One of the most iconic models from the New Balance product line is the 574; a shoe originally designed for running and released in 1988 but was soon adopted by the mass as a comfortable, clean, straightforward lifestyle shoe offered at a reasonable price point. Nowadays, it’s become a classic staple for any sneaker head’s shoe collection, and over these years of incredible sales within the US, European, Japanese and Korean markets, the 574 has also become a platform for collaboration with brands such as Stone Island, Comme Des Garcons, Bodega and Jaden Smith. But in 2020, New Balance broke ground with the inaugural introduction of the 574 into the Numeric skateboarding product line, with the special edition release of the Primitive x New Balance Numeric 574. The shoe was a sleek silhouette featuring the iconic 574 upper, with a cupsole construction and premium materials adapted to skateboarding. It had Tiago vibes written all over it, and looking back it might’ve served as a precursor to Tiago’s pro model New Balance Numeric 1010. Fast forward to today, New Balance has just released the iconic 574 in an new iteration that skateboarders around the world love: a vulcanized model. What started as a running shoe that seemed versatile in any environment, the New Balance Numeric 574 vulc doubles down and refits the silhouette for skateboarding’s needs. We got our hands on a pair and put this model to the weartest; read on below.
The shoe fits slightly big so we recommend going a half size down.
To evaluate the durability of the NB# 574, we first took a look at the sole and upper of the shoe. The sole’s foxing tape is very thick in the forefoot area, which not only increases the flick but also proves to be extremely durable. The thickness of the sole in the side area also helps to protect the upper from wear and tear. This is especially true with the forefoot (kickflip) area, which was very durable during our 10-hour wear test. Looking at the upper as a whole, it features several different material panel overlays that are all double stitched. However, the addition of overlays and stitched panels also pose a higher risk for griptape abuse. Luckily, this was not true to the 574 since it showed very little sings of wears in the critical Ollie and Kickflip area. Aside from some light visible wear on the collar panel, the durability of the upper is great. This was quite surprising as a vulcanized model. All in all, the construction of the sole was critical to the durability of the shoe, and the many overlays on the upper held very well together.
The NB# 574 features a very thin vulcanized construction, which maximizes boardfeel and flexibility of the sole, leaving impact protection to the insole. This is a rather typical construction for vulc shoes. However, New Balance Numeric put a lot of focus on the heel and midfoot sole construction, which features a vaulted heel design. The stability of this construction not only helps create a stable and secure feeling, but also increases the cushioning, with helps disperse impacts throughout the midsole, before ultimately hitting directly to the feet through the insole. All in all, the cushioning was fair for the 574, but definitely exceeded expectations for a vulcanized model.
Just from looking at the outward aesthetic of the shoe, you will be drawn in to wondering how the shoe fits and skates. Upon first impression, the shoe looks slim and tight-fitting, but after wearing it, the shoe was very roomy in the mid and forefoot area. The shape of the 574 itself feels like it get wider from the midfoot to the toe, but still rounds off and becomes a pointed tip. The heel area sits quite snug on the foot but since it’s a running shoe design, the toe area has a lot of space and is quite flat. The sole’s foxing tape sits high, so the upper is very securely embedded in the sole and toe area.
As with most vulcanized models, boardfeel and grip are the usual highlights, and this was definitely the case with the 574. The shoe proved to have amazing grip throughout the 10 hour weartest, and had a lot of life in them for future sessions. The main technical feature of the shoe in terms of grip was the vulcanized construction. As can be seen in the pictures, the forefoot thread pattern is wide and deep which increases the flexibility of the sole. This helped the shoe mold into the concave of the board and form to the griptape very well. The fine heel area thread pattern had less flexibility, but helped in terms of stability. Boardfeel of the shoe was good; the sole flattens out much more in the first third of the shoe and the midsole itself is fairly thin, which provided for responsive board feel for the feet.
The comfort of a skateboard shoe is mainly influenced by its inner construction, weight and breathability. The inner construction of the 574 is well designed for a comfortable fit; it has very limited seams inside which resulted in no pressure points while skating. One flaw was the lack of tongue centering straps, which shifted around while skating. It’s also worth mentioning that the shoe is quite on the heavy side and barely has any features for breathability. As a result, the comfort of the shoe was just fair.
When it comes to stability, how well the shoe can maintain its structural shape and forms to the foot are both important aspects to consider. The shoe kept its shape very well over the 10-hours of skating. The heel area has several visible and non-visible panels which increases the stability, and there was no slippage-feeling when skating and pushing. However, the overall stability suffered extremely due to the midfoot and forefoot shape. In these areas the feet have lots of space which decrease that secure and lock-in feeling which was coming from the heel.
The NB# 574 has secured a place among the product portfolio as a versatile vulcanized shoe that excels in durability, board feel and grip. Aside from the heel, the other elements of the shoe’s comfort could be tweaked, and the mid/forefoot stability could be enhanced. But all in all, this is a solid vulcanized offering from NB#.