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New Balance 996v4 Men's Shoe: An Honest Review

CEO Tinh Phung
Introduction When it comes to finding the perfect tennis shoe, comfort and durability are key factors. The New Balance 996v4 Men's Shoe seems to tick all the right boxes. In this review, we'll dive deep...

New Balance 996v4 Men's Shoe Review

Introduction

When it comes to finding the perfect tennis shoe, comfort and durability are key factors. The New Balance 996v4 Men's Shoe seems to tick all the right boxes. In this review, we'll dive deep into the features and performance of this shoe, giving you an honest and unbiased opinion.

Comfort - Score: 3.7

The New Balance 996v4s are packed with comfort features that cater to both the upper and midsole. Our team of playtesters had varying opinions about overall comfort. Jason, one of our wide-footed playtesters, praised the step-in comfort and the flexibility of the knit uppers. He also commended the plush ride provided by the FuelCell midsole.

Mark, on the other hand, compared the updated 996v4 with its predecessor, the 996v3. He found the new version to be much more comfortable, thanks to the improved FuelCell midsole technology. Despite the low arch support, Mark was pleased with the overall fit and comfort.

However, Troy had mixed feelings about the 996v4's comfort. While he found the fit and softness of the upper material comfortable, he felt that the underfoot cushioning was minimal compared to other lightweight shoes.

Chris, though he found the 996v4s comfortable in general, encountered issues with heel cushioning. He felt that the cushioning was lacking, especially during intense movements, which resulted in minor bruising.

Foot Support/Stability - Score: 3.4

The playtesters appreciated the support provided by the 996v4s, although they were hoping for more stability. Mark was particularly positive about the support and stability. He noted that the shoes offered a higher level of comfort due to the slight stretch in the uppers. The FuelCell midsole provided softness and energy absorption without compromising support.

Troy, who values stability, admitted that while the shoes provided adequate support, they lacked the rigidity he desired. Though the low-to-the-ground profile helped with lateral stability, he felt that there could have been more rigidity, especially in the midfoot region.

Chris echoed Troy's sentiment, wishing for more support even at the cost of some flexibility. He experienced the uppers stretching during lateral cuts, making him feel like his feet were spilling over the midsole.

Jason also desired slightly more stability. He found that the uppers flexed a bit too much for his liking during lateral movements.

Overall Sole Durability - Score: 3.7

Despite being lightweight, the New Balance 996v4s surprised our playtesters with their durability. Backed by a six-month durability guarantee, these shoes went above Chris's expectations. While they didn't last as long as his New Balance Lavs, he was impressed by their durability considering their lightweight construction.

Jason, too, found the 996v4s impressively durable, even after about 10 hours of on-court time.

Troy considered the durability average for a lightweight option. He noticed some balding around the balls of his feet but compared the outsole durability to the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X shoes.

Mark, with around 20 hours of playtime, expects his 996v4s to last even longer. He noted wear around the big toe area but believed he had plenty of playtime left, especially with the sole warranty.

Traction - Score: 4.2

The multi-directional tread pattern of the 996v4s provided excellent traction, especially during the initial playtest. Mark, who has a counterpunching game style, praised the top-shelf traction on various hard courts.

Chris found the level of traction slightly on the grippier side, yet there was enough give to allow for sliding on aggressive stops. He never felt lacking for grip during quick starts.

Troy also initially found the outsoles sticky but noticed that the traction improved after some wear. He believed that these shoes would be a good choice for aggressive movers who like to slide on hard courts.

Jason felt that the traction leaned towards the stickier side but didn't hinder him while pivoting.

Weight - Score: 4.7

With a weight of 12.4 ounces (size 10.5), the New Balance 996v4s scored the highest in the weight category among our team. Chris, who wore these shoes throughout the playtest, praised their light and fast feel. The comfort and flexibility of the uppers contributed to a natural and fast experience on the court.

Jason also loved the lightweight feel, which made him feel fast and nimble during gameplay.

Troy was impressed by the ultra-light and fast feel of these shoes. Their low profile and contoured knit uppers added to the streamlined experience, rivaling the Babolat Jet Mach IIs in weight and court feel.

Mark concluded the playtest with high praise for the lighter weight of the 996v4s. He was impressed by New Balance's ability to remove weight without sacrificing stability or comfort.

Conclusion

The New Balance 996v4 Men's Shoe proves to be a reliable option for tennis enthusiasts. While opinions differed on certain aspects, the overall consensus was positive. These shoes excel in comfort, offer decent support and stability, and provide excellent traction. Their durability, considering their lightweight design, is commendable. If you're in search of a lightweight and high-performance tennis shoe, the New Balance 996v4s are worth considering.

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