The New Balance 993 is a chunky ‘90s-style running shoe released in 2008.
It’s pricey, and some consider it to be outdated, so is it worth buying?
It depends on your intent and what you value in a shoe.
New Balance already has expensive footwear available, but the New Balance 993 takes it to the limit.
Despite being similar to the 990 and everything that came in between, the cost difference is extraordinary. And, some would say the differences aren’t blatant enough to warrant it.
However, the 993 is still an excellent shoe with its stand-out features. If you’re considering purchasing a pair, we give you an insight if you’ll get your money’s worth.
What Is the Difference Between the New Balance 990 and 993?
The main issue of the New Balance 993 is that the differences from the 990 are minimal. The 993 is more robust and designed for durability. However, this can impact your movement speed and the ease of your gait.
A heavy, durable shoe is exactly what some people are looking for. It’d be a fantastic shoe for leisurely walkers who want something that’ll slow them down. But, its chunky nature may make it less flexible, impacting how you walk.
Outside of leisurely walks, it’s just a 990 that’ll last longer for a much higher price. A price that, apparently, consumers didn’t think was worth paying continuously—despite its popularity upon release.
There is some more advanced technology in there, as was introduced in the 991 and 992, which is likely what made it so desirable on initial release.
New Balance 993 Review
The New Balance 993 contains the qualities you need in an excellent running shoe. But how do these present within it?
Let’s examine its stand-out features.
One of the downers about the shoes is the weight—but they’re not as heavy as you’d think.
New Balance 993 shoes weigh 14 ounces (399 grams), which is nothing compared to some heavy work or hiking boots, but is still considered weighty for a pair of runners.
This higher weight is great for those craving extra stability, thinking themselves too light on their feet. It’s unlikely that you’ll miss a running step with these heavier shoes pulling your feet down.
But for those who like a light extension of their feet, this isn’t the pair for you.
The outsole and sole are made of N-Durance rubber—a compound New Balance crafted to maximize its products’ lives.
This rubber may be part of the reason users found the 993s lasted longer than the 990s.
Unfortunately, if you thought the durability would make these shoes suitable for rougher terrain, you’re mistaken. They’re still very much a road shoe, just one you’ll have to purchase less frequently.
Instead, if you’re looking for trail running shoes, consider checking out the ASICS Gel Venture 6.
The sole has more than one feature to make a fuss about. The rubber of the N-Durance is blown-out, making it more flexible.
New Balance went out of its way to ensure this flexibility, despite the thick, durable and heavy outsole.
Flexibility is vital in running, to stop pain and incorrect form. Even if the shoes don’t flex everywhere your foot does, they should at least have dexterity in the toe box.
Thankfully, the 993 succeeds in this area.
New Balance’s specialty is creating increasingly superior shoe technology.
These days, it’s all about Fresh Foam. Before that, it was TRUEFUSE.
When you go further back in time, you get to the ACTEVA era. New Balance doesn’t make this midsole anymore, but it was fantastic while it was around.
ACTEVA is lighter than standard midsole cushioning. It’s also resistant to compression—the shoes last longer before the inside flattens out.
Being light, it may also help the rubber last longer. But, with the shoes being heavier than other models, things may balance out.
The New Balance 993 has a pigskin suede and mesh upper.
The pigskin suede ensures quality, and it’s even present in cheap shoes. You can see and feel how real it is, and it feels much better than the hard, “leather” or synthetic leather blends that many brands use.
Pigskin suede probably won’t show wrinkles as clearly as harder leathers, either. So, the shoes will look as good as they do when you buy them until they eventually fall apart.
Meanwhile, between the suede is mesh, which lets your feet breathe, preventing sweat and eliminating odor.
Recently, New Balance started engineering mesh. The new, engineered mesh is often better, higher quality and more breathable.
The outdated mesh is blatant with the New Balance 993. Despite the best efforts, they trap some sweat and hold odor—they’re made to be worn with sweat-wicking socks.
If you get the shoes wet, it gets worse.
Due to the layers of imperfectly crafted foam, it takes a while for the shoes to dry. This can lead to a damp, musty smell. So, you need to be extremely cautious with these shoes, especially when running in the rain and while cleaning them.
One feature most running shoes don’t have is an extended tongue, which is mainly present in basketball shoes.
The tongue is supposed to protect your feet’s surface, but the 993 New Balance’s tongue doesn’t always do a great job—it tends to move as you run. Some runners find it uncomfortable enough to warrant adjustment.
Runners found a solution for this, fixing it by wearing thicker socks. But, if they’re not the right socks for the shoes, you have more sweat and stench to deal with.
As well as this tongue, the New Balance men’s 993 and women’s 993 have low eyelets, so the laces won’t press the tongue tight to your foot correctly.
- Long-lasting, durable shoes.
- May benefit those who need heavier shoes for stability.
- Incredible technology for comfort.
- Outsoles that, to this day, go almost unmatched.
- Well-loved by many customers due to their style and comfort.
- Keep odor trapped in.
- Difficult to dry.
- Not as breathable as they should be.
- Tongue moves.
- Low eyelets.
- Require extra care, as they’re pricey to replace.
Technically, there are better shoes out there. But, many customers don’t mind the downfalls and come back to the 993 again and again.
Caring for Your 993 New Balance
Since New Balance’s 993 shoes boast a high price tag, you should look to make them last.
Check out these tips to do so:
Clean Them Correctly
Since these shoes don’t do well when submerged, you can’t rely on your washer to deal with stains.
- Dislodge staining with a small brush, like a toothbrush, using gentle movements and warm water.
- Mix a mild laundry detergent with the water if the stain won’t budge.
- Gently wipe the stain-free shoes with a damp cloth.
Pro Tip: Read our article on how to clean suede shoes for more in-depth tips to help with the uppers.
Keep Odor Away
As odor will be a bigger issue with the New Balance 993s than others, try preventing the smells more than you would with other footwear.
Also, equip yourself with a deodorizer spray. Try light layers of this spray to avoid saturating the material.
If you try fixing these and fail, they’ll be pricy to replace.
Try to avoid DIYing anything with these shoes. If the outsole peels or cracks, find a cobbler. If the suede rips, find a cobber or a tailor.
You paid too much for your New Balance 993s to let them fall apart!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does New Balance Still Make 993?
Yes, New Balance still makes the 993 shoes. Despite their low points, customers find them incredibly comfortable, and their durability is unmatched.
When Did New Balance 993 Come Out?
The New Balance 993 came out in 2008. Though, it may be hard to believe the 993 New Balance came out in the 21st century due to their ‘80s/’90s style.
Why Are New Balance Shoes So Expensive?
New Balance shoes are so expensive due to their quality. New Balance uses high-quality, usually USA-made, materials and highly skilled workers in all New Balance factories. It also utilizes new, advanced shoe technology in all its footwear.
New Balance 993: Have They Run Their Course?
Although the New Balance 993 shoes are still pretty great, they’re not the best you can buy.
There are fantastic features in the New Balance mens 993, if you really want a pair. These New Balance 993 mens tend to be close to $200, though.
For runners, you can do better. But, for collectors who want to own every New Balance shoe, they’re a fantastic one to have and wear.
They’re also definitely New Balance old man shoes in terms of their chunky ‘90s-looking style. So, if foot fashion is your game, they’ll be excellent for that, too. “Dad shoes” are in style in 2020.
If you think your friends fit into the fashion-lover or collectors category, share this with them. And, leave your thoughts on these questionable shoes down below.