on August 20, 2012
Though I am not a runner, I wanted to try a pair of these for casual walking and recreation because I have arthritis in my feet. I have worn NB shoes for years, usually the lower level models, and have been very pleased with the fit and ruggedness. These take it to the next level. I have wide feet and NB has a great range of widths compared to some other manufacturers. They are very light and well-cushioned. I really look forward to putting them on whenever I can. They are more expensive than what I normally get, but worth it. And - they are made in the USA!
on April 5, 2015
Absolutely the worst pair of New Balance I have owned. I have been wearing this same model for over 10 years and this new design is the worst I have owned. Usually I get two to three years out of a pair, these have only lasted 6 months,two of which I could see the deterioration happening daily. Whatever material is used inside the sole crumbles and then the sides of the heal and arch fail. Literally, there is a hollow space inside the heal and I can feel the sole collapsing as I walk. New Balance will not take them back if they are not in resellable condition.I read reviews about this but I still bought them, I had good luck with them in the past. For 150.00 I can buy any shoe and I will never buy New Balance again. It is hard for me to change but these are so bad I will find another brand. Shame on them for cheating loyal customers like this.
on September 2, 2013
I'm saddened that the first review I've chosen to write in ten years of Amazon purchases had to be a warning about a product I loved and have purchased yearly for decades.
All the positives posted in other reviews about the amazing fit and comfort are true: but this shoe -- and some other New Balance models -- have a dark side: a powerful, repugnant smell that seems guaranteed to emerge after the shoe gets wet.
For the past two years I've been battling with a mystery: my family and coworkers have complained unabashedly about the smell of cat urine coming from my New Balance 990's (and the 993's before this model). I could smell it, too, and it was so powerful that I had to leave the shoes in another part of the house. I had assumed, since I do have indoor cats, that they had somehow decided to use my shoes as a litter box. Strange behavior for female spayed cats, but OK -- what else could it be.
I tried all manner of enzymatic cat urine cleaners and deodorants -- NOTHING worked. So I bought NEW shoes and vowed to keep them away from any place the cats could get to -- including never leaving them outside where outdoor cats might find them.
Amazingly -- the smell came back! I finally figured that I must have gotten cat urine from neighborhood cats on them while watering the garden. I purchased ANOTHER new pair, and this time waterproofed them and avoided taking them out into my garden area.
BUT -- the smell returned AGAIN! After trying the usual round of cat de-stinking chemicals, I was at a New Balance store and happen to ask about washing them. The experienced assistant manager GUESSED: "Oh, do they smell like cat urine?" I was STUNNED! He explained that it's a known problem with a polyurethane component in the sole breaking down and/or rotting due to exposure to water. The smell is due to the release of ammonia.
I could hardly wait to do a Google search -- and I could hardly believe my eyes: hundreds of postings about the VERY SAME SMELL -- from people who, like me, had been convinced it was related to feline tinkling -- many that didn't even have cats. The stories were strikingly similar: only by chance had these other consumers stumbled upon the information that the smell was a manufacturing defect, one that New Balance had been aware of for a couple of years. In many cases, New Balance had done the right thing and replaced the shoes, but also had informed consumers that the problem had been "corrected". This does NOT appear to be true: I purchased these shoes in May, and by July they had already started to smell horrible from the soles getting wet.
Tomorrow I'll be speaking with New Balance. While I'm confident they'll replace the shoes, I doubt I'll get any definitive answers as to what model shoe to purchase to avoid the problem in the future. I will absolutely buy from New Balance again, but only once I've been able to determine the issue has been corrected.
CAT URINE SMELL ISSUE UPDATE #1 (10-29-13):
When I spoke with New Balance on 9-3-13, they acknowledged the problem, and issued me a credit for their on-line store, but frankly stated that the issue "was not fixed yet".
HOWEVER, I just got off the phone with New Balance's consumer line, and I've been informed that the issue IS NOW FIXED for the 990. The 993 had a similar problem that was supposedly also fixed, but then the cat urine smell issue cropped up again for that shoe.
I was told that "every new 990 is made with new materials" and they haven't heard of a recurrence of the cat urine smell issue with the new 990's -- yet. There are no manufacturing dates that are easily accessible, so there is no way to be sure if you are getting a "new" 990 or not. Perhaps Amazon does so much business that they would likely have new stock. Similarly, I would expect the New Balance web store to be a reliable (if perhaps more expensive) place to get a new 990.
New Balance has no plans to make any public statement about the correction, for fear of alarming people who have never run into the issue.
I have no doubt that if the problem crops up again, New Balance will surely replace my shoes again. So I will buy another pair without fear. But if I smell cat urine again, I will certainly be "pissed" -- and may write a formal letter to Consumer Reports.
CAT URINE SMELL ISSUE UPDATE #2 (July 9, 2014):
I am very sad to report that after 8 months, the new pair of 990v3 that New Balance customer service swore was manufactured to resolve this issue has just started to smell like cat urine! I'm beginning to feel like the abused spouse that keeps going back when assured that the abuse will never happen again. Once again, New Balance customer service agreed to replace the shoe. Actually, they issued a credit to replace the shoe with ANY NB shoe! I elected to try the 2040v2 -- which is a $349 shoe! There has only been one report of the "cat urine smell" on the 2040v1 on Amazon, so I'm hopeful that maybe the v2 might have been reengineered.
