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Is new balance fuelcell a neutral shoe?

Running shoes come in different types to accommodate various foot shapes and running styles. Most runners need a neutral shoe that provides cushioning and support without controlling motion. Shoe companies like New Balance offer neutral shoes alongside stability and motion control models. The New Balance FuelCell line has several neutral options for road and trail running. Understanding the FuelCell features and technologies can help you choose the right model for your needs.

What Makes a Neutral Running Shoe?

Neutral running shoes maintain a balanced platform to let your foot move naturally as you run. They offer cushioning to absorb impact but allow pronation, which is the natural inward roll of the foot after landing. Neutral shoes suit runners with medium to high arches who land on the outside of their midfoot or forefoot. Signs that you need a neutral shoe include:

  • Your old shoes show even wear across the outsole
  • You have no pain or injuries from overpronation
  • Your feet appear balanced when wet
  • Your arches are medium to high

Neutral shoes provide cushioning from materials like foam or nitrogen infused inserts. Many also use thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plates or shafts to improve responsiveness and energy return. However, they have less structure and motion control elements than shoes made for overpronation. Brands design neutral shoes for versatility across different foot shapes and running gaits.

Key Features of New Balance FuelCell Shoes

The New Balance FuelCell line includes neutral cushioned shoes for road and trail running. The main features that make FuelCell models neutral include:

  • FuelCell midsole foam: The responsive FuelCell foam provides soft cushioning and bounce. It compresses on impact to absorb shock then springs back to return energy.
  • Bootie construction: Many FuelCell shoes use an inner bootie that hugs the foot for a secure fit. This prevents sliding inside the shoe.
  • Covered plate: Some road models have a TPU plate sandwiched between two layers of FuelCell foam. This plate adds propulsion without controlling motion.
  • Anatomical shape: The shoes have a curved outline matching the natural shape of the foot. This allows natural foot movement.

These features come together to provide cushioning and support without interfering with the foot’s natural pronation or gait cycle. Next, we’ll look at key technologies in specific New Balance FuelCell neutral shoe models.

New Balance FuelCell Propel

The New Balance FuelCell Propel is a popular neutral road running shoe. It has a high stack of FuelCell foam along with an embedded TPU plate for a propulsive toe-off. Here are the key specs and features:

  • Heel height: 26mm
  • Forefoot height: 16mm
  • Weight: 7.8oz
  • Soft FuelCell midsole
  • Bootie construction
  • Embedded TPU plate
  • Breathable engineered mesh upper

Reviewers praise the Propel for its lightweight cushioning and energetic ride. The thick foam softens impact while the propulsive plate provides a snappy toe-off. The stretchy bootie surrounds your foot comfortably without squeezing. The FuelCell Propel suits neutral runners looking for a well-cushioned daily trainer or long run shoe.

New Balance FuelCell Prism

The FuelCell Prism is a mild stability shoe that can also work for neutral runners. It has guide rails to support overpronators but won’t aggressively control motion. Key features include:

  • Heel height: 30mm
  • Forefoot height: 22mm
  • Weight: 9.2oz
  • Full-length FuelCell midsole
  • Guide rails for light stability
  • Bootie construction
  • BREATHE mesh upper for ventilation

This shoe provides very soft cushioning from the thick FuelCell foam. The guide rails offer just enough support for mild overpronation but allow neutral runners to move freely. The bootie and engineered mesh upper enhance the fit. The FuelCell Prism works well for longer road runs.

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite

The RC Elite is New Balance’s fast, lightweight racing shoe. It has a springy nylon plate and minimal FuelCell foam for speed. Here are the vital details:

  • Heel height: 32mm
  • Forefoot height: 22mm
  • Weight: 6.7oz
  • Proprietary FuelCell midsole
  • Engineered mesh upper
  • Flexible nylon plate
  • Exposed carbon fiber plate

This pared down shoe has a thin layer of FuelCell foam for soft landings and an embedded nylon plate for snappy toe-offs. The featherlight build works well for neutral runners doing races from 5Ks up to the marathon distance. The exposed carbon plate gives an energetic, propulsive ride.

New Balance FuelCell Echo

The FuelCell Echo is a well-cushioned trail running shoe. It has a Vibram outsole for traction plus a bootie construction for a secure fit on uneven terrain. Key details include:

  • Heel height: 30mm
  • Forefoot height: 22mm
  • Weight: 10.2oz
  • FuelCell midsole
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Mesh upper with bootie
  • Flexible toe box

This trail shoe provides a soft underfoot feel thanks to the FuelCell foam. The Vibram outsole grips trails while protecting the foam from wear and tear. The roomy toe box and bootie interior allow natural foot motion and swelling. The Echo suits neutral trail runners looking for cushioned comfort over long distances.

How New Balance Rates the Cushioning and Support Levels

New Balance shoes come with a rating system to indicate the amount of cushioning and support provided. Looking at these ratings on FuelCell shoes confirms their neutral positioning. Here are the key ratings:

Shoe Cushioning Support
FuelCell Propel Maximum Cushioning Minimal Support
FuelCell Prism Maximum Cushioning Light Stability
FuelCell RC Elite Moderate Cushioning Minimal Support
FuelCell Echo Maximum Cushioning Moderate Support

The Maximum Cushioning label confirms the generous midsole foam in these shoes. The Minimal Support or Moderate Support ratings indicate they allow natural foot motion suitable for neutral runners. Only the Prism provides a touch of guidance for overpronation.

Sizing and Fit of FuelCell Shoes

Getting the right size is crucial for comfort and performance. Here are some tips on the fit and sizing of New Balance FuelCell shoes:

  • Order your regular running shoe size. These shoes fit true to size for most runners.
  • The uppers have stretch and flexibility. The engineered mesh and bootie interiors adapt to your foot shape.
  • The toe boxes are roomy. Your toes can splay naturally without being squeezed.
  • The heels lock in securely. Extra heel padding grips your ankle to prevent sliding.
  • Wider sizes are available. New Balance offers D and 4E widths to accommodate wider feet.

Visit a specialty running store if possible to get your feet properly measured. This helps select the optimum size and model. You can also order two sizes to compare at home and return the one that doesn’t fit right.

What Runners are Saying About FuelCell Shoes

FuelCell shoes are popular among runners and have glowing reviews. Here’s a sample of positive feedback from wearers:

  • “I love the soft bounce of the FuelCell foam – it makes long runs fly by!”
  • “The bootie construction gives a really comfortable, secure fit. No blisters!”
  • “The carbon plate really propels me forward. PR’d my 10K in the RC Elite!”
  • “The Prism is a good balance of cushy foam and stability for my mild overpronation.”
  • “The Vibram outsole on the Echo gripped wet, muddy trails. Felt very secure.”

Negative feedback on FuelCell models is limited. Some runners find the shoes run small or short. Others report durability issues with midsole compression after 300-400 miles. Trying the shoes yourself is the best way to judge fit and longevity.


The New Balance FuelCell line offers well-cushioned neutral running shoes for roads and trails. Key technologies like the responsive FuelCell foam, propulsive plates, and bootie construction provide a comfortable, energetic ride. The shoes offer ample cushioning with just enough structure and support for neutral gaits. Trying on a pair to find your ideal fit and model is recommended. With the right FuelCell variant, you can log enjoyable miles knowing your feet are well supported.