Verdict from 2 experts

9 reasons to buy

  • Cushion: "Cloud-like, bouncy, marshmallowy soft, and plush" is how experts describe the RC Elite v2's foam. It's very comfortable, but it's not, in any way, mushy.
  • Ride: The shoe is a "blast to run in." Just like the Rebel v2, it has a snappy toe-off and is "incredibly" bouncy, thanks to the combination of the shoe's carbon plate and Fresh Foam X midsole. 
  • Breathability: The shoe has lots of ventilation holes, making it very airy. 
  • Fit: It doesn't have a racer fit. It's very roomy and "relaxed" but there are no lockdown issues. So much so that there's no need to lace lock. 
  • Toe room: The spacious toe box is much appreciated, especially during long-distance efforts when the foot starts to swell. 
  • Traction: Several runners have tested the shoe in snow and rain. All of them agree that it grips very well in all conditions. 
  • Stability: Combining a wide forefoot and sticky outsole, athletes never felt wobbly running in the Elite v2. 
  • Durability: After 100 miles, the outsole still shows no sign of wear and tear.  
  • Aesthetics: Because of the shoe's vibrant colorway, reviewers find it "funky," "aesthetically appealing," and definitely "not dull-looking."

3 reasons not to buy

  • Unstable during sharp turns: The mix of the shoe's high stack and roomy fit has it struggling on corners at speed. 
  • Narrow lacing width: This makes getting the precise lockdown challenging. 
  • Minimally padded tongue: This causes rubbing on the foot, especially when the laces are tied tight. Testers have noticed this most prominent when running downhills.

Bottom line

The FuelCell RC Elite v2 from New Balance is a step-up from its predecessor — it's fun, forgiving, and this time around, it's definitely fast! It may be designated as a racing flat but experts find it more suitable as a training shoe for your upcoming long-distance competitions. Unlike other race shoes, it simply doesn't trade-off "comfort in favor of raw speed."

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." 


How New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 24% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Bottom 23% New Balance running shoes
All New Balance running shoes
Bottom 12% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes


The current trend of New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2.
Compare to another shoe:
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.