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New Balance 550 vs. 574 vs. 327 vs. 990: Differences and Reviews 2024

New Balance 550 vs. 574 vs. 327 vs. 990: Differences and Reviews 2024

     As one of the largest sporting manufacturers in the world, New Balance has always focused on activewear, be it running, skateboarding, dribbling, sliding, or simply walking.New Balance has kept itself firmly in the game by producing exceptional sneakers that are hailed for their comfort and quality.New Balance's signature and popular styles,such as its classic 550,574 ,327 and 990 series have become emblematic of the brand over the years.Their designs are seemingly near-identical yet have subtle important differences.So the process of finding just the right New Balance sneaker for you can turn complicated and confusing.

    What is the difference between New Balance 550 and 574?Is New Balance 550 better than 327?What's the difference between New Balance 327 and 990?What is the difference between New Balance 574 and 990?

    Why is New Balance 550 so popular?Why is New Balance 574 popular?Why is New Balance 327 so popular?What are New Balance 990 good for?New Balance 550 vs. 574 vs. 327 vs. 990:what is the most comfortable New Balance model?Which is best for you?To help you more easily determine which style is right for you, I’ve compiled this New Balance 550 vs. 574 vs. 327 vs. 990 comparison guide,detailing the differences and similarites between each.

Cover Photo:newbalance.com
 

New Balance 550 Review

  • 1st Release Date: 1989

  • Made in USA

  • Price: $109.99 - $119.99

550

Source:newbalance.com

The 550 is a basketball sneaker from New Balance that originally released in 1989 as a low-top counterpart to the 650.After its initial run, the 550 was filed away in the archives, before being reintroduced in limited-edition releases in late 2020, and returned to the full-time lineup in 2021, quickly becoming a global fashion favorite. The low-top basketball shoe is a revived ’80s-era style from the NB archive, which was catapulted into the limelight by a collab with Aimé Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis, and has remained a firm favorite among celebrities ever since. In keeping with the peerlessly cool ALD identity, he chose collegiate colorways for his take on the 550: preppy cream styles with dark red, forest green, navy, and grey accents, and a yellowed, vintage-look sole. Next New Balance tapped Rich Paul, the celebrated sports agent (and Adele’s other half), who joined forces with the brand on a new 550 in 2021. Like Santis, Paul’s 550 was another understated hit: his design came with a cream upper and buttermilk, sky-blue, and navy details. 

It boasts a clean and straightforward style that amplifies its adaptable vibe from the hardwood to the playground. Despite having no modern technology, this kick will not disappoint in providing you with lasting cozy strides while keeping you stylishly chic on the city streets.The shoe also featured innovative reflective detailing, making it an ideal choice for runners, athletes, and casual wearers. 

In short, the popularity of New Balance 550 can be attributed to its superior design, high-quality construction, and on-trend aesthetic. With a pair of New Balance 550 shoes, you can wear them casually or stand out from the crowd.

New Balance 550 Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Lightweight design and comfortable feel.

  • Suitable for various outfits.

  • Designed with the latest technologies, including shock absorption systems and responsive cushioning materials.

  • There are a variety of colors and classic retro styles.

  • Durable materials and construction.

  • Incredibly clean details.

  • Reasonably priced.

  • Easy to clean.

  • No visible wear after several uses.

  • Released in a limited quantity.

  • A bit heavy compared to more contemporary sneakers.

  • Limited sole cushioning.

  • Fits wider than expected.

  • Insufficient lockdown feel.

New Balance 574 Review

  • 1st Release Date: 1988

  • Made in USA

  • Price: $84.99 - $99.99

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Source:newbalance.com

Since the late '80s, the New Balance 574 has bedecked the feet of the most influential members of the jet-set. Described as the symbol of ingenuity, the New Balance 574 has undergone countless spin-offs.New Balance broadened its reach in the world of sneakers with the 574. The big “N” logo, suede side, panels, new color palette, and lower price point made the brand more accessible.The collection has grown throughout time to include sneakers, golf shoes, and the 574 iconic running shoes. You can wear these New Balance shoes for jogging, walking, golfing, or simply for fun.

Its standard suede and mesh upper is a durable combination and has been lined with mesh for comfort. Plus, its ENCAP midsole is still effective to this day, and its lugged rubber outsole, which was originally designed for trail running, is an appropriate choice for slippery streets.With a mesh upper combined with an ENCAP midsole and rubber outsole, these shoes just scream classic performance.And, at around $99.99, they are one of the most affordable options on the sneaker market that don’t look cheap. 

New Balance 574 Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • It is a versatile shoe that can be worn for a number of activities.

  • They're comfortable.

  • Exciting color combinations.

  • They're an affordable everyday sneaker.

  • Great arch support.

  • Ample cushioning.

  • Not wide enough.

  • Not durable.

  • Not padded.

  • A considerable number of reviewers complained about the fit and recommended going half a size up.

