New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel Fully Reviewed

The New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel is an excellent option for anyone looking for a trail sneaker that is not too bulky. Many times, trail shoes tend to be stiff, boxy, and heavy but that is not the case with this great-looking sneaker. New Balance used materials in its engineering to make it a breathable, lightweight, and responsive trail shoe.

The outsole is durable and delivers just the right amount of traction for mild to moderate terrain while the midsole boasts New Balance’s REVlite foam to provide an amazing response. The upper is not only nice to look at, but it is also lightweight, along with the rest of the sneaker. The no-sew engineered mesh and snazzy-looking synthetic overlays give this sneaker a leg up compared to other bulkier trail shoes. Not only does the shoe deliver great performance, but it is also priced to fit into almost any budget, and for a New Balance sneaker, that is something worth noting.

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight design
  • Breathable engineered mesh upper
  • Available in a number of great-looking color ways
  • Responsive midsole for comfort and support
  • Very affordable price tag
  • Versatile design allows you to wear them on the trail, road, or casually
  • Cons
    • Some have said the toe box is too narrow
    • Some users have said these sneakers are not durable enough for trail running
    • Key Features
      Outsole
      The outsole of the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel is made up of durable rubber and features a semi-aggressive lug system. The V-shaped lugs extend from the forefoot through to the midfoot and continue in a diamond-shaped pattern at the heel.

      Around this diamond of V-shaped lugs, you will find a zigzag pattern made up of the same durable rubber material. This zigzag pattern can also be found on the toe area of the sneaker, allowing you to scale rocks a little easier. These lugs do not protrude from the bottom of the sneaker too far, allowing these shoes to be a little more versatile on the road as well as the trail compared to other trail running sneakers. The lug system is designed to help you grip mild to moderate terrain.
      Midsole
      One big reason why the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel is more lightweight than others in the same category is the REVlite foam found in the midsole. This technologically-advanced foam delivers the same response as other foams manufactured by New Balance that are 30% heavier, which makes this material both responsive and lightweight. Not only is REVlite lightweight, but it also provides excellent underfoot comfort, which you’ll be happy to have while out on the trail.

      The sneaker also boasts an added cushioning feature with its NB Responsive 2.0 performance removable insert. Although this insert is thin, it packs a punch in terms of cushioned comfort. To top off the impressively lightweight yet comfortable midsole of the Nitrel Fuelcore, New Balance also injected the midsole with EVA to give the shoe even more responsive cushioning.
      Upper
      Like many running sneakers on the market today, the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel features an upper made of engineered mesh which is lightweight, semi-flexible, and breathable. The sneaker also features synthetic overlays. The upper boasts a new-sew feature, meaning that both the engineered mesh and overlays making up the upper have no seams, thus preventing any irritation, chafing, or possible material separation. Both the tongue and the heel collar offer significant padding for comfort and support and the heel features a pull tab for easy on and off.

      At the front of the sneaker, you will find a specific synthetic overlay that extends over the toe area which is stamped with the words “toe protect”. As you would expect, this overlay is designed to prevent injury or wear to the toes while out on the trail. The heel is reinforced with an additional flexible heel counter which locks your foot in place.
      Weight
      Typically, trail running shoes may run a little heavy due to the aggressive rubber lug system that some may boast. However, the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel is a lightweight trail running shoe due to the materials used in its engineering. The outsole does not have a thick coating of rubber or big chunky , the midsole is made up of REVlite foam, and the upper is engineered mesh. These three parts of the sneaker combine to form a breathable and lightweight trail runner. The men’s version weighs in at 9.7 ounces while the women’s weighs around 7.5 ounces.
      Breathability
      Thanks to the engineered mesh that makes up the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel's upper, these shoes prove to be very breathable. Although they do have synthetic overlays on them, this does not detract from the excellent breathability capability. Engineered mesh is designed to be both adaptable and breathable so you will not be disappointed with the breathability factor.
      Comfort
      A large number of consumers have commented on the comfort of the the shoe, whether they use them for trail running or for walking around town. The midsole is designed with comfort in mind with its injected EVA, REVlite foam, and NB cushioned insert.

      Most reviewers said this shoe delivers a comfortable underfoot experience. A large number of reviewers said the sneakers feel great right out of the box and do not require that much in the way of break-in time. However, some consumers did say that the shoe tends to run a little narrow. With that in mind, the sneaker is offered in both wide widths and regular widths.
      Style
      If there is one thing that New Balance does consistently well, it is making sneakers aesthetically pleasing. This shoe comes in a wide array of colorway options in both the men’s and women’s versions. You can purchase them in bright, exciting colors, or go with a more subdued option. The low-profile silhouette and sleek design give the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel an eye-catching appeal that can be worn for your workout routine or casually. Unlike other trail shoes, these are not bulky and do not have overly-protruding lugs that scream out that they are designed solely for the trail.
      Durability
      Obviously, the durability of any trail running sneaker will depend on how you use it. If you strap these kicks on multiple times a week and hit the trails hard, then they won’t last as long, but if you use them lightly or casually, they will have a longer life. With that said, even if you do wear them for actual trail running on a regular basis, they should hold up for hundreds of miles thanks to the durable rubber outsole that protects the rest of the shoe.

