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New Balance 2002R vs. 990 vs. 1906R vs. 992: Differences and Reviews 2024

New Balance 2002R vs. 990 vs. 1906R vs. 992: Differences and Reviews 2024

    Everyone knows New Balance shoes.New Balance has been upgrading its shoe models to improve support and cushioning.The debate among New Balance fans has always been about which shoe is better.It’s not just the model numbers that are similar, but the styles as well, with many falling into certain “families,” meaning often their designs are seemingly near-identical yet have subtle important differences.So,the process of finding just the right New Balance sneaker for you can turn complicated and confusing.

    To help you more easily navigate the world of New Balance sneakers and determine which style is best for you, I’ve compiled this guide to the brand’s many options, detailing the differences between each.Including the styles you’re probably already more than familiar with, like the 574,515,990 and 997H.Wha's the difference between New Balance 2002R and 990?Wha's the difference between New Balance 2002R and 992?What is the difference between New Balance 990 and 992?Are New Balance 2002R for running?How comfortable are 2002R?Wha's the difference between New Balance 2002R vs. 990 vs. 1906R?New Balance 2002R vs. 990 vs. 1906R vs. 992:what is the most comfortable New Balance model?Which is best for you?This is where you can read a quick summary about the most important differences between these four shoes.Keep reading and you will know which pair of trainers is right for you.


New Balance 2002R Review

  • 1st Release Date: 2010

  • Made in USA

  • Price: $114.99 - $149.99(The 2024 Lunar New Year Collection)


The 2002 was originally released in 2010, and this version adds the R on the end of the model as well as the sole unit from the 860v2. The original 2002 was super expensive and made out to be a luxury sneaker, this version makes them a bit more affordable. And the sneaker now has a sleeker design than the original.

Building on the success of the 990 line, the 2002R carries over the dad-shoe aesthetic but at a more attainable price point with additional comfort granted by the N-ergy and ABZORB midsole. This has made it the choice sneaker for collaborators like thisisneverthat, Joe Freshgoods, Salehe Bembury, J.Crew and Bape.Made with premium materials and ample amount of cushioning, support, and shock absorption, these shoes keep you ready for anything. The ABZORB midsole absorbs impact through a smashing combo of cushioning and compression resistance for a smooth ride. Finish off your everyday look with the New Balance 2002R.If you like the look of the 990s yet want something less ubiquitous, consider the 2002R…However, if you are a serious runner, it may be best to opt for a more-modern type of New Balance running shoe (like the 1080).

This running-inspired sneaker is perfect for those who:

  • prefer the old-schoolish dad-shoe vibe in their footwear

  • are looking for a lifestyle shoe that provides arch support

  • need an NB shoe that they can wear all day long

  • want a sneaker that feels airy when worn

New Balance 2002R Pros and Cons

  • Stylish classic look.

  • Comfortable for all-day wear.

  • Steady Fit.

  • Accurate Sizing.

  • Good breathability.

  • Helps to relieve foot pain.

  • Stable platform.

  • Reliable arch support.

  • The improved sole unit makes the NB 2002R a very airy and light shoe.

  • Multiple colorways.

  • Suede overlays lack durability.

  • Some wearers complain that the NB 2002R has a very narrow forefoot and can be too tight.

New Balance 990 Review

  • 1st Release Date: 1982

  • Made in USA

  • Price: $199.99(990v6)


The 990’s original designers were tasked with creating the single best running shoe on the market. The finished product more than lived up to its billing. When it hit shelves for the first time in 1982 the 990 sported an elegantly understated grey colorway, and a then unheard of three-figure price tag. For avid runners and ahead of the curve tastemakers alike, the 990 was a mark of quality and superior taste. There have been updates to the design since ’82, and more color options, but the 990’s aspirational status symbol aura has never changed. 

The latest generation model, the 990v6 features a streamlined take on the mesh paneling and suede overlay construction, plus FuelCell and ENCAP midsole technologies. The subtle, refined modernization offers an up-to-date pinnacle experience for the 990.Akin to its predecessors, the NB 990v6 features a breathable mesh base overlaid with a bevy of premium perforated leather pig suede panels. Furthermore, a first-look at the shoe reveals an inaugural greyscale colorway, which has become customary of many new models from the brand.The latter takes over the heel, but forgoes the pronounced appearance found on the New Balance 990v5. Yet, like its immediate predecessor, the v6 adopts a sporty aesthetic, indulging in a slimmer shape and more angular lines than past New Balance shoes.With the V6, New Balance has seemingly addressed the market’s aesthetic adjustment accordingly.

