Our verdict

The New Balance 580 is a sporty sneaker with old-school style and modern-day comforts. We couldn't help but be suckered in by the cushy midsole that brought a soft touch to every step while the stabilizing RollBar technology kept us steady on our feet. This versatile kick can be paired with almost any outfit and rise to just about any task. Whether we were out for a walk or an easy jog around town, hitting the gym or shooting hoops, or even just posing and looking fly, the 580 proved up for the task.

Pros

  • Luxuriously comfortable
  • Well cushioned landings
  • Among NB's most stylish
  • Extremely breathable
  • Stable and supportive ride
  • Good for some fitness activities
  • World-class finish
  • True to size
  • Premium parts

Cons

  • Subpar color retention
  • Not ideal for broad feet

Audience verdict

84
Bad!

Who should buy

We recommend the New Balance 580 as a great choice for:

  • Those who prioritize comfort and want a luxuriously comfortable kick for their jaunts about town
  • Retro aficionados in the market for a New Balance kick with a timeless, old-school design
  • Sporty folks who need a stable yet well-cushioned shoe that can take on some fitness activities
  • Style-minded individuals looking for a versatile and stylish shoe that will work with lots of outfits
  • Those in warmer climates who need a breathable shoe to avoid sweaty feet

New Balance 580 jhhjve

Who should NOT buy

Those with broad feet might find the 580's toebox a little too snug for comfort, especially after days with lots of walking. We recommend looking into the NB 530 as a roomier alternative with a similarly vintage vibe. 

The 580's porous upper mesh and genuine leather overlays make it a less-than-ideal choice in places where it rains very frequently. There is a Gore-Tex model of the shoe that is entirely waterproof as an option. Alternatively, the NB 9060 is a relatively breathable shoe that makes a better year-round partner. 

New Balance 580 qerbq

Breathability

We pumped the 580 full of smoke to get a visual idea of how breathable it is and, as the footage clearly demonstrates, this kick is an undeniable smoke show! The whole upper acts as a chimney letting out plumes of smoke, earning the 580 a perfect 5 out of 5 on this test. As such, the shoe keeps our feet cool and breezy even on warm summer days, not to mention keeps bad odors at bay.

Compare that to the much more insulated Vans Slip-On which keeps the smoke, and therefore heat, trapped within its upper. 

Inspecting a backlit cross-section of the 580 yields a counter-intuitive result as the light isn't able to shine through the clearly porous mesh. Usually, shoes that block out the light like that score quite low on our breathability scale. 

Our microscope image of the upper gives us a clearer understanding of this contradictory nature. As we can see, the upper is made up of two layers of mesh; the outer one is comprised of uniform braids woven to form openings that reveal the less dense lower layer of intertwined fibers. This construction leaves the upper with lots of gaps that promote airflow while creating a seemingly cohesive mesh that is more opaque than expected. 

New Balance 580 Breathability

New Balance 580 Breathability
Test results
580 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 35 sneakers
1
Breathability
5
Number of shoes

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

Using a hand-held blow torch, we gave the 580's overlays the creme brulee treatment and scratched at the scorched remains with our awl. The way the outer layer burns and flakes off at the touch of our tool leads us to conclude that the leather used is genuine. 

Test results
580 Real leather

Toebox durability

Usually, breathable mesh uppers don't fare well against our Dremel so we didn't hold out much hope as we fired it up to 5K RPM and set it against the unreinforced portion of the 580's toebox with 3.2N of force. 

While it did kick up a flurry of material, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our tool had only managed to menace the outer layer of mesh, leaving the toebox relatively intact after the four-second test. This admirable performance leads us to give the 580 a toebox durability score of 4 out of 5. Considering there's also a protective overlay at the toes, we think that the toebox will survive any number of bumps, scrapes, and snags over this kick's lifetime. 

New Balance 580 Toebox durability

For comparison's sake, the NB 530's upper mesh is also breathable but took a major beating at the hands of our Dremel. 

Test results
580 4
Average 3.6
Compared to 35 sneakers
1
Toebox durability
5
Number of shoes

Heel padding durability

The heel collar also proved to be a worthy adversary to our Dremel which wasn't able to go too far beyond the lining material, leaving the padding within relatively intact.  

As such, the 580 earns a 4 out of 5 for heel padding durability which means that the constant friction of heel rubs isn't likely to do much damage over the shoe's lifetime. 