New Balance 327 Review

  • 1st Release Date: 2020

  • Made in China/Japan

  • Price: $99.99 - $109.99

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Source:newbalance.com

Debuted in 2020 through a collaborative effort with French fashion brand, Casablanca, the 327 takes cues from New Balances first running shoes released in the ‘70s.It features the oversized N of the 320 (the first shoe to feature the now iconic N logo), alongside the lugged outsole of the 355 trail runner, in combination with the lightweight uppers of the SuperComp. The New Balance 327 sheds new light on the ‘70s as a time of innovation by boldly reshaping classic design elements with a thoroughly contemporary outlook. 

The 327 has settled into the NB line as one of the most popular casual models, replaces its nylon upper with CORDURA textile, giving it an extra layer of abrasion resistance and improved protection against the elements.Its colourways have been dressed in season-appropriate shades of brown and green, which also meets complementary components like gum rubber outsoles. Like the 574, the knobbly tread of the 327 is a sensible option for grip.Despite being inspired by running shoes, the 327s are best suited to more leisurely wear, the rubber outsole and contrasting upper adding a dose of ’70s sportiness to your outfits.

New Balance 327 Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Large array of colorways available.

  • Adjustable lace closure for a customized fit.

  • Stylish design.

  • Well-ventilated upper.

  • Budget-friendly.

  • Fashionably sporty.

  • Superb grip.

  • Lightweight and comfortable.

  • Average quality only.

  • Limited arch support.

  • Tight on the midfoot and forefoot.

New Balance 990 Review

  • 1st Release Date: 1982

  • Made in USA

  • Price: $199.99(990v6)

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Source:newbalance.com

The 990’s original designers were tasked with creating the single best running shoe on the market. The finished product more than lived up to its billing. When it hit shelves for the first time in 1982 the 990 sported an elegantly understated grey colorway, and a then unheard of three-figure price tag. For avid runners and ahead of the curve tastemakers alike, the 990 was a mark of quality and superior taste. There have been updates to the design since ’82, and more color options, but the 990’s aspirational status symbol aura has never changed. 

The latest generation model, the 990v6 features a streamlined take on the mesh paneling and suede overlay construction, plus FuelCell and ENCAP midsole technologies. The subtle, refined modernization offers an up-to-date pinnacle experience for the 990.Akin to its predecessors, the NB 990v6 features a breathable mesh base overlaid with a bevy of premium perforated leather pig suede panels. Furthermore, a first-look at the shoe reveals an inaugural greyscale colorway, which has become customary of many new models from the brand.The latter takes over the heel, but forgoes the pronounced appearance found on the New Balance 990v5. Yet, like its immediate predecessor, the v6 adopts a sporty aesthetic, indulging in a slimmer shape and more angular lines than past New Balance shoes.With the V6, New Balance has seemingly addressed the market’s aesthetic adjustment accordingly.

New Balance 990v6 Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Indulging in a slimmer shape and more angular lines than past New Balance shoes.

  • The v6 is constructed from fewer components, with the midfoot saddle featured on previous models removed in favor of a flowing, heel to toe overlay design.

  • Comfortable to boot.

  • They come in a number of different widths.

  • FuelCell foam delivers a propulsive feel to help drive you forward.

  • More squish than previous versions.

  • Expensive.

  • Doesn’t have the same retro charm the older models have.

Where to Buy New Balance Shoes Cheapest?

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New Balance 550 vs. 574 vs. 327 vs. 990: Comparison Side by Side

1.Construction and Materials

  • Upper

New Balance 550 - The New Balance 550 is made of leather with some synthetic materials in the ankle collar and the logo area. Even if most of the upper leather is perforated you’ll get moderate ventilation in these so wearing them on hot summer days may not be a great idea. It features an interesting design with double stitching throughout which adds to the aesthetics but also to the durability of this shoe.

New Balance 574 - New Balance has brought back the classic suede and mesh upper for this classic model. While the suede gives much-needed structure without the need for standard overlays, the mesh provides breathability to the forefoot up towards the instep. And its textile lining ensures a comfortable wear throughout the day. Unfortunately, it does mean that this particular shoe is not intended for those who are vegan-friendly. It also means that it may not be as breathable as the more modern running shoes that are currently on the market.

New Balance 327 - The New Balance 327 upper is made of a combination of light padded nylon and suede which gives it that retro vibe some modern styles have. The upper feels very breathable which makes it an ideal summer sneaker. There is light padding around the ankle area and tongue. A signature part of this design is the oversized logo that goes in sync to the elongated outsole that goes all the way up the ankle. 

New Balance 990v6 - The upper is mostly made of a grey pig suede. While pig leather is actually a bit less expensive than cow, on this pair it’s actual dyed suede as opposed to the plastic coated stuff you find on most sneakers.The suede is applied to the lacing system and sole unit. There are reflective elements that can be found on the “N” lettermark and below the collar. To complement the reflective elements, metallic finishing is applied to the 990 logos at the rear of the sneaker and on the tongue’s branding while the V6 is done in a curvy font in red. Alongside the suede, most of the rest of the upper is a polyester blend. Elsewhere on the upper, plastic panels on the tongue and heel cap are just that – plastic – but they have a bit step up compared to previous models.

  • Midsole

New Balance 550 - The midsole is made of regular EVA foam.Along the midsole, you have various patterns, stripes, and two different versions of the New Balance Logo. There is also a cut out directly to the EVA foam on in inside of each shoe. This cut out gives an otherwise pretty bland shape shoe some curves – it’s a really nice touch. 

