New Balance 574 Sport Review

While New Balance is universally known for making some of the highest quality running shoes on the market, they are underrated when it comes to lifestyle shoes. And that’s a shame because New Balance has been turning out some great sneakers lately. A prime example, the 574 Sport. Launched back in July, the 574 Sport revolutionizes the classic New Balance 574. By combining the quality and craftsmanship they are know for, with a few tech upgrades, New Balance has created a new modern classic.

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Highlights:

  • A complete overhaul of the 574, gives the 574 Sport a sleeker and modern silhouette.
  • Premium suede seamlessly combines with mesh to create a beautifully styled upper.
  • Fresh Foam cushioning in the midsole of the shoe makes the 574 Sport the ultimate urban trekker.

Construction

New Balance brings quality in the construction of their shoes, and the 574 Sport is no different. The evidence is in the details, as the stitching of the shoe is on point and glue marks don’t blemish the connection between the sole and upper of the shoe. It just feels like New Balance built these shoes to last.

In all the 574 Sport variations, New Balance has struck a great balance of combining premium materials (leather and suede) with more “sporty” materials (mesh). This is very evident in the tan 574 Sport. The mesh on the upper of the shoe flawlessly blends in with the tan suede, to the point you need to actually feel the shoe to determine which material is which. This not only tells you that New Balance put a lot of thought into designing the 574 Sport, it also gives the 574 Sport a very premium feel.

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Another aspect of the 574 Sport that showcases New Balance’s commitment to construction is the outsole of the shoe. On many sneakers this is an often overlooked part of the shoe, which can lead to a shorter lived sneaker. However, the chunky tread and high quality rubber New Balance used makes this shoe last for miles. After wearing the shoes for a few weeks on my 1.5 mile walks to and from work, I’ve noticed almost no wear on the outsole of the 574 Sport. Once again, it’s clear New Balance built the 574 Sport to last.

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Performance

The biggest upgrade over the original 574 is the inclusion of New Balance’s Fresh Foam technology. Fresh Foam is a new foam that New Balance has been using on a number of their most popular running shoe models, such as the 1080 and Zante, and provides great cushioning along with solid support.

Thankfully, New Balance has decided to bring the technology over to many of their lifestyle shoes, and boy does it make a difference! With the inclusion of Fresh Foam I feel like I can walk for miles and miles in the 574 Sport. The Fresh Foam compound is incredibly light so it doesn’t increase the weight of the shoe and drag your foot down at all. It also provides great “bounce” to every step, which gives your feet at little more rest when walking for long distances. This is great considering that not all lifestyle shoes are equal when it comes to comfort.

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The only part where the 574 Sport falters a bit is in the breathability department. Although I feel like I can walk for miles in these shoes, after a long day of wearing them my feet are definitely itching to kick them off. I think this might because my tan 574 Sport are primarily suede/leather which traps the heat in the mid and forefoot a little more. Maybe if I had one of the all mesh 574 Sports this would be a different story. Nevertheless, this is a small flaw compared to all the great aspects of the 574 Sport.

Conclusion

Ranging from $99.99 to $109.99 (for the more premium models) the 574 Sport retails around the average price of most lifestyle sneakers. They are a little more pricey than adidas Superstars, Stan Smiths, or Nike Cortez’s but with the 574 Sport you do get a better constructed shoe. The previously mentioned shoes don’t have a premium foam cushioning system standard like you get in the 574 Sport – definitely an upgrade worth the premium. Lastly, if you want to stand out from the crowd of Nike and adidas, pick up the 574 Sport. They’ve got retro-modern styling, great craftsmanship, premium materials, and an ultra comfortable midsole. All the necessary components of an amazing lifestyle shoe. With the 574 Sport it’s clear, people shouldn’t be sleeping on New Balance anymore.

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NOBULL Trainer Review

Although founded a only few years ago, NOBULL has made quite a splash in the world of functional fitness. Their simple but stylish, hard-working shoes have quickly propelled them into a solid number three in the world of CrossFit shoes (following only Nike Metcons and Reebok Nanos). They even sponsor some great CrossFit Games Athletes including: Brooke Ence, Sam Dancer, Brooke Wells, and Alex Anderson. Built on the simple premise that your gear doesn’t make you better, only your hard work does – it’s no wonder NOBULL is popular amongst CrossFitters. Intrigued by this message, I decided to order a pair of the Olive Heather Trainers. And boy, was I impressed with these solid trainers!

