Custom New Balance 993s

Back in April, the people at New Balance gave me an opportunity to test out the company’s new custom 574 program. I’ve done custom shoes from other makers previously, but never anything that was made in America, and never anything processed so quickly (about a week total). I loved how those 574s turned out, in fact I liked the customized program so much I couldn’t wait for the service to include the 993s, my sneaker of choice. Well, that time has now come, 993 lovers can rejoice and order their very own special pair – made right in Maine.

I spent a solid amount of time on the NB website playing around with a ton of color variations, until finally, I settled on the pair below (which came courtesy of New Balance), complete with ACL embroidered on the back quarter-panel. Like the special 574s that I made, I will probably have a lot of trouble actually wearing these shoes. I might instead just keep them new in the box for safe keeping, even though I know I can just remake another pair at any time. As a 993 fan (and a New Balance guy), the process and the resulting creation brings more joy that a pair of shoes probably should. [New Balance Custom 993]

Comments on “Custom New Balance 993s

    Tom Johnson on March 7, 2012 1:21 PM:

    All the writing on them makes them look cheap…Wal-Mart cheap.

    BEG on March 7, 2012 1:38 PM:

    Those 993s look great. I don’t know about everybody else, but I can’t exercise in Indy boots, so I’m not sure why it’d be hard to wear them (unless you’re under 30 and don’t need to make any effort to maintain your physique). All of my workout and trail-running sneakers are Made-in-USA New Balance models. But, for an additional c-note, you can upgrade to a true custom (not just your choice of colors and embroidery) running shoe from Hersey Custom Shoe Company.

    halberstram on March 7, 2012 2:13 PM:

    looks like something the us olympic team would have gotten in the 80s.

    Tom Hemphill on March 7, 2012 2:22 PM:

    Love the 993’s – also my shoe of choice & I very much like the Made in the USA lettering. Not cheap looking in my book. And it makes proud, too.

    Eliot W. Collins on March 7, 2012 3:28 PM:

    Custom 993’s? Who cares how a running shoe looks? Does anyone who actually runs get excited about this? They must have money to burn.

    Please bring back the grey 991’s at a reasonable price. Thanks.

    caleb on March 7, 2012 4:05 PM:

    These are great. I’m particularly partial to the 998’s. signed, sealed, delivered if these get introduced to the custom program.

    walker on March 8, 2012 12:05 AM:

    If by “made in the USA”, you meant “uppers and soles manufactured in Asia and then glued together in the USA”, then I take your point.

    Tim on March 8, 2012 8:32 AM:

    933s are gross! cool idea though and nice touch with the red white and blue.

    Ninja on March 8, 2012 9:16 AM:


    you really are an Idiot. For something to be made in USA it has to pass government standards that 70% of the sneaker is made of US content materials. Also if you do any small research you’ll see that the leather and other materials in the upper are cut and stitched together here. patterns are made here. You insult the people who work hard at the factories and how many people are employed by this program.

    Aaron L. on March 8, 2012 11:35 AM:

    A truly hideous looking shoe. I agree with Tom Johnson, this is classic Wal-Mart/ cheap-shoe styling; only missing velcro straps. Being so stout and tall, they remind me of a Sketcher shape-ups and shoes old men wear with stone washed wranglers.

    Michael Williams on March 8, 2012 11:38 AM:

    Hey Aaron, what are you doing later? Want to go mall walking with me?

    Pat on March 8, 2012 1:34 PM:

    Yeah, I’m with the haters. I don’t get this whole New Balance trend that’s happening in #menswear. They look like narc shoes, what some midwesterner would wear to a tea party rally. Kind of sad, shows how some people will dickride almost anything that bloggers ‘like’, and follow a trend blindly. Can’t wait to see EVERYONE rocking camo this spring!

    CWW on March 8, 2012 4:14 PM:

    There was this substitute teacher when I was in high school named Mr. Near. His physique was akin to an oblong potato balancing on a pair of toothpicks, his button up shirt barely able to extend itself over his girth and tuck into the waistband of the Plain Pockets-esque denim which hung lifelessly from below his proportionally overbalanced torso, as if he had no legs at all with which to give them shape or form. His head and lack-of-a-neck combined were a smaller replica of his upper body, as were his arms a replica of his seemingly non-existent legs.

    I think he wore these exact shoes.

    Stephen on March 8, 2012 4:18 PM:

    you should wear’em

    Steve-o on March 9, 2012 12:21 AM:

    Usually you’re pretty on the money, but those are some busted-ass kicks!

    cory on March 9, 2012 1:28 AM:

    @ CWW, thank you, that made my day


    REP96ST on March 9, 2012 9:16 AM:

    Very nice, clean job there… Those you can rock every day of the week.

    My creations, however are of the “once in a blue moon” variety.

    henrik on March 9, 2012 12:21 PM:

    Yeah, chalk me up with the hater crowd too… not my cup of tea at all.

    @ Pat / CWW – hah! speakin’ the truth.

    @ MW – even though I am not a fan of these, I still must say congrats on the collabo. very awesome opportunities you got there.

