Dr. Sharnoff's Ratings
COMBINED RATING: 8.0
The 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. The long-wear drag tip protects the toe box, benefiting players who drag their toes on serve or when moving forward in the court. The result is a light shoe offering maneuverability and durability. Weartesters cited light weight and breathability as the best assets, while reporting narrow fit and a slightly stiff feel out of the box as the worst features. Players who crave the comfort of a low and light ride while seeking a shoe that can stand up to the pounding of all-court tennis should appreciate the 996. The synthetic-mesh upper combined with the herringbone outsole creates an agile shoe providing sound traction on a variety of surfaces. Since some weartesters cited narrow fit as a concern, we recommend trying both the regular and wider widths before purchase. New Balance backs this shoe: The 12-month outsole warranty is the best of any shoe we tested in 2013.