Highlights:

  • Superfabric upper is incredibly durable and breaths just as well as a standard mesh upper.
  • Solid and supportive midsole is perfect for any type of lift, plyometric movement, and even running.
  • Minimalist and functional design provides timeless silhouette.

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Construction

The first thing you’ll notice about the NOBULL Trainers is the uniqueness of its upper. Constructed of a seamless piece of Superfabric, this gives the NOBULLs an ultra sleek look. It also gives the shoe a slightly “dimpled” look, which while it might take some time getting used to, doesn’t not detract from the overall look of the shoe. Even better, the Superfabric keeps its shape incredibly well and hasn’t creased at all, even with the demands of many CrossFit workouts. Another great touch on the upper is the shoelace eyelets. I love that they are made of metal and lie flat, so that they don’t take away from the seamless Superfabric upper. It definitely showcases the thought and care NOBULL put into constructing these trainers.

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NOBULL struck a great balance with the sole of their trainers. While the midsole is near incompressible and made with lifting in mind, the insole is thick enough to provide some cushion and make the NOBULLs pretty solid for short distance running. Additionally, NOBULL did slightly bow the front of the trainers, which make the NOBULLs a great choice for workouts that call for running. Lastly, the NOBULLs have a super grippy tread making them very reliable no matter what surface you’re training on. Clearly, NOBULL constructed their trainers to be a jack-of-all trades.

The only small flaw I found in the construction of the NOBULL Trainers was the shoe laces. When I first got them, the shoe laces were a little short and I could only single-knot them. This caused my shoes to become untied in the middle of some of workouts, which was pretty annoying. Thankfully, after a while the laces stretched and I’m now able to double-knot my shoes.

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Performance/Fit

With a name like NOBULL, you’d expect a shoe that is all business, and that’s exactly what you get. NOBULL has a very simple recipe, flexible upper, 4mm drop, incompressible midsole, and a stable base, and they execute it to perfection.

The NOBULLs have a neutral feel to them due to the 4mm drop and solid midsole. This provides a stable base and gives you power delivery in any type of lifting. They’re also extremely light, at a little over 10 oz., and flexible, making the NOBULLs very responsive. This not only helps on Olympic lifts where you need to move your feet quickly, but also helps on plyometric movements (like box jumps and double unders) as your feet won’t tire as much from the repeated bounding. At the end of the day, I’m comfortable going into any workout with my NOBULLs on.

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The number one thing that I was worried about with the NOBULLs is that they would disappoint in the breathability department. Since the upper doesn’t appear to have any mesh and is made of a single piece of Superfabric, it would appear that the NOBULL Trainers wouldn’t be as breathable as a Nike Metcon or Reebok Nano. Luckily, NOBULL has been really smart in creating the Superfabric upper, layering it over a mesh base. The Superfabric upper doesn’t make the NOBULLs any less breathable than any other training shoe. This is especially nice considering CrossFit makes you sweat from everywhere.

Unfortunately, you aren’t able to try on NOBULL Trainers before you buy them as they only sell online. However, NOBULL does recommend ordering your normal size and I can attest that these Trainers fit true to size. Another nice touch is that NOBULL does unisex sizing, so if you like a particular colorway that is not in your gender’s size you can easy size up or down in men’s or women’s shoes.

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Conclusion

You don’t get any gimmicks with the NOBULL Trainers. NOBULLs simple strategy translates into a great minimalist training shoe. They have all the right elements and that’s what makes the NOBULL Trainers perform just as well (if not better) than training shoes from rivals Nike and Reebok. Thankfully, at $130, NOBULLs retail for the same as other big name brand shoes. If you want a solid pair of trainers free from frills, look no further than NOBULL.

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adidas Originals Superstar Boost

The adidas Superstar needs no introduction. It’s a classic silhouette and pairs great with just about everything. There’s no doubting that it is a staple in many people’s sneaker rotation. What if I told you that adidas has now brought the Superstar into the 21st century, with a Boost midsole and a Primeknit upper. Awesome, right? Well thankfully, adidas has done just that with the Superstar Boost!

Highlights:

  • Timeless adidas style updated with modern technology.
  • Breathable Primeknit upper wraps around your foot to create a sock-like fit, allowing for adaptive support and creating an ultralight shoe.
  • Boost midsole cushions every step giving you all day comfort.

Construction

adidas didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel with the overall design on the Superstar Boost. The iconic rubber toe cap and the three stripes are apparent, but there are a few upgrades to the technology that make this sneaker special. The most notable improvement is the Primeknit upper. It just gives the shoe so much more breathability over leather Superstars. The shoe feels super light on your feet and allows you to wear the shoe comfortably all day long. For instance, when I wear my leather Superstars, I usually have to take them off mid-day to let my feet breathe. This is never the case with the Superstar Boost model.

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(If you like this look, be sure to get this New Balance sweater and Levi’s jeans at Amazon.com!)

The other notable upgrade is the Boost midsole. While you won’t get the same level of Boost cushioning as you do from an UltraBoost, the shoe is on par with the cushioning of a NMD. This is because, similar to an NMD, your foot sits right on the Boost. In contrast, on the UltraBoost, there are a few extra layers between your foot and the Boost. Overall, it’s a great addition to the shoe and makes it better for walking around town.

Another dynamic touch with the Superstar Boost is what adidas did with the outsole. They “disguised” the Boost with the classic Superstar outsole. It’s only when someone gets close that you can spot the Boost plug on the inside of the shoe. I like this feature because it helps the shoe keep the lines of the original Superstar. Encapsulating the idea of updating a modern classic.

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Performance

The few technological upgrades to the Superstar Boost over the original Superstar make the Superstar Boost a great shoe. Primeknit and Boost combine to a create an ultralight and comfortable sneaker. Now, a concern with knit shoes is if they are as durable as their non-knit counterpart. I wore these shoes for a couple days straight, in sunny weather, in cold weather, walking, and even running (for a very short distance) and happily, the shoes held up great! Whether you’re walking on asphalt, gravel paths, or grass, the Superstar Boost held up just as well as the original Superstar.

The fit of the Superstar Boost is identical to that of the Superstar and fit true to size. The only difference being the Primeknit upper. While, the upper feels a little looser and not as constricting as the standard leather Superstar upper, this doesn’t mean you need to size down. Just simply order your regular size if you pick up these shoes.

Conclusion

At $140, the Superstar Boost is $60 more than an adidas Superstar. However, for this premium, you get a more well rounded shoe. The Primeknit upper and Boost midsole give you the breathability and support you need for all day comfort. Additionally, adidas has kept the classic lines for this update, so you are getting that retro adidas styling that is trending. All in all, if you want a timeless shoe with a modern twist, go pick up a pair of Superstar Boosts.

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adidas Originals by wings+horns Dropping Today!

Today is the drop day of the adidas Originals by wings+horns Fall/Winter 2017 collection. Through premium materials and innovative production techniques from Canada and Japan, wings+horns brings its unique aesthetic to classic adidas styles. This collection features both footwear and apparel. Most notably, the two have teamed up to create a spectacular NMD C2. The shoe features a chukka boot style, marbled brown Primeknit wool upper, and a clean boost outsole, creating a minimal but sharply tailored look. Additionally, there are two leather shoes being released this time. An all black waterproof Superstar Pro High and a heather grey leather Campus. And let me say, both look amazing.

If you missed the last wings+horns collection, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. Click here to shop! Also be sure to check out my review of the Summer/Spring 17 adidas x wings+horns NMD R2.

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adidas x wings+horns NMD C2. Photo: Adidas
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adidas x wings+horns Superstar Pro High. Photo: Adidas
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adidas x wings+horns Campus. Photo: Adidas

General Assembly x Reebok Giveaway!

Reebok recently announced that it is teaming up with General Assembly, and giving away a free trip to Thailand. Included in the grand prize is a Reebok gym bag and $500 of swag. I can only hope that Reebok chooses to include their amazing new Floatride in the giveaway pack, as I was blown away with the comfort and support of these shoes. Definitely, a great pair of running and travel shoes!

Participants have until Sunday, November 19th to enter, and the winner will be notified by December 1st. You can gain additional entries by sharing the giveaway on Facebook, referring friends to the giveaway, following Acanela Expeditions on their social media channels, and subscribing to General Assembly’s YouTube channel. Click here to enter and learn more about this sweet giveaway!

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Reebok Floatride. Photo: Reebok

Nike Air VaporMax Cookies & Cream Pack

On October 26th, Nike is set to release a candy inspired colorway of its new Air VaporMax style. Dubbed “Cookies & Cream,” the upper of the shoe features a black and white blend of Flyknit. Opposites definitely attract in this colorway, and the blend of the two opposing colors creates a clean, monochromatic look. This look is definitely on trend, especially considering the host of black/white “blended” sneakers that are being released (Adidas UltraBoost All Terrain).

Nike released the Air VaporMax as the next evolution of its Air Max technology, and it has taken the sneaker world by storm. You don’t want to miss this release. Visit the SNKRS app to reserve your pair now!

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Men’s Air VaporMax in “Cookies & Cream.” Photo Credit: Nike
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Women’s Nike Air VaporMax in “Cookies & Cream.” Photo Credit: Nike

adidas x wings+horns NMD R2 Leather

What happens when you cross an amazing lifestyle brand with the hottest sneaker on the market….a masterpiece. And that’s exactly what happened with the adidas x wings+horns NMD R2. High quality hand-stitched leather combined with an ultra-comfortable boost outsole. Need I say more…

Highlights

  • wings+horns brings it’s unique aesthetic with a solid leather upper, contrasting hand-stitching, and an embossed adidas logo.
  • Upgrades from the NMD R1 make the NMD R2 a more comfortable and sleeker sneaker.
  • Exclusive collaboration with latest launch set for October 26th, 2017.

Keep reading for more insights.

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Construction

Japanese craftsmanship was a key inspiration for the adidas x wings+horns shoe collaboration and it is apparent in the design. Sporting a clean minimalist look, the shoes pair well with joggers and skinny jeans alike. The contrasting hand-stitching around on the tongue, mid foot, and collar of the shoe demonstrate the thought and care that was put into designing the shoe. Not to mention that the upper is all a single piece of leather. The embossing of the famous trefoil adidas logo on the tongue is a sophisticated, subtle touch. Vancouver’s wings+horns is know for their quality and they definitely let it shine. The attention to details in the adidas x wings+horns NMD R2 is simply astounding.

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In shoe collaborations, it’s the little things that make the difference and set the shoe apart from the standard models. Adidas and wings+horns did just that with their NMD R2 sneaker.

Fit/Performance

The NMD R2 is the follow up to the ever popular adidas NMD R1, and adidas has a couple of tweaks in the sequel. With the NMD R2, adidas has done away with the two EVA plugs on the outsole of shoe, and replaced them with a series of stripes in the boost sole. This creates a much sleeker look and feel to the shoe, which is a solid improvement. Another difference I noticed between the NMD R2 and NMD R1 was the boost sole itself. On the R1, the boost felt a little stiff to me. On the R2, the boost is more akin to the UltraBoost, which is definitely a plus when wearing the shoe for longer periods of time.

The shoes fit true to size and I would not size up or down in these shoes. As I mentioned, the leather that adidas and wings+horns used is very high quality and it has a good effect on the fit of the shoes. It’s both very pliable and conforms to your foot, but at the same time keeps it’s shape over time. The only trouble I’ve had with the shoes is getting them on. Because of the hand stitching around the tongue, it can be a bit tricky the open the shoe wide enough to slip your foot in. Fortunately this is an easy fix, as you can just loosen the laces a bit more when putting them on.

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Conclusion

At $190, the adidas x wings+horns NMD R2 is a bit more money than a traditional NMD R2. However, you are getting both amazing craftsmanship and high quality materials in this shoe. So, you could definitely compare these shoes to a Common Projects or Magnanni sneaker, both of which retail for over double that price. I would argue that the NMD R2 is going to be more comfortable than any other leather sneaker you will find, with its boost outsole. In that context, you are definitely getting your money’s worth if you pick up a pair of adidas x wings+horns NMDs.

Now, where can you find these kicks? These shoes originally launched as part of adidas x wings+horns Spring/Summer 17 collection, so they could be a bit difficult to find. Therefore, I would suggest looking at verified and trusted shoe resellers such as Fight Club, Stadium Goods, or Rif LA. In fact, while writing this post, I was able to find these shoe for only $125 at Fight Club. Additionally, don’t be discouraged if you can’t find your size, adidas just announced they are doing a Fall/Winter collaboration that thankfully features another NMD R2! This new collection will launch on October 26, 2017 on adidas.com and select retailers worldwide. In the end, if you want a stylish, well-made, and comfortable sneaker, look no further than the adidas x wings+horns NMD R2.

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NOBULL Orange Heather Trainers

On October 24th, NOBULL is releasing an Autumn inspired color way of their ever popular trainers. NOBULL was founded on the simple premise that your equipment doesn’t make you better, only your hard work does. In that regard, while their shoes look simple they are definitely workhorses. Especially considering NOBULL’s SuperFabric® that is not only breathable, but glass, knife, and barbed wire resistant. So, it’s no surprise that NOBULL is beloved by CrossFit® fanatics worldwide (I certainly love my Olive Heather Trainers). Click here to check out the Orange Heather Trainer and enter to win a free pair!

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NOBULL Orange Heather Trainers launching October 24th. Photo credit: NOBULL

 

NMD R1 Primeknit ‘A.I. Camo’ Pack

Adidas is releasing 900 pairs each of the NMD R1 Primeknit ‘A.I. Camo’ Pack. Signups for the NMD are live now, and will be released on October 20. In the US, we will be seeing the “Sahara” and “Olive” color-ways. In Europe, we will be seeing the red and grey color-ways. Go to Adidas Confirmed for a chance to score these sweet kicks. Follow me for more news like this!

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CUSTOM NIKEID METCON 3

What’s the best way to get kicks that you know that nobody else will have or make you feel like a sponsored athlete…create customize ones! Nowadays lots of shoe brands will let you customize various styles of their shoes, but Nike has been doing it longest with the introduction of NikeID in 1999. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of NikeID, but it’s always been daunting especially with the amount of options Nike gives you. How do you know that you’re selecting the best color combinations, choosing a design that is uniquely you, or picking a shoe worth customizing? I recently went through the process of using NikeID and was blown away with the final product. Below I’ve outlined the process and my top tips for creating your own custom pair of Nikes.

THE PROCESS

Nike’s process of creating a NikeID shoe is pretty seamless. First off, you can simply choose the “Customize” ribbon at the top of Nike.com and you can see all the styles available for NikeID. From here just choose your style and launch the NikeID customizer. Each shoe style is a little different, but in general you can edit color of the shoe’s upper, the laces, the swoosh, the sole (outsole and sometimes midsole), the heel, and even make custom text to the shoe! Overall, I found the process to fairly straightforward and as seen in the side-by-side comparisons below, Nike’s rendering of the shoe is very accurate. Definitely a plus considering the premium you pay for NikeID.

The only complaint that I have about the process is how long delivery takes. Nike’s original estimate was delivered 3 weeks from the order date, however, in reality it was more like 4 weeks. Now, I don’t know if this is UPS’s fault or Nike’s, but forewarned that it can take sometime for your NikeID’s to arrive.

TOP TIPS

I’m a firm believer that shoes should be worn, not put on a shelf, and this is especially true for custom shoes. You put in the work and paid the money, so wear them! With that in mind, what should be in your mind making your NikeID shoe?

  • Spice up a style you already love. You wouldn’t wear bright pink if pink wasn’t your favorite color, right? Same applies here. Choose a style that you know will be timeless to you. I picked a Nike Metcon because I’m a CrossFitter and having a unique color way to your shoe is a part of the CrossFit culture. Two things that I knew would keep me wearing the shoe. Bottomline, be you when you pick the shoe.
  • Get colorful. Knowing the right color combination can be overwhelming, especially given all the choices Nike gives you. In this case, knowing some basic “color theory” helps. Complementary colors (blue & orange, yellow & purple, red & green) are generally going to look good together. Additionally, going with a contrasting look (think white versus black) will definitely make your shoes pop. Monochrome isn’t a bad way to go either, as seen below, and can look very trendy.
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All white Nike Metcon 3
  •  Have your shoes tell a story. By this I mean to pick a theme. A personal theme is best, something about the shoe needs embody your identity. It is called NikeID after all. For me, this was picking my college colors – purple and gold (GO DAWGS!!). This is a place where making use of the text customization option is great. A favorite saying, personal motto, or nickname can go a long way to make your theme and tie the shoe together. Nike Metcon 3, retcon 3, NikeID Metcon 3, NikeID, custom Nike, University of Washington, UW, Dawg Pack, purple and gold, purple, gold, nike training, Nike Training

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, I was very impressed by my NikeID experience. It was very easy to design the shoes and they came out looking exactly as I expected. The performance and construction is very comparable to my other Metcons, so there are no quality issues to worry about. In the end, 1) know your style, 2) know your colors, and 3) know your theme. With these 3 things in mind, you are sure to come out with an awesome pair of NikeIDs. Happy designing!!

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