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SHOE REVIEW: New Balance FuelCell Rebel

Meet the newest speed shoe in your running shoe rotation

The New Balance Rebel is the latest and, in my opinion, greatest shoe from the company. I’m a track runner, and I like going fast, so this shoe suits me perfectly. A few things this shoe is not: it’s not a cruiser, it’s not a soft shoe, this isn’t for your easy runs. What this shoe is is a performance-oriented speed trainer that’s designed to help you move. This shoe is noticeably responsive and feels bouncy when you run.

Photo: Matt Stetson

RELATED: New Balance releases carbon-plated shoe

Shoe category: Neutral
Drop: 6 mm
Price: $169.99
Cushion: Responsive
Weight: 208 grams
Surfaces tested: Road, track, trail
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When I wore the Rebel for my first run I was, admittedly, feeling trashed. I’d raced the evening before and hadn’t slept properly after, so the legs weren’t feeling great, but this shoe turned the run I was dreading into a fun outing. The Rebel was great for a 10K jog, and the firm but bouncy shoe helped me through my run.

Ideal surfaces

I’ve also tried this shoe on the track, and speed suits this shoe. The Rebel preformed well during 200m intervals and felt like a very acceptable replacement for the New Balance 1400’s I usually wear when I’m trackside. But the place this shoe shines is really on the road. Lacing up the Rebels for a Sunday morning tempo was a great idea. This shoe is a total dream for a tempo workout–it’s light and snappy enough to keep you moving but there’s enough cushion that you don’t feel like you’re running barefoot.


Shoe shape

I have a very narrow foot, so I was a little concerned when I saw what the upper looked like. Typically I’ll use the last eyelet to do what’s called the ‘lace lock’ at the top of my shoe, but that’s not an option on the Rebel. But the moulded heel counter quickly solved that issue, keeping my foot in place without creating any hot spots.

Photo: Matt Stetson

The one catch

My one criticism: this shoe isn’t great on slick surfaces. If you’re running through some mud or it’s particularly wet on the road, the shoe can slip a little. This is fairly predictable as the blown rubber sole is extremely minimal, designed to keep the shoe light. And the truth is, when you’re doing fast road or track work which is what the shoe is designed for, you’re typically not concerned with mud.

This shoe is an ideal racing shoe for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon. It’s also a great speed shoe to have on tap for your fast training days. The shoe is available now in Canada.

The FuelCell 5280, New Balance’s carbon-plated shoe, is set to release in September.