Product Profile: New Balance 996

by: Richard Pagliaro | October 22, 2012

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MSRP: $99.95


Facts: The new 996 retains the light weight of the brand’s 2011 release, the 851, and bolsters it with Probank stability technology near the front of the shoe, which provides support for lateral movement and quick cuts on court, according to New Balance. The long-wear drag tip protects the toe box, benefiting players who drag their toes on serve or moving forward in the court. The result is a light shoe—the size 9 ½ men’s shoe weighed in at 12.5 oz.; a size 7 women’s shoe weighed 10 oz.—offering maneuverability and durability.

The men’s 996 comes in sizes 7-13, 14, and 15 in both regular and wide widths; the women’s version of the shoe will be available in sizes 5-11 and 12 in medium and wide widths. New Balance backs the 996 with a with a 12-month outsole durability guarantee—one of the longest of this year's new shoes. There are three colors for the men’s 996: white/silver, white/green, and black/yellow; the women’s version comes in white/silver and white/pink/blue. The 996 goes on sale on New and in retail stores on January 1, 2013.

Impressions: Fit, feel, and flexible responsiveness are all assets of the 996. Players who crave the comfort of a low and light-weight ride while seeking a shoe that can stand up to the pounding of all-court tennis should appreciate this new entry. The synthetic/mesh upper combined with the herringbone outsole creates an agile shoe providing sound traction on a variety of surfaces. If you're a fast player who places a premium on changing directly quickly, this shoe should appeal. The 996 is a lightweight performance shoe that plays to New Balance’s traditional strengths: Endurance, cushioned comfort, and a variety of widths. The variety of colors makes the shoe look at home on both country club and public parks courts.

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