Friday, July 24, 2020

New Balance FuelCell Prism Multi Tester Review

By Hope Wilkes, Jamie Hershfang, Sally Reiley, Michael Ellenberger, and Sam Winebaum


New Balance FuelCell Prism ($120)

Stats

Weight:: men's 8.1 oz / 230g (US9).  women’s 7.1 oz / 198 g (US8)

 Samples: men’s US8.5:  7.83 oz oz / 220g,  women’s US 8: 7.1 oz / 198 g

6mm drop

Available now.  $120


Pros:

Sam/Jamie: very light weight for a posted stability shoe with plenty of cushion 

Sam: co-molded post is noticed but seamless in feel to rest of midsole

Sam/Sally: lively, bouncy but stable platform. Handles all paces well

Sam: post acts as a pivot moving foot to transition

Sam: single layer very breathable and light engineered mesh upper (similar to TC)  with outstanding bootie free hold

Sam/Jamie: light with wide versatility: daily training, workouts, racing and as such a solid value 

Sally: upper is very breathable and holds foot securely without bootie tongue

Sally: love the stretchy laces

Michael/Jamie: Seamless yet meaningful stability posting

Michael: Upper and laces are top-notch

Hope: Felt the post distinctly at first, but didn’t notice it after the first couple of miles I ran in the shoe


Cons:

Sam: forefoot cushion is a bit thin and firm. Wish for the rear stability here with the easier going more cushioned toe off of Propel

Sally: achilles pad holds well but hits a bit high for my heel

Michael/Hope/Sally/Jamie: No spring; slightly soft and even dull at slower speeds

Jamie: New Balance logo seam on the upper rubbed into my toe


Reviewer Bios here

Stats

Weight:: men's 8.1 oz / 230g (US9).  women’s 7.1 oz / 198 g (US8)

  Samples: men’s US8.5:  7.83 oz oz / 220g,  women’s US 8: 7.1 oz / 198 g

6mm drop

Available now.  $120


First Impressions and Fit

Hope: There’s no avoiding it: looks are hardly the point, but the Prism is a handsome shoe. New Balance is giving the other big brand that starts with N a run for their money in the style department! I was impressed with how light these were in hand. I didn’t realize they were a stability shoe until I laced them up. Oh, there’s the post! If you’re usually more comfortable in neutral shoes like I am, I’d encourage you to do what I did next: stick it out. At first, I felt the post distinctly on each footstrike which was less than welcome. Luckily, the Prism softened up after a couple of miles and I didn’t feel the post again throughout the rest of the 60+ miles I put on the shoe.


Michael: I didn’t expect to test the FuelCell Prism, but when it showed up on my doorstep, I was immediately impressed: is this a plate-less FuelCell TC? The silhouette is certainly there; the FuelCell Prism is one of the better looking trainers on the market, and very much in the ilk of the TC. But after trying them on - and logging some thick summer miles in the Prism - I’m sorry to report that the Prism isn’t quite at the level of the FuelCell TC… but is a solid, well-done trainer, and perhaps the best lightweight stability option on the market today. 


Jamie: A good looking shoe out of the box. Some similarities to the looks of the Nike Zoom Elite, as well as the fit of the shoe. Spacious room in the toebox yet hugs the foot well. Was expecting it to feel quite a bit more rigid given the stability post, but definitely surprised me with the soft, lightweight cushion. 

Sam: I really like the unified design language for the three key FuelCell models we are testing: TC, Prism, Propel v2. Not only the iridescent midsoles but the single layer engineered mesh uppers with 3d structure and the “paint and overlay jobs”. As with the TC the Prism fits true to size and securely despite the light upper. 

Sally: Definitely a great looking shoe! I was wary of testing this because I am a neutral runner who has no need for stability, but fellow neutral runners take note: I never felt the stability post in this shoe. It fits very comfortably right out of the box (true to size). Like Michael, I have been totally impressed with the aesthetics, fit, and superb performance of the Fuel Cell TC, and was hoping this would serve as a complementary non-plated trainer for those who do (or don’t) want a little bit of stability.


