Review: New Balance FuelCell

The Vazee 2090 came out last year and most reviewers, being long-distance runners, didn’t know what to make of it, since it was a sprinting shoe. The rebirth is now here, with a much wider appeal.

Nitrogen cushioning lets the midsole stay low-profile and sleek, while a bootie construction + midfoot overlays give a great lockdown feeling.
The midsole to the FuelCell is coated on the bottom with New Balance’s “FuelCell” technology. This is just their N2 (nitrogen-infused) foam with a new name. This foam is the firmest they have, more so than RevLite, Rapid Rebound, or TruFuse. Instead of a piece that covered the forefoot and lateral side of the shoe (as was found in the 2090), the FuelCell has a thinner sheet that covers the entire sole. The shoe sits lower than the other FuelCore models and is a but stiffer. There’s pretty good stability, actually. Since the 2090 had its densest piece placed along the outside of the foot, pronators couldn’t really wear it, because it pushed them further inward. This is a shoe built to pick up the pace, but it does feel flat and unresponsive when walking.

The upper is covered in overlays that hold the foot very well, but runners with wider feet may find themselves restricted. You also shouldn’t expect a lot of plushness. Even though the FuelCell carries a Premium+ price tag, being made for sprinting and uptempo runs means the upper is strictly business: comfortable, but lacking luxury.

Runners with wider feet might find the controlling forefoot overlays to be constricting.
So, the FuelCell kind of has some downsides. It’s about an ounce heavier than the 2090 and $10 more expensive. It also doesn’t quite have the responsiveness. It does correct the pronation issue from its parent model and looks a lot cooler (or at least I feel that way), so there are some trade-offs, you could say. Despite gaining some weight, it still has speed in its DNA. The nitrogen foam is awesome at absorbing impact, so hard pounding doesn’t destroy your legs.

Score: 8/10

Comparable Models: Saucony Freedom

New Balance Women’s FuelCell

New Balance Men’s FuelCell

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