New Balance 574 vs. 515 Sneakers Comparison

When it comes to New Balance sneakers, two sneaker models often come to mind: the 574 and the 515. The former is a timeless classic while the latter is a modern lightweight sneaker. Because of this, many sneakerheads often compare them. So which one is better?

New Balance 574 vs. 515 comparison:

The biggest difference between the New Balance 574 and 515 is the cushioning technology. The 574 uses ENCAP midsole which is tough and durable. The 515, on the other hand, uses Fresh Foam which is very lightweight and ultra-cushioned.

With that said, there is more to this sneaker comparison than just the cushioning system. Important factors, like comfort and design, should be carefully considered when choosing which New Balance sneaker comes out on top. Let’s compare NB 574 vs. 515.

Quick Overview

New Balance 574 (buy on Amazon)

  • Tough and durable midsole
  • ENCAP Technology
  • Shoe size runs small

New Balance 515 (buy on Amazon)

  • Lightweight and flexible midsole
  • Fresh Foam Technology
  • Shoes are true to size

New Balance 574 vs. 515 Comparison:

Comparing two popular sneakers from New Balance is no easy task. But to make your decision simpler and easier, we will compare both sneakers based on three categories: comfort, design, and cushioning. Here is the NB 574 vs. 515 comparisons:

1. Comfort and Fit

The New Balance 574 (left) is noticeably shorter than the 515 (right), even though both shoes are the same size.

New Balance 574 Comfort

As far as comfort goes, the New Balance 574 is good, not great. The uppers are made of suede, so they are not as breathable as we would like. However, after wearing them several times, they get more comfortable. They are comfortable for walking, but not for running.

After wearing the 574, we feel like they were not true to size

The New Balance 574 runs small so we recommend buying one size up. As you can see in the picture above, the New Balance 574 on the left is noticeably shorter than the New Balance 515 on the right, even though both shoes are the same size.

So to avoid your feet becoming cramped, it’s best to buy one size up.

New Balance 515 Comfort

Right off the bat, you will notice that the New Balance 515 is much lighter than the 574. This is because the uppers are made of breathable mesh, perfect for casual walking or light running. The shape of the shoes is streamlined, so it hugs your feet effortlessly.

We like the fit of the New Balance 515, and we feel like they are true to size. So if you’re considering the New Balance 515, buy your exact shoe size.

Another aspect that we like about the New Balance 515 is its flexibility. Due to its lightweight mesh upper, the shoes conform to your feet amazingly well, giving you enough ankle protection to support your active lifestyle. Overall, it is a comfortable pair of shoes.

Verdict on Comfort

The New Balance 515 has a better fit and is more comfortable than the New Balance 574. Thanks to its lightweight frame and breathable materials, the 515 tops the 574 simply because it is easier on your feet and provides better support for walking long hours.

2. Aesthetics and Design

New Balance 574

Aesthetics and design are very subjective simply because everyone has different opinions of what a good-looking sneaker looks like. However, it’s hard to argue the significance of the New Balance 574 because it is a timeless classic that has stood the test of time.

The New Balance 574 on feet.

Many sneakerheads consider the New Balance 574 an icon. In fact, it is considered the “OG Dad Shoe”. It is a shoe praised for its beautiful design, finished with appealing suede material to match. In addition to the 574 Core version, it has many different colorways.

In short, the New Balance 574 is iconic and popular.

New Balance 515 Design

While the 574 is considered a classic, the 515 is often praised for its revolutionary and versatile design. It is a modern pair of trainers designed for people with an active lifestyle. The design is effortlessly stylish, yet it provides the features needed for running or jogging.

The New Balance 515 V2 on feet.

The thing we like the most about the New Balance 515 is its modern design. The bright New Balance logo pops out on the uppers, effortlessly complementing your favorite looks. In fact, we like the V2 better than the V1 because it is more eye-catching.

Verdict on Design

This is a tough one, but the New Balance 574 has a better design than the 515. Both sneakers are appealing, but we have to give the nod to the iconic New Balance 574 because it is the OG. That said, you can just go with the shoe design you like better.

3. Cushioning

New Balance 574 Cushioning

The New Balance 574 uses ENCAP, which is a midsole technology that combines a supportive, durable rim of polyurethane and a soft, cushioning core of EVA.

Because of this technology, the ENCAP midsole is known for its toughness among New Balance shoes, providing extra support and durability.

However, it is very tough, so you may need some time to break into the shoes. The New Balance 574’s cushioning was hard on our feet, especially when they were brand new out of the box. Only after a few wears did we find them comfortable enough for our feet. 

New Balance 515 Cushioning

The New Balance 515, on the other hand, uses the Fresh Foam cushioning technology. It provides an ultra-plush and flexible feel, creating a super comfortable and lightweight fit. Not only is it perfect for casual runs, but it is also ideal for long hours on your feet.

While our testers needed some time to break into the 574, they did not waste any time finding comfort with the 515. This is the advantage of the Fresh Foam midsole. It provides the perfect balance between walking on clouds and secure protection for your feet.

Verdict on Cushioning

The New Balance 515 has better cushioning than the 574. We like the Fresh Foam more than the ENCAP midsole simply because the former is easier on your feet than the latter. If you are going to wear the shoes for long hours, the New Balance 515 is the better choice. 

Final Verdict

WINNER: New Balance 515

New Balance 515 (buy on Amazon)

  • Lightweight and flexible midsole
  • Fresh Foam Technology
  • Shoes are true to size

While the New Balance 574 has better aesthetics thanks to its popularity, the New Balance 515 came out on top because of its exceptional comfort and superior cushioning. The New Balance 515 is your ideal day-to-day casual sneaker.

And there you have it, the New Balance 574 vs. 515 comparisons. Our sneaker testers had a fun time researching and testing both amazing shoes from New Balance. We recommend the New Balance 515 over the 574 simply because it is more comfortable.

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