Gear Review – Youth running shoes – New Balance 790

I was looking for the impossible running shoe for my 9 year old son. It had to be light, but supportive and comfortable. The shoe should be excellent on all surfaces – trails, roads and the track. And this impossible shoe should double as a trainer and a racer. Oh yeah, and of course it had to be awesome in design, materials and colors for my 9-year old style conscious runner. New Balance launched the youth version of its new NB 790, and the impossible became possible.

Continue to read my review below the photos.


New Balance 790 combines cushioning, support, light weight and style!


Mesh uppers and integrated webbing and lacing provides premium support and fit


Front and back of New Balance 790 shoes


Acteva Lite midsole foam keeps it light, Abzorb crash pad protects on heel strike


Light, comfortable, fast – my son loves the New Balance 790


Ready to rock and roll!

Light Weight and Comfortable:

Although my preference was having my son run in a light weight shoe, I did not want a minimalist shoe nor a stripped-down shoe, I wanted a shoe with support and cushioning because of concerns about the stress from impact on the growth plates in his heels (I do love minimalist shoes for myself, I own a pair of New Balance 100). Weighing a mere 7 ounces for a men’s size 4.5 shoe (what my son wears at age 9), the New Balance 790 has a compression molded ActevaLite midsole, which is 24% lighter than the standard midsole foam without sacrificing any of the responsiveness, durability and cushioning.

Support and Durability:

I was really pleased that the New Balance 790 has Abzorb crash pads that boosts protection on heel strike and improve lateral release. As I mentioned previously, heel protection in young runners (9-14) is important because of the stress on the growth plates in the heel (Sever’s disease), which is exacerbated if they strike with their heels. To improve traction and extend wear and tear, New Balance uses NDurance rubber compound in high-wear areas of the outer sole. This makes the shoe suitable for all surfaces and terrains, including trails, roads and the track.

Fit and Comfort:

Perfect fit and comfort is paramount for any running shoe, especially for a kid’s running shoe. The no-sew mesh uppers, combined with the integrated webbing and N-Lock lacing, ensure maximum comfort, perfect fit and stability and support. As an added bonus, the laces lie flat and tie easily through the N-Lock system, so that my 9 year old can make sure the shoe is snug when he ties them himself.

Color and Design:

New Balance has released the NB 790 for boys in black and royal blue, and for girls in black and white/pink (including cool pink lacing!). I think additional colors are due to be released in mid/late summer 2011. When my son saw the black and blue color scheme and cool design/materials, he had one word: “Awesome”. Followed by: “Dad, I want a pair!”

Retail Price:

$59 at New Balance New Canaan.

Proof is in the Pudding:

My son has run in his New Balance 790 shoes for a couple of weeks, including running a 6:57 in the New Canaan mile (a not very fast mile course on the road), running through the trails of Waveny Park, and completing 400’s and 800’s intervals on the track. He loves them!

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3 comments

  1. I have the same exact running shoes! I love to run and I wear the shoes for cross country, track & races!

  2. […] New Balance introduced another awesome running shoe in its expanding lineup of lightweight and minimalist running shoes that support good running form. The New Balance 890 REVlite is a light, neutral training shoe that lives up to New Balance’s claim: it dramatically improved my running form in less than a year (if this sounds like a weight-loss commercial, it’s not, so please continue reading and look at the photos). The New Balance 890 is an excellent everyday training shoe for youth and adults (for youth who wear smaller than men’s size 7.5 or women’s size 5, I recommend the New Balance 790 Youth). […]

  3. […] experienced runner and having competed in distances from 800m to 5K, my son has always raced in his New Balance 790 training shoes while kids less experienced have competed in spikes. For his 11th birthday, he asked for a pair of […]

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