Upper

Hope: Sleek, lightweight, easy to adjust, and gives excellent lockdown. A simple description of a simple upper. 

I especially appreciated the airier mesh on the tongue, but wish the tongue would’ve stayed centered a bit better -- the tongue loop isn’t doing much work. On the negative side, I had a weird experience while running in heavy rain in the Prism. Do you remember the 2015 Berlin Marathon where Eliud Kipchoge won with the insoles of his shoes flapping all around? The issue I had wasn’t quite on that level, but the insoles did get unseated and bunched up badly under my feet for a couple of miles. Everything dried fine and I haven’t had any issues since in dry conditions, but it’s something to be aware of. The good news is, if you need an orthotic or would prefer to use your own insoles, at least you know the Prism’s factory insoles aren’t glued down.

Michael: New Balance has been cranking out some seriously good uppers this generation, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that this one is well done, too. I like the sublimated flying NB around the toes - a nice branding effect without any obtrusive overlay - and found lockdown to be quite good. I also had some quirks with the tongue sliding laterally - a full bootie construction would have been nice in a performance-oriented trainer like this one - but not enough to make me dislike wearing the Prism, and nothing a quick tug at a stoplight couldn’t fix. The flat laces are well done and I had no issues with breathability or loosening of the shoe over time. It feels like the FuelCell TC - and that’s a good thing.


I’ll note - I did not have issues with the insole coming unseated (as Hope did), but the only times I’ve ever had that happen have been in New Balance (and I know Derek has experienced the same), so whatever NB does to anchor their insoles in place… they could do with something a bit more serious.

Jamie: I love how lightweight and flexible this upper gives. However, after a few longer runs in them, the seam on the upper rubbed my toe the wrong way. If New Balance were to take this logo and make it a little softer, I don’t think there would have been any issues. Given the thick humidity in Chicago this summer, the shoes became fairly drenched after several miles. While the upper feels pretty light and breathable, it might not be as ventilated as I thought.

Sam: Truly a state of the art upper here. We have rapidly gone from stretch or no so stretch knits a la Flyknit to heavier duty engineered mesh Jacquard and such to now single layer highly engineered or simple meshes ( Skechers Speed Elite, Nike Next%, etc..) which are lighter, more breathable, and have great hold with a bootie as in the Prism. I have zero issues with the upper but wish it was touch more pliable and soft,  

Sally: This upper looks and works great. It would benefit from being a bit less stiff, however. I did not have any issues with rubbing, though the extended achilles heel pad took some getting used to (and I had to make sure to wear socks without an achilles tab, meaning they are not compatible with my favored Smartwool lowcut running socks). I had no issues with the tongue, and was impressed with the New Balance stretchy laces that stayed tied (though they were on the longer side).


Midsole

Sam: We have a main FuelCell midsole here in a firmness of 45C which is exactly the same firmness as the Propel v1 and upcoming v2. Many factors beyond firmness enter into feel such as the materials themselves (unknown) and the outsole design. Compared to NB’s performance oriented older RevLite foam NB says FuelCell midsoles have a minimum of 39% more rebound.

On the medial side we have a “post” of firmer material at 65C which is a firmness similar to many outsole rubbers. Before I had this info from New Balance, pressing the post and seeing how firm it was I was scared the support element for pronation which the post is would be overly felt in combination with the rest of the midsole, something that while I don’t mind some pronation control at times I can’t stand. 


The post is co-molded and not glued into place so there is no glue interface and when run no abrupt change in feel between soft and firmer areas. Yes one feels that their is more support but it does not get in the way as some posts and so far except for the Altra Provisions soft foam rails the new trend towards rails at the top of the midsole feel. Can’t stand any of them. Rails have less to do with foot pronation and seek to stabilize the knee to maybe prevent injuries. Shoes with this approach include the Brooks Ravenna and Adrenaline and Nike Infinity React all considerably heavier shoes than our Prism here.