New Balance sure knows how to engineer comfortable shoes, AND they do have a fabulous customer service department, although the rep I spoke with on Monday at first downplayed the issue, saying "It's just the natural breakdown of materials," and "it can happen to any shoe -- even from other manufacturers." (that latter part may be true, apparently other companies have had the same problem -- but fixed it). She also suggested the issue could be "prevented" by making sure to completely dry out the shoe if it got wet.
However -- her instructions assumed that the INSIDE of the shoe had gotten exposed to water. That isn't the case. The problem is well-known to occur with water exposure on the OUTSIDE BOTTOM (sole) of the shoe. That's hard to avoid unless you live in the desert.
The INSANITY is that New Balance clearly understands there IS an issue -- and even if it only affects a small percentage of their shoes, it is astonishing that a company with revenues of nearly 3 billion dollars can't correct a materials issue that they've been aware of since 2006. How many people (like me) have gone years assuming that user care, and not product engineering, were the cause of the problem?
I'll report back on the 2040v2.
CAT URINE SMELL ISSUE UPDATE #3 (September 21, 2015):
I've been wearing the 2040v2 for over a year, and so far no cat urine smell on this model. Of course, being a very expensive shoe, superior in it's construction and materials, so it's not really a substitute for the less-expensive 990 series. I'm curious if anyone who bought the 990 during the past year has seen a repeat of the problem, or if it has FINALLY been corrected.
on July 24, 2014
I've had these shoes for around 2 1/2 months now. I was very pleased with the shoes at first. They are comfortable, and there was almost no break-in time. However they have started falling apart. I'm extremely disappointed in New Balance because I shelled out a little extra for a pair of "Made in USA" shoes. I was hoping that I would get a quality product, and in turn feel good about supporting american jobs. I was also looking to keep my money from funding the sweatshops many companies rely on for their products. My expectations were not met.
I was wearing these shoes daily, however the sole has started separating from the shoe. It now catches occasionally when walking. I did not use these shoes in an extreme fashion. I am a service writer at a dealership and in a normal workday I might walk around a total of a mile or mile and a half. They are not used as a running shoe. There is no reason these shoes should have failed this soon.
I previously had a pair of New Balance shoes (Not this style, but a cheaper one made in Taiwann or China, I can't remember for sure) that lasted nearly two years! What's wrong with this picture? I'm very sorry to say that I don't think I'll be purchasing another pair of New Balance shoes. I love the idea of american made shoes, but if the quality must suffer, it's not worth it to me.
on October 4, 2013
As others have noted, both here and elsewhere on the Web, these shoes develop a strong odor reminiscent of cat urine after just a few weeks wear. This has not happened with older versions of the same shoe.
Also, the sole began to delaminate after less than a month's wear.
I suspect a new adhesive is to blame for both problems. Whatever the cause, I am unlikely to purchase another pair, and will do a lot of research before buying any other New Balance products, despite many years of otherwise happy purchases.
on August 21, 2014
New Balance has not been very honest in marketing these shoes. I have had three pairs, which begin to emit a very strong cat urine odor after 6 months. Today the Customer Support people told me that the expected service life of this shoe is six months, because of a problem with the urethane adhesive in the sole of the shoe. Caveat emptor! I suppose that one could "lease" this shoe for six months, but shouldn't we expect a longer service life for a supposedly high end shoe? It provides superb support and stability, is very comfortable, but eventually they'll know you are coming!
on May 4, 2014
I bought these 990v3 in May 24, 2013, the shoes fit well and comfortable at first. But the quality was not so good.
The other day I found out the sole of the shoe gived out,the carbon fiber material in the center of the bottom seems to be gone for a long time and the foam underneath the bottom have already started rotting,turning into grey powder.I only wear the 990v3 for everyday walking, with no running or other athletic.I googled and found out a lot of 990v3 owners have the same sole giving out problem,some say the shoe would smell like cat urine after the sole giving out. I assumed my 990v3 is ready to pee and smell any time.
NB claims "Ndurance® rubber compound for maximum outsole durability“, but the insole starts to rot first.
I dont recommend this, maybe 993 is better.
on May 24, 2014
One of my son's has worn New Balance sneakers for a while now. The last pair he purchased got wet, and now they smell like cat urine. Not having a cat around to do blame it on, he was very, very confused for awhile. Even after washing them, they REEK like cat urine, and an internet search will show anyone who cares to check into it, that LOTS of people are experiencing the same thing.
The fit is good, and they are comfortable, but the stench is overwhelming, and even when they are thoroughly dry, they stink!
For a company who has had an excellent reputation for comfortable sneakers and running shoes for years, this is simply incredible.
We read lots and lots of complaints about it, online, and the company needs to fix the problem, as the odor is horrifically strong, and renders the sneakers useless - IF one wants to be in public, that is!