New Balance 580 Heel padding durability

The 580 outperforms another one of its cousins, the NB 237, which was left with quite the crater after this same test. 

Test results
580 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 35 sneakers
1
Heel padding durability
5
Number of shoes

Outsole hardness

The 580's outsole is a little harder than average with a durometer reading of 88.6 HC. This usually denotes a good balance of grip and durability.

New Balance 580 Outsole hardness
Test results
580 88.6 HC
Average 84.9 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 35 sneakers
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.3 HC
Number of shoes

Outsole durability

For our Dremel's final outing, we set its abrasive element to a more formidable 10K RPM and set it against the 580's outsole for twenty-two seconds. 

Afterward, we used a tire tread gauge to measure the indent left behind in the wake of the test and found that the shoe only lost 0.3 mm of rubber from the outsole. This makes the 580 much more durable than the average sneaker and means that we expect this timeless shoe to go out of style before the outsole goes. 

New Balance 580 Outsole durability
Test results
580 0.3 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm
Number of shoes

Outsole thickness

Using our caliper, we measured the 580's outsole to be 5.5 mm thick, putting it on par with our current lab average. This gives us plenty of material to wear through, especially considering how well the outsole performed in our test of extreme wear and tear. 

New Balance 580 Outsole thickness
Test results
580 5.5 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.2 mm
Number of shoes

Weight

Tipping the scale at 14 oz (397g), the 580 is about as heavy as the average sneaker. As such, the shoe feels quite natural and comfy underfoot for all of our day-to-day activities. 

New Balance 580 ebq

However, while this does work for certain fitness activities, this chunkiness makes it less than ideal for more intense activities like high-paced or long-distance runs. 

Test results
580 14.00 oz (397g)
Average 13.97 oz (396g)
Compared to 35 sneakers
10.62 oz (301g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)
Number of shoes

Cushioning

Heel stack

The 580 boasts a robust stack that's 34.8 mm thick at the heel according to our caliper measurements. This is higher than our current lab average and gives us a good amount of foam underfoot to effectively baffle impact and protect our heels. 

New Balance 580 Heel stack
Test results
580 34.8 mm
Average 31.4 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
18.7 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm
Number of shoes

Forefoot stack

The forefoot stack is also higher than average at 24.5 mm thick according to our caliper. Having so much supportive and protective cushioning underfoot means that, even after long days on our feet, we never dealt with achy joints or shin splints with this sneaker. 

New Balance 580 Forefoot stack
Test results
580 24.5 mm
Average 20.2 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
10.7 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm
Number of shoes

Drop

The difference in our stack measurements leaves the 580 with a heel drop of 10.3 mm. This offset isn't too jarring as the elevated heel provides good protection during landings and promotes smooth transitions.

New Balance 580 Drop
Test results
580 10.3 mm
Average 11.2 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
6.7 mm
Drop
17.2 mm
Number of shoes

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Pressing our durometer against the 580's midsole foam yields a rather plush reading of 20.3 HA. This, in tandem with the well-padded interior, plays a massive role in how comfortable this shoe feels underfoot. 

New Balance 580 Midsole softness

While the midsole doesn't compress too drastically, the high stack allows us to really savor cushioning with every stride without being too squishy. This in combination with the raised sidewalls that envelope our feet within the midsole gives us a ride that feels cushy as well as stable. 

While its weight and lack of energy return preclude it from being an efficient dedicated running shoe, this level of cushioning means that the 580 feels quite comfortable when we take it out for some light running, whether around the block or on the treadmill. 

Test results
580 20.3 HA
Average 30.8 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 27 sneakers
15.6 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
70.4 HA
Number of shoes

Insole thickness

The 580's insole is 4.9 mm thick according to our caliper measurements, putting it on par with our current lab average. This gives us a welcoming footbed that effectively complements the midsole cushioning with every landing. 

New Balance 580 Insole thickness
Test results
580 4.9 mm
Average 5.3 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.3 mm
Number of shoes

Stability

Lateral stability test

Thanks in great part to the RollBar technology embedded in the midsole, the 580 manages to curtail any excessive lateral movements of our foot. In this way, it feels like a stability shoe in the way it helps us maintain a more neutral stride. This makes the 580 a good choice for those with overpronating strides who need a supportive shoe for their more active days. 