New Balance 574 - One of the most popular traits of the New Balance 574 is the ENCAP midsole.Not only is it designed for more support, but it is also built for durability.It also comes with a removable insole, which can easily be replaced by a custom insert if it’s needed.

New Balance 327 - It features a standard, removable EVA insole that sits on top of a foam midsole that is bulkier in the forefront and heel with a narrow area in the midfoot. This helps make the shoe super light and flexible. Casual , everyday wear is what these are clearly made for. 

New Balance 990v6The New Balance 990v6 midsole gets a complete revamp. New Balance used three different types of EVA foam represented by the three different colors. New Balance has given the sneaker a chunkier, textured midsole with a much taller stack height. In terms of design, the forefoot is given much smoother lines while the grey Encap heel sports more aggressive, sharper lines.FuelCell foam delivers a propulsive feel to help drive you forward.

  • Outsole

New Balance 550 - The rubber sole unit is the classic one you’ll find on sneakers from the 80’s. It is stitched to the upper to match the overall design adding more to its durability. The outsole itself is held on with a row of stitching that runs everywhere but the cutout.

New Balance 574 - The outsole is made of a simple, non-marking rubber.Its asymmetrical tread pattern features gripping lugs that are mostly placed around the perimeter, with extra ones placed in the middle of the forefoot for a better grasp. It also has a more textured area at the heel which makes it easier to avoid accidental slips. 

New Balance 327 - 329's trail-inspired studded rubber outsole that extends to the heel area. Walking on slippery surfaces will never be a problem as this feature provides a good grip while improving the overall style and detail. 

New Balance 990v6The outsole is much more classic New Balance. Thick rubber with minimal cut outs shows that this was still designed with durability in mind.

2.Fit and Sizing

New Balance 550 - While they fit a bit snug they run true to size and they need a bit of a break in because they run a bit narrow and the materials used. 

New Balance 574 - 574 is made using the SL-2 last, which is designed to create a little bit of extra room in the forefoot and toe box. Best of all, its sizes come in standard, wide, and extra wide to better accommodate all foot typesEven though the 574 uses the SL-2 last designed to create a roomier width, don’t expect it to be enough to overcome the need for wide sizing. If you normally order wide sizing in shoes, I would recommend ordering the 574 in a wide size.

New Balance 327 - They fit true to size and are not as narrow fitting as other New Balance styles. Stick with your usual size.327 also has a wider forefoot area too compared to other types of athletic shoes.

New Balance 990v6 - The 990 is made using the SL-1 last, which creates a more regular width.These new 990s are shaped much more like a normal foot.Even better, they come in a number of different widths. The heavy padding also makes the shoes pretty accommodating if you’re in between sizes. 

3.Durability

New Balance 550 - Quality on the 550 is decent overall but varies depending on the material composition of each colorway.After many uses, this model remains unscathed, giving credit to its high-quality leather upper, mudguard-overlaid toe box, and thick rubber outsole. 

New Balance 574 - For the most part, users seem to be generally satisfied with the 574’s level of durability. However, there are a few reviewers who have noticed that they start to look worn out after being used only a small handful of times.

New Balance 327 - To offset its affordability, the robustness of New Balance 327 has been sacrificed. Some users have reported visible wear on its nylon upper only after several uses. 

New Balance 990v6 - I feel the 990 Heritage is not the most durable shoe. At first glance, we notice the outsole to have an overall rugged build. New Balance uses their signature Ndurance rubber compound on the outsole as well as blown rubber on the forefoot.

4.Comfort

New Balance 550 - The New Balance 550 are an overall comfortable sneaker, albeit snug across the bridge of the foot, even when laced loosely. Despite being a retro hoop shoe, these feel surprisingly light on feet. 

New Balance 574 - Everyone needs a comfortable and casual shoe for everyday wear, and the 574 definitely serves that purpose.The inside of the shoe feels perfectly soft and plush which allows breathability across the forefoot. 

New Balance 327 - New Balance 327s certainly stand beside them in terms of cushioning and comfort.

New Balance 990v6 - Many wearers say that this sneaker is more comfortable than its predecessor. There are also those who say that wearing the featured shoe is like “walking on a cloud.”

Conclusion: Which is Best for You?

The New Balance 574,550,327 and 990 are all listed as “lifestyle” shoes. Think of these shoes as casual athletic shoes that you can use for occasional exercise, but also easily pair with jeans.The comfort under the foot is pretty similar.Which is right for you?At the end of the day, it will depend on personal choice.

The 574 is more of a hybrid road/trail shoe. It offers a bit more versatility. And the New Balance 550 is a great running shoe for neutral runners. It’s comfortable and supportive and provides plenty of cushioning. If you are looking for a new running shoe to help you run your best, this shoe should be at the top of your list. 

The 327 is a stylish sneaker that could be part of any rotation, except those with wide feet or in need of extra arch support.

The 990 is more of a running-style shoe.If you want something supportive for long walks, the New Balance 990v6 is the better choice.

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