA core, providing the signature balance between cushioning and stability. If you’re after a reliable, long-lasting running shoe, the 990v4 is simply as good as it gets.
8:42 New Balance 990v5 – 2019
With a tonal TPU power strap wrapping the upper
emblems on the tongue and foxing of the footwear accentuated with 360 reflectivity. Crisp white laces and a matching outsole completed a clean take that sat atop the epochal ENCAP midsole.
9:03 New Balance 990v6 – 2022
ALD’s Teddy Santis as the new creative director of their Made in USA line.
990v6 also featured a much higher stacked sole than prior iterations which was thanks to the FuelCell foam addition on top of previously used ENCAP midsole cushioning which was used in the v3, v4 and v5
9:35 New Balance 991v2 – 2023
Made in UK
addition of fuelcell in the midsole