Torsional rigidity

The key to the stability of the 580 is its high level of torsional rigidity which we scored 5 out of 5 on our subjective scale. This is because we were barely able to get the shoe to budge as we attempted to bend and twist it in our hands, with the rear of the shoe imbued with the RollBar technology feeling especially stiff. As such, the shoe resists the natural pronation of our foot during our stride and maintains a sturdy and level base that promotes surefooted and stable landings. 

Test results
580 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 35 sneakers
1
Torsional rigidity
5
Number of shoes

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is moderately stiff, earning a score of 3 out of 5 in our manual assessment. This provides us with a good balance of comfort and stability as the counter holds our heel in place without putting too much pressure on our tendons. 

What's more, the incredible amount of padding at the heel helps us achieve a secure rearfoot lockdown that feels incredibly comfy and forgiving even after having the shoe on for an extended period. 

Test results
580 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 35 sneakers
1
Heel counter stiffness
5
Number of shoes

Midsole width in the forefoot

We measured the 580's midsole to be 112.1 mm, making it ever so slightly wider than our current lab average. This gives us a broad enough platform that we never felt wobbly while testing this kick. 

New Balance 580 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
580 112.1 mm
Average 109.1 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm
Number of shoes

Midsole width in the heel

The midsole is about as wide as average at the heel at 83.8 mm wide. This base is also broad enough that we enjoyed stable and secure landings while walking around in the 580. 

New Balance 580 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
580 83.8 mm
Average 83.9 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm
Number of shoes

Flexibility

Stiffness

We secured the 580 to our workbench and used a force gauge to torque it 90 degrees, finding that 30.5N of force was needed to get the shoe to the desired point. 

This makes the 580 stiffer than the average shoe. However, while the shoe does resist the natural flexion of our foot to a certain extent, it isn't so stiff as to feel too uncomfortable underfoot. Rather, this resistance ends up feeling quite supportive underfoot and further contributes to the shoe's stable ride. 

New Balance 580 Stiffness
Test results
580 30.5N
Average 23.2N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 35 sneakers
5.8N
Stiffness
51.8N
Number of shoes

Grip / Traction

The irregular and multi-directional tread pattern on the 580's outsole provides us with great traction as we walk around urban environments, even after a light smattering of rain. However, we don't recommend using this kick if it's pouring out as it will lead to wet feet and ruined leather overlays. 

New Balance 580 grip

It's also grippy enough that we were able to confidently use the shoe for some of our more active pursuits like shooting hoops or some light jogging. 

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Using our caliper, we measured the 580's toebox to be 97.7 mm wide at its widest point. This is a little shy of our current lab average so it might be a little too narrow for those with broad feet.

New Balance 580 Toebox width at the widest part

On the positive side, however, the combination of a relatively snug toebox on a wider platform gives our foot a nice locked-in feeling that further adds to the shoe's stable ride. 

Test results
580 97.7 mm
Average 99.3 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
94.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
111.2 mm
Number of shoes

Toebox width at the big toe

Up at the big toe, the 580's toebox falls in line with our current lab average at 75.7 mm wide based on our caliper measurements. This gives us a good amount of room for our toes to splay out naturally without butting up against the toebox so hotspots weren't a concern while testing this shoe. 

New Balance 580 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
580 75.7 mm
Average 76.1 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
65.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
101.3 mm
Number of shoes

Tongue: gusset type

Despite being non-gusseted, the chunkiness of the tongue along with the central lace loop keeps it from slipping to the side too much as we tested the 580.

New Balance 580 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
580 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

The 580 boasts a beefier-than-average tongue that we measured with our caliper to be 11 mm thick. This not only provides us with luxurious comfort across the instep but also aids in achieving a secure midfoot lockdown. 

New Balance 580 Tongue padding
Test results
580 11.0 mm
Average 8.6 mm
Compared to 35 sneakers
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
23.0 mm
Number of shoes

Removable insole

The 580's insole isn't glued in so replacing it with an aftermarket alternative or a custom orthotic for added arch support is possible if necessary. 

New Balance 580 Removable insole
Test results
580 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The N insignias emblazoned on the sides of each shoe are outlined with a reflective lining that provides some nighttime visibility and looks pretty cool to boot. 

Test results
580 Yes