Weight: 7.7 oz (219 g)
Heel Drop: 10mm
Shoe Type: Long-distance max-cushioned racer shoe
- Full-length carbon plate for plenty of rebounds
- Super smooth ride
- Long springy toe-off
- Premium appearance
- Quick transitions (Fast)
- Highly breathable
- Roomy forefoot
Stability issues, particularly during cornering
New Balance RC Elite 2 is an excitingly fast long-distance racer shoe. It rides soft and easy and comes to life the moment you pick up the pace. It has a plush FuelCell cushioning, which combines well with the carbon plate to give more aggressive propulsion than its predecessor.
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 Instant Impression
When I took FuelCell RC Elite 2 out of the box for the first time, I could not stop marveling at the sparkling purple upper. I instantly fell in love with this shoe. Just from the design, the shoe looked like an elite shoe. Every aspect of the shoe had a touch of plush. The knitted upper felt soft and thin.
It felt lightweight and did not produce that solid brick sound when I placed it on the floor. Trying it on was easy because my foot just slipped deep into the shoe with ease. It felt comfortable and confident on my foot. The fitting was secure.
When I took it out, FuelCell RC Elite v2 did not take long to unleash its beast mode. I felt blast responsiveness and softness under the foot. It was a joy to ride in this shoe. The heel-to-toe transition was seamless, and the bounciness was noticeable.
I tried 6 minutes per mile, and the running felt easy and effortless. In less than 25 minutes, I had racked up a 5k.
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 Upper Design and fitting
The FuelCell Elite 2 upper has a single knit mesh which is highly breathable. The knit mesh is very thin around the toe box, and I could see right through it. The mesh becomes more solid and structured as it moves towards the heel to enhance a snug fit around the ankles and heel.
The New Balance (NB) logo forms an overlay that spreads over the toe box, especially to the lateral side of the midfoot, to give the shoe an admirable structure. The logo also provides the shoe with a posh show-off.
Placing the overlays away from the midfoot area has allowed the upper material to stretch slightly.
The toe box has just enough room to allow the toes to splay out naturally. I did not feel my foot waggle. Everything felt just right.
FuelCell Elite 2 did not go for a thick padded tongue. It went for a large, thinly padded tongue similar to the one in FuelCell Rebel v2. I loved the way it warped around the top of the foot and how it enhanced a snug fit.
Though it is not gusseted, it works perfectly with the flat lacing that ensures no pressure against the upper foot.
New Balance FuelCell Elite v2 has a snug fit and fits true to size. The heel counter is moderately firm and locks the foot down pretty nicely. The inner lining around the heel counter and the ankle are soft. I did not feel irritation or constriction around the Achilles. I also love the padding in the collar. It is neither thick nor thin but just enough padding to keep the foot comfortable to enhance the fitting. I did not experience slippage when running.
It is easy to wear FuelCell RC Elite 2. The foot slips deep into the shoe very smoothly. Away from the performance features, the upper of the shoe radiates opulence. There is a way the upper material sparkles like it is calling for attention.
Overall, the upper part of the shoe has an incredible design and features. It is highly breathable, has a snug fit, well-cushioned, locks the foot well, and is roomy enough to accommodate a wide foot.
New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 Sole Design and Performance
The FuelCell RC Elite 2 is a max-cushioned marathon racer shoe. It has a highly efficient design, responsive and FuelCell cushioning midsole used in the New Balance FuelCell Rebel V2 and the FuelCell RC Elite 1. The difference is that it has more stack height than its predecessor. It has a stack height of 40mm at the heel and 30mm at the forefoot.
With the additional FuelCell, more cushioning makes FuelCell RC Elite v2 one of the best comfortable marathon running shoes. The problem is that the added stack height came with instability, especially when taking corners.
The good thing is that it is not extra soft because the FuelCell combines well with the carbon plate under the foot to provide that pop-up, especially during propulsion. While landing is very soft and smooth, the carbon plate and the rocker forefoot kind of throw you off during toe-off. It ensures that you have a consistent gait cycle regardless of the running pace.
New Balance did a complete overhaul with the Dynaride outsole of the FuelCell RC Elite v1 to make the FuelCell RC Elite 2 more efficient, durable, and stable. It does not mean that the initial rubber was horrible. In FuelCell RC Elite 1, the outsole had abrasive rubber nubs like teeth embedded on the forefoot area to enhance grip and cushioning. The change may upset some runners because the Dynaride came with distinctively defining features.
It was one of the defining features of the original FuelCell RC Elite 1. The outsole gave the shoe teeth. You could feel the rubber spikes bite into the pavement.
FuelCell RC Elite v2 Overall performance
I took FuelCell RC Elite 2 out for various runs at varying paces, and the shoe demonstrated versatility. It performed great in a marathon. The strides came with a fast feel, and I did not feel any discomfort or tiredness in the foot.
The responsiveness was unimaginable. I felt like I had set my new short marathon record with the shoe. The more I picked the pace, the faster it got. Surprisingly, I could not feel the snappiness of the carbon plate beneath the foot because of FuelCell cushioning. Every foot strike was seamless. Though it works well in fast runs, I noticed that it does not come with a racer fit. Still, I did not have to lace-lock because I did not experience lockdown issues.
Fuel Cell RC Elite 2 has a smooth and stable ride. The rocker of the forefoot is phenomenal. The roll-over in the rocker is quite long and soft, thus very pronounced, but not abrupt. It makes the ride not only effortless but also enjoyable. I can compare the transition to the Nike Alphafly Next%. The only diffeernce is that FuelCell RC Elite 2 has a more stable ride. The blast ride, bounciness, and plush are akin to FuelCell Rebel V2. It has an excellent energy return.
Though built for the marathon, you can use the FuelCell RC Elite 2 for speed runs because of its fast feel.
Why You Should Buy New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2
FuelCell RC Elite 2 is a better marathon racer than the RC Elite v1. The redesigning of the outsole and the additional heel stack makes this shoe more efficient than its predecessor. RC Elite 2 has a better ride. It does not ride like the conventional marathon shoe. Instead, it has more than just the bounciness. With the carbon-pate and a rocker forefoot, you will feel a propelling push that is seamless and steady.
Besides, the rubber on the heel is not as highly soft as in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%. Therefore, New Balance has ensured that the foot has a balance of stability and cushioning.
The geometry of the midsole and outsole works together with the snug fit heel counter. You will notice that the Alphafly Next% has a skinny collar and less solid heel counter and provides a less ground feel at a high pace. FuelCell Elite 2 is very dynamic. It is lightweight but weighs a little more than its predecessor, very responsive and well-cushioned.
A 10k will feel like an easy run with FuelCell RC Elite v2. It also suits anyone looking to cover up to 17miles in a single run. It is the best option for daily training and speed runs. I am not sure about a full marathon, but it is clear that FuelCell RC Elite 2 is a direct competitor to Alphafly Next% with a better cushioned upper and secure fit. It can also be an option over Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, which is also lightweight with exceptional toe-off but with quite a firm ride.
Therefore, it may not be an option for a lover of firm rides because the additional FuelCell foam has made this shoe softer.
Overall, New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 is a better upgrade of the FuelCell RC Elite 1.
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FuelCell RC Elite 2 reviewed by Mike Hardy. At 42, Hardy has been running for more than 15 years. He runs for fitness purposes. He loves running short marathons, especially on Saturdays.