The feel of the whole package is well cushioned and stable at the rear and somewhat thin feeling at the forefoot. The post in addition to providing that stability had for me a distinct feeling of acting as a sort of pivot from mid foot towards toe off.


I found the foam’s ride very pleasant at slower paces and less mushy than the broader heel platform with no post Propel. I must say I did not feel as much rebound as I expected. Could the compression due to the softness use a bit more bounce or spring? I think so. The TC with maybe an even slightly softer FuelCell but with a carbon plate has a much more dynamic rebound. A nylon plate in the mix  up front would likely help a lot


Hope: The main event here is the medial post. I think NB has done an admirable job creating a fairly smooth shoe despite the post. I’m not a materials science engineer, but it makes sense to me that a post that’s co-molded with the rest of the midsole is going to feel more like the rest of the midsole and less like a traditional post. A light stability shoe that can foreground stability performance rather than stability feel is a great achievement, and I think NB has accomplished that here. That said, despite its smooth feel, the midsole is otherwise a bit lacking in personality. I found it soft and at times lifeless. A light weight is not enough to make a shoe feel fast and dynamic, so I’m hoping NB can remake the Prism with some FreshFoam for some springiness or REVlite for some pop. The EVA used here is the same durometer as the FuelCell Propel, another NB shoe I dinged for being too soft. I’m not just a firm shoe head -- soft has its place! But I think that place isn’t in a sub-8 oz uptempo trainer.

Michael: At the onset, I have to agree with Hope here - while I think this may be the best lightweight stability trainer on the market today (and NB deserves serious kudos for that), the cushion here is overly mushy and just not bouncy enough to really give this shoe that little extra “something.” Remember when I said I knew nothing about this shoe when first trying it out? I had expected FuelCell TC-level bounce… and man, those first few strides out the door were a bummer! The Prism is much more Propel v1 than TC and while ultimately I don’t think it’s a bad thing… it was a bit of an unwelcome shock, all told. After a few miles (and on subsequent runs), I lost the sense of disappointment in comparison, but not necessarily the slight disappointment of what I wish was just a bouncier, more “fun” midsole. Especially in a lighter, more performance-oriented trainer, I prefer a firmer, more responsive midsole, and the Prism just misses the mark on that. It’s not bad (not by any means!) but it’s lackluster in its cushion.


Let’s talk about that stability - New Balance has added some firm inserts to the medial side and I genuinely feel this is the best-done stability implementation yet (in consideration of the Brooks Ravenna’s GuideRails, the ASICS DS-Trainer’s DuoMax, Skecher’s dual-denisity midsole on the Forza, or Nike’s nameless setup on the Infinity Run). It’s effortlessly smooth but undoubtedly supportive - at fast and slow paces, you can appreciate the little extra support packed in by the co-molded compression EVA. Honestly, this is one of the best (or most seamless) integrations between midsole and stability element I’ve ever run in.


Jamie: As someone who runs in a neutral trainer on a daily basis, I was quite surprised with how smooth and soft this shoe felt. I appreciate how most shoes are starting to trend away from a rigid, medial post, and lean towards a more dynamic type of support. It’s hard to find many stability shoes that feel soft, and the cushioning of the Prism was very pleasant to run in. However, I would have to agree with Michael and Hope on the lack of “fun” throughout the run. At faster paces, it lacks that extra bounce to propel you forward. Over longer distances, it can feel a little flat at times. However, for a daily trainer, it’s lightweight and soft enough to absorb impact relative to other trainers in a similar weight category. New Balance definitely got the stability right on this shoe, and the wide platform feels very stable. 


Sally: Hope said it well: this midsole lacks personality. Not bad, but not great. The landing is nice and soft, the support is there but unobtrusive, but the energy return and rebound I was hoping for at toe-off is lacking in the forefoot. It is a lightweight and pleasant daily trainer, but not the peppy uptempo shoe I was expecting (we are spoiled by the bouncy, fast, and FUN Fuel Cell TC, but remember that shoe costs $200).


