New Balance, as we know it, reached new heights in 1982 and never looked back. The debut of the 990 was when the brand gained its identity as a powerhouse in running shoes, with Terry Heckler’s original brand logo greatly contributed to their bold re-entry. With the large and slanted N in place, the next step was to be as disruptive as possible, and the newly designed 990 was the shoe to carry that weight. There are some strong implications behind pricing a shoe higher than any of its competitors, but New Balance lived up to the hype. The shoe caught fire in the market, and beyond the running track it became a status symbol of sorts.
There is no debating the breadth of its appeal. All seven iterations of the 990 series have been adopted by all types of cultural circles, from the selective individuals of the DMV region to figureheads of revolutionary tech companies that have altered history. And while there are indeed seven models to choose from, the smooth grey color scheme continues to be the anchor for the legacy and a trademark of the brand.
As New Balance gears up for the release of the 990v4 “1982” this Saturday, let’s take a quick look into the evolution of the New Balance 990, from its starting point in 1982 to present day.