New BalanceProduct Reviews

New Balance 696 V4 Review

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Product Overview
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Breathability
  • Weight
  • Fit and Size


The New Balance 696 V4 is a lightweight shoe that is going to provide you with good stability and cushioning for all foot types. However, it’s not going to be the most durable and comfortable shoe on the market. 

Overall it’s a great-looking shoe with an excellent affordable price point. This is a shoe that’s worth checking out because it could improve your game in a lot of ways. 


  • Great price point
  • Very breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Nice looking shoe
  • Great for all foot sizes


  • Not durable
  • Comfort needs improvement

The New Balance Fresh Foam Lav was a successful shoe on the market with its awesome features such as design, comfort, and cushioning. This brought a lot of people’s attention to who New Balance was as a company. New Balance may not be like big brands such as Nike and Adidas but they are starting to leave up to people’s expectations.

The New Balance 696 V4 is another shoe to New Balance’s family. This shoe comes with a lot of features to improve your game and it’s already getting a lot of positive comments on the market. So what is making this shoe very popular on the market? Let’s find out in this thorough review by starting with the design and cosmetics.


Right out of the box, the shoe is nice looking and sleek. It’s a great shoe to wear on the court to boost your confidence. As a fan of colours and fashion, I like both the men’s and women’s Bali blue colour. I think New Balance did a great job with the design and cosmetics.


Next is the upper material. It is made with a breathable synthetic mesh upper with perforations for cushioning and support. This is going to provide you with lightweight reinforcement upper and allow you to move better on the court.

New Balance 696 V4 upper
Image Source: TW

Also, the use of this synthetic mesh upper makes the shoe incredibly breathable.

This is fantastic because your feet are not going to get overheat and it’s going to stay fresh throughout the match.

However, the big downside to the upper is the lack of durability. It’s not great for aggressive players instead it would suit players who play doubles.

Toe Box

There is enough room in the toe box to prevent you from getting any toe jamming issues. This is great because you can play more freely on the court without experiencing any pain.

In addition, the toe box is going to provide you with good protection however, they may wear out quickly if you tend to drag your toes a lot. If you are a player that tends to wear their toe box quickly then you want to check out this in-depth post of shoes that are good at dealing with toe dragging.

Heel Counter and Ankle Support

Both the heel counter and ankle support are very plush which is going to provide you with a lot of cushioning and comfort around your ankles and heels. However, both the heel counter and ankle support are not strong and thick enough.

Therefore, if you are suffering from a chronic ankle sprain I wouldn’t recommend this tennis shoe. Instead, you want to try other shoes that have higher tops and wider lateral flanges such as the Nike Tech Challenge 20.

Tongue and Lacing System

There is nothing unusual with the tongue and lacing system compared to the Wilson Kaos Mirage which comes with a one-strap lacing system. However, this approach saves you time from tieing your laces all the time.

New Balance 696 V4 lacing system and tongue
Image Source: TW

The New Balance 696 V4 comes with a well-padded tongue to provide you with good cushioning and decent comfort.

This is really good at putting less pressure on your feet and allowing you to move comfortably on the court.

The lacing system comes with extra lacing holes for you to use for more grip and support when needed. It also keeps your feet well fit for you to move better on the court.

Also, the tongue has a leather hole on top of it for you to lace through it. This helps to keep the tongue stable and prevent it from distracting you during the match.

The only downside I would say about the lacing system is the lacing holes. Just like the K-Swiss Big Shot Light 3 the New Balance 696 V4 does not have metal eyelets. This makes the lacing holes less durable.


Another key strength of this shoe is the weight. It comes with a weight of 9 ounces with a size of 8.5. This is includable lightweight which would allow you to move quickly and effectively on the court. You would enjoy the speed that comes with this shoe.

Insole and Midsole

The New Balance 696 V4 comes with a removable insole which allows you to replace the insole with your preferred insole. Also, the insole is going to provide you with good cushioning.

New Balance 696 V4 midsole
Image Source: TW

The midsole on the other hand is made of REVLite. The purpose of this is to provide you with lightweight cushioning and support.

This allows you to move better on the court with more confidence.

Moreover, the midsole has a large lateral flange which is going to provide you with excellent stability on all court surfaces.

This allows you to hit the ball with enough power and pace without losing your balance.


The fit of the shoe is perfect for all foot sizes including ultra-wide. However, I wouldn’t recommend this shoe to players who suffer from ankle sprains.

In terms of the length of the shoe, this shoe is generous. This is great because you don’t have to go either a half size up or down. Another great thing about the fit of the shoe is that it does not require any break-in period. This is awesome because you can easily adapt to the shoe quickly even when you wear it for the first time.


Next up is the outsole of the shoe. It is made of a hybrid wave pattern which is very similar to the Asics Court FF2.

New Balance 696 V4 outsole
Image Source: TW

The only difference is the Balance 696 V4 does not have a deep tread pattern like the Court FF2. Regardless it does a good job at providing you with an excellent grip on both clay and hard courts surfaces.

In terms of durability, it’s not going to be the best on the market. If you are an aggressive player or someone who is hard on their outsole then I wouldn’t recommend this shoe.

It’s best if you try other shoes such as the Asics Gel-Resolution 8. You would get a lot of benefit from this shoe instead.

Colour Options

As nice as this tennis shoe look, unfortunately, it does not come with varieties of colours to choose from. It would be great to see New Balance release different colours in their next iteration.


Without a doubt, the price of the shoe is another key selling point of this New Balance 696 V4. It comes under $80 which is a bargain compared to most tennis shoes prices. This is great because it allows most players who are under budget to afford this amazing shoe.


As this post comes to its conclusion, I hope you now understand why a lot of people are enjoying this shoe. It’s a shoe that is going to provide you with stability, lightweight and cushioning.

However, the shoe is not going to be the most durable on the market and it would be nice to see New Balance make some improvements in the comfort area.

All in all, it’s a great-looking shoe at an affordable price point. If you manage to purchase this shoe, I wish you the very best of luck in your next match. 

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