New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 Shoes Review
by iRUN Singapore on August 30, 2022
Weight: 218grams / 7.68oz (Men’s US 9.5)
Price: $199 SGD
Stack Height: 27.5/21.5mm [unconfirmed] (6mm drop)
Pros & Cons
Excellent Midsole Foam
Improved Width from v2
Toe Bumper Collapses Inwards Occasionally
Upper & Fit
The upper utilizes a thin engineered mesh with no sew overlays. The upper seems slightly thicker than the v2, though I did not notice much of a breathability difference. Hopefully, this upper holds up better than the v2. I’ve heard many instances where the upper on the lateral edge of the v2 tears prematurely.
The v3 included a new inner sleeve that connects to the tongue. This results in a snugger midfoot wrap without being too narrow. I found that the tongue in the v2 slipped around too much so this is a much welcome update. The midfoot feels better locked down in the shoe too. I did not need to use any lace lock lacing technique or even the last lace hole. I sized up half a size from my normal US 9. I noticed that the standard D width in the Rebel series tends to be shorter and narrower than many other options. Sizing up to US 9.5 was the right decision; it definitely helped with the width and length.
I did find a minor gripe with the upper, where the toe bumper overlay collapsed into my toes when I walked. I don’t think I experienced it during my runs yet, though it's important to note as some people might encounter abrasion issues.
Midsole & Ride
The midsole comprises New Balance’s signature FuelCell foam. This foam is known to be very soft and bouncy, and is found in many of my favourite New Balance shoes (RC Elite 2, Rebel 2). In the v3, New Balance decided to make this lightweight trainer more accommodated to the public. This is manifested in a slightly wider midsole platform and a small increase in midsole stack (roughly 1.5-2mm). So far, I have not been able to find the exact stack numbers.
These two changes, while small, are definitely noticed. The Rebel v3 feels a step closer to a daily trainer, and would accommodate more casual runners who want a shoe that could serve various purposes while still remaining nimble and lightweight. These two changes are what I sought in the v2, and I’m glad that it has been implemented in the v3.
The ride is smooth and soft, akin to running on top of a bubble. Foot transitions are smooth and the forefoot is relatively flexible for a natural feel. Those who dislike plated shoes but want to try out one of the best foams on the market should definitely check this pair out. I found that the Rebel v3 worked really well at all paces but recovery ones, where I would have wanted a little more underfoot. The cushioning never felt like it was bottoming out. The versatility the Rebel v3 presents in an amazingly fun package definitely puts it up there as one of the best shoes of the year in my opinion.
Outsole & Durability
The outsole is made of the same NDURANCE rubber as the v2. The grip is on the average side; it works well on rougher surfaces but doesn’t give me that much security on sharp turns. Wet weather grip isn’t great, so take note when going fast in the rain!
The outsole durability also concerns me. Being the same as the v2, I don’t expect the outsole to last here. I had signs of wear at merely 50km in the midfoot and forefoot areas (where I usually land). Based on my experience in the v2, the outsole tends to bottom out faster than normal. I would expect roughly 400-600km before the outsole disappears.
Areas of Improvement
Slightly more breathable upper
Improve outsole durability
The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 is a lightweight versatile trainer that excels at most paces. The slight increase in foam has transformed this speed day trainer to one that can tackle both faster and slower paces. This is definitely one of the best shoes of the year!
Reviewed by Xtride Running