Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

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 New Balance FuelCell Prism Initial Review


For a long time now, New Balance has been "doing its thing" via Fresh Foam and the variants of that foam. But then in the last 1-2 years we have the debut of their FuelCell technology, which has brought some really fun trainers, speed day shoes, and their elite racing flat. The Prism is the stability model that falls into the FuelCell line and gives an exciting light weight stability option that's already showing its versatility. Here are our initial impressions. 



Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 8.4 oz (men's size 9), 7.1 oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 28mm heel, 22mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Lightweight stability trainer/performance trainer


FIT/UPPER

First, this shoe just looks sharp. The shoe carries the same logo used in their race day shoe options, has a slick and stripped down upper, and I have a bright and bold colorway. All good things, and New Balance continues to put out fantastic looking shoes. Kudos. 


Anyway, this shoe fits true to size throughout. Compared to other models (like the 860 v11), the heel is slightly more narrow but still maintains a wider midfoot. The toe box is of moderate width and the stripped down and flexible upper is secure but adaptable in the forefoot. Initial lockdown is great without any heel slippage. The upper is certainly built for shedding weight and not top tier comfort, but still is comfortable enough as it wraps over the foot. Additionally, there is a toe guard that provides structure to this thinner upper and the toe box. The tongue is not attached and did require to be straightened out when sliding my foot in as the edges folded over. Overall, the shoe carries a hybrid between a trainer and performance fit.

RIDE

This is our first FuelCell shoe that we have had in for test -- and we must say it is a really enjoyable foam. Light, soft, and a bit of bounce are how the initial bouts in this shoe have felt. There is a distinct heel bevel and flexible forefoot that create a smooth landing and takeoff. In between those is a responsive and quick transition through the midfoot. All of this is combined with the stability mechanisms build into this shoe, which we will get into next. 


STABILITY

This shoe contains a "hint" of formal stability, but is overall a decently stable shoe. The softer FuelCell foam does induce more instability than other trainers like the 860, but the medial post and geometry helps improve the overall stability. The medial post is in the triangular pattern as seen in the 860 v11, and is only a slightly more firm foam than the rest of the midsole. This is a subtle post that will serve those who enjoy just a touch of "support" in the medial midfoot well. Other components that make this a bit more stable include a wider outsole platform, some side walls in the rearfoot, and some thick rubber outsole that lines the medial portion of the midfoot. The stability in this shoe is subtle and sophisticated. That said, neutral runners may also do just fine in this shoe if you are looking for a slightly more stable trainer to compliment your FuelCell Rebel.



SPEED

This is a very versatile shoe. The softer foam, stable platform, beveled heel, and flexible forefoot make this comfortable for daily and recovery miles. However, the lightweight, bouncy foam and thinner upper allow this shoe to go fast. Depending on who you are and your goals, this shoe could very well function as a tempo/speed day trainer and be a light stability half and full marathon racer. No, it is not an "elite racing flat", but for 95% of runners out there, this shoe will be able to turn over plenty quick enough.


CONCLUSION

New Balance took what people loved about the FuelCell Rebel and gave it a flavor of stability. At first take, this shoe gives a fun and bouncy ride with subtle stability, which carries the ability to be a trainer and a workout shoe (and even racer) for many, and we look forward to giving our full multiple tester review soon.


Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning



Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at New Balance for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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