Before we get into the actual 997H, here are some facts to help you understand where the design of the sneaker comes from. The 997 was curated in 1990 by designer Steven Smith, who also designed some of the other silhouettes in the 99X series.
The 997 has been dubbed the “Cult Classic” due to the impact it had when it was first introduced to the world. The reason for this becoming a cult classic within the New Balance community was due to the fact that Stephen Smith used different midsoles and changed up the cushioning from the other 99X series models. If you guys want to know more about the 997 and the 997H definitely checkout this SneakerFreaker article: “Hypothesis Confirmed: New Balance’s 997H is Coming”.
Providing a nod to the “Cult Classic” are the 997H sneakers. Looking at the shoe itself you definitely still see the 997 presence with a little but of a twist.
“To bring the 997H up to modern speed, the New Balance design team hit the research lab to upgrade the OG model’s C-CAP/ENCAP-fused cushioning. The end result is a revamped approach using GCEVA and a modernised outsole profile for an even lighter, whippier ride.”
– BOON MARK SOUPHANH (Of Sneaker Freaker)
After being able to see the 997H in person, I can definitely see the slight changes made to the 997 silhouette. You absolutely still get the sleek racer design of the 997, along with the bright and flashy color blocking of the 90s. The quality itself is not far from New Balance’s Premium “Made in USA” and “Made in England” lines. The leather is smooth and accompanied by very clean stitching. The heel cap is wrapped in a smooth, buttery nubuck.
The shoe itself is very light weight and in terms of fit, I would say go about half a size down. For example, in Nike Air Maxes I usually wear a size 11, in the 997H the 10.5 fits perfectly. In terms of width I have no complaints as New Balance is known for being able to accommodate the wide footers.
With a price point of $90 USD, which is about $120 CAD, you cannot go wrong with the New Balance 997H silhouette. If you are a sneaker enthusiast looking to get into the New Balance community, or a New Balance Connoisseur looking for an everyday shoe, the 997H is that silhouette. The sneaker pays homage to the style of the 90s, while bringing in some modern touches. Let us know what you guys think once you get them in hand in the comments below.