Outsole

Hope: Wicked grippy! During the run I mentioned above in a serious downpour, I was bounding through huge puddles in the dark with total confidence. While the toebox looks pointy in typical NB fashion, the shoe has a wide platform that enhances stability. Combined with the generous application of outsole rubber (which is heavily textured around the outer edges), this adds up to a shoe that had me feeling as sure-footed as a billy goat on sidewalks, roads, and a little gravel. I’ll note that the outsole durability doesn’t seem world-beating and wear might even be a touch heavy on my pair at this point in its life, but it seems acceptable for a $120 shoe.


Jamie: No issues here with exposed foam, which makes me believe the Prism is going to be pretty durable. Great on the roads, as well as softer surfaces. No issues with slipping thanks to the rubber outsole, especially in the high impact areas. 

Michael: Here, New Balance has done it again. The Prism is packed with an adequate dose of blown rubber on the outsole (especially around the medial and lateral strike zones of the outsole), I don’t think many runners are going to have issues with traction or premature outsole wear. Especially at a lower-tier price point of $120, I’m appreciative that New Balance has made a shoe that should last (I’m looking at you, Hoka Rincon).


Sally: I believe a good outsole is one that does its job without you being aware of it; this outsole works for me. It is quiet (loud slappy outsoles are my pet peeve, did you hear that Adidas SL20?), grippy, and built to last the miles. 


Ride

Hope: I didn’t love it, but I didn’t mind it either. I would’ve appreciated a lot more responsiveness from the shoe at the end of long runs, but I was grateful that the Prism’s light weight didn’t beat up my legs. I forgot I was wearing them at times which is a high compliment. Certainly moderate your expectations: NB is doing great things, but they aren’t putting all of their latest and greatest tech into a $120 shoe. It’s good, but it’s not going to compare favorably against “super shoes.”


Jamie: A smooth ride, but lacks the bounce I look for in a fun daily trainer. Felt a little flat halfway into some longer runs, and didn’t provide that extra pop I needed to run at faster paces. I was quite impressed with the almost unnoticeable stability, and how soft it felt in comparison to others in the same category (870, Ravenna, DS-Trainer). It’s a nice option, but wouldn’t necessarily be my new “go-to” daily trainer. 


Michael: I probably tipped my hand in the midsole section, but I was ultimately underwhelmed with the overall performance of the shoe, if undoubtedly impressed with the integration of the stability posting. This isn’t quite the LunarGlide replacement I think many of us were hoping for - there just isn’t enough bounce to this midsole to really help it take off. I want to be clear - the ride here is good, and the shoe is sufficiently light that it should still make for a decent lightweight trainer for those who need some medial support… but there just isn’t that extra “pop” to really make me fall in love with the Prism. 


Sam: While I tend to agree the ride is not as exciting  as I would like with not enough toe off snap spring or bounce but at a shade over 8 oz / 230g  for a well cushioned stability shoe you get a very adequate all paces ride. I really enjoyed the light weight and stability for easier runs when I didn’t want to drag out a heavier duty 2-3 ounce shoe but wanted to track straight and true and not think much about form. At faster paces they were fine but there are many other choices with more distinct personalities. Put these two together and you get plenty of subtle stability, light weight, any pace 


Sally: The Prism has a decently smooth ride and a flexible toe-off, but lacked the pep I was hoping for. It is soft without the bounce needed to return the energy. I found myself wishing for a much firmer forefoot so as to propel me forward as I increased the effort. 


Conclusions and Recommendations

Hope: If you think you’d benefit from a touch of stability, the Prism is one of the best uptempo trainers available. Easily 9.5/10 for that category of runner. For neutral runners who are looking for a lightweight budget-friendly model, I’m less enthusiastic about the Prism since the midsole leaves a lot to be desired.