New Balance 990v6 Pros and Cons

  • Indulging in a slimmer shape and more angular lines than past New Balance shoes.

  • The v6 is constructed from fewer components, with the midfoot saddle featured on previous models removed in favor of a flowing, heel to toe overlay design.

  • Comfortable to boot.

  • They come in a number of different widths.

  • FuelCell foam delivers a propulsive feel to help drive you forward.

  • More squish than previous versions.

  • Expensive.

  • Doesn’t have the same retro charm the older models have.

New Balance 1906R review

  • 1st Release Date: 2009

  • Made in USA

  • Price: $154.99 - $169.99


Originally debuting as the 1906 in 2009, the top-of-the-line performance model arrives in 2022 powered by the very same sleek Y2K visuals and tech that made the 2002R reboot so successful.The 1906R brings back the upper of a retired 2000s runner and places it atop the 2002R’s midsole. This is a solid option for sneakerheads looking for a sneaker with the layered, web uppers that were popular in that era.Though it isn't designed as a performance running shoe, it's ready to cushion your feet for daily hustles. Like most dad shoes with a blast-from-the-past appeal, this kick will grow on you if you have a big love for sneaks with a retro aesthetic and bang-up quality.

Named for the year New Balance was conceived and updated with an upper inspired by running shoe designs from the 2000s, this classic shoe continues to be a staple in the running world. Its N-ergy shock absorbing outsole features a Stability Web for added arch support, while an ACTEVA LITE midsole and ABZORB SBS heel cushioning offer comfort and stability. With the timeless 1906R, you get a stylish running shoe that performs.

It's a deal clincher and deserves a spot in your sneaker stack if:

  • old-school New Balance shoes are right up your alley

  • NB dad sneakers are on your radar

  • you go for the New Balance 991 style and want a mesh alternative

  • you opt for lifestyle-focused running kicks, especially the retros

New Balance 1906R Pros and Cons

  • Suede/mesh material.

  • Premium quality.

  • Lace-up closure for a secure fit.

  • ABZORB SBS heel cushioning delivers additional stability and comfort.

  • Exceptionally breathable.

  • Appealing throwback style.

  • Stability Web outsole technology provides added arch support.

  • Securely hugs the feet.

  • Crease free.

  • More expensive.

  • Not wide-foot friendly.

New Balance 992 Review

  • 1st Release Date: 2006

  • Made in US

  • Price: $179 - $219


The New Balance 992 is a running silhouette.Debuted in 2006 for the brand's 100th Anniversary, the sneaker marked the second installment of the company's “99X” series – an evolution of the iconic New Balance 990 – which began in 2001.

Designed by Jonathan Bacon, the model introduced ABZORB Stability Insock technology to the Boston-based brand's line of products. The new release brought the 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.

The sneaker features a slightly-sportier shape than its New Balance 991 predecessor, but boasts a shape bulky enough to be widely-synonymous with a “dad shoe.” The model is made for the jogger and is fitted with versatile, breathable mesh material topped with durable suede overlay layers. The midsole is both thick and wide, offering reliable stability and lightweight cushioning. For added comfort, the show also has padded cushioning on the tongue and heel. 

New Balance 992 Pros and Cons

  • Fashionable dad sneaker.

  • Excellent ventilator.

  • All-rounder.

  • Extra quality.

  • Timeless aesthetics.

  • Comfortable.

  • So-so finish.

  • Hard to cop.

Where to Buy New Balance Shoes Cheapest?

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New Balance 2002R vs. 990 vs. 1906R vs. 992: Comparison Side by Side

1.Construction and Materials

  • Upper

New Balance 2002R - The 2002r is made with breathable leather/suede/mesh uppers. While the purpose of the suede overlays is to add durability and style, its suede overlay did not hold well after several uses. Also, those who used the shoe for moderate daily wear complained that the mesh material started to develop holes too. Some reported signs of wear after only a few weeks of using the shoes.

New Balance 990v6 - The upper is mostly made of a grey pig suede. While pig leather is actually a bit less expensive than cow, on this pair it’s actual dyed suede as opposed to the plastic coated stuff you find on most sneakers.The suede is applied to the lacing system and sole unit. There are reflective elements that can be found on the “N” lettermark and below the collar. To complement the reflective elements, metallic finishing is applied to the 990 logos at the rear of the sneaker and on the tongue’s branding while the V6 is done in a curvy font in red. Alongside the suede, most of the rest of the upper is a polyester blend. Elsewhere on the upper, plastic panels on the tongue and heel cap are just that – plastic – but they have a bit step up compared to previous models.

