New Balance FuelCell Prism V1 Review

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$79.95See Deal
Custom Store Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Our Conclusion
The New Balance FuelCell Prism is a real people-pleaser. While it’s technically classified as a stability trainer, it doesn’t have many of those stiff and cumbersome features often found in heavy stability trainers. It walks that fine line between neutral running and stability training. If you are looking to graduate from stability trainers to something with more neutral running features for speed without losing supportive features or overall support, this shoe is worth checking out.

It boasts a slightly thicker FuelCell midsole to give your rides a little extra bounce and cushioning, and the rigid yet sculpted heel counter boosts lockdown which makes it perfect for speed and quick movements. Runners also love that the supportive midsole offers a good deal of bounce with a modest medial post to help guide your foot into a nice and easy gait cycle. Whether you love neutral or stability trainers, you are bound to find something that you love in this shoe.

Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the features that make the New Balance FuelCell Prism perfect for a variety of speedy or long-distance running.
Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$79.95See Deal
Custom Store Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
Pros
FuelCell midsole offers excellent energy return
The versatile build is great for speed or distance
Breathable mesh knit upper
A very lightweight stability trainer
Unique color options available
Cons
Midsole flattens out over time
The toe box is a tad on the narrow side
Togue shifts around while running
Key Features
Key Features
MIDSOLE

New Balance gets it right with the FuelCell midsole technology. This style of EVA foam is able to adapt to your running or walking style to offer a supportive run. It offers a plush step-in feel right out of the gate that makes your feet feel comforted and supported. If you are wearing this shoe for walks or just as a comfortable casual shoe, it feels really soft and squishy. As you pick up the pace, that squish melts away into a bright and energetic shoe that is slightly rigid and incredibly bouncy to tack high speed or long miles.

While it may perform like a neutral runner, in it’s soul it’s a tried and tested stability shoe. It boasts a medial support post that helps to guide your foot into a nice and easy gait cycle, which is perfect for runners with pronation issues. Unlike many stability trainers, the medial post isn’t something you will likely even notice on your runs.

It’s important to note, however, that the FuelCell midsole isn’t perfect. It’s built to provide a cushioned and comfy ride, but that overall comfort begins to wear out over time. As you start to really rack up the miles in this shoe, the midsole starts to flatten out a bit and won’t give you that initial cushioned bounce at mile 100 as it did at mile 1.

UPPER

The construction of the upper of this shoe fits quite nicely into the neutral runner category. It is composed of lightweight mesh knit that works to lift hot air up and away from your feet to keep them cool and dry. The heel boasts a high elf-heel which cuts down on rubbing and chafing on your ankles. Personally, I’m not a fan of elf-heels because they look a bit peculiar, but it is something that many modern trainers are gravitating towards these days because they are pragmatic and boost overall performance.

One downside I found about this upper is that it doesn’t have a sewn-in or gusseted tongue. Some runners found that the tongue shifted around a lot, while others felt that it really locked in place. The behavior of the tongue likely boils down to the width of your foot as well as your running style. Even if you find that it shifts while running, it is incredibly thin and lightweight, so it won’t be that much of a bother even if it does shift around on you.

OUTSOLE

The FuelCell Prism boasts a modest outsole that is composed of 100 percent rubber for a super bouncy and easy ride. It has minimal lugs which makes it ideal for speed and quick footwork when engaging in HIIT or CrossFit. While the modest lugs are designed for hard surfaces such as sidewalks or treadmills, it also performs quite well on the muddy trails.

The outsole hosts reinforced rubber grips along the outer edges of your foot and on high impact areas that work to extend the durability of this shoe, as well as give you added traction on slick surfaces. Overall, this is a shoe that you can wear to the gym, on slippery rain-soaked sidewalks, or even on muddy trails.

PERFORMANCE

So, who benefits from the FuelCell Prism? While it’s classified as a stability trainer, those features are very modest and don’t make it actually feel like a stiff stability trainer. It is the perfect marriage between stability and neutral running, which makes this shoe perfect for just about everyone. If you are reluctant to invest in a stability trainer because you need something lightweight and is made to move, this shoe is a great choice.

This is really the Goldilocks of shoes as far as performance is concerned. If you often float between speed and distance and also like to dabble in HIIT, this shoe is built for just about anything. Plus, it boasts very subtle stability features that help to lock your foot down and ease it into a nice and even gait cycle.

FIT

While the New Balance Men's FuelCell Prism runs true to size overall, there are a few issues when it comes to the overall fit. New Balance is known for wide and roomy trainers, but this shoe is surprisingly narrow. Some runners even found that the toe box tends to crunch up their toes, which is pretty unusual for New Balance.

The good news, however, is that this shoe is offered in wide options as well. I suggest taking ample measurements of your foot and comparing it to New Balance’s size chart to save you a trip to the returns counter. If you need a good deal of room to allow your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe, I would recommend opting for a wide option. The fit of the upper and unique lacing system will ensure that the shoe fits your foot properly while giving your toes ample room in the toe box.

What I loved about the overall fit of this shoe, however, is the construction of the heel counter. It is composed of rigid materials that really hug your foot and promote excellent lockdown without rubbing your ankles raw.

STYLE

New Balance can sometimes be referred to as the ‘dad shoe’ when it comes to their style, and the FuelCell Prism tried to be a little bit more modern. The elf-heel is something often found on sleek and modern runners from Nike, but the overall cut of the shoe may invoke your inner dad-jokes. This shoe tries to be a little bit more modern and edged, but to me it just falls a little short.

While the overall silhouette leaves much to be desired (at least to me), I love the unique color option available. If you love neutral colors, New Balance has you covered. It is also available and bright and happy colors such as neon yellow, red, and blue.

PRICE

Overall, this New Balance shoe clocks in at a really handsome price point. While they aren’t exactly budget-friendly trainers, they are far from the most expensive running shoes out there on the market. When you consider the modest stability features built into this shoe, as well as the modern fit and versatile design, this shoe is worth every penny.

It is important to note, however, that they aren’t as durable as some of the other stability trainers out there on the market that boast that high price point. Many runners found that the FuelCell midsole starts to flatten out over time. While the durable rubber outsole and tough upper will last for hundreds of miles, the honeymoon period of the responsive midsole is a little shorter than I would have liked.
Verdict
Personally, I feel that New Balance really nailed the construction and performance of the FuelCell Prism. This shoe is the new kid on the block in the New Balance lineup of FuelCell trainers, and the advanced features and unique fit really make it stand out from the pack. I recommend this shoe for any runners that are looking to graduate from stiff and blocky stability trainers without losing those helpful stability features that help with overpronation issues.

The FuelCell Prism is classified as a stability trainer, and in some regards it’s true. It has a thicker midsole that really helps to cushion and cradle your foot, and a modest medial post to help guide your foot into a nice and even gait. However, when you lace them up to take them for a run, they perform much like a neutral trainer. They are incredibly lightweight, boast a flexible mesh upper, and are made for quick and snappy movements as well as long distances.
Where to Buy
Holabird Sports Link
$79.95See Deal
Custom Store Link
See Deal
rei.com Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
By Tara Summerville
Last updated:
Ana Nodilo
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 29. 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.