Hope’s Score: 8.65/10

-.1 for lack of reflective trim

-1.25 for blah midsole


Jamie: A solid addition to the lightweight/stability trainer category. A wider platform adds to the overall stability. While the cushioning is definitely softer, it lacks the bounce to make it a fun shoe. As a neutral runner, I appreciate the dynamic support the Prism offers, but leaves me wanting just a bit more. For those looking for a supportive, performance trainer, I think the Prism is a great option, versatile for most surfaces and distances. 

Jamie’s Score: 8.5/10


Michael: Fortunately for New Balance (and perhaps unfortunately for the consumer), I think the lightweight/performance stability trainer category is the weakest across all running shoes right now. The recent updates to the DS-Trainer and Ravenna have been underwhelming, and the gap left by Nike’s LunarGlide has perhaps not yet been filled. The biggest competition is Skecher’s Forza 4 Hyper, which is undoubtedly a fast option (and certainly bouncier than New Balance’s Prism), but doesn’t necessarily integrate the stability posting as well.


Under that pretense, saying the New Balance FuelCell Prism is the best option in the field shouldn’t come as a ringing endorsement… but shouldn’t be a death sentence, either. As an entirely new shoe, built of a really good platform, I think the Prism has the potential to dominate this category - hell, it’s one bouncy midsole away from being one of the best in years. But what NB has packed in here isn’t quite enough to hook me, and while I think at $120, this shoe should (and I hope does!) sell competitively, it isn’t quite the silver bullet I was hoping for.

Michael’s Score: 8.7/10


Sam: Not going to set the world or your wallet on fire as this reasonably priced, very light new stability option does what it is supposed to with a totally modern design, a great upper, and decent any pace performance and best of all for me without the stability bothering me or really even being noticed, so a huge win in that department. 


If you want to go light, get some support while not feeling burdened by a post, rail or an overdone upper the Prism is a great choice. I do wish it was a bit more exciting in ride and could well see what a front nylon plate in the mix might lead to here given the soft midsole or rethinking of the front outsole with potentially more thickness as the Saucony Ride 13 and Ghost 13 have to give the front when a midsole is soft more pop. With those kind of improvements the Prism would have more value,  If you want a light training or even racing ride with support in a single do it all shoe it is a solid new option to compete against NB own 1500 more a racer,  Kinvara, Ravenna, Arahi, Forza, and Infinity React in the lighter stability category and if you are a neutral runner who wants a touch more support at times without overdoing it is a fine new alternative for you too.

Sam’s Score: 8.8 / 10

Ride: 8.6 (50%) Fit: 9.3 (30%) Value: 8.7(15%) Style: 9 (5%)


Sally: The Prism checks all the boxes for the runner who needs stability in a lightweight performance trainer, and as a bonus it comes in an incredibly sleek good looking package. As a neutral runner who doesn't often run in a stability shoe, I was pleasantly surprised not to feel the medial post, but appreciated the subtle support anyway. But the Prism did not WOW me in the ride: soft and somewhat bouncy, but not bouncy enough to make it fast and fun. Reality check: Not every run needs to be fast, so this shoe is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight daily trainer that has some stability. While 2020 is proving to be a uniquely challenging year for runners with no racing to speak of, it has become likewise challenging for shoe companies: it is tough to create a stand-out shoe when so many outstanding shoes are coming to market! The Prism is good, but not great.

Sally’s score: 8.6/10


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


New Balance FuelCell 890v8 (RTR Review)

Sam: Due to its firmer (than Prism) FuelCell midsole and its more performance oriented upper the 890v8 is inherently stable without a post. Its ride is firmer, stiffer, and more responsive at faster paces but not as forgiving as Prism taken slow, It leans more workouts, short tempo shoe while Prism leans daily training to tempo. If I had to pick between these two it would be Prism any day.


New Balance FuelCell Propel v1  (RTR Review)

Hope: I found the Propel overly soft -- so much so that it didn’t really live up to its promise of propulsion. Despite having the same midsole density, I found the Prism to feel a touch less spongy underfoot (perhaps due to its greater outsole coverage) and its light weight is more compelling to me, so it’s my pick.