    Larry Felitto on March 9, 2012 12:56 PM:

    I’m dickriding my stock black ones today through the sunny streets of Minneapolis (Midwest). Can’t wait to customize my own pair (…if only they offered camo). For the record, I do in fact have an oblong potato shape however I’m not a substitute teacher…

    Brian Paquette on March 9, 2012 1:22 PM:

    I think theyre real sharp! Way to go. Also: haters, really?

    Rhon on March 9, 2012 7:41 PM:

    Not sure I love the style, but can’t beat Made in Maine. Rock ’em to till the rubber falls off.

    Hook on March 10, 2012 10:10 AM:

    Mr. Near >>> CWW

    gbmachine on March 10, 2012 11:20 AM:

    @Elliot. You do know that the 993 are just an updated version of the 991 right?

    I always seem to find a pair of 993 somewhere when a store is closing on clearance and I picked up a pair a the Columbus Marathon Sports and Fitness Expo. I have 3 pair of back ups (2 grey, 1 black) ready to roll that I have purchased for $150 total.

    I love it when the NB Gods are shining down and present me with brand new pair for a 50 spot.

    Maybe these will be the rage in 20 yrs when I blow thru my current stash.

    Eliot W. Collins on March 10, 2012 12:15 PM:

    GB Machine – I have both 992’s and 993’s. Neither are the same as 991’s. In my opinion, no “update” was needed. I get the impression that New Balance is trying to appeal to non-runners.

    Ryan on March 10, 2012 4:46 PM:

    Yeah, these are horrific.

    If you must wear NBs, it has to be the classic 991s.

    Makaga on March 12, 2012 12:19 PM:

    Wow, so many mean comments. Whatever happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Thank you for sharing these custom shoes, MW. Glad to see you made some ACL versions.

    Eliot W. Collins on March 12, 2012 12:34 PM:

    I am sorry if my negative comments hurt New Balance’s feelings or lowered their self-esteem. I have tried 993’s and I do not like them. Making a custom version of this shoe will mainly appeal to those who are more serious about fashion than about running.

    jiheison on March 12, 2012 1:12 PM:

    They are custom. Only one person has to like them.

    Larry Felitto on March 12, 2012 1:58 PM:

    Not to belabor the point any further than it already is… but isn’t this a fashion blog? Not a running blog?

    Eliot W. Collins on March 12, 2012 2:11 PM:

    Larry is absolutely correct. I am a runner, who somehow got here by mistake.

    randall on March 13, 2012 9:08 AM:

    Usually I’m right there with the haters (see, Aether Trailer), but those look like good functional sneakers. I’d work out/run in them. I’d maybe even hold a pipe wrench or some old first edition books and a typewriter while doing so.

    Marty on March 14, 2012 12:28 AM:

    Am still wearing my original 991s (so broken in, I’m trending barefoot). Am waiting for NB to bring them back with the original design, rather than the dorky squared-off (subtle, but hey) toe box . . . at a reasonable price!

    Jeff on March 14, 2012 2:15 PM:

    All running shoes are disposable. If you’re replacing your shoes every 500 miles (less often than the shoe companies say you should, more often than I actually do), and running a very modest 25 miles/week, then they’ll only last 5 months. Customization seems like a great deal of effort for something that needs to be replaced so frequently.

    I feel similarly about purchasing Made in the USA products. If they can do it at the same price, that’s great, but I purchase domestic products out of a belief that they will be built to higher standards, not out patriotism. Any difference in build quality between New Balance and Nike, for example, is pretty much irrelevant, since the cushioning foam will be totally gone long before build quality matters. What you should really be shopping for in a running shoe is something that fits your foot, has a good ride for your stride type, and won’t get you injured.

    Eliot W. Collins on March 14, 2012 2:57 PM:

    Jeff – As I was reminded, this is a fashion blog, not a running blog.

    That being said, how is a running shoe with worn-out cushioning any different from one of the new minimalist shoes with no cushioning in the first place?

    I wear my 991’s until they fall apart. I have been at it for many years, and my knees are just fine. If anything, shoes are over-engineered and this has contributed to our physical breakdown.

    I even thought that ACL meant anterior cruciate ligament.

    Andy B on March 16, 2012 2:24 AM:

    I don’t care what the shoes look like. Sole owner and CEO of New Balance, Mark Davis, gave Mitt Romney’s SuperPac, Restore Our Future, a big check for $500,000.00. If your a big fan of social conservatives and superpacs then by all means have at it. I’m done with New Balance.

    Eliot W. Collins on March 16, 2012 8:51 AM:

    Andy B – See for more info.

    Jim Davis (not Mark Davis) is the chairman of the board (not sole owner) of New Balance.

    Andy B on March 22, 2012 2:42 AM:

    Thanks for the correction Eliot. Yes, it was a private donation and yes, New Balance has no connection to the ideologies of Jim Davis. That said, it still does not change the fact that Jim Davis amassed a fortune via New Balance and is using that money to influence political ideologies I find backward. So, instead I will buy athletic shoes from a company that uses underage, sweatshop labor in some Authoritarian South-east Asian Nation.


    aioli on April 5, 2012 1:28 PM:

    These are beautifully ugly, kind of like birkenstocks.
    They make you look like you don’t give a fck

Comments are closed.