Reunited with the fabulous New Balance RC Elite!
Posted on January 26 2021
Its taken a while to write this blog for a number of reasons so first a bit of history.
The New Balance RC Elite was launched in the middle of 2020 and I was lucky enough to get hold of one of the first pairs to land in Hong Kong.
A pair of gorgeous luminous green beauties that looked simple stunning. The RC Elite is the racing version of the similar looking FuelCell TC.
My relationship with my RC Elites came to an abrupt end after doing about 100km when they were stolen from outside my apartment. That is a first in Hong Kong but perhaps a reflection of the desire to get hold of these shoes. They have been in very short supply and I am so pleased to be reacquainted with a pair in the latest colourway.
Again though, they remain in short supply which is such a shame because this is one of the best carbon shoes on the market for sure. It seems New Balance has challenges getting sufficient supply of them. I will not be leaving them outside this time!
So back to the comparison of the TC and the RC.
Both have full length carbon places and the "T" refers to training and the "R' refers to racing. The RC is lighter than the TC, mainly due to the choice of the Dynaride outsole which looks like a bunch of carbon chips implanted into the midsole, compared to the more conventional outsole for the TC. The RC also has NBs most advanced FuelCell compound which is also lighter than the TC compound. Bear in mind, the carbon chips on the RC sole are great for traction as they bite into whatever surface you are running on, but they will wear quickly. Rotate these RC babies around with a good training shoe and save them for your fastest sessions/races. Perhaps your track session or a tempo session where you want to push the pace. Or maybe a 10k race or a half/full marathon.
Longitudinally they are stiff like most carbon plated shoes and this has the desired effect of propelling you onto your toes and into the next stride. They do feel quick.
Not quite the forceful kick of the Hoka Carbon X which, for many people can be a little disconcerting, but a more gradual transition of power that makes for a nice smooth stride. The RC is, and feels, considerably lighter than the HOKA Carbon x2 (201g v 238g respectively) and a lot less bulky.
Some areas to take note of.
I have also put in a few Kms in the TC and while I liked the shoe, I found whenever there was a heel strike, perhaps running downhill or when getting a little tired, the heel was so soft it tended to make the shoe unstable. The RC is also soft in the heel (after all, this is a shoe designed for people who are midfoot or forefoot strikers) but it is certainly better than the TC.
If you are a heavy heel striker therefore, I would suggest neither the TC or RC are likely to be your best choice. There are other shoes that will feel more stable for you.
Similar comment if you suffer from overpronation. I see so many runners running, in for instance Nike Next % and its clear they absolutely should not be running in those shoes given how much they overpronate. The shoes actually accentuate the overpronation due to the softness of the midsole. Most of the soft cushioned, carbon plates shoes will react the same way so be very careful if you are somebody with those issues. Talk to us and we will help you make the right choice.
If however, you like to/are able to, get up on your toes and really push the pace, the RC Elite is an incredible shoe. You will feel light and fast and your times will tumble. The Fuelcell midsole is soft but also snaps back really well to help with the overall feeling of pace in the shoe.
New Balance have also done a fantastic job redeveloping the uppers on all of their shoes recently and the knitted upper felt like a perfect fit for my foot. Apart from looking stylish (compared to say the turtle neck effect on the Carbon x) the upper does give a great sock like feel and held my foot well. No hot spots, no crushing of your toes.
In conclusion, so pleased to be reacquainted with these beauties. Its not for every run, but like a fine wine, they are to be sipped carefully and used on the right occasion. On those occasions though, you will come home with a smile on your face, and probably a PB!.
Weight : 201g (US 9.5)
Stack Height : 36mm/26mm
Heel drop: 10mm