THE NEW BALANCE FUELCELL RC ELITE v2 - First Impressions
Posted on May 14 2021
The New Balance Fuelcell RC Elite v1 has been one of my favourite shoes since its launch. Pleasantly re-united with a pair after my first pair was stolen I have now put in just over 200km in them. I use them mainly for track session and faster tempos and I have loved them. You can read my full blog on them HERE: https://gone.run/blogs/news/reunited-with-the-fabulous-new-balance-rc-elite
So I was very interested to pull on a pair of the new version, v2 and I have done around 45 km in them so far and these are my first impressions. The shoe is launched on the 16th May and will be available in the shop from then on.
The first and most obvious difference is the substantial increase in cushioning. The v2 has gone right up to the legal limit of 39.5mm stack height and with 31.5mm under the toe has an 8mm drop. This is a full 4 mm increase at the heel. It actually looks a lot more because the Fuelcell foam wraps up around the sides of the shoe. A nod, I think to the softness and potential instability of the shoe around the heel. (more later)
It weighs in at around 217g which is up about 20g on the V1, not surprising given the increase in cushioning.
Its still the same nitrogen infused foam of v1 but just a lot more of it.
The other major change is the outsole on v2 is a more traditional rubber layer, replacing the rubber "chocolate chips" of v1. This probably will increase durability but also likely to contribute to the weight increase also.
The upper of the shoe looks very similar. Still the breathable knitted mesh and in the purple colour for both men and women, and lots of great detailing, it is still one of the most attractive shoes out there.
So I am only 45 km in which is not a lot but already on similar sessions to those I have done in v1, I can feel the difference.
Not surprisingly they are incredibly bouncy, much more than the v1. There is clearly an increase in the energy return from the midfoot/forefoot strike and the roll off felt smooth and efficient.
Great fit around my ankle and no hotspots anywhere in the toe-box. Its probably the same last as the v1 and I liked the fit of that too.
The v1 felt just a little bit more racy than the v2, and maybe the difference would be to see the v1 as a 10k down shoe and the v2 as a 10k up shoe for a fast road run. The difference is however marginal and the V2 certainly is softer.
Like many carbon shoes with high stack heights the softness of the foam does not work well for heavy heel strikers. The additional height does make the heel strike very much dependant on the strength of the runner to maintain shape. It is so soft it will go wherever you push it.
Also important to remember when running downhill. Most people tend to heel strike more going downhill and these would not be my choice for a run with significant downhill sections. I contrast it to the 1080v11 which has a lot of cushioning but is far more supportive.
But let's be clear, these shoes are racing shoes and meant to be used on the flat when you want to push the pace. Get up onto your toes or mid foot and they are a pleasure.
So far, New Balance are my "go too" carbon shoes for faster track and tempos sessions and the v2 will fit right in there. They look tremendous and feel well made and classy. Looking forward to more kms in them. !!
You can check them out in the store HERE: https://gone.run/collections/rc-elite-v2