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New Balance's 574 is the ultimate basic running sneaker. It's a low-key staple so straightforward as to be, dare we say, borderline boring. Stray Rats is here to change things, or at least try.

Stray Rats and New Balance are back together for Summer 2023, dropping a new set of collaborative 574 sneakers in lurid colors, revealed by Stray Rats founder Julian Consuegra. All of Stray Rats' hairy suede New Balance 574s are named after military codewords: meet Charlie, Alpha, and Bravo.

Releasing in "mid-July 2023" only on Stray Rats' webstore with rare restocks, according to Consuegra, Stray Rats' fanciful NB 574 sneakers are merely the latest in a recent string of attempts to cool-ify New Balance's simplest shoe.

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Over the past year alone, we've seen attempts at making New Balance 574 shoes cool from collaborators as diverse as *deep breath* Joe Freshgoods, Junya Watanabe, Bodega, Stone Island, Miu Miu, and, yes, Stray Rats itself.

We're all hearing it loud and clear: fashion brands across the stylistic spectrum all wanna make the NB 574 happen, for better or worse.

When you step back and think about it, the recent rise of the 574 is actually quite strange. Given the opportunity to work on comparatively more interesting New Balance runners — Stray Rats alone has tackled New Balance's 580 and 991 sneakers — the 574 seems like a hypernormal step back.

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But perhaps that's the point. There's something utterly no-nonsense about the NB 574, insofar as it's not trying to be anything other than a super simple sneaker.

The 574 is a solid canvas for Stray Rats' colorway experiments, too, what with its straightforward paneling making for an approachable billboard for the new summer looks, though some are far less interesting than others.

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Is it time for New Balance's 574 to half-ironically reemerge as the sneaker of the people? What with the stealth wealth boom, perhaps sneakerheads will be more open to ultra-understated collaborative flexes.

Oh, think these are regular ol' shoes? Ackshually, these are Stray Rats' New Balance 574 collab and they're quite rare, thank you very much.

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