Are New Balance 574 Good for Running?

The New Balance 574 is one of the most iconic sneakers ever made. Loved for its retro style and comfort, it’s remained popular since its debut in 1988. But it was originally designed as more of a lifestyle shoe. So are New Balance 574s actually good for running? Let’s take a closer look.

Outsole and Midsole

The outsole of the New Balance 574 features a durable rubber compound in a unique zigzag pattern that provides decent traction and flexibility. The EVA foam midsole cushions your feet while running, though it’s not quite as responsive or well-cushioned as most performance running shoes today. Overall, the 574 offers a moderate level of shock absorption and energy return suitable for casual runs.


The New Balance 574 is reasonably lightweight, with men’s size 9 weighing around 11.2 oz and women’s size 7 weighing around 8.8 oz. This puts the 574 on the lighter end of the lifestyle shoe spectrum.

However, most dedicated running shoes today are engineered with advanced lightweight materials to weigh between 6-9 oz. So while not overly heavy, the 574 is noticeably heavier than top running sneakers.


With a combination leather/mesh upper, breathability is decent but not stellar in the 574. The mesh paneling allows some airflow to your feet, preventing overheating on short runs.

But the leather overlays and ankle collar reduce overall breathability compared to highly-ventilated performance running shoes. During long or intense runs, your feet may get overly warm in 574s, especially in hot weather.


Cushioning is another area where the 574 falls a bit short for running. The EVA foam midsole and padded ankle collar provide good cushioning for casual wear. But there’s not enough soft, responsive cushioning in the midsole to provide sufficient impact protection mile after mile.

So while your feet may feel fine running a couple of miles in 574s, most runners would want more cushioning for longer distances to prevent fatigue and injury risk.


With its leather overlays and padded ankle collar, the 574 offers decent foot support and stability for casual, everyday wear. But there are no structured stability features tailored specifically for running.

So those needing pronation control or motion control would lack sufficient arch and heel support logging lots of miles in 574s. The risk of injury due to overpronation can increase without adequate running shoe technologies designed to guide and align your footstrike.


The zigzag rubber outsole pattern of the 574 provides relatively good surface grip and traction for lifestyle use on various surfaces. During runs, they should handle pavement, light trails, tracks, and treadmills fine.

But there’s not quite enough depth and intricacy to the sole lugs to provide top-notch traction on technical terrain compared to trail running shoes. And the rubber compound isn’t as durable or high-traction as carbon rubber found in some performance trainers.

Fit and Sizing

The New Balance 574 fits true to size for most foot shapes. Available in standard D and 2E widths for men and D and 2E widths for women, it can accommodate narrow to slightly wide feet.

One perk of 574s for running is that they come in wider sizes that suit more foot volumes, unlike some slim racing flats. The 574 upper material also allows for a nice flexible fit that contours well to your feet. Just ensure you securely lace up and tighten the laces to prevent heel slippage when running.


Let’s face it – the vintage style of the New Balance 574 contributes to its enduring appeal and why people love wearing them for casual activities. The suede/nylon upper with ABZORB heel looks fashionable with everything from jeans to joggers. And the 574 comes in a rainbow of color combinations to match any outfit. So they’ll at least have you looking cool when you run!

The Verdict

While the New Balance 574 can work for casual, short distance runs close to the 3-mile mark, its lack of performance features make it less than ideal for serious running.

The dated midsole cushioning just can’t provide the responsive experience and injury protection necessary for regular roadwork, long distances, or high intensities. And the upper and platform aren’t quite breathable, fitted or stable enough to truly maximize natural running biomechanics.

There are better quality, affordable options like the New Balance FuelCell Echo or Fresh Foam Roav from the New Balance running lineup if you want a dedicated trainer.

Ultimately, the retro-styled 574 remains a lifestyle fashion sneaker first and functional running shoe second. For those wanting to tap into the vintage runner aesthetic for occasional jogs or errand running, they deliver decent versatility. But most runners would choose more performance-engineered footwear for logging major miles.

Similar Running Shoe FAQs

Still have some questions about using the New Balance 574 or other shoes for running? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Are the 574 good for walking?

Yes. With its well-cushioned midsole, flexible low-profile sole and supportive overlays, the New Balance 574 performs very well as a comfortable walking shoe suitable for all-day wear.

Can you use 574s for the gym/training?

The 574 can work for basic gym sessions focused on weights, stretching and machines. But the average cushioning and breathability make them less suitable for high intensity training like HIIT classes, bootcamps or CrossFit that involve lots of jumping.

How long do New Balance 574 last?

With proper rotation and avoiding daily wear, New Balance 574 can last 1-2 years or 500-600 miles. This depends on your foot strike patterns and surfaces run/walked on. Periodically cleaning the upper also preserves longevity.

What are some good New Balance shoes for running?

Some top-rated New Balance runners include the FuelCell RC Elite v2, Fresh Foam More v3, 1080v12, 880v12 and Vongo v5 for road running. Excellent trail options include the Hierro v7 and WT630V1.

Do New Balance running shoes fit wide feet?

Yes. Many New Balance running shoes like the 880, 1400 and 1500 come in wider 2E and 4E widths to accommodate low to high volume feet. Some key models also have wide toe boxes allowing natural toe splay.

I hope this detailed overview on whether New Balance 574s can serve as running sneakers was helpful. Let me know if you need any other shoe recommendations or have additional questions!

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