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New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 - Women's Review

This shoe offers strong responsiveness and an ultra-lightweight ride
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New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 - Women's Review (We aren't sold on the upper of the Fuelcell Rebel v4.)
We aren't sold on the upper of the Fuelcell Rebel v4.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $140 List
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Manufacturer:   New Balance
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 12, 2024
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 24
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 7.5
  • Stability - 20% 5.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

The New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 is a geometrically designed shoe that will see you through your uptempo training. Weighing in at a light 6.0 ounces for a women's size 6.5, this 2mm drop shoe boasts incredibly underfoot functionality. The PEBA and EVA foam midsole is springy, adding that coveted pep to your step. The double-layer upper overlay keeps the weight low and helps this shoe feel incredibly light as you push your paces. Runners seeking a truly comfortable and versatile running shoe might not enjoy what the Rebel offers. But if you are in the market for a tempo run-focused shoe designed for shorter runs, this one could make a great addition to your quiver.
REASONS TO BUY
Ultra-lightweight
Responsive
Very breathable upper
REASONS TO AVOID
Moderate stability
Upper textile is scratchy
Lacks structure

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Bottom Line A geometrically-designed shoe that is great for uptempo runs when a lightweight shoe is what you needThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsFor epic versatility in a single shoe, we recommend this lightweight superstarWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easilyThe structure and comfort of this shoe make it a highly recommended option for long distance runners who want a reliable road running steed
Rating Categories New Balance FuelCel... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Saucony Kinvara 14... Brooks Adrenaline G...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.5
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
7.5
7.5
7.0
7.5
6.0
Stability (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
5.5
9.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.5
6.5
8.0
Weight (15%)
9.0
7.4
8.5
9.5
6.3
Specs New Balance FuelCel... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Saucony Kinvara 14... Brooks Adrenaline G...
Sizes Available 5 - 12 US, regular & wide 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 11 US, regular & wide 5 - 12 US, regular & wide 5 - 13 US, narrow, medium, wide & extra wide
Style Daily Neutral Daily Neutral Supportive
Measured Heel Stack Height 32 mm 40 mm 34 mm 30 mm 34 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 2 mm 9 mm 2 mm 5 mm 12 mm
Plate Type None None None None None
Rocker Angle 24 deg 22.0 deg 24.5 deg 26.0 deg 26.5 deg
Rocker Apex Location 66.70% 69.48% 65.38% 68.15% 71.43%
Measured Weight 6.00 oz 7.36 oz 6.27 oz 5.55 oz 8.21 oz
Upper Mesh Engineered knit mesh Creel jaqquard Mesh Engineered air mesh
Midsole PEBA/EVA Fuelcell FF Blast Plus Eco Supercritical EVA PWRRUN, PWRRUN+ DNA Loft v2
Outsole Rubber AHAR outsole Rubber XT-900 rubber Rubber
Heel Tab Type None Finger loop Extended heel pull Finger loop None

Our Analysis and Test Results

At only 6.00 ounces (women's size 6.5) with an energetic foam midsole, the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 is an uptempo shoe designed with quick leg turnover in mind.

Performance Comparison


new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - while it may not have our favorite fit, a few specific parts of the...
While it may not have our favorite fit, a few specific parts of the Rebel v4 are impressive.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Landing Comfort/Cushioning


With a PEBA and EVA Fuelcell midfoot, the comfortable bounce of the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 makes for a fun and rather soft ride. While not a shoe built for long-distance road runs, its slightly gentle nature makes it a comfortable choice for speedy runners looking to up their MPH in comfort. By no means a plush runner, the 32mm stack (as measured by our in-house testing team) provides a comfortable landing pad without feeling mushy. The responsive build of this shoe lends itself well to a comfortable underfoot bounce that many runners will enjoy.

new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - the geometrically-designed sole infuses landing comfort with pep for...
The geometrically-designed sole infuses landing comfort with pep for a good underfoot feel.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


