Verdict from 2 experts

6 reasons to buy

  • Aesthetics:  It’s aesthetically appealing, and a shoe; The aesthetics are a blast and appeal to me in a subdued but funky style; the RC Elite 2 is definitely not a dull looking shoe;  Stunningly good looking, lots of great aesthetic details,
  • Fit: On foot it is roomy and very airy in the toebox, not a precise racer fit; The wider toe box and roomy fit, made it feel comfortable enough for a daily trainer, but light enough to run fast in; The fit is overall comfortable and relaxed.; No heel lock lacing necessary for me!
  • Toe room:  The roomy forefoot is completely appreciated for training or long distances and is strikingly roomier than the RC Elite v1. 
  • Cushion: Underfoot the RC Elite v2’s nature as a plush beast is revealed. It is exceptionally soft and bouncy. This feeling is most dramatic in the forefoot which feels softer than any shoe I can remember running in;  The foam is soft and responsive to the touch; very comfortable on step in; Marshmallowy soft; These felt great right out of the box, soft and cloudlike and bouncy
  • Ride:  I loved the bounciness of the Fuel Cell cushioning, super soft, super responsive, and felt like a natural fit to my foot; Putting the shoe on, it felt incredibly bouncy but stable and the upper is supremely comfortable; The famiiar springiness of the Fuelcell foam is definitely there
  • Breathability:  It is a highly breathable design being light and airy with wide holes in a few sections of the toebox;  The upper is super light and airy. 

3 reasons not to buy

  • I also cannot run sharp corners at speed without really thinking about the fit and foot placement, though the high stack contributes to the difficulty.- because of "relaxed fit";  I can’t run particularly sharp corners/U-turns at speed, but that’s probably more the fault of the stack height than the upper.
  •  The lacing width is fairly small, which makes it a little hard to control the lockdown on the foot, especially for such a deep toebox.
  •  I definitely have to echo Jacob’s statement about the thin tongue. I had some slight irritation at the top of my foot after tying the shoes a bit too tight. Definitely noticeable running downhills, but just fine on flat surfaces

Bottom line

 It’s definitely race-ready, but the fit is more trainer than racing flat, and I think that’s a good thing.

e for distances of a marathon and beyond because of the upper

Tip: see the best running shoes.

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 vs. 1: More comfort-oriented

In general, the RC Elite v2 from New Balance is more of a leg-saving, all-around shoe than the v1. It's less aggressive and is heavier, which makes it less race-focused. Here are some of the changes attributing to this: 

  • more cushion and stack for a bouncier and cushier underfoot feel
  • roomier forefoot and toe box to give ample space for foot swelling after long efforts
  • less aggressive plate creates a more forgiving ride, especially in longer-than-marathon distances
  • revamped outsole with exposed midsole for weight saving (note: the shoe gains some weight; from 7.9 oz to 8.5 oz in US M10.5) 

What is it for? 

If you're still starting out with plated shoes, the FuelCell RC Elite v2 is the way to go. It's not rigid like other carbon-plated models, and it can handle both slow and fast runs. It can be your long-distance trainer, but it's also definitely "race-ready." 

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.