New Balance FuelCell RC Elite

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9.7
Overall scoreRead review

The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is an excellent carbon plate running shoe that provides comfort and versatility.

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9.7Overall score
Excellent carbon plate running shoe with a comfortable and versatile configuration
After the FuelCell TC— New Balance's first shoe to show off a carbon plate—here's the FuelCell RC Elite, a shoe whose keywords are comfort and versatility.

It comes with a high-stack cushioning with a height of 35 mm under the heel and 25 mm under the forefoot. The FuelCell foam gives a soft and plush cushioning with a firm touch under the heel. The soft feel of the sole is very similar to that of the Adidas Adios Pro. The result is a very comfortable ride, but the testers judged the bounce to be moderate. The carbon plate—discreet under the foot—does its job and provides a responsive ride with fast transitions but maybe not as impressive as on other similar models (like the Nike AlphaFly, to name only one). Therefore, the ride is actually close to what you get from a traditional running shoe, making it an exciting option for runners looking for a more accessible, more comfortable carbon plated shoe.

Next, the mesh of the upper is soft and relatively thick for a racing shoe, which reinforces the overall feeling of comfort. The shoe fits true to size, but the lockdown is a little loose in the middle of the foot, according to several runners. It's one of the main issues of this model: runners are concerned that it may not be secure enough for racing. The toe box offers enough room, and the heel counter perfectly locks-in the foot. The design is very nice with a sleek build and bright neon colors, although, of course, it's a matter of preference.

Finally, the Dynaride outsole and its small triangular rubber lugs give good traction and seem durable: testers didn't notice any signs of wear after several runs. Besides, the lugs also equip the tip of the shoe to act as a toe bumper that protects the toes and makes the shoe more sturdy.

To summarize, the FuelCell TC is a great carbon plate running shoe with a soft and flexible platform that received high praise from many seasoned runners. Its combination of performance and comfort make it a very versatile shoe. Make no mistake though: it's a shoe built for marathon racing, but it's also suitable for daily training.
Comfort
10
Durability
9.5
Value for money
9.5
Design
9.5
PROS
  • Soft comfortable cushioning
  • Discreet carbon plate that provides a good bounce
  • Roomy and flexible upper
  • Good versatility that makes it accessible and suitable for both racing and training
CONS
  • The upper could be a little more secure around the midfoot
  • Perhaps not as "explosive" as its direct competitors in terms of ride

Model: New Balance FuelCell RC Elite

Facts
Terrain Road
Heel to toe drop 10 mm
Heel stack height 35 mm
Forefoot stack height 25 mm
Pronation
Features , , ,
Weight (men) 207 g/7.3 oz
Weight (women) 173 g/6.1 oz
Release year 2020
Cushioning
Bounce (1-5) 4 - Bouncy
Softness (1-5) 4 - Soft
Use
Distance Mid distance, Long distance, 10K, Half marathon, Marathon
Speed Moderate, Fast
Workout Competition, Daily running, Speed

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Technologies

Outsole

  • The outsole of the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite uses Dynaride, a featherweight and rugged rubber that gives good traction on urban terrains.

Midsole

  • The midsole features FuelCell, a soft and lightweight foam that blends EVA and TPU to give a springy ride. New Balance claims that it’s 39% more bouncy than REVlite, another flagship but older cushioning technology of the brand.
  • Also, the multi-directional carbon fiber plate aims to bend upon touching the ground and then tighten at toe off to propel the body.

Upper

  • The upper of the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is a synthetic mesh that offers a comfortable and secure foot lockdown while letting the foot breathe, especially when it’s hot outside.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Does the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite fit true to size?

Yes, so far we haven’t seen reviews from athletes mentioning that the fit is unusual. Therefore, you can order your normal size for running shoes. Having said that, if this your first pair of New Balance shoes, it could be wise to give them a try in a shop to make sure you find the most comfortable size for your feet.

Is the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite good for athletes with overpronation?

Yes, this model should be suitable for everyone. Indeed, it’s a neutral running shoe. As a result, its goal is to suit all runners regardless of their pronation type. It doesn’t feature stability aids to guide the stride and prevent overpronation. In any case, it should be noted that there are no empirical data proving that stability shoes are superior to neutral shoes to prevent injury. Consequently, we advise that you pick your running shoes according to their comfort, the most important criterion. To summarize, you can use the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite even if you are an overpronator as long as it’s comfortable.

Is this a shoe for heavyweight athletes (more than 198 lbs/90 kg)?

Yes, this model should be suitable even if you’re a heavyweight runner. Indeed, although it’s often recommended to run in comfortably cushioned shoes for heavy runners, there’s actually not much evidence to support it. To date, only one research study has warned that minimalist shoes (stack height lower than 15 mm) might worsen the risk of injury for runners who weigh more than 157 lbs (71 kg). The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is not a minimalist shoe so you can run with it even if you’re a heavyweight runner.

Is the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite recommended to run a marathon?

The RC Elite is specially designed for the marathon and the testers agree that it fits the bill. It’s comfortably cushioned while the carbon-fiber plate delivers superior performance to beat your PR. However, do make sure to do a big chunk of your training with them ahead of your race to confirm that they are suitable for you.
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Comparisons – New Balance FuelCell RC Elitevs:

New Balance FuelCell TC

The FuelCell TC was the first New Balance shoe to use a carbon plate. Thus, the RC Elite is in a way its successor. It’s lighter (50 g less!) and offers better versatility with its soft cushioning.

Saucony Endorphin Pro

The Saucony Endorphin Pro has a much firmer but also more responsive cushioning. As a result, it gives better performance but the flip side is a lower comfort. So it’s mainly a matter of preference. Runners who like a plush cushioning will prefer the RC Elite while those who want a carbon plate shoes for an explosive ride will favor the Endorphin Pro.

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro

These two shoes have similar cushioning: plushy soft. The plates under the forefoot (EnergyRods) give a slight edge to the Adidas model by allowing a more impressive energy return, especially at toe off. The carbon plate of the RC Elite is great but gives a more subdued ride. However, it should be noted that the Adios Pro is quite narrow under the heel, which makes it less stable, especially at low speeds, and therefore less versatile. See the side-by-side comparison.

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

Although both shoes are very lightweight and feature a carbon-fiber plate, they are quite different in terms of build. The Alphafly is a little gem of technology that doesn’t have much to do with a classic running shoe. It offers super fast and smooth transitions to shatter your personal record at the marathon. Meanwhile, the FuelCell RC Elite is more versatile–which translates into a more traditional ride–while allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a carbon plate.


New Balance FuelCell RC Elite review carbon plate running shoes
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite rubber outsole

1 review for New Balance FuelCell RC Elite

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  1. Runner’s Lab

    Excellent carbon plate running shoe with a comfortable and versatile configuration.

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