Facts

  • Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    $110
  • Weight
    Men: 9.2oz
    Women: 7.1oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 6mm
    Women: 6mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Men: 27mm
    Women: 27mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 21mm
    Women: 21mm
  • Width
    Men: Normal, Wide
    Women: Normal, Wide
  • Release date
    Jun 2019
Show more facts

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

77 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 89 / 100 | Jacob Brady

    New Balance FuelCell Propel: A soft and exceptionally comfortable trainer

    More photos

    I was very excited to experience the next new super foam; to some degree, the first from New Balance, no less. The FuelCell Propel is the daily trainer model in the recently released set of shoes from New Balance making use of their FuelCell midsole.

    The shoe promises a wide slab of bouncy goodness and boasts modern styling with a no real overlays, no big New Balance ‘N’, and a tall, swooped heel collar; an exciting start.

     

    First impressions

    As soon as I unboxed my pair, I was struck by how large the shoe looked; a roomy-looking toebox and a really wide midsole footprint, especially around the heel. The high swooping heel collar and gray/black coloring contrasted by the bright red and yellow outsole lends a dramatic look.

    The fit is ‘cush’ overall with a medium amount of tongue and heel padding and soft materials. The length is almost short, but the shoe is comfortably sized; the right amount of snug while remaining roomy.

    The midsole is very soft and flexible, which contributes in giving the Propel an almost slipper-like feel. There is a lot of give to the midsole even just standing in the shoes.

    Upper

    The upper is sleek and minimal, with only a single overlay around the toe area. The soft mesh has a great level of give and is comfortable and never intrusive without compromising lock-in.

     

     

    The tongue and heel padding is light and well-distributed. The bottom half of the tongue is sewn on, and a red cord is used instead of a traditional eyelet; really cool. The upper allows the shoe to disappear on my feet largely; I’ve had no issues with lock in at a range of lace tightness.

    It is critical to the shoe’s overall comfort. The only part of the shoe I felt was notable while running was the high heel on my Achilles, though this was not an issue and sort of off and on.

    I’d prefer lower, but maybe it contributes to the easy lock in. It’s not a breaking point either way, and the Propel upper is outstanding, overall.

    Midsole

    Even from just picking up the shoe and pressing into midsole with my fingers, I could tell how extremely squishy it was. The step-in feel didn’t disappoint. A crazy soft, sinky feeling foam, but not bottomless cushion.

    The rebound was notable as well, similar to Nike’s Zoom X midsole. The soft and flexible feel is reminiscent of Nike React (particularly in the Epic React), but the FuelCell midsole is much softer. For some, it will be too soft, but it’s a really exciting, bouncy, modern-feeling foam.

     

    Outsole

    The Propel has a full-contact rubber outsole. Unlike many New Balance shoes which have a single-piece, full-cover outsole, the Propel outsole is composed of five separate pieces. This gives the midsole more ability to flex, which I felt worked great.

    The rubber compound is very sticky, which was immediately noticeable when trying on the shoes inside. Traction was definitely above average on road, dirt, and even light trail. I took the Propel for a run in the pouring rain and had no issues at all; great stuff.

    I love the bright colors as well as they contrast the black/white of the upper.

     

    Ride

    My first run in the Propel included a variety of pace blocks in an attempt to find where the shoe feels best. I found the Propel overall very comfortable and foot-conforming without being at all tight, adequately lightweight, but a bit difficult to run in.

    I think the combination of super-soft foam and minimal structure made it hard to lock into my form; kind of like it exaggerated all small variations in foot strike.

     

     

    In the past, I’ve found that soft midsoles (Hoka Clifton 3, Skechers GoRun 5, Altra Escalante) felt better at faster paces and a bit of a chore for an easy day, but the Propel didn’t excel or even change much in feel regardless of my pace.

    However, after a few more runs in them, including a 15 miler, I’m overall a fan. When my legs are tired, the Propel feels slow and inconsistent and requires more effort than ideal to keep turning over.

    However, they’re fun to run in, not too soft as I was afraid of after my first run, and always a pleasure to have on the feet. I don’t find them to be at all a ‘go fast’ shoe, but they feel great on downhills and for a steady-state run they’re just as capable as any trainer; I’m glad to have them in my rotation.

    Pros

    • Comfortable, well-fitting upper
    • Flexible, soft, and bouncy midsole

    Cons

    • The midsole is on the extreme end of softness, likely too much for some
    • Slightly short; the fit for me was great overall but I could see those on the line between sizes having to size up just for length and then having the shoe feel too large overall

    Conclusion

    The New Balance Propel is a fairly unique daily trainer. It’s well-designed, comfortable to wear, and boasts an exceptionally squishy midsole which is definitely fun but makes it somewhat difficult to run in.

     

     

    I appreciate having the Propel in my rotation for variety and enjoy running in it, but I would not like to wear it every day and thus would hesitate to recommend it for those looking for one do-it-all shoe.

    However, I think that most people would enjoy running in the Propel and do appreciate the fit, design, and innovation. Also, a slab of high-rebound Superfoam for $110 USD is pretty great. Overall, it’s a cool shoe! I’m a fan. 

     

    Overall Score      Ride   Fit    Value   Style 
                         50%                   30%                   15%                  5%
                            89                     8                    10                    10                  9

     

    Comparisons

    Adidas Adizero Boston 7

    The Boston (7) is much firmer, more stable, and has much more ground feel. There is a lot more structure going on with the Boston from the torsion plate, dual-density midsole, and even upper overlays which provides a more locked-in, consistent ride.

    The shoes feel very different — flexible, soft, unstructured vs. firm and consistent. I felt like the Boston 7 was easy to keep turning over the legs at any pace while the Propel requires more work.

