The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is the fastest carbon plated shoe from New Balance. The difference between the RC Elite and NB FuelCell RC Elite is the RC weighs 2 oz less and has 2 mm less foam. It’s supposedly faster. I really like the TC Elite, so I was curious to see how this compares.
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite Quick Stats:
Weight: 7.3 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 10 mm drop
Something I personally like over most all carbon plated shoes is the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is lighter than almost anything in its category. I find most of these carbon plated shoes have gotten heavy while the NB FuelCell RC Elite remails light. Remember when we used to run marathons in 5 oz racing flats?
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite Fit:
Of any of the carbon plated shoes, the NB FuelCell RC Elite fits on the wider side. If you’ve tried on the NB Fuelcell TC, it will fit similarly.
The upper is made of thin, stretchy mesh, which creates a grid of small rectangles to provide structure and ventilation—the mesh in the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite molds to the shape of your foot. Plus, New Balances uses printed overlays to add even more structure. The heel and collar are streamlined into the shoe and don’t inhibit running.
In summary, the one-piece mesh upper is lightweight and sleek and doesn’t rub on wider feet or bunions. There isn’t any extra weight or fabric. To me it looks and feels cheap. It’s a disappointing upper for an expensive shoe. It does the trick but the look doesn’t scream, hey I paid a lot for this shoe.
I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide in running shoes, and the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite size 10.5 fits well.
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite Ride:
Of any of the carbon plated shoes, the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is the softest. Some people might not find them responsive enough for a race. For me, I like the NB FuelCell RC Elite for longer distances. It’s not a racing shoe I would use for anything less than a half marathon just because of how soft it is.
The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite has a full-length carbon plate like the NB TC Elite, but it’s much lighter. The midsole flares out on the lateral side to create a wing. According to New Balance, this helps supinators (hey, I’m one of them). New Balance Engineers found many runners landed with the most pressure on the foot’s lateral side, so they added additional support.
When running, I’ve found the NB FuelCell RC Elite responds better to longer and further. I feel good at the end of longer runs.
New Balance uses “boosted traction” that it calls a “Dynaride Outsole.” What’s Dynaride? New Balance studded the RC Elite with triangular nubs. Each of these nubs is made from a durable rubber that grips the pavement in all weather conditions. It’s similar to the New Balance Fuelcell 5280, and it works. Of any carbon plated shoe, the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite has the best traction for inclement weather.
As I’ve mentioned before, many carbon plated shoes don’t last more than 100 miles. Sure they haven’t ripped apart, but the technology in the carbon plate+foam has decreased so that you won’t get the magic fast feeling. The durability of the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is higher, and I would guess it might last somewhere between 150-200 miles. I’ve run about 50 miles, and they don’t show any signs of compressed foam or wear.
I’ve run several different runs in the NB FuelCell RC Elite, including track workouts, long runs, and harder efforts. For me, it’s best used as a longer effort shoe. I would race a half marathon and above in it. Unlike many carbon plated shoes, it’s ok for easy run days, but I don’t want to waste the mileage.
The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is fast and lightweight, and one of my favorite carbon plated shoes of 2020. If you are looking for a lighter, softer, and more durable carbon plated shoe, the NB FuelCell RC Elite is a great option. If you are a fan of trainers like the Fuelcell Rebel or New Balance 1080, the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite is definitely worth trying.
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Questions for you:
What is your favorite carbon plated shoe?
Have you tried the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite?