Monday, February 01, 2021

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 Multi 10 Tester Review: Raising the Energy Level..Big Time!

Article by Jacob Brady, Derek Li, Jamie Hershfang, Sally Reiley, Renee Krusemark, Ryan Eiler, Bryan Lim, Adam Glueck, Cheng Chen, and Sam Winebaum


New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 ($130)


Stats

Approx. Weight: men's 7.33 oz / 208g (US9)  /  women's 6.0 oz / 171 g 

men’s 202g / 7.13oz US9.5, 244g / 8.6 oz (US12), 7.33 oz / 208g (US9)

233g / 8.22 OZ (US11), 7.05 oz / 200 g (US8)

women’s US8 a mere 6.0 oz / 171 g 

Prior version Estimated Weight: 6.9 oz / 196 g (US M9)

Stack Height (Official): 20 mm Forefoot / 26 mm Heel

Stack Height: Measured (Derek) 22mm Forefoot / 28mm Heel (including sockliner)

Available April, 2021. $130.  

Introduction

Jacob: Last year (2019) the Rebel was one of the first shoes released employing New Balance’s FuelCell midsole. FuelCell is a perfect example of a modern foam: soft, bouncy, and energetic. 


There has been a lot of innovation since the Rebel v1’s release and the FuelCell line has grown. It now includes the legendary carbon-plated trainer TC and racer RC Elite. The Rebel is a bouncy and propulsive uptempo trainer/speed day shoe. At v1’s release New Balance had no carbon-plated shoes. I was very excited for the Rebel v2 to see how New Balance updated this shoe using the technology or designs they’ve worked on over the past year.


Derek: New Balance should really use different nomenclature for its different Fuelcell formulae. I think it’s fair to say that Fuelcell is an incredibly versatile foam, and can feel very different in different versions. 


I actually got one of the first NB FuelCell shoes back in 2017, simply called the NB FuelCell, sporting a stiff plasticky midsole overlay, and a really firm midsole, which was purported to be TPU based at the time. 


Since then, in line with evolving preferences of the public, FuelCell shoes have become progressively softer in feel, moving from the FC Impulse in 2018 (still pretty firm) to the FC Rebel and Propel in 2019 (much softer and almost bouncy), and finally to the FC TC and RC Elite which are positively trampoline-like. All these shoes use the generic FuelCell moniker but I strongly suspect the base compounds in the foam are no longer TPU-based. 


Now we are looking at 2021, and the new Rebel 2 is a complete revamp of the Rebel line, with a new silhouette and… shall we say, a new foam… Rebel 1 was polarising in many ways for lots of people. I found the shoe to work really well with its lateral fin, but it was a little flat feeling and performed best as a short interval shoe for me. How would Rebel 2 stack up? Read on to find out. 


Jamie: After the first generation of FuelCell shoes, and the original Rebel v1, I was very excited to try the Rebel v2. With all the new carbon plated shoes on the market, it’s hard to find an uptempo, non plated shoe, that feels good running fast and can handle a decent amount of miles. While I found the original Rebel to feel a little flat and firm, unboxing v2 took me by surprise with how soft it felt, and was very excited to give these a go!


Sally: New Balance exceeded expectations for me in 2020, and I have really enjoyed running in the Fuel Cell TC and RC Elite. I never tried the Rebel 1, but was excited to have the opportunity to try a more readily available (ie, more affordable) to the masses Fuel Cell entry. 

Renee: I agree with Derek: FuelCell midsole is versatile and feels different depending on the shoe it’s used within. A runner could really dislike FuelCell in one shoe, and love it in another. In the case of the Rebel 2, the FuelCell (and basically everything else) is easy to love.


Bryan: As with Sally, I have never tried the Rebel 1, but my first foray into the FuelCell midsole was in the TC, which then was already very impressive in creating a trampolining ride. Following on what Derek and Renee have elaborated, I am in agreement that the FuelCell midsole and or its translation into ride quality varies from shoe to shoe. The Rebel 2 was not surprising in its lightweightness but in its revamped style and in the softness of the FuelCell midsole.

Adam:  I haven’t ran in any of New Balance’s other recent shoes so didn’t really have high or low expectations for the Rebel V2.   My initial impressions were a very light shoe combining a comfortable upper with a trampoline like foam.  I was curious to see how the shoe’s stability and responsiveness would respond to having such a soft foam without a stabilizing plate or stiff rocker.  

Sam: I never tested the Rebel v1 fearing a firm overly prescriptive kind of ride. The Rebel v2 softens things up with a new TPU/EVA autoclaved blend (as in the RC Elite) which while not changing the foam characteristics ( of firmness and rebound) of the TC much dramatically lightens weight as my US9 comes in at 7.33 oz / 208g . 


New Balance characterizes Fuel Cell as follows: "The Fuel Cell family is our line of performance, speed and rebound driven shoes but contrary to popular belief is not a midsole compound thus the vastly different rides of different shoes within the family."


The upper clearly is airy and far less dense than the TC or RC. As a heel striker at slower paces I feared the soft soft foam would be overly soft, out of control, or bottom out so I initially didn’t request a sample but hearing early comments from the team had to try them! I was not disappointed!


Peter: Late to the party and hearing the chatter I begged for a pair. I’ve put about 50 miles on them in the past 4 days--so that tells you something. I loved the TC, but it’s heavy to race in, the RC is pretty great for marathon paces, but I wouldn’t take it out for every day runs--so I was very curious to see how  the Rebel fits into the consistently excellent New Balance lineup. 


Cheng: 200 grams to the dot was what my scale read for the weight of a single shoe (US8). When held in the hands, this manifests as an uncanny feeling of being far lighter than expected. Without taking a single step, it's apparent that the second iteration of the Rebel is completely different from the first.


Michael: Is this our biggest review ever and the one with the one testers? There’s a reason so many of our runner-testers want to put down words about the Rebel v2 - it’s simply awesome. Find out more!


Pros:

Derek/Jacob/Sally/Ryan/Renee/Bryan/Adam/Sam/Cheng/Michael: excellent cushioning/weight ratio; very light under 7.33 oz men’s, 6 oz women’s

Derek/Ryan/Bryan/Sam/Cheng: Bouncy, rockered, forgiving ride

Jacob/Sally/Renee/Adam/Cheng/Michael: Soft, bouncy, and propulsive ride

Jacob/Renee/Adam/Sam/Cheng: Excellent, minimal, sleek, supportive and comfortable upper.

Jamie/Sally/Adam/Cheng: versatility for daily training and faster miles

Jacob: Flexible, free, barely-there upper and ride

Jamie/Adam: lightweight and super soft

Jamie: durable on all kinds of terrain

Peter: Light, bouncy, fun.


Cons:

Derek/Jacob/Ryan/Renee: outsole durability is not great

Ryan/Jacob/Sam/Michael: Highly flexible midsole doesn't provide much stability, and limits toe-off power

Jacob/Cheng: high flexibility without a plate makes it harder to lock-in and lowers its effortless feel and cruiseability

Ryan/Sam: Soft midsole can make the outsole feel like it's splaying out underfoot on certain types of asphalt

Adam/Cheng:  Flexibility loses a bit of the bounce of the midsole without a pronounced rocker.  

Peter: So bouncy and soft that it can feel unruly--a little hard to control. Not super stable. 

Adam: Not as stable on rutted roads/light trails due to softer foam.

Cheng: Cheap-looking heel material (see comments below) and midsole branding badges



Tester Profiles:  Please see our Reviewer Bios page HERE


First Impressions and Fit

Jacob: My first impressions were of excitement and hype. The Rebel v2 is extremely lightweight, sleek, soft, and looks elegant and high quality. I have been testing the Adidas Adios Pro (top-end carbon-plated marathon racer) and the Rebel v2 is dramatically lighter. A weighing confirms it’s low weight, at only 244g in my US Men’s 12 it is only a few grams heavier than the high-end racing RC Elite and the lightest trainer I have tested. 


Despite the light weight it has an amply thick, cushioned, super-soft midsole and substantial outsole.

The upper is thin and minimal with asymmetrical lacing. 


The styling is dramatic but not overdone and there is a sweet transforming midsole badge reading “FuelCell” or “New Balance” depending on viewing angle—check out that “N” styling as well!

The fit is simply excellent—the TC and RC Elite also fit me very well so those who have tried those can be confident in the Rebel v2. It is perfectly true to size for my medium width foot and comfortable despite minimal padding. The shoe is very flexible on foot and the unstructured upper lets it bend easily. Underfoot it is soft and if I lean around on my foot I can feel it compressing where I’m weighting it.

Derek: My first impression was “Dammnnnn..!!! They put a Zoom Fly SP upper on an unplated Vaporfly 4%” Just walking around, you know this thing is going to fly off the shelves. It’s not just that it is bouncy, it’s that it is bouncy in a forward propulsive manner. The fit is simple and effective, and true to size for me. The colorway I received looks great, and you immediately recognize that with the materials used for this upper, there is plenty of potential for other great colorways in the pipeline. 

Jamie: A shoe that looks good, and feels even better! For how light it feels, it definitely can handle the impact of the roads and trails. Fits true to size, and accommodates a wider toe box, which I definitely appreciate. Very flexible upper, yet a very secure lockdown. 

Sally: My first impression was WOW! Right out of the box, a great looking shoe with an eye-popping colorway. But the real wow factor came after trying the shoe on: true to size, accommodating toe box, flexible, but oh so soft and bouncy feeling. 

This shoe makes me want to head for the door and go on a run! 



Renee: The Rebel 2 is a lightweight, comfortable shoe with a high-performing midsole and ride. My first impression was “this is a great shoe,” and that impression holds after 150 miles. I could have easily run all of my weekly miles with these shoes if I ran more on pavement rather than minimally maintained dirt/gravel country roads. The Rebel 2 makes speed workouts and tempo/race-pace runs fun, and the more I ran with it, the more I liked it for easy paces too. For runners who like lightweight shoes, the Rebel 2 is a must-try/buy at $130. I wore a women’s size 8, my typical size for New Balance road shoes. The length should be true-to-size.


Adam:  The Rebel V2 is an extremely light and comfortable shoe which also features great energy return.  

As someone who loves the bouncy foams of carbon plated super shoes, the Rebel V2 combines that trampoline like propulsion with a sublime upper and a simple yet flashy colorway.  The foam is super soft, but rather than dissipating your energy, it rebounds it.  The only downside of the soft foam is a little bit less stability and durability but for paved roads, this is an excellent shoe for all paces.  Fit is true to size (M11).  


Bryan: Out of the box, the first thing I noticed was that I was provided an incorrect size (US9.5 as opposed to US9 which I wear). However, the fit was close to perfect as if it were true to size. In hand, it felt absolutely brilliant, the Fuelcell midsole was soft to press into, there was plenty of outsole rubber to burn through. What was disappointing, personally, was the use of the New Balance 3D sticker on the lateral side of the midsole which reminded me of a 90s cereal box freebie! Styling aside, the Rebel 2 appears to be a versatile trainer. Propulsive, responsive and durable are the words that immediately spring to mind to describe the Rebel 2.

Ryan: It’s a head-turner of an upper design, with a bouncy and shockingly light feel on foot -- exactly the type of first impression that makes you want to go for a run. The pair I tested showed off a colorway that was a distinctly Creamsicle peachy-yellow and white combination. They felt upbeat right away, as the bounciness of the Fuelcell foam hinted at impending miles of fun. True to size fit in my M9.5.


Peter: Not too much to add, I had a lot of high expectations leading up to the arrival of the Rebel V2--and for once I wasn’t disappointed. Fit is true-to-size, upper is great looking and very comfortable, lacing took ZERO tweaking and the shoe is light AF. My only concern was that running in them would be a letdown.


Cheng: Fit is very important for me. I have a classically difficult to fit foot shape where the forefoot is extra wide, heel is slim, and instep is high. For context, this was described in a previous ASICS Tartheredge review. Many shoes, such as the recently reviewed 1080v11 received poor ratings from me due to an unaccommodating fit.


Rebel V2, however, more than exceeded my expectations in fit and feel. New Balance implemented a smartly designed upper that manages to provide an all-around lockdown without defaulting to a knit approach or relying on significant structure. And although these shoes technically have a lower heel stack than the RC Elite's (26 vs. 32), they feel higher off the ground, perhaps due to the lack of a plate. These two platforms are incredibly similar, and it's actually hard to say which one is faster for me.

Sam: A superb fit and design here which shouts fast and fun and delivers. I was sent a size 9 so a half size up from the true to size and with thicker winter socks the fit was fine if a touch roomy. In a next pair I would go true to size and use lighter socks. 

The fit is performance oriented but in no way constrictive. I would have zero issues daily training in this upper. The fit feel is extremely comfortable from front to back, light feeling but supportive with a wide thin wrap around tongue and no gusset to interfere with breathability or add weight. 

A key element that allows the shoe to be so light and airy feeling yet supportive are the rear from lace up around the collars fairly stiff broad panels. 

They lock the foot from achilles to lace up allowing the rest of the upper to be seemingly unstructured although I do note the stitched in white threads and an unusual almost rubber like internal toe bumper (seen in the photo above) that is neither stiff plastic or a minimal glue like underlay.

Michael: I’ll add tidbits only to the extent I want to elaborate on or criticize what my fellow reviewers have said - and here, I think they’ve all nailed it. While the Rebel v2 runs slightly short (slightly!), I quite like the performance-skewed fit and racing-flat like feel. Seriously, this shoe makes you feel like you could go rip some track repeats… but on the run, the cushioning is so much more supple than you’d expect…. But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s good. It fits well. Read on.


Upper

Jacob: The upper is composed of two types of thin unstructured mesh. The white portion is translucent and my sock color is visible through it.   

 

There is a bit of reinforcement around the toe to lift the mesh up in the toebox but the mesh is loose and flexible overall. 

There is also reinforcement around the eyelets and heel collar which gives necessary structure, but it is still sleek with minimal padding. The race-weight tongue is a good design—it is a thin, wide foam piece. It has good coverage, some rigidity, mitigates lace bite, and is easy to lay flat. Comfort and foothold are both top notch. The upper is hardly noticed on the foot and the foot doesn’t slide around in the upper. Overall it’s a sleek, unobtrusive, and light-on-the-foot upper.

Derek: Jacob did a great job with the description of the upper. Keywords here are unstructured and minimal. The main areas of structure are around the heel cup, using a semi rigid internal heel counter that actually does not run very far up the rear, and the internal toe bumper to give the toe box a bit of height. 


The rest of the upper is otherwise very pliable but minimally stretchy. The end result is a very comfortable wrap and lockdown, that is simple yet surprisingly effective. Vs Rebel 1, the overall fit is slightly narrower across the board, but I think it will still fit a wide range of feet pretty well. The lacing angle is asymmetrical, but i honestly feel that it doesn’t materially add anything beyond aesthetic uniqueness to the shoe. 


Jamie: The thin engineered mesh upper delivers a lightweight and super breathable design. The mesh is very flexible with the stitching around the midfoot providing a bit of added support. 

The tongue is super light, and provides a secure lockdown around the foot without any irritation. One of my favorite uppers of the year, super flexible, yet very secure. 

Sally: The others summarized the upper well, noting its minimal and unstructured nature. Simple, yes, but very effective with a secure lockdown of the foot. The upper is also very breathable - I went for a run on a frigid winter morning and was glad for the wool socks I was wearing for warmth. That means this would be a great warm weather shoe!


Renee: Everyone covered the upper well: it’s light, flexible, minimal, yet secure. The toe box width and height are great, and runners who need a roomy upper will enjoy the fit as compared to some other tempo shoes (I’m thinking of the Nike Turbo 2 and Razor 3/+). With a relatively low volume foot, I had no issue with security across the midfoot. I do wish there was an extra eyelet for a runner’s knot and I’m not a fan of the elf heel; perhaps it helps with lockdown, but I found it noticeably hitting my achilles. The elf heel and lack of an extra eyelet for the lacing did not greatly affect my love for the shoe, but they are two aspects of the upper that would improve the fit (for me). 


Adam:  The Rebel V2 has a light, partially translucent upper that manages to be secure enough to keep the shoe stable, but comfortable enough you’ll forget it’s there.  The mesh around the sides of the foot is unstructured and translucent, with some reinforcement on the orange mesh around the eyelets and up to the rubber toe bumper.  This unstructured mesh creates a roomy toebox without letting the foot slide around.  The tongue combined with the asymmetric lacing created a good lock down for the feet without cutting off circulation or being digging into the top of the foot.  The heel tab is slightly taller than most shoes, but is very soft and hasn’t created any problems for my achilles.  I’d prefer a closer fitting upper on something like a technical trail shoe, but for a everyday road shoe like the Rebel V2, this upper works very well.  


Bryan: The team has done well to both summarise and delve into the construct of the upper. Perhaps my piece in this is that despite being provided a sample ½ size larger than usual, I was able to run well in it which highlights the unstructured yet secure lockdown that the engineered mesh upper provides. Having worn them for one of my Festive Season half marathons in the Australian summer, the upper provides great ventilation. I found no issues with the taller than average heel tab.

Ryan: I take the consensus view here, that this flexible yet sturdy material is both comfortable and breathable. A unique feature is the shoe’s asymmetric lacing, which neither hurt nor helped in any meaningful way. 


The colors of the two-tone mesh nicely follow the contour of the laces, sweeping toward the medial side as they near the toe. It makes for a distinctly sleek and sporty appearance. I second Renee’s comment about the desire for an extra eyelet. Because of how far apart they’re spaced, the laces run up the bridge of the foot at a fairly steep angle. Nonetheless, the flatness of the laces provided a comfortable and secure lock down that didn’t cause me any problems. The wide, minimalist tongue stayed in place without issue, and the ample toe box should provide plenty of room for almost everyone.


Cheng: Previous contributors have already discussed most of my views on the Rebel V2's upper. I'll point out one funny issue…


From my perspective, the shining fabric material that lines the edges of the heel gives the impression of cheap Halloween costumes. The heel itself is great with no slippage issues like those of the 1080v11. However, the high gloss contrasts poorly against the otherwise matte context and gives the impression of being the cheapest polyester one can find at Joann Fabrics.


Yes, I'm nitpicking - but that's the extent I have to go to critique an otherwise fantastically constructed upper. On the plus side, I did not need to go to a 2E wide fit, which shows just how accommodating the material is.


Peter: To quote Tony the Tiger, “They’re G-R-R-REAT!”


Michael: I had only positive things to say about the upper - I never experienced heel slipping or discomfort. They certainly aren’t the warmest shoes out there - you could probably garner as much from the relatively translucent upper - but a pair of Smartwool socks will solve that. And the lacing is great! Secure and locked down, and even when tied tight, I didn’t notice any significant pressure.


Insole

Cheng: I frequently stress on the importance of insole tuning in producing a quality ride. Getting this right is  quite difficult and New Balance has been known to make  mistakes (e.g. 1500v5). However, the Rebel V2 does a decent job of implementing a Durapontex insole that has already been proven in the RC Elites.


These insoles are made of a relatively denser foam than the open-cell Ortholites. They're actually very similar to those implemented in some of ASICS' SpEVA sockliners and provide a responsive sensation to balance out the extremely soft midsole.


Compared to the RC Elite's, the Rebel V2's insoles are slightly larger and thicker, but carries an overall similar geometry. There are also no additional lightweighting holes, leaving us with a solid layer that's still fairly light. There are no significant arch support characteristics, making this an easily swappable, low-volume liner that I've begun to use in other shoes.



Midsole

Jacob: Fuel Cell is the name of the game here and I’m a big fan—it’s a single-slab of soft, flexible, bouncy, and energetic foam. This deployment of FuelCell minds me of the Propel v1 in it’s dramatically soft and flexible feel. There is a balanced level of cushion and foam in the Rebel v2 where it’s not tippy at the heel or sink-in-forever feeling like the TC so there is more stability and direct connection with the ground on toe-off. The forefoot has some firmness. However, it is well-cushioned and not harsh.


The softness is fun and enjoyable to run, but the Rebel v2 loses some snappiness and power as well from the combination of softness and flexibility. It makes it more difficult to lock into a pace and just cruise. The TC and RC Elite overcome the energy loss due to the hard-to-control nature of an unstructured midsole by adding a carbon plate to direct the energy. Without it here, you get a freer-feeling ride—still propulsive from the bounce—but one that’s not as effortless or conducive to speed.

Derek: The midsole here feels completely different from Rebel 1. There is noticeably more compression and springiness to the midsole here, with a more noticeable rocker to the geometry. It is just firm enough not to bottom out for me, even when hammering the heel on some steep downhill runs. This gives the shoe a really fun propulsive character at faster paces. And yet, without a plate, there is sufficient flex through the toebox to allow for a fairly natural transition at slower paces. 


In terms of feel, the midsole feels much closer to the RC and TC than anything else in the current NB line. I would like to add that the lateral fin that was so iconic in Rebel 1, has been pared down quite a bit and is less noticeable now when running. 

Nevertheless, there is some midsole sculpting with slightly raised sidewalls at midfoot to add stability to an otherwise soft platform. I think this is the best feeling midsole, taking into account geometry and rocker, that i have tested so far in a non-plated running shoe, and that’s taking into account the recent fan-favourite Hoka Mach 4. 


Jamie: FuelCell truly lives up to the hype in this shoe. After over 200 miles, it still feels as soft as when I took it out of the box. Running on roads, crushed limestone, and even some trails, this shoe can handle it all. It’s soft enough for those easy runs, springy for some uptempo runs, and overall just super light. I tend to have some issues when shoes are too soft, so the added responsiveness from the FuelCell is just perfect. For a non-plated shoe, the Rebel v2 has become one of my new favorites in my running shoe rotation. 

Sally: New Balance is on to something with this midsole, something good!  I am totally in agreement with the others here: this is an outstanding non-plated shoe that can perform in any kind of condition and at any pace.


Renee: The midsole feels very soft initially, but once running, the responsiveness is clear. Much like a carbon-plated option, the midsole returns what you give; the faster I ran, the more spring and bounce forward the shoe returned. Unlike a high-stack carbon plate option, the Rebel 2 feels good at slower speeds too, making it less awkward for jogs between intervals (I run .5 and 1 mile intervals with .25 mile jogs between). For me, the heel felt much softer than the forefoot at slow speeds, making it better performing for faster speeds. 


Bryan: As with Renee, I found the midsole to be very soft, and almost too soft to my liking over the first few runs. It felt like the TC but without the rigidity of the plate. Give it a few runs and it felt right to run over endless concrete sidewalks and bitumen roads. It was reminiscent of the  Adidas Adios 3 in the sense that it rode well at slow paces but as and when you decide to inject some pace in your stride, the Rebel 2 has no hesitation in delivering a responsive ride at quicker paces. Without a plate, the Rebel 2 feels like a natural extension of my feet and the softness is no hindrance to the propulsive nature of the Fuel Cell foam, even when cornering around sharp bends.


Adam:  This midsole is a big slab of soft and flexible foam. This flexibility means that you actually have surprising amounts of ground feel, and that you always control the toe off.  There isn’t a pronounced rocker sensation, and especially at harder paces, you feel your feet working harder.  This softness takes almost all the harshness out of running on pavement, but it doesn’t provide the same snap and stability you’d get from a plated shoe like  the Endorphin Pro.  This flexibility is definitely good for my foot muscles and makes the shoe a bouncy extension of your normal running stride.  This energy is due to the propulsive foam not some rocker or plate changing your natural gait.  When I tried running faster in this shoe, I think it did a little bit better because the rebound from the foam helps you transition to the toe off.  The bounciness is extremely fun, and there’s enough foam to avoid bottoming out.  


Ryan: More flexible than Simone Biles on the balance beam -- this shoe bends the way you tell it to, both laterally and torsionally. It makes for a very free (no, not knee-busting Nike Free) heel strike, pronation, and toe off. Which is great for easy running, or for folks who don’t covet stability. Its springiness is undeniably fun, and is ideal for anything short of tempo pace. There’s enough of the low density Fuel Cell foam here that bottoming out shouldn’t be a concern. 


While the rocker shape is more prominent than that of your average trainer, the softness of the midsole attenuates its effect underfoot. In other words, you can still feel your foot squash most of the platform onto the pavement at full compression. Because of the softness of the Fuelcell, the forefoot felt a little thin to me, although it provides tons of road feel, for better or worse. The primary drawback of this anything-goes softness, in my opinion, is that it's unhelpful at quicker paces, and doesn’t provide a ton of stability. There’s a reason they put carbon plates in racing shoes, and the Rebel is a wet noodle by comparison. It makes for one helluva fun run though, and is akin to that bubbly friend who raises the energy level of the room.


Peter: Well covered above. I agree that it is very soft and very bouncy and that, without a plate (as in the TC) it can be a little inconsistent, unstable and unruly. Generally speaking the midsole is amazing and with a little bit of tuning/taming it could be perfect. 


Michael: “Bouncy” is indeed the most apt word here. The midsole is so soft and so flexible that I genuinely thought they’d feel overly squishy on the run - I mean, these are softer than the first-generation Pegasus Turbo. But no - while the midsole is readily compressible, it’s springy enough to avoid a full collapse, and instead keep propelling you up and into your stride.


Cheng: It's hard to add on to what others have already described regarding the midsole. Yes, it's nearly magical - a great companion not just for higher tempo workouts, but also easy runs. What I'd like to focus on is it's distinction from the RC Elite's.


Given that the RC Elite and Rebel V2 have the exact same midsole material with similar geometries, the ride could be expected to be similar. This is quite the opposite. Although relatively flexible, the embedded plate of the RC Elite significantly changes the midsole feel. It's far more stable and provides a closer-to-the-ground sensation than the Rebel V2 does, despite the former being 6 mm higher in stack. Further, I've consistently felt that I could engage the rocker of the Rebel's far more than I could the RC Elite's. I'll elucidate more on this in the Ride section below.

Sam: The others have described the midsole well. Call it FuelCell Unleashed!  The foam itself is an EVA/TPU blend that is autoclaved to reduce its density and thus its weight (say compared to the similar softness but considerably heavier TC) while retaining its rebound or energy “return”. The only other current New Balance with this type of FuelCell foam is the RC Elite. 


Fuel Cell is not a single foam but a family of midsole different foams with differing compositions, shoe designs and ride characteristics and uses but which all focus, according to New Balance on being "performance, speed and rebound driven shoes."  ,


The geometry underfoot is very similar to the RC Elite’s with the only difference I can see a slightly (2-3mm) broader midfoot and forefoot width likely to account for no stabilizing plate.

                                                                 

No plates, no intermediate layers of stabilizing other foam. The feel is very soft yet decently stable with a tremendous sense of energy return and bouncy fun with a sweet spot in my mid range to faster tempo paces or around 7:50-8:25 per  mile. Faster and the forefoot seems to compress too much and get a touch sloppy. 

The raised midsole sidewalls ahead of the heel give the Rebel just enough support, the firm and good coverage heel outsole goes a long way to preventing this 6mm drop platform from bottoming out. 

The side walls and heel area are more vertical and built up on the medial side than the lateral side for a touch of support with the heel beveled on the lateral side as shown below.

Lateral Left

Outsole

Jacob: The outsole design is reminiscent of many of the shoes in the FuelCell line, having total forefoot rubber coverage extending a bit down the lateral side, exposed midsole in the midfoot and center of heel, then pieces of rubber around the perimeter of the heel. The platform is broad and the rubber thick enough to add stability and some of the pop lost from the super soft midsole. It is not a snappy ride overall but it is silky. The outsole blends into the midsole well in that regard. Traction is above average. There is an impressive depth of rubber to wear through given the low weight but it is soft rubber and wearing on the quicker side for me so far.


Derek: Adding on to what Jacob has described, I agree that outsole grip is good. This is not particularly surprising since most of the rubber used here is fairly flexible blown rubber. The downside to all this, as Jacob has alluded to, is that outsole wear is pretty quick. This is especially noticeable on the yellow triangular pods in the forefoot. I would have liked to see a bit of stiffer rubber to add more snap to the forefoot and further enhance the forefoot rocker here, while concurrently enhancing durability. Otherwise, the outsole is overall pretty good. The platform is wide enough to provide good stability for this soft platform, though maybe marginally narrower in the forefoot than Rebel 1, since the lateral fin has been pared down a bit for Rebel 2. 


Sally: I had the pleasure (or some would say misfortune) to test this shoe on icy snow-packed roads after a New England snowstorm, and the outsole came through with shining colors. The traction on slick surfaces was impressive. I would expect great durability from it as well.


Renee: I agree with Jacob in that the outsole does show some premature wear. However, there is a good amount of rubber for traction and durability for pavement. In fact, between 60 and 150 miles of usage, the wear did not change much and I started to run more gravel at that point. Like my New Balance 890v8, the softer outsole triangles started to show wear after only 10 miles. Initially, I did not run with the Rebel 2 on my uneven country roads because of the thick gravel that would have torn up the outsole, but I liked the shoe so much, I tried it and the shoe is not a bad ride off pavement. Between the soft midsole and lack of full-coverage rubber on the outsole, I can feel all the thick rock/gravel and uneven terrain underfoot. Otherwise, the shoe is fine on soft and buffed dirt, small gravel, and packed snow. On rougher surfaces, the outsole coupled with the soft midsole produced a “bottoming out” ride, similar to what I find in the Razor 3+.

Bryan: The blown rubber placed extensively in the forefoot and strategically in the rear has kept the weight of the Rebel 2 down, whilst providing for ample traction. However, as mentioned by the team above, durability is a concern with some of the outsole triangle grip patterns showing wear on the lateral side only after 25km / 15 miles on concrete pavements, bitumen and some fine sandy gravel mix. In saying that, the relatively generous layer of outsole rubber gives some hope, but only time will confirm its durability.


Adam:  The outsole is grippy even on wet pavement.  It’s mostly blown rubber but the soft exposed foam seems vulnerable to wear.  This outsole is very road focused, but the softness of the midsole isn’t very stable or protective on trail either.  The outside surface detail around the triangle pattern on the outsole has started to wear after about 30 miles/50km, but the thickness of the rubber seems sufficient for reasonable durability over time.  


Ryan: I’m in agreement with most of the thoughts above. Traction is great, although durability seems to be a little weak. I’d keep this shoe on asphalt/concrete, since the softness of the midsole and outsole don’t provide much protection or stability off road. A slight annoyance early on, the rubber outsole seemed to splay out and grind against the pavement as the midsole compressed it down -- a sign that it may be a little too soft for some. Nitpicking aside, these are enough fun that I’ll run them into the ground in short order.


Peter: Yep, traction is surprisingly good, shoe can bottom out a bit--especially going down steep grade. It’s a nice balance of having plenty of rubber to meet the road, but keeping the weight down. 


Michael: Traction is good. Since New Balance shipped us this shoe early, I’ve put over 60 miles on my pair and haven’t noticed any degradation to the outsole rubber, either - I’m not as concerned with durability as others.


Cheng: I’ve put over 50 miles in these shoes but mostly in Michigan winter conditions. From this, I perceive the level of traction provided by the outsole to be 80% of that provided by the high-grip Nike Pegasus Shield series. The outsole certainly works in lighter wet weather, but is a no-go for conditions of more slush and ice.

Sam: The outsole does its job just fine here in terms of adequate grip, light weight, and especially contributing to taming the midsole just enough to stabilize the soft foam and deliver a rocker effect. The orange and black to pressing feel softer than the heel red.

I particularly like that New Balance has gone away from lozenges in big surfaces of rubber to this more “open” design which makes the shoe more flexible and I imagine lightens it. I would wish for a touch firm rubber in the forefoot to increase faster pace responsiveness and stability 


Jamie: Blown rubber around the heel and forefoot adds to the durability without sacrificing much weight. I love the wider platform of the shoe, which adds a feeling of overall stability, yet still very flexible. The lateral aspect of the shoe, which tends to wear down in most of my shoes, holds up very well. Wth the colder, slick conditions, traction has proven to be much better than some competitors. Compared to some shoes with Fresh Foam, like the Beacon, the FuelCell outsole here is much much more durable.


Jamie's 400 Mile Durability Report


At 400 miles so far I feel like I could take yet further which is very rare for a shoe in this kind of weight category. I have to say, I’m super impressed with the durability and how soft these feel even after long term use on the pavement. 

Apart from some slight tearing on the medial side of the upper, which could be because of wear and tear and also might be from of the salt on city streets eating away at the mesh. 


The Fuel Cell midsole still feels super bouncy as it did on day 1. This has become my favorite shoe of 2021! 


Ride

Jacob: The Rebel v2 has a bouncy and smooth ride which is wholly enjoyable in its lightweight slipper-style package. The bounce is significant and there is some trampoline effect, propelling me forward. However, it requires effort to run well and tame the flexibility. With its minimal construction, exceptionally low weight, and speedy styling, the Rebel v2 seems to be designed for fast running. However, my comparison point for speed-oriented shoes is a plated shoe. I have run and love both the TC and RC Elite and they are easier to run fast in, even at sprinting pace for the RC Elite, despite a higher stack than the Rebel v2. The Rebel runs well at a cruising endurance to tempo pace where it is propulsive, fun, and moves along well—I feel like I float along on the downhills. 


It also has a more natural ride than a plated shoe and runs well at a variety of paces—it is thus a better daily trainer. 


However it doesn’t have the geometry or structure to feel snappy or quick at shorter-distance race paces or track speed and doesn’t have an effortless cruising feel over long distances at pace (like a plated shoe).

Derek: The Rebel 2 is the best riding non-plated shoe i have tested in recent memory, and I have tested a lot! The ride is incredibly fun, springy and forgiving, without feeling ponderous to run in, making it very versatile across a wide range of paces for me. I think I have been a bit spoiled in recent years by maximalist shoes, and would like a little more stack to get me through some of the longer 18+ milers, but for shorter stuff, this shoe gets the job done with ease. I really like that the shoe rides very naturally despite having a rockered feel to it; in other words you get the rocker and a flexible forefoot at the same time. Sure, you lose a bit of top speed snap, but for tempo runs and daily runs, the flexible forefoot works really well. It is not necessarily the most stable of shoes, and sits squarely in the neutral category, but it is stable enough and with the fairly low overall stack numbers, I think most neutral runners would have no problems getting on with this shoe. 

Jamie: The Rebel v2 has really impressed me with the versatility. It’s a super fun shoe to run in, and one of my favorite non-carbon plated shoes to run fast in. The bounciness reminds me of that springy feeling in the Next% without being too aggressive. While it can handle daily mileage and slower paces, it definitely feels better for those longer, uptempo efforts. For training purposes, being able to run in a non carbon played shoe is definitely preferred, and the Rebel v2 does the trick. It can handle the impact of the roads, and winding turns without feeling unstable thanks to the wider platform. It also feels great on some non-technical trails, as it holds up very well on different surfaces. For a daily trainer that can handle all kinds of miles and paces, the v2 is definitely a fun option.


Sally: In this crazy year of no racing and no group runs, we can all use something extra to motivate us to get out the door and run for our own sake. This shoe provides that bit of extra! A run in the Rebel 2 is FUN. The bouncy peppy ride is just what the doctor ordered to put a smile on a runner’s face, at any pace. I especially enjoyed the downhills in this shoe: the soft heel landing makes me feel like I am flying effortlessly. Uphills aren’t bad either, as the flexibility combined with the forward rocker has me on my toes semi-sprinting up the hill. I can’t imagine a neutral runner who wouldn’t enjoy this shoe!


Renee: I agree with everyone! The Rebel 2 might be as close to a carbon-plated ride as a runner can get without a carbon-plated shoe. The ride is fast and bouncy, and probably best for runners who can handle lightweight shoes. The Rebel 2 will work better as a daily trainer than the carbon-plated options, not only because of the lower cost, but also because it does not feel cumbersome at slower speeds. The Rebel 2 felt great at 5k paces to marathon paces, and was not awful at slower (1 or even 2 minutes slower) than marathon pace. The soft midsole (especially in the heel area) and softer areas of the outsole do not make it a great choice for me on rougher non-paved surfaces; however, the Rebel 2 is currently my top pick for speed days. The more I ran with it, the more I found myself choosing it as a daily trainer. My longest run in the Rebel 2 was 16 miles on pavement, and I would prefer a carbon-plated option for the 26.2 race distance. Still, for training, the Rebel 2 is fine for longer distances (for me). I found the ride my smooth going up and down the rolling hills on the country roads. Although a good choice for uptempo paces, the Rebel2 is surprisingly versatile for me. 


Bryan: The Rebel 2 highlights how far shoe technology has come especially over the last few years. With a plethora of options, the Rebel 2 suits the bill as a daily trainer that is capable of all speeds and most distances. The ride is superb; fast and responsive yet it is not hindered by a plate to prevent one from doing slower runs in them, dare I say recovery runs too! The 6mm drop feels natural and allows for quality hill repeats or undulating runs where Jamie mentions the soft heel landing is much appreciated and provides ample protection. The ride is almost reminiscent of a racing flat albeit softer, with its relatively low stack and ease of maneuverability. Following Derek and Jamie, the Rebel 2 is a shoe that many neutral runners will love. 



Adam:  I agree with Derek and Bryan’s and Renee’s thoughts here.  The Rebel V2 is the best non-plated road shoe I’ve ever run in, and is a lot more versatile than the plated ones.  This shoe combines responsiveness due to the bounce from the fuelcell foam with excellent cushioning and protection from the seemingly bottomless softness.  The main weakness of the Rebel V2 is the reason why most of the higher stack height bouncier foam racing shoes have plates.  It’s flexibility, although making running at slower paces easier makes it better suited to neutral runners who don’t need much additional stability or rocker from their shoes.  The comfortable upper combined with the exciting responsive ride make this shoe always a joy to run in.  If you’re a neutral runner like me who laments the fact that you probably shouldn’t do all your road runs in marathon racing super shoes.  The Rebel V2 is a good value, bouncy, and modern trainer that still will put a smile on your face.  

Ryan: Jacob’s thoughts about its unruly bounciness sum it up best for me. Is this a package that will encourage you to get out for a run while putting a smile on your face? Absolutely. But would I wear this as a daily, high-mileage trainer? Nope. The Fuel Cell foam is excellent for providing tons of excitement and rebound, at the expense of acting a little sloppy. Often, I just want to go out for a supportive, guided run without having to actively avoid falling into bad footstriking habits, which this shoe will do if you let it. On the positive side, its low inertia and highly energetic springback never allow the ride to feel tired or clunky. That doesn’t necessarily translate into efficiency, though. Heel strike is pillowy, pleasant, and deep, especially for having only 26mm of foam at the heel. You’re self-guided through the rest of your stride, the Fuelcell foam allowing you to roll forward in whichever direction you prefer. Midfoot rebound makes this shoe a lot more fun than most, and toe-off is also left entirely up to you with such a pliable forefoot. The Rebel is probably a fine choice for a neutral runner with good mechanics at anywhere from a recovery up to a tempo pace.


Peter: See above. Bouncy, check. A little hard to tame, check. FUN, check. That zany trampoline Next %, RC Elite ride but without a plate, check! While occasionally a little hard to feel stable in, and occasionally being perilously close to bottoming out--the Rebel V2 is what all daily trainers should be: fun at any pace and good for short jaunts or big miles. I just got back from another 18 mile run in the Rebel and they stayed comfortable and smooth all the way!


Michael: In sum, I think the Rebel’s on-the-run performance is the best of any non-plated shoe I’ve tried in the recent past. Simply awesome. A total switch from v1 (which was very stiff throughout the midfoot, with an almost plastic-feel), but well worth it.


Cheng: Once again, I find it difficult to add to what has already been mentioned about the plush ride. I'll instead provide insight into how the ride dynamics change across paces, honing in on the rocker.


When running at lower, recovery paces, I tend to land midfoot with a slight rear and lateral bias. Here, the most prominent sensation is just how soft the foam feels. It's a wonderfully plush experience of running on clouds; and, while great for easy days, comes at the tantalizing cost of egging you to run faster.


As the pace moves toward threshold levels, the rocker becomes increasingly noticeable as I strike further forefoot. This sensation actually goes through an inverted U-shaped curve where somewhere at marathon pace, the guided rocker sensation is the greatest. Beyond that, the increased gait forces depress the midsole too harshly for the rocker to be fully expressed. It's here that a key difference between the Rebel V2 and RC Elite comes forth.


At higher paces and landing forces, the RC Elite's midsole does not collapse as readily as the Rebel's. And in both cases, the 'collapse' isn't a pancaking, but rather an energetic compression and rebound where the Rebel simply has less structure. For context, my wife commented that these shoes looked like unstable Jell-O during ground contact. All of this contributes to the sensation of being over 30 mm in stack height despite officially having only 20-26 mm.


Sam: The Rebel v2 ride clearly shows off the dynamic FuelCell midsole plate free. As a soft and springy midsole with a decent stack height it is more untamed than its RC Elite racing buddy and softer too (no plate in the mix). It is an uptempo days moderate distances shoe for me that shines just above my half race paces (7:33 pace or so). Faster than that for me it gets a bit soft and wobbly up front. It was also fine run slow and easy but would not be my personal choice as an easy days trainer as the combination of 6mm drop and soft midsole starts to feel low for this heel striker. It is a huge smiles ride cranked up with noticed energy “return”, more than enough cushion and light weight.



Conclusions and Recommendations



Jacob: The Rebel v2 is another great shoe from New Balance and I will keep it on my shelf for a variety of run types. The construction and fit is excellent, it is easy to dial in the lacing, comfortable, and barely-there on the foot. This makes it a joy to wear. Underfoot it is bouncy, flexible and fun—adequately cushioned and smooth for general training and propulsive when you push it in workouts. Just don’t expect a snappy, quick-to-turnover racer or effortlessly plush lock-in cruiser. The Rebel v2’s fun is in its lack of rigidity and its silky free feel. I would recommend it to those looking for a general trainer, a workout-focused trainer, or random-day for fun shoe. I’ll be using it as the latter.