Michael: I went back and read my review of the FuelCell Propel, which I concluded as follows: “Propel is an enjoyable, if slightly mushy, daily trainer that should check a lot of boxes for a lot of runners.” Sounds familiar. Both the Propel and the Prism are good options, held back by a lack of firmness, but still quite good in a lot of ways. If you want the extra stability (or prefer the slightly more aggressive profile), I think the Prism is a great option. Otherwise, the Propel v1 is a strong choice (with v2 coming soon!).

Sam: The heavier Propel has the same FuelCell midsole firmness on a wider platform and without a post is softer and is less stable,


Watch Sam's comparison video Prism vs. Propel v1 vs 890v8



New Balance FuelCell Propel v2  (RTR Review soon)

Michael: I have only just begun testing the Propel v2, but despite their platforms appearing quite different, the Prism and new Propel are actually relatively comparable shoes. Yes, the Prism has a nice hint of added stability, but both shoes are soft and squishy underfoot with sufficient support (even in the Propel) for most runners. The Propel v2 is a bit heftier at 9.2 oz in my 8.5. True stability-wearers will appreciate the Prism, of course, but those who simply need a relatively structured platform should have success in the Propel v2… I think between the two, I prefer the slightly-more-nimble Prism, though mileage hogs will love the durable outsole and midsole heft on the Propel. Close call between two good (but perhaps not great trainers)... I’d take Prism, but those with specific use cases should take note!

Sally: I have just started testing the Propel v2 and never ran in the v1, and my initial reaction is that I prefer the Prism by a long shot. Two similar shoes, both TTS in W8 for me, but the Propel fit my narrow fit a bit too generously, with too much available width at the midfoot. Both a bit softer underfoot than my preference for a trainer, but we can’t always be wearing the much pricier plated supershoes. The Prism, though sluggish in its own soft way at faster paces, felt peppier than the Propel v2 (which will get further testing for a more definitive opinion).


New Balance FuelCell Rebel  (RTR Review)

Michael: Extremely different platforms here; the Rebel is a very firm, plastic-plated performance trainer that is conducive to uptempo running. The Prism, while perhaps not the mushiest option, is not nearly as lively. I think the Rebel could use a little dampening and the Prism a little firming up (basically right where the TC exists), but I think between the two, I do prefer the FuelCell Rebel.


New Balance FuelCell TC  (RTR Review)

Michael: My review (above) is filled with comparisons to the TC, so I’ll put it briefly here: unless you’re sure you need some posting, or are priced out, you should get the FuelCell TC. It’s one of the bounciest, liveliest, most fun trainers in the recent past and a considerably more dynamic option than the prism.

Sam: Totally agree with Michael. The TC is considerably more expensive at $200 but well worth it. With apparently the same softer FuelCell foam or close in firmness the addition of the carbon plate and more forefoot stack make a huge difference in ride quality although the TC clearly does not have a support element in its mix beyond the plate, maybe, 

Sally: I am in total agreement with Michael and Sam here. THe Fuel Cell TC remains one of my top two shoes of 2020 (sharing the podium with the Saucony Endorphin Speed). But there is a huge price differential here.


Saucony Guide 13 (RTR Review)

Hope: I prefer the smoother transitions and lighter weight of the Prism. The stability features in the Guide 13 are less friendly to neutral runners than the more subtle post and wide platform of the Prism.  

Sam: I agree with Hope. The medial side TPU plate which goes up the sidewall and wraps a ways underfoot is far more noticed than the co-molded post of the Prism. The Guide 13 also weighs more than 2 oz more. The Prism upper is far lighter, more breathable, and almost as supportive.


Saucony  Kinvara 11 (RTR Review)

Sam: The support oriented K shoe weighs 0.3 oz less and has a 4mm drop. It has far less outsole rubber for sure so may not be as durable as the Prism. Their midsoles actually feel quite similar with the Kinvara having a somewhat flatter but more rocker oriented ride in part also due to its 4mm drop vs. 6mm for the Prism and clearly more forefoot stack than Prism. While the Prism relies on its co molded post for support Kinvara relies on its midsole sidewall geometry. Prism is for sure more stable, about as cushioned if a bit more at the heel and thinner feeling at the forefoot. I would say Prism is a better daily training shoe and Kinvara a better tempo and race shoe.

