New Balance 696 V4 Men’s Tennis Shoe Review

Whether you are looking for your next pair of tennis shoes or even your very first pair, the sheer variety of brands and models can often come across as a bit daunting. Don’t let that worry you, though, as we have just the solution for you. 

The New Balance 696 V4 is currently a hot and highly popular tennis shoe model that is sure to be just what you are looking for regardless of your level of skill or experience. Join us and read on as we examine and break down the facets which have made this model as popular as it is.

Table of Contents

New Balance 696 V4 Men’s Tennis Shoe

The New Balance 696 V4 has been a phenomenal and popular success for the brand, beating out a host of other alternatives due to rave reviews and a reasonable price. These 696 V4s offer a lot of support, stability, and grip due to their Herringbone-pattern soles made from the brand’s trademark Ndurance® technology, a durable and resilient rubber compound. 

The 696 V4s also provide a lot of cushioning and support, which makes them equally well suited for playing on the courts all day or for general walking and moving around as you run errands. Just like many other New Balance models, the 696 V4s also come in a variety of different widths, sticking to one of New Balance’s selling points of ensuring their shoes can be worn by any foot type, be they narrow or wide.

Who Is This Product For?

The New Balance 696 V4s are a more aggressive style of shoe with their lightweight and slicker design, allowing them to perform dashes and quick bursts. That said, the amount of cushioning and support that they provide also make them not too bad for players who prefer a more defensive style of play. 

The 696 V4s are also ideal for beginners and veteran players, offering a pair of quality shoes that are more budget-friendly than other options, making them feel like less of an investment for players just starting out. New Balance’s accommodation for wider foot types also makes the 696 V4s a great choice for players with wider or bigger feet. The 696 V4s are budget-friendly and great shoes overall for most players.


  • Weighs around 308 grams.
  • Synthetic and mesh upper.
  • The outsole has a Herringbone pattern made from New Balances’ Ndurance® technology covering the full length of the shoe.
  • Features New Balance’s ABZORB® technology, offering compression and cushioning.
  • Soft and flexible midsole.
  • Dimensions vary depending on the width type selected and foot size.
  • Sole types for soft and hard courts.
  • Has a slightly low arch.

The lightweight and cushioning of the 696 V4s make them ideal for quick bursts of speed, allowing you to dash and hop around the court effortlessly. The use of mesh and synesthetic material used for the shoe’s upper was meant to make the shoe very breathable; however, the breathability of the shoes seems to be inconsistent amongst reviews. 

For some, it is very breathable; for others, it is not. The Herringbone-patterned outsole gives the shoes excellent traction and allows it to really grip the court for some added support. What’s more, the durable and hardy Ndurance® rubber used for the soles ensures that you get plenty of play out of them for longer. 

The 696 V4’s cushioning along the whole shoe is designed to keep your feet comfortable and painless, particularly around the midsole area of the shoe, which allows it to absorb a lot of shock during the chaos of play. As mentioned, the 696s come in various widths (as do most New Balance shoes), making them ideal for players with average or broader feet. 

Because of this feature, the dimensions of the shoes are dependent on the width type you go with. Related to this, the 696’s are also designed lower to the ground for that lightweight feel. Due to this, the shoes themselves have a low arch, which is fine for players with lower arches but is not ideal for players with high arches. 

The New Balance 696s don’t just come in different widths; they also come with an option of sole types to suit the type of court you prefer playing on, be it soft or hard courts. Although this should not be too important or something to worry about for the average casual player, get the sole type you need for your local court; if you end up playing on a different kind of court once every now and then, it should not be an issue.

While the 696 V4s are a great all-around tennis shoe, there are some things they could still improve upon. The main issue is the matter of inconsistency, which the shoes seem to carry when it comes to size and tightness as well as durability. The failure of the shoe’s breathability design is often linked to the shoes feeling too tight. Whether this is a design and structural failing of the shoe, or the fault of the buyer, is hard to definitively say with certainty. 

Likewise, the durability of the shoe’s soles is often touted; however, there have been reports of customers who commented that the shoes did not last as long as expected. Again, it is hard to pinpoint if this shortcoming is to blame on the manufacturers or on the user. Just because something is hardy and strong does not mean that you should abuse it recklessly. 

Following this, due to the shoe’s lower price, this model does not come with an outsole guarantee that you would expect to see with more pricier models. This is something to keep in mind if you are a frequent and regular player playing multiple days a week. While of far less importance when compared to the issues mentioned above, it would not hurt the manufacture to offer some more variety when it comes to the color schemes of the shoes. The addition of just one or two different colors would arguably be very welcomed.

Next, we have a short pros and cons list to provide you with a summary of the model’s good points and shortcomings. However, do keep in mind that subjective preference informs almost everything we denote a value to, meaning some of the points listed in the pros and cons might not be a pro or a con for you. It all comes down to preference.


  • The 696 V4, like most other New Balance shoes, comes in a variety of widths to accommodate people with wider feet.
  • Provide a quality-made shoe that is still reasonably affordable.
  • Good durability and cushioning offering great support.
  • Lightweight 
  • Comes in a variety of sole types for different court types.
  • Low to the ground design 


  • Very little color variety.
  • Inconsistency and lack of standardized sizing, with some being narrower than expected.
  • Not the most breathable shoe.
  • No outsole guarantee.
  • Low arch (preference, could be an issue for people with pronation problems).

Final Thoughts

Whether you are planning on picking tennis up, are new to the game, or are a veteran player with years under your belt, the New Balance 696 V4 is an ideal, even great choice for you. Not only does the design of the shoe provide you with superb cushioning and support, but the shock absorption capabilities and lightweight still allow you to dash around effortlessly. 

If that still has not convinced you, keep in mind how budget-friendly their price actually is. Other tennis shoes offered at the same or similar price often provide nowhere near the same level of quality that the New Balance 696s provide. Not only does this make them the ideal choice for those with a budget, but it also makes them an ideal choice for beginners. 

What’s more, if you end up liking them and know that your partner or a female friend is also in the market for a new pair of tennis shoes, the New Balance 696 V4s are also available in women’s sizes. Hopefully, this breakdown and review of the New Balance 696 V4 were able to give you a proper overview of the model and aid in informing your decision.