The New Balance Fuelcell TC is a shoe I’ve wanted to try since it first came out.
The New Balance Fuelcell TC is designed to be the carbon plated New Balance shoe. Unlike the New Balance 5280, which is designed for racing the mile, the New Balance Fuelcell TC is designed for training and racing a marathon. But how would it compare?
It’s no secret that me running in the carbon plated Nike Next % led to Achilles injuries, which probably led to a calcaneus stress fracture. So I was excited to try a new carbon plated shoe.
New Balance Fuelcell TC Quick Stats:
Weight: 7.8 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 10 mm
New Balance Fuelcell TC Intro:
Since the debut of full-length carbon plated shoes, the road racing shoe has changed significantly. The days of the minimal racing flat are gone. Now we have a higher stack height, carbon plated shoes. The introduction of Nike Next% and Vaporfly caused other brands to try and catch up. Last year, New Balance released the carbon plated 5280-mile racing shoe and this year they followed it up with the Fuelcell TC.
I raced New York City Marathon in the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel and I think in the last few years, New Balance has stepped up their game. The New Balance 880v10, New Balance 1080v10, New Balance Fuelcell Rebel, New Balance Fuelcell Echo, and of course New Balance 5280 are all great shoes. (They have dozens more, those are just the ones I’ve tried).
New Balance Fuelcell TC Fit:
With the New Balance Fuelcell TC, New Balance uses a Suede collar and eyerow details for a soft, premium feel as well as a synthetic mesh upper with dotted print logo. What does this mean? The upper is thin and reduces as much weight as possible. With the higher collar, I was unsure how it would rub against my heel.
One thing I appreciate in the New Balance Fuelcell TC upper is there are no overlays or underlays. This reduces irritation points but also makes it more unstructured than people are used too. I will say the tongue of the New Balance Fuelcell TC occasionally slides around, but nothing distracting.
As far as fit, the New Balance Fuelcell TC fits true to size. While there is a little more toebox room than many prefer in a racer, it fires well for a trainer and I wouldn’t want to go down a half size. Typically I wear a women size 10-11 wide and the 10.5 fits well.
New Balance Fuelcell TC Ride:
New Balance created the “Fuelcell midsole” last year. It was introduced into the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel and their carbon plated mile shoe: the New Balance 5280. Fuelcell material is much softer and lighter than both the fresh foam and the “revlite.” On a separate note, the Revlite seems to be going away and being replaced with the Fresh Foam.
While it’s soft, you don’t feel as though you’re sinking into a marshmallow of the cushion. The New Balance Fuelcell TC still has plenty of energy return and response. This comes because of the full-length carbon fiber plate in the shoe. New Balance has really married the soft foam with the carbon fiber plate to create a well-cushioned but responsive ride.
Unlike many other carbon plated shoes, the New Balance Fuelcell TC is not heavily rockered. What I mean by that is you don’t feel like you are being pushed forward (which you do in the Nike Next%). You do feel like you have more oomph and response than the Hoka Carbon Rocket.
The New Balance Fuelcell TC is also much more stable than other carbon plated models out there. It’s by no means a stability shoe, but it does have a wider base to keep the foot more neutral.
One thing to note is the amount of rubber on the bottom of the New Balance Fuelcell TC. There is rubber all across the bottom of the shoe. I haven’t run in the rain, but of any carbon plated shoe I’ve seen or tried, it appears to have the most traction. The rubber adds to the weight but also keeps the New Balance Fuelcell TC more durable as well.
I’ve done a few different workouts in the New Balance Fuelcell TC and I think it will fit nicely into my long run and tempo shoes. I think it would be great as a marathon racing shoe and New Balance has done an excellent job for harder efforts. They remind me of most of the original Nike Vaporfly, which I liked the best.
New Balance Fuelcell TC Conclusion:
New Balance has done an excellent job with this shoe. You can feel the carbon plate without it being overpowering. For me, it’s going to be a great tempo and harder long run shoe. If I ever get back into marathoning, I’ll consider it for my marathon racing shoe too. The New Balance Fuelcell TC could also work for someone who feels like the Nike Next% is not stable enough for them or for someone who likes the Nike Zoom Fly. It’s been interesting to watch other brands play “catch up” in the carbon plated world. So far, New Balance appears to have done the best job.
Compared to other Carbon Plated shoes, I find the New Balance Fuelcell TC the best across different speeds. New Balance is apparently creating a lighter version called the New Balance Fuelcell RC, which is designed for racing.
Easy/Daily Runs: Mizuno Wave Horizon 4, Saloman Sonic 3 Balance, Hoka One One Elevon 2, Brooks Glycerin 18, Mizuno Rider Waveknit 3, Nike Vomero 14, New Balance 1080 v10, Diadora Mythos Blushield Blushield Hip 5, Asics Cumulus 21
Speed Work: New Balance FuelCell Rebel, Reebok Float Ride Run fast Pro, Nike Pegasus Turbo 2
Long Runs: Atreyu Running Shoe, New Balance FuelCell Rebel, Altra Escalante 2.0, Hoka One One Cavu 3 Shoe Review
Races: New Balance Fuelcell TC, New Balance Fuelcell 5280, Nike Next%, Reebok Run fast Pro
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Questions for you:
Have you tried the New Balance Fuelcell TC?
What shoes are you currently doing workouts in?
Great review (as always). I just scored some FuelCell Rebels and wanted to follow up with you on how they’ve worked out for you. Are they proving to be fairly durable?
Also, I see you use them for long runs and was wondering how they do for you on those. They seemed like a shorter distance shoe to me at first, but I’d love to get some longer runs in them for sure!
That’s awesome. I ran NYCM in the Fuelcell Rebels. I’ve gotten about 300-400 miles in all of the pairs I’ve used. I think I’ve had 3 pairs now? You can usually work into most shoes for longer runs so you’d probably be fine in them.
What you don’t cover is the value to the pricing. Is it worth the $200?
Compared to the Nike Next% which is $250, I would say so Tim. You’ll get more mileage out of the NB Fuelcell TC. The carbon plate is hard to manufacture, with a high failure rate which is a big reason (besides demand), these shoes are so expensive. I think for milage (probably around 200) an cost, it’s one of the better carbon plate options.
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