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When New Balance first released its 990 silhouette way back in 1982, it was likely unaware of the impact it would have on the sneaker scene in the proceeding decades.
Initially designed predominantly for performance running, the 990 was – at the time, at least – one of the most innovative sneakers on the market, thanks to its unique blend of then-cutting edge technology and its famed Made In USA-craftsmanship.
Forty years and five iterations on, the 990’s arsenal has grown astronomically thanks to various updates over the last four decades, and, in recent years, the myriad of link-ups it's been at the forefront of between NB and various collaborators.
That being said, images have started to surface online of the new-look 990v6, and to say there’s been a mixed reaction would be somewhat of an understatement.
First teased by Made In USA creative director Teddy Santis with the above picture last year, the 990v6 – which has reportedly been confirmed as accurate by NB – appears to house a lot more paneling on the upper than its predecessors, and an almost rocker-like midsole.
A quick scroll through the comments on any of the Instagram posts will give you a taste of the initial reaction to the silhouette, with hard passes very much looking like the order of the day.
The thing about “sneakerheads”, is that they don’t like change. Yet, if something is kept too similar to its former self, there’s also going to be a problem. So, in truth, it was always a lose-lose situation for the 990v6, whichever way you look at it.
For me, the 990v6 might still have some work to do to come anywhere near the 990v3 (see its latest release with Patta), but mark my words: as soon as Aimé Leon Dore has its say on the v6, the nay-sayers will come crawling back, you mark my words.