      The toe protects will also help keep your toes from injury as well as help the sneaker maintain its shape. The synthetic overlays will also help keep the shoe in its original shape for quite some time. It should be noted, however, that one user did remark that the toe protects cracked after only minor usage.
      Protection
      As the name of the feature suggests, one protective feature of this sneaker is the “toe protect” found at the front of the shoe. This new-sew synthetic overlay spreads across the front of the shoe and protects your toes from injury as well as from poking through the engineered mesh. The synthetic overlays that are featured mainly at the midfoot area of the sneaker also help to protect your foot by holding it snugly in the sneaker. The durable rubber outsole and REVlite midsole work together to protect your joints from the natural jarring motion of running.
      Responsiveness
      The New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel definitely scores highly in the responsiveness department. The midsole is designed to offer a response in a number of ways. The REVlite cushioning foam provides the same amount of cushioned response as other New Balance foams in a lighter weight material and is supplemented with injected EVA foam in order to deliver even more springy response. The rubber outsole not only protects these materials against wear and tear, but it helps to absorb the shock into the midsole and propel you forward when the pressure is released.
      Support
      The support offered through the New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel is pretty decent considering they are lightweight, yet designed to tackle the trail. The REVlite and EVA injected midsole will cushion your feet and support you with each step with shock-absorbent comfort. The synthetic overlays on the shoe will cradle your feet and keep you supported as you move through your gait. The heel counter will lock your heel in place and keep you steady. In NB performance 2.0 insole will also eliminate negative space within the sneaker and support you by not allowing any rubbing or irritation that you might experience from an ill-fitting shoe.
      Terrain
      The New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel are designed to traverse mild to moderate trails with their unobtrusive tread pattern. The lugs will deliver great grip on packed ground or rocks, but they may not work well on technical terrain. Because the outsole is so sleek, these can also be used for road running or for casual use. Either way, you will feel comfortable and supportive in these lightweight trail shoes.
      Price
      Currently, these shoes can be purchased for around $65, which is an excellent value for such a well-made, comfortable, and great-looking name brand trail shoe.
      Traction
      The New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel offer decent traction if you use them on mild to moderate terrain. The V-shaped lugs will help you grip the ground easily and move over rocks with ease. However, some users have said that the traction did not prove itself very well over slippery terrain. Keep that in mind if you are making your way over slippery rocks or if the clouds open up during your run.
      Flexibility
      Due to the lightweight materials that make up this trail shoe, the New Balance FuelCore Nitrel is a very flexible trail shoe. Quite often, trail shoes tend to be on the stiff and bulky side, but that is not the case with these sneakers. The rubber outsole is durable and offers decent traction, but it is not stiff at all.

      The REVLite foam that makes up the midsole is very lightweight and is also extremely flexible. The no-sew engineered mesh found in the upper is flexible as well because it is lightweight and not stiff at all. There are no seams in the upper to add any stiffness to the shoe either, which is a plus in the flexibility and comfort department.
      Stability
      The New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel is engineered to be a lightweight and comfortable trail shoe for the neutral runner, thus it does not provide an overwhelming amount of stability if you may have feet issues. The arch support is average as well so if you have arch issues, you may want to consider inserts or possibly even another sneaker. With that said, the heel counter and synthetic overlays to provide a certain level of stability if you do not have foot issues or concerns.
      Drop
      These shoes have less of a drop than many other trail shoes out there, possibly due to the minimal materials used in its engineering. With a drop of 8mm, they will give you cushioned support in the heel but you may also have some ground feel underneath your feet.
      Key Features
      - REVlite foam found at the midsole provides lightweight cushioned support and comfort
      - No-sew engineered mesh upper is lightweight, breathable and adaptable
      - Toe protect synthetic overlay at the toe of the sneaker provides protection and durability
      - NB performance 2.0 insert delivers additional cushioned comfort and support
      Bottom Line
      In the end, the New Balance FuelCore Nitrel is an excellent option for anyone looking for a lightweight and comfortable trail shoe. They are not meant to tackle incredibly technical terrain and will not provide the support, stability, and traction you may need for such endeavors. However, if you are looking to go for a walk or run on well-groomed trails or even scale some rocks and tree limbs, you should be pleased with the comfort and response offered through these shoes.

      The New Balance Fuelcore Nitrel come in a plethora of great-looking colorway options to choose from for both men and women so you are sure to find something you like. They may not offer the most amazing support or stability, but for the cost, they are a great option for anyone looking for a name-brand sneaker that will carry them over mild to moderate terrain.
      Where to Buy
      By Abbie Copeland
      Last updated:
      Marko
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 04. 2021

      Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

      Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.