New Balance launched the Fresh Foam x 574 cleat in conjunction with the momentous signing of Shohei Ohtani in the lead up to the 2023 season, but Ohtani is not wearing those cleats, and it doesn’t appear he ever will. The 574’s suede upper isn’t built for a 100mph toe drag, and Shohei’s actual game cleats demonstrate that key difference. Ohtani’s player exclusive cleats feature a grooved toe area that seems far better suited for Ohtani’s explosiveness. His new cleat has an aggressive overall silhouette with an added stability feature on the outside of the ankle. They seem to carry forward Ohtani’s preference for a flat bottom, which we also saw on his Asics.
New Balance always gets high scores for comfort, but in my opinion, the look of their key lines, the 3000 and the 4040 have been stale for a while, though I’ve been a fan of the Lindor and COMP lines. While the Lindor line seems discontinued, Ohtani’s cleats are the freshest look we’ve seen from New Balance in a while.