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.
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 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.
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.
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.
However, for most runners, it is an advantage. This is how they describe the ride of the Propel v2:
- nice pop and toe-off
- quick energy return
- it springs forward
Several experts also point out that the firmness helps to create a more “balanced, smooth, and stable ride.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).