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.
- 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
- 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
- The outsole of the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite uses Dynaride, a featherweight and rugged rubber that gives good traction on urban terrains.
- 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.
- 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.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Does the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite fit true to size?
Is the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite good for athletes with overpronation?
Is this a shoe for heavyweight athletes (more than 198 lbs/90 kg)?
Is the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite recommended to run a marathon?
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, you should note that the Adios Pro is quite narrow under the heel, making 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.