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Comments: Being the cheapskate that I am, I wore several different models of New Balance cross-trainer shoes for
tennis prior to taking the plunge and purchasing a pair of New Balance 696. I've also tried some lower-end Nike and Adidas
tennis shoes a while back, but I've found the right fit and feel with the New Balance. Just walking around the house, the 696
surprisingly felt a little rigid. They came to life in my first match and perhaps they just needed a little time to break in. I would say
that the 696 is the economy version of the 996 with a similar look and last. The mesh keeps this shoe light and breathable, but
there's enough synthetic leather in the upper to prevent my feet from shifting around as many mesh-predominant shoes are
known for. If you prefer a softer, more cushioned feel, these shoes are probably not for you. The Abzorb midsole provides a firm
response with good rebound, but they never felt under-cushioned. Like the 996, there is some outsole material protruding on the
outskirts of the forefoot which gives it a wider footprint and more support. And yes, these are cool looking shoes. While many of
the older NB models are popular amongst the senior population with a conservative look, the newer NB models come in some
flashy color schemes. However, if you still desire a conservative color scheme, it's still offered.
From: NJ, 3/13
Comments: This shoe looks amazing and fits true to size, but it definitely requires breaking in. I switched from the
Nike Zoom Courtlite to this shoe thinking they would be similar in comfort and weight, but this shoe is extremely uncomfortable
compared to the Courtlite. I had to bend it around a few time to be able to even walk around comfortably, and I ended up
the insoles of the Courtlites with these so that I could be comfortable at all. There's a sort of weird bump around the toe area
that makes this shoe a little awkward to wear. Again, they look great and are light, but if you are going for comfort, you'll
have to invest in another insole.
From: Tiffany, 2/13