Who should buy the New Balance FuelCell Propel v2

If you are a beginner or occasional runner who doesn’t want to spend over $100 on a pair of shoes, this New Balance trainer is a fantastic all-in-one option.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 logo

Who should not buy the shoe

This trainer is not recommended for:

  • distances longer than half marathon (the cushioning is too firm and caused fatigue for some wearers, to the point of feeling “beat up”)
  • recovery runs (“not for tired legs craving a bit softer cushioning”)
  • races (it lacks the “snap” and is “far from a plated shoe”)

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 tongue

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 vs. v1

The FuelCell Propel v2 sees some significant changes compared to the original shoe. The most noticeable one is the much firmer cushioning, which has brought about some performance benefits:

  • Springier cushioning
  • More efficient toe-off
  • More stable ride

Some experts also mention that the v2 got slightly more breathable, while others noticed an improvement in outsole traction.

Instant comfort

A vast number of runners report that there is “no break-in needed” in the Propel. It feels comfortable right out of the box and several buyers even donned it for 15+ mile runs straight away.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 comfort

FuelCell cushioning: firm and snappy

The majority of users agree that it’s a “pretty firm” sole. It was a surprise for those who wore the original Propel as the foam got noticeably denser.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 cushion

However, for most runners, it is an advantage. This is how they describe the ride of the Propel v2:

  • responsive
  • nice pop and toe-off
  • snappy
  • efficient
  • springy
  • quick energy return
  • it springs forward

Several experts also point out that the firmness helps to create a more “balanced, smooth, and stable ride.”

So lightweight it disappears on the foot

At 9.3 oz (264 g) per shoe, the Propel v2 is on the lighter end of daily running shoes. The average across the category is 10.6 oz (300 g).

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 toebox

Propel v2 hugs the foot nicely

Most runners are happy with the bootie construction of the upper. They mention that it’s “lightly/gently padded” and “not super plush,” with just enough cushion to keep you secure and supported.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 collar

No heel slippage has been reported. Only a few people experienced issues with some minimal hot spots.

Warning: the tongue rubs

More than a few runners find it a nuisance that the edges of the tongue are sharp and dig into the foot.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 tongue rubs

They recommended going for taller and slightly thicker socks to eliminate the issue.

It is a breathable New Balance shoe

Those who tested the Propel in humid and sweatier summer conditions say that it “never got overly hot.” They are also happy that the material dries out quickly if gets wet.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 breathability

Plenty of traction and durability

Thanks to a thick layer of NDurance rubber, the runners had no complaints of it wearing out too soon. They also mention that it looks promising.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 traction

A tester who ran over 50 miles in the Propel v2 reports very little wear.

Price: it’s a bargain!

“A great choice for the bargain hunter.” - All reviewers are elated with how much the shoe offers for such a budget-friendly price. Especially if you can catch a discount.

New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 midsole

Close competition to the Propel v2

If you’d like to consider more options at the same price point, the experts recommended the following:

The shoe is also part of the FuelCell series which also includes the Prism (moderate stability trainer), the Rebel v2 (speed trainer), and the RC Elite v2 (carbon-plated racer).

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.3oz / Women 8.1oz
Drop: 6mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 21mm
Heel height: 27mm
Collection: New Balance Fuelcell

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New Balance FuelCell Propel v2 video reviews

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.