Jacob’s Score: 9.3 / 10

Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 10 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style 9.5 (5%)


Derek: It’s still early days and there are plenty of new models yet to be launched, but the Rebel 2 has quickly positioned itself at the front of the queue for overall daily trainer of the year. It is an incredibly fun and smooth springy ride that really redefines what can be achieved in non-plated shoes. I already foresee that it will be a big hit as the best non-plated shoe on the market. It has an Achilles heel in terms of poor outsole durability, and that detracts a bit from the overall value of the shoe for me. I have a strong suspicion that at its current weight, the FuelCell here is made of a supercritical EVA foam rather than a pure TPU blend as seen in other FuelCell models. Bottom line: if you are a neutral runner, this shoe is a must try. 

Derek’s Score: 9.55 / 10

Ride 9.5 (50%) Fit 10 (30%) Value 8.8 (15%) Style 9.5 (5%)


Jamie: The Rebel v2 has quickly found its way as a favorite in my running shoe rotation. The weight and the overall fit make this a shoe I could wear any day comfortably. No irritations at all. It makes it hard to wear anything else. It’s super flexible design, yet stable platform, makes this a fun shoe for all kinds of workouts. While it lacks that super snappy feel, like Jacob mentioned, I would turn to those carbon plated shoes for those hard efforts. For an everyday trainer that can handle uptempo miles, the Rebel v2 does an incredible job. If you want to feel light on your feet, with a little pep to your step, this is a great option.

Jamie’s Score: 9.75/10

Ride 10 (50%) Fit 10 (30%) Value 9.5 (15%) Style 9.5 (5%)


Sally: The Rebel 2 is a fantastic and FUN daily trainer that will stand out for me as the shoe to beat in 2021. It is a comfortable, well-fitting, bouncy yet forgiving shoe that can handle any and all paces. It thrives on uptempo paces, but has a peppy springy ride that makes any pace enjoyable. Not everyone wants or needs or can afford a carbon-plated shoe, and this shoe is there for them. I heartily endorse the Rebel 2 as a neutral trainer that will please the runner in you.

Sally’s score: 9.65/10

Ride: 9.5 (50%)   Fit 10 (30%)  Value 9 (15%)  Style: 9.5 (5%)


Renee: If you like lightweight, neutral and fast shoes, get the Rebel 2. As a trainer, it is fun and versatile, and as a speed workout shoe, it is much cheaper than the carbon-plated options. For racing, the shoes would work from 5ks to the half marathon for me, and runnable at longer distances depending on the surface. For scoring, I am comparing the Rebel 2 to similar shoes in its category. I would prefer a non-elf heel and an additional lacing eyelet, which I think would improve the hold in the heel for me and add to control of the soft midsole at all paces. I don’t mind the flexibility and lack of rigidity, but a better hold and firmer outsole would be appreciated. 

Renee’s score: 9.7/10 (-.15 outsole durability, -.10 bottoming out feel from soft midsole/outsole combo,-.05 elf heel/missing lace eyelet)


Bryan: The Rebel 2 provides a real challenge to the traditional racing flat yet as mentioned, is more than capable of being a daily trainer, and the lightest one yet! Stable, responsive and fun, the Rebel 2 has a worthy shot of becoming 2021’s best non-plated shoe, especially for neutral runners. The main concern, as has been extensively voiced out is the durability of the outsole.

Bryan’s Score: 9.1/10 

Ride: 9.5 (40%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value (including durability): 8 (15%) Versatility 10 (10%) Style: 8.5 (5%) 

 

Adam:  These are my favorite unplated road shoes I’ve tested.  They are responsive, very light, and a joy to run in.  For really fast paces or racing, I’d still prefer a plated shoe, but for fun training days and tempo runs, the Fuelcell foam in a flexible platform is a compelling package.  Also for the price, it’s a lot of the fun of a racing shoe for a lot less money.  

Adam’s Score:   9.6/10 

(-.25 instability from softness -.15 outsole durability)

Ryan: I’d confidently recommend these to a runner with good form who doesn’t mind a lack of stability. The Rebel’s exciting midsole rebound and ultra-low inertia feel like the true definition of the word ‘freedom’. It’s a shoe that makes you want to run, and feels comfortable at any pace up to tempo speeds. Buyer beware: if you don’t like unbridled bounce and a lack of stability, this probably isn’t the foam for you.

Ryan’s score: 8.8/10

Detractions: Excessive flexibility feels uncontrolled at speed, outsole durability, outsole rubber wants to splay out under foot due to the softness of midsole and rubber.



Sam: Delightfully bouncy and soft with just enough upper support and midsole/outsole geometry magic to keep things moving forward and steady in a very free spirited and fun way  the Rebel v2 set a new standard for a plateless, more natural ride shoe than any in recent years with a far more dynamic and forgiving ride than any of those earlier legends (Kinvara, 1400 maybe, various Altra, Hoka Clifton, etc…).


The upper is superb in its airy lightness, comfort, and support.  One of the best uppers I can recall. The midsole, key to the sub 7 oz weight, is incredibly soft with fantastic rebound especially as I picked up the pace but slower paces are also fine here. This said it is fast this shoe prefers. As pace accelerates and one gets onto the broad soft forefoot with plenty of rubber for decent response there is a distinct soft but dynamic rebound with plenty of protective cushion.


I echo Ryan’s comments that the softness and flexibility upfront could use a touch more of the firmer maybe via the outsole rubber to keep things popping and for a touch more stability and control. Surprisingly for this old heel striker, the heel with its 6mm drop and al that soft foam has far less sense of bottoming out then other softer lower drop shoes making Rebel at least adequate for slower pace running and when the pace picks up the geometry clearly helped by the midsole side walls has me getting quickly off the heel.


I see the Rebel v2 first and foremost as a fun, fast shoe that has enough cushion, enough stability and upper support, a great geometry, adequate rubber and light weight for its cushion to make the whole package sing! It is clearly one of the best plateless, up tempo trainers out there, a combination that can also daily train for many, do tempo, and even race. 

Sam’s Score: 9.55 / 10

Ride:9.6  (50%) Fit: 9.8 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style:9.2 (5%)


Peter: The Rebel V2 is so close to being a perfect shoe. It’s a tiny bit unwieldy due to the insane amount of super-fun springiness. It doesn’t go super super fast like a 1400, but I’d run a marathon in it without a doubt--and I’d train in it everyday too. It’s a strong, strong buy. 

Peter’s Score 9.8/10.


Michael: I used it above, I’ll use it again - the Rebel v2 is “awesome.” Seriously, such a fun shoe, and the kind of trainer that, as a shoe reviewer, you almost hate to see - because it’s so damn hard to wear anything else. We’ve had a lot of great options over the past 12 months…. The Rebel v2 is very near the top of that list. Try it, buy it, and don’t look back.

