When New Balance unveiled its four-piece range of FuelCell running shoes, the main focus was on the 5280. The innovative shoe combines a carbon fiber plate with the springy but lightweight FuelCell foam to create a custom race shoe designed for it Set records over a mile.
However, there are not many amateur runners who are obsessed with racing 1-mile races, and have spent a few weeks running in the 5280-Stablemate, the FuelCell Rebel, with New Balance aligned the headlight in the wrong place. The Rebel is a sensational running shoe that helps runners train and race.
The Rebel costs £ 120, though not cheap, but cheaper than many flagship shoes, which tend to cost more than £ 150.
The midsole is made of New Balances FuelCell foam, which is lightweight and offers more rebound as any other foam used in the running shoes of the company. The Rebel, according to New Balance, is an attempt by the company to turn some of the 5280's innovations into a lightweight, fast-moving day trainer, even though it does not have the carbon plate used in the 5280.
The result is a shoe that weighs only 208 g, although the bottom is comfortably padded. A combination that is characterized mainly by speed and hard, long training runs and at the same time remains a great race option.
I've tried the Rebel for a variety of runs and it has always impressed me. The FuelCell foam is soft and comfortable, but the rebound in the shoe makes the pace easier. When I used the Rebel, I almost always realized that I was running a bit faster than I thought when I looked at the clock.
The first weekend that I wore them, I took them for an 8-km race on Saturday and a 20-km cross-country race on Sunday. After that, I used the shoe for some training on the track and several easy runs. The only mistakes I would make with it are that there is a little bit of speed when it comes to making short repetitions on the track, and that it's not as soft as many wish for really easy runs ,
Rebel is brilliant and has done well on the 20km race. The sleek, responsive ride makes driving fast. It feels similar to Saucony foams Everun and Boost, but is much lighter and makes the Rebel a better race option.
The shoe that the Rebel really reminded me of was the Nike Pegasus Turbo, which was my favorite new release from last year. In both cases, running quickly feels comfortable even when not designed as an all-round racer, and both can be used for all parts of running. An advantage of the Rebel, however, is that it is considerably cheaper than the Pegasus Turbo, which costs £ 159.95.
There is a flange on the outside of the Rebel for extra stability, especially when running hard. It looks a bit strange, but I did not notice it while running. Maybe it helped, maybe it did not work, but at least it was not annoying.
The Rebel was a little small, and although the upper could stretch a little over time, I would say, cut it in half. One size larger would be worthwhile. The mesh upper keeps your foot safe and comfortable in place and I did not find the shoe hot during long runs.
All running shoe brands are doing their best to convince you of the benefits of their proprietary midsole, but the New Balance FuelCell lives up to the hype and the Rebel offers a responsive yet comfortable ride. It is at its best with tempo and long runs and a great option for races over 5 km, especially for half marathons and marathon distances.
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