Why Coco Gauff Uses the NB 996v4.5 ( And Why YOU Should Too)

Why Coco Gauff Uses the NB 996v4.5 ( And Why YOU Should Too)

Are Coco Gauff’s new signature shoes worth the higher price tag? Real foot doctor reviews and tears down the 2021 New Balance Fuelcell 996 v4.5 with teardown and durability tests. Judge for yourself with this deep dive teardown, playtest / performance review and durability test if these are worth the switch from the New Balance Fresh Foam Lav and Lav V2

The New Balance Fuelcell 996v4.5 is meant to be a light weight, nimble hard court tennis shoe but it still remains to be seen if they are a perfect balance of stability and speediness

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Time Stamps:
00:00 Video Intro
00:23 Coco Gauff and the New Balance 996v4.5
02:05 Weight and break in of the New Balance 996v4.5
02:40 Uppers of the New Balance 996v4.5
03:05 Upper durability test
03:28 Midsole teardown
04:13 Outsole of the New Balance 996v4.5
04:45 Outsole durability test
05:09 Playtest of the New Balance 996v4.5
07:46 Fit of the New Balance 996v4.5

The New Balance Fuelcell 996v4.5 is the first signature sneaker from Coco Gauff which is focused on stability and movement. But will the NEWEST New Balance tennis shoe hold up to the the durability test, performance review and teardown?

As a foot doctor I look at tennis shoes and tennis shoe technology a bit differently as I focus more on what foot types benefit from these shoes as well as the tennis shoe’s functional attributes on the tennis court

Some of the main areas we cover in this tennis shoe playtest, and performance review of New Balance 996v4.5

– The weight, durability, fit and playability
– What are the features of the insole, midsole, and outsole
-New Balance tennis shoe technology explained

Part of the 2021 tennis shoe review series

DISCLOSURE: I often review or link to products I regularly use and think you might find helpful. Wherever possible we use referral links, which means if you click one of the links in this video or description and make a purchase I may receive a small commission or other compensation.

Many of my links to products/gear are links to those products on Amazon. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and related sites


  1. Lindsay R on November 13, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try a fuel-cell shoe! But I find the designs to be sooooo ugly. I currently wear the FF Lav (v1) but I’m ready for something new. Wish they had better colorways in this one.

  2. Cameron Hylan on November 13, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Love the checkbox breakdown at the end, now that makes it easy hmm I think a lot of websites need that.

  3. NgohOiNei on November 13, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Can you compare these to Vapor 9/9.5?

  4. Pedro Torres on November 13, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    I believe you’re going to enjoy NB Kawhi Leonard’s signature shoe, good stability, and also had fuelcell. They say is one of the most supportive basketball shoes out there, and you can find them on sale.

  5. MrGosportsteam on November 13, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    which tennis shoes have the lowest heel-toe drop?

  6. Brendan N on November 13, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Currently using the new balance 996v4 and the outsole seems to wear out really quick. Is the biggest difference between the 4 and 4.5 just outsole durability?

  7. Mark Sadlowski on November 13, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Looking for the best cushioned shoe…….not just in the heel.

  8. Angel Muñiz on November 13, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Hey Doc good morning. I am very interested in this shoe. Watched a coupled of times, i know you have a wide foot. Did you use the D width o 2E? I use the asics solutions speed 2, wish of them have more room? Thanks doc.

  9. Austin Williams on November 13, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    I have been teaching in some 8.0oz Athletic Works shoes fr Walmart $10!!!
    I can FLY in them but I haven’t tried to compete because I don’t want them to blowout on an aggressive movement.
    I’m thinking of moving lightweight now because my Solematch bounces feel like bricks after wearing the light shoes.
    What do you think is better these 996 v4s or some babolat jet mach 3s?
    I’m 5.0 level singles
    Thank you for all your wonderful content!!!

  10. Mr Cid on November 13, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Doc why the heck have they taken the gel away from the resolution

  11. J P on November 13, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    I prefer more minimal shoes. I have better movement and have a better sense of my quality of footwork. I was excited when I saw this color way, however I only see it in Womens. Did you find it in men’s?

  12. Foot Doctor Zach on November 13, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Check out the NB Fresh Foam LAV V2 : https://youtu.be/WjDHAc_pbw8

  13. Michael Espinosa on November 13, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    The Man with one red shoe FTW! (totally underrated awesome Tom Hank’s Movie you should check out btw) So is this mixed colorway only in a woman’s size? Is this the same shoe as the MC 996 Men’s?

  14. Mark Moore on November 13, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    Zach, from your review, the New Balance 996 sounds to me like you are describing a "poor man’s" Lotto Raptor Hyperpulse 100 – is that a fair statement? What else would you compare these to?