New Balance 1906R - This iteration of the New Balance 1906R comes constructed out of a mesh upper and pig suede overlays.For the New Balance 1906R, you can expect a crease-free toe box even as you sport this repeatedly and frequently.

New Balance 992 - The New Balance 992 upper is made of pigskin suede leather and mesh. The 992’s breathable mesh allows for quick break-in and aids with foot ventilation. While this pair appears to be overly cushioned, it is still a great summer sneaker! However, it may not be as water resistant as other New Balance shoes. It is also obvious that no matter how soft the pigskin is, suede looks much better than pigskin.

  • Midsole 

New Balance 2002R - The ABZORB cushioning technology found on the midsole offers a springy feel for maximized comfort and stability.The visible N-ergy technology, which effectively absorbs shock, is seen on the lateral side of the back heel and pretty much looks like the popular Nike Shox.On top of that, it uses a very well-padded foam insole which contributed to the underfoot comfort. It can be easily removable to fit in your custom orthotics if needed.

New Balance 990v6 - The New Balance 990v6 midsole gets a complete revamp. New Balance used three different types of EVA foam represented by the three different colors. New Balance has given the sneaker a chunkier, textured midsole with a much taller stack height. In terms of design, the forefoot is given much smoother lines while the grey Encap heel sports more aggressive, sharper lines.FuelCell foam delivers a propulsive feel to help drive you forward.

New Balance 1906R - The bulk of those who recommended this kick for daily wear thanked the presence of the ABZORB heel cushioning and the shock-absorbing Ortholite insole. These components offer an “excellent amount of softness” and “a good amount of cushioning and resistance.” 

New Balance 992 - New Balance 992 shoes midsole is made of ABZORB cushioning with ABZORN SBS technology.SBS is a deformable thermoplastic material. It is a low-density foam placed in the heel and ball of foot region of New Balance 992 to withstand extended impact testing. ABZROB foam is proprietary material of New Balance that offers shock absorption like EVA foam but lasts longer.

  • Outsole

New Balance 2002R - Thanks to the TPU web found underneath, this sneaker delivers reliable arch support and stability. You can trust that you will be able to walk around steadily with the support that the New Balance 2002R provides. Aside from providing support, this sneaker also feels very light when worn!

New Balance 990v6 - The outsole is much more classic New Balance. Thick rubber with minimal cut outs shows that this was still designed with durability in mind.

New Balance 1906R - Its N-ergy shock absorbing outsole features a Stability Web for added arch support.

New Balance 992 - The 992 features a rubber outsole that helps with gripping and enhances durability.

2.Fit and Sizing

New Balance 2002R - The New Balance 2002R sizing is a little small. They fit more snug so it would be best to go up half a size from your usual. They are wide foot friendly with a slightly roomy feel.

New Balance 990v6 - The New Balance 990 v6 has a surprisingly good last.These new 990s are shaped much more like a normal foot.Even better, they come in a number of different widths. The heavy padding also makes the shoes pretty accommodating if you’re in between sizes. 

New Balance 1906R - The New Balance 1906R fits slightly snug,similar to the New Balance 2002R since they share the same midsole. I recommend you go half a size up.

New Balance 992 - When it comes to New Balance 992 sizing, if you order true to size, you will still have room in the toe area. So, if you want to wear 992 shoes but need a snug fit, choose half a size smaller than your genuine size.

Conclusion: Which is Best for You?

At the end of the day, it will depend on personal choice.New Balance 2002r is inspired by early 2000’s athletic shoes.It is the first of the brand’s retro-revivals and has already gained a considerable fan base in the two years since its release. This is largely thanks to its chic design. Overall, the NB 2002R is a classic runner’s shoe with the comfort, and design fans have come to expect from New Balance.

The 1906R team-up is unique in its design as it features blemishes throughout the base layer to channel a pre-worn aesthetic while the 2002Rs take more of a practical route and arrive dressed with more cleaner gray and navy color-blocking.

The New Balance 990 and 992 have a retro-90’s style.They are sturdier shoes, built with thicker materials. If you have flat feet, and looking for shoes for long hours standing, I would recommend New Balance 990v5. If your foot has a decent arch, you can go with New Balance 992 shoes as they have a nice resilient cushioning for long-distance walking. Both of 990 and 992 are less lightweight, breathable than 2002R.

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2023-02-02 01:067602