The New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 is a bouncy and responsive running shoe, which makes it a great tempo run trainer. It maintains a low weight because it does not have a propulsive plate, and the pep comes from the specified Fuelcell foams in the midsole and geometric architecture. Since the Rebel does not have a plate, it lacks the traditional snap of firmer shoes. However, its soft, compressible foams feel almost springy as you bound toward quicker leg turnover.

new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - the responsiveness of this shoe's outsole is its crowning glory, but...
The responsiveness of this shoe's outsole is its crowning glory, but it seems like upper comfort features may have been neglected.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Stability


The Rebel v4 is not a stability shoe. This is evident from the moment you slip these lightweight kicks onto your feet. They have a slightly wide platform with an overall outsole width of 4.40 inches. This wide landing zone offers plenty of space for your toes to splay and your body to work with its own stability. The soft nature of the foam makes it easy to compress, which takes away from the overall stability of the outsole. The forefoot and upper are made of an engineered mesh that completely lacks structure, which we will discuss more in the upper comfort metric. The lack of true composition can feel unstable as it allows your feet to move around more than many other running shoes do. The heel collar is tapered to fit well but lacks the rigidity that many runners may prefer; squeezing the lateral edges of the heel cup together takes very little effort and strength. Ultimately, this is not a shoe to buy if stability is on your radar. While this does not make it a bad shoe by any stretch of the imagination, it lacks the structure we prefer to recommend to long-distance runners.

new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - the floppiness of the upper negates any feelings of stability with...
The floppiness of the upper negates any feelings of stability with the Fuelcell Rebel.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Upper Comfort


The New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 has a unique upper. The upper is comprised of a stiff and slightly scratchy-feeling single mesh overlay. The mesh in itself is not uncomfortable, but its shape and fit feel a bit off. The heel cup feels shallow, and the length of the shoe runs a bit small, but the mesh overlay of the toe box provides more space than necessary. It feels a bit like runners with taller feet might fill out the toebox space a bit better and have more luck running in this shoe. To its credit, the upper of the Rebel is incredibly lightweight, and its sock liner upper is comfortably stretchy. Unfortunately, the tongue is a bit short and slips down during runs, cutting down on the Rebel's overall security.

new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - the short tongue was difficult to position and annoyed us during our...
The short tongue was difficult to position and annoyed us during our runs.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


At only 6.0 ounces for a women's size 6.5, the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 is a lightweight shoe. There are shoes out there that weigh an ounce less, but for the average runner, a single ounce or two is hardly perceptible. The light rubber outsole feels incredibly light underfoot, which makes the entire shoe feel nearly weightless as you run. Though this is a speed-focused shoe, it does not have a carbon fiber plate, which helps keep the weight low.

new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - the rebel is impressively lightweight. we would rather run in a shoe...
The Rebel is impressively lightweight. We would rather run in a shoe that is a bit heavier and offers more comfort and thoughtful features.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Should You Buy the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4?


The technology is here for this shoe, but its slightly ill-fit makes it difficult for us to recommend outright. The New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v4 offers many of the components that we desire in our running shoes, but it is not the highest scoring speed shoe we've tested. If this shoe fits your foot and caters to the style of runs you enjoy executing, we think you will like it. If comfort and fit are your running shoe priorities, we have plenty of options, many of which are speed-focused, that might make better long-term training buddies.

new balance fuelcell rebel v4 for women - many runners enjoy what this shoe has to offer. if it checks your...
Many runners enjoy what this shoe has to offer. If it checks your boxes, you might be able to join the ranks of runners who like the Rebel v4. We just aren't in that camp with this version.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

What Other Road Running Should Should You Consider?


For combined comfort and responsiveness, our go-to recommendation is the Puma Deviate Nitro 2. While the Deviate Nitro has a thicker, less breathable upper, the forefoot fit offers significantly more security in a more traditional-feeling package. If top speeds are your vibe, the infamous Nike Alphafly 3 is akin to strapping jet packs to your feet. At double the price, however, the Alphafly feels a bit exclusionary. For a neutrally fast but comfortable running shoe that offers a balanced combination of all of our metrics, the Asics Novablast 4 is an excellent choice.

Ally Arcuri