New Balance 574 vs. 501 Trainers Comparison

If you are looking for a comfortable pair of casual trainers, New Balance sneakers are a solid option to go for. But with so many similar models, it’s difficult to choose between them.

Two, in particular, are the New Balance 574 and the 501.

So what’s the difference between the New Balance 574 vs. 501?

While the New Balance 574 uses the ENCAP midsole cushioning, the New Balance 501 uses a generic foam midsole. As a result, the New Balance 501 is more lightweight, but the New Balance 574 is much more comfortable and durable in the long run.

It’s important to note, however, that the 501 is cheaper than the 574. In this post, let’s thoroughly compare the NB 574 vs. 501 to determine which pair suits you best.

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New Balance 574 vs. 501 Comparison

New Balance 574 (buy on Amazon)

  • ENCAP midsole
  • Premium suede, leather, and mesh
  • Takes some time to break into

New Balance 501 (buy on Amazon)

  • Generic foam midsole
  • Suede, leather, and mesh
  • Comfortable straight out of the box

To make the comparison easier to digest, we will compare both sneakers based on two important factors: the upper and the midsole.

By comparing the top and bottom parts of the shoes, you should be able to decide which one is right for you. Here’s the NB 574 vs. 501 comparison:

1. Shoe Upper Comparison

New Balance 574 upper

Looking at the New Balance 574 for a brief moment and it’s easy to see why many fall in love with it. In fact, the NB 574 is one of the most popular New Balance silhouettes ever.

The upper part of the shoe is made of different material combinations which include leather, suede, and textile mesh. Each part of the material is high-quality and soft to the touch.

Next to the iconic “N” logo, you will see the NB logo which sits atop the heel cup.

The heel cup acts as a secure place for both of your heels to rest on, which is surprisingly comfortable and secures both of your feet very well. 

Below the NB logo, you’ll see the ENCAP logo along with the midsole.

Overall, the upper of the New Balance 574 is top-notch, from materials to comfort.

There is a substantial amount of cushioning around the ankles which makes the NB 574 a pleasant pair of sneakers to walk around in.

New Balance 501 upper

The New Balance 501 has a retro feel that is anything but ordinary. It has a premium suede and mesh upper that will go with just about any outfit.

It has everything you would want in a New Balance trainer, including the iconic “N” logo on the sides of the shoe. The silhouette of the New Balance 501 also resembles the New Balance 574 very much. In fact, it is also similar to the NB 373, which we’ve compared the 574 with.

However, since the New Balance 501 is designed as a budget shoe, you will notice that the materials may not be as nice as the New Balance 574.

There are quality inconsistencies across multiple shoes. In fact, quite a few people comment on how the craftsmanship was not so great on the pair they have received.

But since the uppers are thinner, they offer breathable coverage and extra ventilation for the feet. There is also enough padding in the ankles and tongues for a plush in-shoe feel.

Overall, it’s hard to complain about the value offered by the New Balance 501. Sure, it is not as nice as the NB 574, but for the insanely cheap price, it is good enough.

Verdict: New Balance has better upper

2. Midsole Comparison

New Balance 574 midsole

The New Balance 574 has an EVA midsole and ENCAP® technology which combine to provide support and hard-wearing durability.

For those who don’t know, ENCAP is a core of soft cushioning of EVA in the midsole with a tough polyurethane rim, so the midsole of the New Balance 574 is more than just a pretty face and will provide maximum comfort and support for your feet.

However, since the softer foam is wrapped in a sturdier compound, the NB 574’s midsole can be tough in the beginning, especially when it is brand new.

Expect 4 to 8 weeks of continuous wear to break into the shoes. 

After it has softened, the New Balance 574 should become more comfortable

 In fact, it is considered one of the most reliable casual trainers in the world. Just be patient and wear the New Balance 574 often if you want to fully enjoy it.

New Balance 501 midsole

Unlike the New Balance 574, the New Balance 501 does not have ENCAP but has a lightweight cushioned midsole that is noticeably thinner and less pronounced.

As a result, the midsole of the New Balance 501 may not be as durable as the 574. The padding may not last longer than one expects because it is thinner.

The good news is that the New Balance 501 takes less time to break into, so you should immediately find comfort even when it is brand new out of the box.

In fact, many users commend the lightweight feel of these retro running shoes. A lot of people love how comfortable the New Balance 501 low-top shoes feel even after long walks.

So despite the thin midsole, the New Balance 501 is still a solid pair of casual trainers.

Verdict: New Balance 574 has a better midsole

Final Verdict

WINNER: New Balance 574

New Balance 574 (buy on Amazon)

  • ENCAP midsole
  • Premium suede, leather, and mesh
  • Takes some time to break into

New Balance 501 (buy on Amazon)

  • Generic foam midsole
  • Suede, leather, and mesh
  • Comfortable straight out of the box

The New Balance 574 is without a doubt, one of the most iconic shoes from New Balance. It is one of the most comfortable too. So if you have the means, definitely go for the 574.

However, if you are on a budget, then we recommend getting the New Balance 501. The appearance and fit is similar to the 574, but it is made with fewer premium materials.

Hopefully, this New Balance 574 vs. 501 comparison has been helpful for you.

Both sneakers are great and deserve your consideration. After all, New Balance is at the top of its game when it comes to casual, everyday trainers.

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