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Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, including the New Balance 574 shoes, to compare them on comfort and design. The New Balance 574 surprised me in many ways compared to other New Balance options. Are New Balance 574 Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, the New Balance 574 Shoes are comfortable to wear. In my experience, the 574 provides nice support under the foot and also has a flexible design that does not feel stiff. When I recently tried 30+ New Balance shoes, these were the shoes (in addition to the 574) that I thought were the most comfortable:
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 (click here to view)
- New Balance FuelCell Rebel (click here to view)
- New Balance Made in USA 993 (click here to view)
- New Balance 327 (click here to view)
The New Balance 574 is designed to be a versatile shoe. It has a retro-athletic design, which makes it easy to pair with jeans and a t-shirt, but the comfortable, flexible design also makes it useful for occasional exercise.
This is where you can see how the 574 compresses under my foot and this is where you can see me testing the flexibility of these shoes. But I did think a few New Balance shoes were more comfortable than the 574 (show me a list of those shoes).
One thing that makes this shoe unique is New Balance designed it to have a “hybrid road/trail” purpose, meaning the outsole and build is a bit more rugged than other casual shoes, and can handle a wider range of surfaces. This is a shoe you can wear casually, but also wear to the gym or for other types of light exercise, like a walk or an easy hike.
In this article let’s examine how comfortable the New Balance 574 shoes are. I will show you how they compress under my foot and how flexible they are, and I will also compare the weight and design of these shoes to other popular New Balance shoes.
Videos of Me Testing New Balance 574 Comfort
The New Balance 574 shoes are comfortable casual shoes. They are not as squishy under the foot as modern running shoes, but they have a flexible design that also has soft support under the foot.
How the 574 Feels On My Foot
Below is a video of me wearing the New Balance 574 shoes to give you a better idea how the shoe compresses under the foot:
You can see the foam midsole compress as my foot moves. This foam midsole helps absorb impact stress under the foot.
However, it is also worth noting that New Balance has many other options that are much more “squishy” and soft under the foot. Most of these options are running shoes, so they might not fit exactly what you are looking for.
For example, when I recently tried over 30 types of New Balance shoes, I thought the 1080v12 provided the most comfort and softness under the foot. It provides that “squishy” feeling and even though the 574 is comfortable, it does not have a thick, “squishy” midsole like the 1080v12.
For comparison, here is how the 1080v12 responds on my foot:
You can see the thick foam midsole of the 1080 squish under my weight as I move. The 574 does not provide this level of comfort, but again, the 1080 is used first and foremost as a running shoe, so it has more cushioning on purpose.
And I do think the 574 has a comfortable feeling under the foot compared to other types of casual shoes. But I did think a few New Balance shoes were more comfortable, even a couple types of casual shoes. This is where you can see the full list of New Balance shoes I think are more comfortable than the 574.
How Flexible is the New Balance 574?
Flexibility can play a large role in the fit and comfort of a shoe.
The New Balance 574 shoes have a flexible design that feels responsive on my foot. They find a sort of middle ground. The 574 isn’t as flexible as modern running shoes, but they are more durable.
In the videos below, I tried to capture how flexible these shoes are:
As you can see above, the 574 is very easy to bend and twist. This is not a shoe that will feel stiff on your foot. No, it isn’t quite as flexible as certain types of modern athletic shoes, but this shoe is one of the most flexible casual, retro-athletic shoes on the market today.
I did also find a pretty significant difference regarding the insole of the 574 compared to other options. This is where you can read more about the comfort of the 574 insole.
How Much Padding Does the 574 Have?
If you are like me, padding around the collar and tongue matters a lot. The 574 does have nice padding around both the collar and tongue. The tongue has a sort of retro-nylon design, but does have padding inside the tongue.
Here’s a look at mine:
But I did find a couple New Balance casual athletic shoes to have more padding around the collar and tongue. I thought the New Balance shoe that had the most padding in this area was the W840v3 (offered in both a men’s and women’s version). Here’s what the W840v3 looks like at the collar:
I also thought the popular New Balance Made in USA 990v5 casual athletic shoes had a bit more padding around the collar than the 574 (990 vs 574):
Are New Balance 574 Shoes Lightweight?
Yes, the New Balance 574 are lightweight to wear. A size 12 men’s New Balance 574 shoes weigh 0.78 pounds per shoe.
A size 7 women’s New Balance 574 shoe weighs 0.62 pounds per shoe:
After trying over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, below is a weight chart comparing the New Balance 574 weight to all the other New Balance shoes that I tried:
*Weights below are based off of one size 12 men’s shoe.
Recently I tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes. Overall, these shoes are one of the most lightweight options that New Balance offers. To read about how these shoes compare to other New Balance shoes, visit my New Balance Weight Comparison Page.
Are New Balance 574 Comfortable to Wear in Hot Weather?
What about hot weather? How breathable are the New Balance 574 shoes?
I found the 574 to be moderately breathable. No, they won’t be the most breathable New Balance options, but they do have mesh on the upper which allows for some breathability.
