Today we’re taking a closer look at the New Balance 997H, one of the latest from the brand to make our review section today. This sneaker was introduced in 2019 as part of a new wave of new models from New Balance that included the 327 , 57/40 and the 237. It is in essence a modern take of the classic 997 that came out in 1991. Created by Steven Smith, this was to become one of the most popular silhouettes from the Boston based footwear company. Much like with other brands, New Balance sought to modernize some of their classics with some of the new technologies available and even offer a more affordable price. The 997H was a success and years after its initial release new colorways are being introduced constantly. 

New Balance 997 vs 997H

The New Balance 997 and 997H represent distinctive iterations within the brand’s lineup, catering to different preferences and style sensibilities. The 997 embodies a classic and heritage design, epitomizing the craftsmanship associated with the Made in USA series. With premium materials such as suede, mesh, and leather, the 997 boasts a reputation for durability and comfort. Its diverse color palette, often characterized by sophisticated tones, appeals to those seeking a timeless aesthetic. In contrast, the 997H takes a more contemporary approach, presenting a modernized version of the original 997. While maintaining a commitment to quality materials, the 997H often utilizes a mix of synthetic and traditional elements, making it a more budget-friendly alternative. The colorways of the 997H tend to lean towards bold and vibrant choices, attracting a younger, trend-driven audience. Ultimately, the choice between the two models depends on individual preferences, with the 997 appealing to those who value heritage and craftsmanship, while the 997H caters to those seeking a modern design at a more accessible price point.

How They Fit

The pair we got in stock was the black and white colorway, a 2022 edition. Out of the box the sneaker has a luxurious feel and a stylish, dynamic look. They are quite light given that size 9.5 weighs just under 11oz. It fits true to size and it feels pretty roomy but it gets a bit narrow in the toe box. So those with wide feet may keep this in mind when getting a pair and maybe just go a half size up to be on the safe side. Most will need a bit of a break in period but once settled the shoes mold nicely to your feet for long lasting comfort. If unsure about your New Balance size you can check out this size chart

New Balance 997H green gray 2

New Balance 997H green gray 1

Upper

The upper of the New Balance 997H is one that you’ll find at most retro and retro inspired sneakers from this brand and not only. It is made of a combination of leather, suede and mesh in a stylish design with the N letter on the side. The 997h features synthetic leather, however, which for the hard die fans of the original retro models may feel a bit cheap. This is one of the reasons why you can get a pair at $90, a more reasonable price than the original. What we noticed as we were testing it for our New Balance 997H review is that they hold very well and they are quite comfortable, even if they may feel a bit stiff at first. They are designed to be primarily casual, everyday shoes and they are great in that department. The updated Cordura mesh offers a nice air flow and the suede material adds protection and durability to the shoe. 

Sole Unit 

The sole unit of the New Balance 997H is made of a foam material that resembles the REVLite, which provides similar responsiveness and comfort while being 30% lighter than the ones from the classics like the 574. . On top there is the classic EVA insert that adds some nice cushioning when you put them on. The shoes feature a TPU heel counter and the midsole is shaped on top like a cupsole which adds excellent stability to the shoe. It is not the ENCAP technology but it gets very close in terms of what it provides. There is a 8-10mm heel drop which adds to the dynamic look and makes them great for long walks and running errands. The outsole is pretty simple without anything special in terms of traction which is just fine given its overall everyday shoe purpose.

New Balance 997H green gray 3

New Balance 997H green gray 4

Are New Balance 997H Good for Running?

The New Balance 997H is not explicitly designed or marketed as a running shoe. It is primarily a lifestyle sneaker with a focus on style and casual wear. While it may offer some comfort for light activities, it lacks the specialized features needed for optimal running performance. For dedicated running, it is recommended to choose a shoe from New Balance’s running shoe line, such as the Fresh Foam or FuelCell series, which are designed with technologies and features to enhance running comfort, support, and performance. Using the 997H for running may not provide the necessary support and cushioning required for an optimal running experience and could lead to discomfort or potential injury.

Bottom Line 

To conclude our New Balance 997H review, this is an excellent choice when you’re looking for a day that you can wear every day, for walks and light athletic activities. The $90 price tag seems quite fair for what you get, a stylish, modern retro inspired shoe that will last and it goes well with pretty much anything. 

New Balance 997h gray blue black

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