Sally: I really enjoyed running in the Kinvara 10, the 11 not as much. But as Sam points out, the Kinvara responds to a faster pace better than the Prism. I would likewise choose the Prism for those comfortable daily training runs.


Hoka One One Arahi 4 (RTR Review)

Sam: A different approach to stability with the Arahi with a very broad on the ground platform and a J Frame under the medial side for the support. The Arahi is clearly more cushioned especially at the forefoot and relies far more on activating its rocker to move along than the flex of the shoe as in the Prism.


Nike Infinity React (RTR Review)

Sam: Somewhat heavier for sure, with a bouncy liviler React midsole and a broad on the ground platform the Infinity starts to fall apart in its use of plastic side rails which for me just get in the way of transitions way more than the medial post of the Prism which I can also distinctly feel acting as a pivot to toe off. Get rid of the rails and inherently stable Infinity would be a clear winner as a daily trainer over the Prism for me. Even at its higher price and weight, rails and all most will find the Infinity more versatile as a stability option if you think you need it.


Nike Vomero 14 (RTR Review)

Hope: The Vomero 14 is the best non-carbon plated shoe from Nike in a long time. Don’t @ me! I bought two pairs. It’s a monster performer that’s a lot more fun than the Prism if you can afford the cost and the weight.

Sam: I agree with Hope. The Vomero 14 was my 2018 shoe of the year for its inherently stable heel area and lively thinner forefoot with plenty of flex. Despite its relatively  greater weight at faster paces it outperforms the Prism with at least equal stability and a snappier forefoot toe off. 


Brooks Ravenna 10 (RTR Review)

Hope: The Ravenna 10 reminds me of previous versions of the Launch (before Brooks made it too firm and blocky), just plussed up for a little extra stability. If you can find it on sale, I think it’s more fun than the Prism and has more pop and flexibility in the forefoot.

Michael: I wasn’t a big fan of the Ravenna; durability was good (and continued to be after I concluded my review) but the ride was lackluster and slightly clunky. The Prism has a more appealing ride - owing in large part to the shaved weight - and the embedded support is better in the New Balance than the Brooks. Neither is perfect, but I like the Prism.


Skechers Forza 4 Hyper (RTR Review)

Michael: I distinctly prefer the Forza 4 between these two options, but I’m hesitant to make a blanket statement on which is superior. The Skechers is a bouncier ride, with that Hyperburst midsole providing a good deal of feedback, but there is a weird, bifurcated sensation between the stability and cushion “halves” of the shoe. Moreover, while the firmer and poppier Skechers ride is more fun at faster clips, it breaks down at slower speeds and can come off a little clunky. Runners who want a stability shoe for recovery or long run days should probably side with the New Balance, but those who want to cover the spectrum and/or do some up-tempo running will have better luck in the Skechers!

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

After the initial, rather positive video review by Sam, the multi-tester review was rather less flattering than expected. I had also hoped to see the Prism compared to the Beacon 2 or possibly new Beacon 3 ??

Buck said...

Hi Sam, a bit off topic, but am interested to hear if RTR will be reviewing the Wave Rider 24 with its new Enerzy foam and apparently smaller and more flexible wave plate?

Jackson said...

I have a bunch of shoes in this category (NB Vongo 3, Arahi 4, Guide 13, Forza 4) and so far the Prism is definitely my favorite for speedwork. Its the lightest by a consideration margin - my M11 weights 266g vs 288 for the second-lightest Forza 4, up to 322g (!!) for the Guide 13. Perhaps I'm not lucky enough to try a full range of carbon plated racers, but it felt pretty good at pace for me - I was able to do a few very fast 200s.

I really wanted to like the Forza, but something about the rocket setup doesn't really work well with my stride and makes anything faster than easy days a huge struggle.