Here is a close-up look at the material on my 574 shoes:
Which New Balance shoes are more breathable? Well, as you would expect, many of New Balance’s dedicated running shoes are much more breathable than the 574. For example, when I hold my New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 running shoes up to the light, you can actually see light passing through the material:
But if you are looking for more of a casual athletic shoe, there was one New Balance option that I found to be more breathable than the 574. It was the New Balance 2002r.
When I hold the New Balance 2002r up to the light, you can also see light passing through it:
How Comfortable are the New Balance 574 Insoles?
I found the New Balance 574 insoles to be very similar to other types of New Balance insoles. They are removable, so if you prefer a thicker insole, they can be swapped.
I measured the insoles on my New Balance 574 shoes to be approximately 1/6th of an inch thick. This was very similar to other New Balance shoes I tried:
It’s a foam insole that provide adequate cushioning, but there are certainly better insoles on the market today. In fact, there were certain New Balance shoes I found to have thicker, softer insoles.
For example, the here is the removable insole on my New Balance 840 shoes:
It uses a thicker, dual-layer insole. The top layer is foam, but there is also a gel-like bottom layer that adds extra cushioning to the shoe. The New Balance 574 insole measures at about 1/6th of an inch thick, but this 840 insole measures over a quarter inch thick:
The main takeaway is I found the New Balance 574 insole to be quite average compared to other New Balance shoes. But the insole is removable in case you want to swap in a thicker insole that your prefer.
Are New Balance 574 Shoes Comfortable for Wide Feet?
The New Balance 574 shoes are built using the SL-2 last, which creates a wider forefoot and deeper toe box. Still, this will likely not be enough to overcome the need for wide sizing. If you normally order wide sizing, you should still order wide sizing for the 574.
To get a better idea of how wide these shoes are, below is the width of my New Balance 574 shoes (in standard width) compared to the Nike Air Monarch 4E (which is a popular extra wide shoe) both size 12:
Again, even though this shoe is a little bit wider than regular shoes, it likely won’t be enough (in standard width) to overcome the need for wide sizing. This style is available in wide sizes.
For sizing help, I would suggest you visit my New Balance 574 Size Guide where I use sizing comparison photos to compare the sizing of the New Balance 574 shoes to other popular brands. This is where you can view the New Balance 574 men’s sizing photos, and this is where you can view the New Balance 574 women’s sizing photos.
Comfortable New Balance 574 Alternatives
New Balance 993
The New Balance 993, much like the 574, has a retro-athletic style. The 993 is a shoe you can easily pair with jeans and a t-shirt, but also wear for occasional exercise. The 993 is popular due to its comfort, and due to the fact that it is made in the USA (the 574 is not made in the USA).
I thought the 993 was the most comfortable New Balance Made in USA shoe, and one of the most comfortable casual shoes that New Balance offers. In my opinion, it has a softer compression under the toe pad than the New Balance 574.
Here is how the New Balance 993 responds on my foot:
New Balance 57/40
The New Balance 57/40 is a modern-take on the 574. It has a bulkier design with a foam mudguard around the midsole. The overall comfort is similar (the 574 is more flexible), but I wanted to mention this shoe because it is built on a slimmer last than the 574, so it may be a better option for those that have narrow feet.
Below is a comparison of the 57/40 vs 574 (574 on right):
New Balance 57/40 is definitely a chunkier shoe than the 574. I found the 574 to be more flexible, but the 57/40 to be more supportive. This is how the 57/40 responds on a foot:
New Balance 237
The New Balance 237 is similar to the 574 in that it has a retro-athletic design. The 237 was originally created to be a running shoe in the 1970’s. It has a lightweight, easy-to-wear design. Here is a look at my New Balance 237 compared to my New Balance 574 (574 on right):
Even though it is reasonably close, I think the New Balance 237 provides a bit more cushioning under the foot than the 574. This is how the 237 responds on a foot:
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
I’d be remiss to not mention my favorite New Balance shoe. When I recently tried over 30 different types of New Balance shoes, the 1080 was the most comfortable. It provides sink-in, squishy softness under the foot.
Below is a comparison of the 1080 vs 574 (574 on right):
It is a modern running shoe, and because of that, it has a sleeker design than the 574. If you are looking for soft, ultra-lightweight athletic shoes, the 1080 will be a better option than the 574.
This is how the 1080 responds on a foot:
New Balance 1540
The 1540 is a popular New Balance athletic shoe. I wanted to point it out because although the comfort is quite similar to the comfort of the New Balance 574, the 1540 has extra heel support that the 574 does not have.
If you need stability, this shoe is built with New Balance’s ROLLBAR technology, which is a medial post in the heel to help prevent improper rearfoot movement. Below is a comparison of the 1540 vs 574 (574 on right):
If you prioritize support and stability in your athletic shoes, this shoe will be a better option than the New Balance 574. This is how the 1540 responds on my foot: