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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