    I have raced both half and full marathons in the Boston and would definitely not choose the Propel in that scenario, though in some ways, it’s a more fun shoe to run in, and definitely more comfortable. Boston for a more traditional, versatile, solid feel and Propel for a fun trainer. If I had to have one, Boston for sure.

    Reebok Floatride Forever Energy

    The Forever Floatride Energy (FFE) has a significantly firmer ride and a bit more controlled rebound. It’s more versatile and also feels easier to lock into form/pace, but the FFE upper fit me horribly and somewhat ruined my overall enjoyment of the shoe.

    There is more race potential in the FFE, though I wouldn’t choose either it or the Propel for racing ideally, so my pick is the Propel.

    Nike Epic React Flyknit 2

    The Epic React 2 (ER2) is one of the daily trainers in my current rotation, and I’m a big fan. Like the Propel, it has a modern design with a flexible slab of high rebound foam and unstructured upper.

    They’re relatively similar shoes overall. The ER2 midsole is significantly firmer but still soft enough to be comfortable. The ER2 upper is hard to dial in, and rarely any shoe can match the comfort of the Propel upper. However, the ER2 is more versatile and consistent/easy to turn over at any pace; the definite winner for me.

    New Balance Beacon

    The Propel midsole is significantly softer, more flexible, bouncier, and less stable. Neither shoe is very structured-both a single slab of foam and a simple upper. The Beacon midsole is much more dialed; firm but bottomless cushion which works for runs of any pace.

    Just standing around the Beacon feels almost hard, but it has a smooth and somewhat propulsive give to it at speed while the Propel feels like it almost bottoms out just standing in them. The Propel outsole/grip is better than the Beacon, but that’s about it. I’d definitely pick the Beacon.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 65 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 3 expert

    The blister issues, at faster paces, are definitely a show-stopper. I prefer a shoe to be versatile, allowing the runner to wear it for easy or speed days. Relegating this to simply an ‘easy day’ shoe seems like a waste and it’s definitely not what it was designed for.

  • 90 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 2 expert

    Recommended for any runner looking to have a little bit of fun in training.

  • First look | New Balance Taiwan

  • First look | The FOD Runner |

Become an expert

- The New Balance FuelCell Propel is a running shoe that’s made for those who like to take to the roads on a daily basis. It can be used for speed training or exercise sessions in the gym. It has been touted as a model that’s inspired by the FuelCell Rebel shoe, a product that utilizes a fit-reinforcing feature called Trace Fiber Stitching.

- FuelCell is the midsole unit of this product. This full-length accoutrement is meant to provide a lightweight yet responsive ride, giving a performance that is reactive to the movements and capacities of the wearer. The NDurance outsole rubber shields against wear-and-tear while also delivering grip over the surfaces.

The New Balance FuelCell Propel was constructed using the standard sizing scheme. Users are welcome to get a pair with their usual sizing expectations in mind. However, it is worth noting that achieving a pleasant in-shoe experience would greatly benefit from initially testing the shoe or checking out user reviews from physical and virtual outlets.

When it comes to the width, the accessible options are D - Medium and 2E - Wide for men, and B - Medium and D - Wide for women. The various alternatives permit many foot types to fit into this shoe without worrying about a too-tight hug.

The semi-curved shape of the lasting board works with the flexible open mesh of the upper to accommodate the natural curvature of the human foot.

The outsole unit of the New Balance FuelCell Propel is made of NDurance, a rubber compound that is constructed to protect the base of the midsole from the abrasive nature of the surfaces. It has a set of non-prominent traction nodes to deliver grip on the asphalt. Movements such as swerves, turns, strafes and brakes are likely to benefit from such inclusion.

A few flex grooves are patterned on the external pad. These shallow grooves aim to make the sole unit as flexible as possible, encouraging the natural shape of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle.

FuelCell is the technology that’s used for the midsole unit of the New Balance FuelCell Propel. This in-house compound runs the entire length of the product, giving support to the foot as it stands idly or as it transitions from the heel to the toe. It is touted by the brand to be lightweight, flexible yet able to handle many running sessions. Its shock-attenuating capacity further aims to improve the quality of the performance.

A sockliner is placed right above the lasting piece of this product. This add-on offers a smooth surface for the underside of the foot, staving off a feeling of uncomfortable firmness that’s associated with any shoe’s lasting board. It can be removed or replaced with a new one if the wearer wants to do so.

The exterior of the New Balance FuelCell Propel’s upper unit is made of open mesh, a material that is lightweight and form-fitting. It is a fabric grid, with breathing holes pockmarking its facade. Air enters the ports, giving an in-shoe experience that is cool and dry. Breathable uppers are a staple in New Balance’s roster of performance footwear. Variations of this feature grace series like the enduring New Balance 1500.

The inner sleeve is made of a smooth textile. This interior layer is tasked with hugging the foot safely, staving off hot spots and chafing, occurrences that are associated with an itchy textile or a seam-filled foot-chamber.

The tongue and collar are moderately padded. Such features have the job of cushioning the back of the foot, ensuring that it doesn’t suffer from impact shock or in-shoe wobbling.

The heel part has a leaf-like structure to help with the security of the Achilles tendon. Such a design also prevents the foot from exiting the shoe unintentionally.

Trace Fiber Stitching involves a pattern of stitched-on overlays gracing the sides and the back of the shoe. These reinforcing elements bolster the upright position of the silhouette, ensuring that it doesn’t sag quickly. They also help with the attainment of a snug fit by participating with the lacing system as it tightens or loosens.

The forefoot section has a printed overlay to protect it from bumps or scratches from various debris on the roads.

A discreet lacing system is used for this product. Flat shoelaces snake through eyelets made of cords. This isolated zigzag structure averts hot spots brought about by material bunching or pressure from the placement of the lacing system.

Comparison