  15. Beckett Chung on November 13, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Ok you have sold me on these

  16. Peter John Perpetua on November 13, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    This or ubersonic 4?

  17. Eduardo Juarez on November 13, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    These are marketed / sold as a woman’s shoe. Did you simply size up for a men’s fit? Is it the same shoe as the men’s version?

  18. Villiam Stranf on November 13, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Love your new graphics in the video. Great work! I love combination of low to the ground court feel and performance. GP Turbos performance well but they feel a bit bulky. So I would choose 996 over GP Turbos.

  19. Carlos Solano on November 13, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Hi great video again!!! In this particular video which orthotics do you use??? Thank you

  20. at rem79 on November 13, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Do you expect that the big brands will come with the carbon spring technology soon? I feel like this could be a game changer in tennis just it is in running how do you see that?

  21. ___ on November 13, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Actually like the design

  22. Henrique Baptista on November 13, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    Loved the video!
    Do you think 996v4.5 are better than LAV V2 in terms of performance and outsole durability ?

  23. Homo sapien on November 13, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    I was surprised with the stack height. From the outside, it looks like the midsole thickness would be inline with ubersonic 4 and vapour pros. That’s why I didn’t consider these when they first came out.

  24. Steve Beck on November 13, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    What insoles do you recommend Zach? I have a high arch, wide-ish foot, no other foot issues. Thanks for the great content!

  25. M Lu on November 13, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    Love the content! This shoe is tempting. What would you say is the most explosive shoe? I would imagine something with stiff foam and a springy stiff shank?

  26. Sidhartha Kaushik on November 13, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Once again a great video. Thanks! Can you please do a comparison of your top 5 light weight shoes. Like 996v4, ff2, k swiss hypercourt , ubersonic, jet mach and may be mizuno

  27. Mark Horton on November 13, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Really looking for a replacement for my Nike Vapor X. Hoping these will be a good fit! I use orthotics and ankle braces, so it’s tough to find shoes that will fit my slightly wide feet and setup.

  28. AesBinz on November 13, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Tried the 996v3, the shoe is comfortable and feels good, but the heel to toe feels high. I love that shoes until my knee jammed when I tried to slow down from a sprint when chasing a ball then the heel part catches the ground and gripped and brake abruptly and didn’t slide forward a little as I used to other shoes, never looked back to NB since then and went back to K-Swiss, then babolat and now Diadora which gives me a good balance of grip and slide

  29. Christopher Bakriges on November 13, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you Doc. – question: when adding an orthotic, does it replace the original or do you place it on top of the original..?

  30. Zack A on November 13, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    Would you say this is the best performance shoe with a durability guarantee?

  31. Joseph Ho on November 13, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    Hi Zach, Just trying to seek your view on the (near) zero drop tennis shoes out there?

  32. Timothy Wojcik on November 13, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    How would these be for a wider foot? That’s my main issue when looking for new tennis shoes.

  33. K R on November 13, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Love love love my 996v4 shoes. Obnoxious yellow sulphur colorway 🤣

    I have a slightly wide foot, so the 2E option was perfect for me. I also have a high arch and almost every other shoe kills me on the top of my forefoot, these feel so soft on top that I have had zero issues with that. So friggin comfortable.

    13 months of near 5 hours a week on court and it is finally wearing out on my left foot where I drag my toe. Might snag the 4.5’s in purple unless a nice colorway comes out in the regular 4’s.

    Keep up the great content, easily the most informative videos on tennis shoes out there!

  34. Vertex Effects on November 13, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    @Foot Doctor Zach – love these shoes! They seem to be the only shoe that works for me right now for a wide shoe that’s in production. Do you have any other shoes that might be contenders? My foot is more unusual than most because I’m not only wide in the toe box but also in the mid-foot as well, so often the wide shoes in 2E or 4E that have a taper going into the heel and out of the heel tend to pitch me in the arch or I’m pouring out over the sole. I measured my foot as you suggested, and I’m a 12 2E, but sometimes I have to go to 4E to get wide enough around the mid foot to clear the taper in the middle so I don’t get pain, but then it makes toe box sloppy.

  35. Rudolph on November 13, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    What’s wrong with your desk background ? It moves behind your head…

  36. Tenisový Test on November 13, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    First of all, thumbs up for the slower tone of your voice and calmness, I really enjoy that. I’m tempted to buy a New Balance shoe in the future as I find them very light and connected to the ground, which I prefer. Today, I use the new Wilson Kaos Swift Clay, which are extremely light, great looking and surprisingly very stable. The only problem for me is the pinky toe because of the less padded front of the shoe. These New Balance shoes look very minimalistic, but as you said, very comfy. I need a shoe that is superlightweight, where I can feel the ground and get connected with the clay surface. Do they make these in Clay version?

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