Verdict from 2 experts and 5 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Comfort: The Lerato has a "luxurious" sensation upon step-in. It feels plush underfoot and the upper is very soft "from all sides" and "easy on the foot." 
  • Ride: It's springy and bouncy. This is because of the shoe's combination of the soft FuelCell foam and flexible carbon-fiber plate
  • Stability: No matter at what angle you land, the shoe keeps you steady, thanks to the plastic heel cup and upper reinforcements.
  • Style: It's like NB's modern take on their 990 series — the OG dad shoe. It keeps a classic silhouette with "deluxe" embellishments. 
  • Subtle carbon plate: For reference, it's as flexible as the Puma Deviate Nitro and more pliable than the FuelCell TC. It's very unobtrusive that experts say it makes the legs less sore than any non-plated shoe. 
  • Fit: It's very secure from the heel to the forefoot. There have been zero issues with slippage. 
  • Protection: The combination of the plate and the foam "insulates" the foot from impact. Meanwhile, the outsole rubber is very thick, generating a "tank-like ride." 

2 reasons not to buy

  • Heavy: It's heftier than the Saucony Triumph 18, which is among the heaviest road shoes. 
  • Warm: The upper has so much padding that it's not breathable. It may be of help during winter runs, but it's definitely a drawback for summer runs. 

Bottom line

It's clear that the Lerato is New Balance's version of a premium daily trainer equipped with a carbon plate. Make no mistake, this shoe is NOT meant to make you run fast or set PRs. Instead, it's a shoe that will keep your runs easy, fun, and comfortable. 

Tip: see the best running shoes.

New Balance FuelCell Lerato: Everything premium 

Out of the box, the NB Lerato screams luxury, both in style and features. It's everything you can expect from a premier daily trainer — style aside, it maximizes fit, stability, comfort, and durability. Add in its carbon-fiber plate, then you get a full-on, luxury-style trainer. 

So what are the aspects of the shoe that make up its qualities? Read on to find out. 

Comfort

Thanks to the shoe's FuelCell midsole, which is also present in both the RC Elite and Rebel v2, a cushy ride is generated. Complementing it is the upper's plushness and the flexibility of the carbon plate. With all of these combined, a leg-saving shoe is created. 

Stability

As mentioned, the Lerato has a locked-in fit, generating very steady, surefooted steps. And since the midsole foam is on the plush side, the addition of the plate balances out the softness, maintaining comfort and stability. 

Probably the most talked-about feature that enhances support is the shoe's plastic heel cup. It keeps the heel locked in place, preventing unwanted motions and slippage. 

What is it for?

Because of the presence of the carbon plate, you might think that the Lerato from New Balance is a speedster. It's not. It's a "pleasant, easy-riding" shoe that's best for: 

  • daily runs
  • recovery runs
  • mellow runs
  • easy long-distance runs
  • walking

Those who will benefit most from the Lerato are the heavier runners and heel strikers. It's best for heel strikers simply because its bounce is more pronounced in the heel. 

A few more notes about the NB Lerato

  • The carbon-fiber plate does not reward fast paces. It has some pop, but only enough so that you won't have to exert more effort. In short, make your runs easy and enjoyable. 
  • Given its looks, the shoe is very much suitable as your sneaker. 

Rankings

How New Balance Lerato ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 28% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 27% New Balance running shoes
All New Balance running shoes
Top 48% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of New Balance Lerato.
Compare to another shoe:
Author
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.