— By Dan Walker
New shoe day is always exciting and it’s even better when it’s the debut of a new shoe. So needless to say I was intrigued when I got my hands on the first version of the New Balance FuelCell.
The FuelCell and similar new models called the FuelCore use the newest midsole technology launched by New Balance this year, featuring nitrogen-infused foam. If you’re familiar with the New Balance brand you’ll recognize the other midsole families in their lineup, like Fresh Foam and RevLite.
So what can runners and triathletes expect from FuelCell? On my first runs with them the responsive midsole was immediately apparent. The new material responds by returning the energy you put into your stride without ever feeling bouncy or squishy. This was definitely appreciated on days after workouts or getting up early for morning runs when motivation was low and the energy was lacking. If you’re a fan of a firmer and responsive ride, this new midsole will definitely hit the mark for you.
The upper of the New Balance FuelCell is made from a seamless mesh that is incredibly comfortable. Taking out the garbage one morning I threw these on without socks and I was amazed at how soft the interior of this shoe was. Since then I’ve taken to going sock-free on quite a few of my runs, much of that thanks to this new upper and little of that thanks to not doing enough laundry. For triathlete using these shoes on race day, this is a great shoe to help you save a little time in T2.
So what’s this shoe for? I‘ve taken to wearing it whenever I want to just go out for a run. Those runs when you just want to get out the door and get some miles in. Maybe there’s a new podcast to check out or a new album to listen to or maybe just to clear your head. The FuelCell has been a great addition to my shoe collection when I want a shoe that will do everything well and doesn’t need to have a specific purpose in mind when I head out the door.
The New Balance FuelCell has also been a surprising good trail runner as well. The firm midsole gives adequate protection from the majority of rocks and routes you’ll come across. Plus the aggressive tread gives all the grip and confidence you will need on anything but the most technical trails.
Aesthetically the FuelCell makes a pretty bold statement as well. With its stylized overlays that almost resemble armour or fish scales you should be prepared for compliments or the odd sceptical look from your running buddies when you step out the door with this on. I have the blue colourway (also know as Bolt with Energy Lime) and I feel like the energetic colours matched the qualities of the new shoe. But there’s also the black and white with light grey options. These two are probably a little more versatile if you’re looking for a shoe that can go from the run to brunch or from the gym to post-workout drinks.
- Drop: 6mm
- Type: Responsive
- Kilometers tested: 103
- Weight: 10.4 Oz (size 9 Men) 9.0 Oz (size 9 women)
- Terrain Tested: roads, trail, gravel paths
- MSRP: CAD$209
You can purchase the New Balance FuelCell at a running speciality store or online and newbalance.ca