Michael’s Score: 9.9/10


Cheng: In a recent call with New Balance, RTR was asked whether this is already the Shoe of the Year in January. Although optimistic, we didn't want to make unfounded promises with 11 more months to go. Personally, I'll say that it's the 2021 Shoe of the Year THUS FAR. I rarely have a platform where I'm purposely trying to limit myself from overrunning in, but this is one. Previous readers will note that I'm a big fan of natural running and frequently train in the likes of Altra and Topo. In this context, I find myself looking at the Rebel V2's out of the corner of my eyes even as I put on a pair of Altras. 

Cheng’s Score: 9.55/10.0

Ride: 10.0 (50%) Fit: 9.0 (30%) Value: 10.0 (15%) Style: 8.0 (5%)



17 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


New Balance FuelCell Rebel v1 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. Fit-wise, the Rebel 2 is a little narrower especially in the toebox. Feel-wise, Rebel 2 is ALOT softer and bouncier and much more fun to run in, though seemingly less durable in the outsole department. I prefer Rebel 2 by far. And I really liked Rebel 1.


Michael: The Rebel v1 was stiff and rigid through the midfoot, and while it was certainly a fast-feeling shoe, it was not nearly as bouncy or propulsive as the v2. Pick the new version and run.


Saucony Kinvara 12 (RTR Review)

Sally: The Kinvara 12 is a great looking shoe that unfortunately disappointed me. Light and miniml and dare I say old-school, the ride of the K12 is sadly harsh and lacks any bouncy energy return. The modern Rebel 2 has it in spades over the K12 in the fun ride department! The Rebel 2 is springy and peppy and effortless in feel compared to the K12. If you want to remind yourself that pushing the pace requires effort, go with the K12; if you are looking for smiles, opt for the Rebel 2. I would choose the Rebel 2  in a heartbeat.


Adam:  The Kinvara 12 and Rebel V2 seem to be aiming for similar niches.  They are both lightweight, uptempo shoes, but they have very different approaches.  The K12 has a very firm midsole and traditional ride but lacks a lot of energy return, cushion, or enjoyable bounce.  The Rebel V2 uses a light and bouncy modern foam, creating an energetic and fun ride at the cost of a little stability.  Both shoes are very flexible.  Unless you need the stability of the K12 or are looking for a more traditional firm/responsive feel, the Rebel V2 is a lot more fun.  


Hoka Mach 4 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both pairs. Both shoes have equally bouncy midsoles, but I feel that the geometry of the Rebel 2 is better for me. A bit more rockered and tends to help you roll through your stride better. Mach 4 seems to hold up a little better in terms of outsole durability. Between the 2, Rebel 2 is the better ride and faster feeling shoe for me. Neither would be my number one choice for recovery runs, but Rebel works better for daily training and speed work for me. 


Ryan (M9.5): The Mach 4 was my favorite recovery shoe of 2020, so the Rebel has a tall order to match here. The most distinct difference between these shoes is their relative stability. While the Mach 4 is well-behaved and guides you through transition nicely, the Rebel is more unruly, and leaves pronation control and transition entirely up to you thanks to its gymnast-esque flexibility. As Derek points out, the Rebel is more rockered which further limits its stability. The NB is arguably more fun, but the Mach offers a highly polished and buttery ride which the Rebel can’t quite match. Whereas the Rebel bonds a caffeinated midsole to a few patches of soft outsole rubber, the Mach pairs a midsole with better damping to a rubberized foam outsole, making the Hoka feel much more refined and cohesive underfoot. Comfort-wise, it’s a tossup as both are excellent, and both shoes fit true to size in my M9.5


Jacob: Both are modern shoes with bouncy, propulsive rides. The Mach 4 is more protected, stable, rigid, and substantial on the foot. The Mach 4 is not as dramatically soft but has more depth of cushion. The Rebel v2 looks and feels like a racer while the Mach 4 has a trainer appearance, higher weight, reflective elements, and a more substantial upper. The Mach 4 is smooth and easy to run while also fast. It is also bouncier at fast paces and not as close to bottoming out as the Rebel. The Rebel is harder to control due to geometry and higher flexibility. The Rebel is enjoyable because of the fun factor but the Mach is a more polished shoe with a smoother ride. Both are true to size and comfortable.


Bryan: I am in agreement with Derek where the geometry of the Rebel 2 works better for me. The Mach 4 holds pace as does the Rebel 2, but the latter is more capable and natural at that. The Mach 4 works as a better recovery shoe providing protection and a smooth ride. Both are fantastic shoes in their own right, with the Mach 4 proving to be a great daily trainer, but for slower and colder runs, with a plusher and thicker upper. The Mach 4 is also a lot larger on foot, typical of Hoka shoes which may be the main point of difference for some. Both have found their way into my rotation, but I turn more to the Rebel 2 for more of my training needs.


Peter: I’ll just quote Ryan here “The NB is arguably more fun, but the Mach offers a highly polished and buttery ride which the Rebel can’t quite match.” I’m glad I have both of these, but if I really had to choose 1 it would be the Mach 4. That said, I’m betting that the Rebel V3 will dial in to perfection. 


Sam: In many ways similar with bouncy rides  the slightly heavier, more stable and more cushioned Mach 4 is a more versatile shoe which can easily handle the faster paces of the Rebel but also slower paces where the yet softer Rebel struggles a bit. The Mach relies on a dual density midsole of EVA underfoot and rubberized foam as midsole/ outsole It does not quite have the faster paces energetic rush of the Rebel but if I had to choose one for a wide range of uses I would lean Mach 4.


ASICS Novablast (RTR Review)

Derek: The Rebel has a snugger fit compared to the NovaBlast. Rebel has a similar bounciness to the Novablast but it’s a thinner shoe and has a more pronounced forefoot rocker, so it feels less squishy with a little bit more ground feel especially in the forefoot and it seems to roll through a little easier. The weight difference is significant. I think Rebel makes for a more fun shoe to go fast in. I prefer Novablast more for medium to slower paces. 


Renee: I like both shoes, but the comparison of which shoe is better for me easily goes to the Rebel 2. I consider the Novablast a fun, easy day shoe whereas the Rebel 2 favors uptempo paces yet works for slower paces too. The upper of the Rebel 2 is better quality and better fitting, and the ride of Rebel 2 is smoother and more stable. I wore a women’s size 8 in both; the sizing is comparable with slightly more length in Novablast.


Saucony Freedom 4 (RTR Review)

Sam: Both energetic platforms, the Freedom relies on firmer springier PWRRUN PB Pebax type foam while the Rebel v2 is all about bouncy rebound. Stiffer and more stable the Freedom 4 can even do duty at the gym, something I would not plan to do with the Rebel. The Rebel v2 is actually more free feeling than the Freedom, something one would not have said about the earlier Freedom, highly flexible bouncy if heavier shoes.


Hoka Rincon (RTR Review)

Jamie: If I were to keep 2 shoes in my daily training rotation, it would be the Rincon 2 and the Rebel v2. The Rincon does fit a little big, as I wore a size 7 while I wore a 7.5 in the Rebel. The fit is a little more snug in the Rincon, much narrower in the toebox, while the Rebel has a very accommodating, flexible upper. The only issue I had with the Rincon was the durability because of the exposed foam on the outsole, while the Rebel v2 feels like it could last much longer. Both are fun, daily training options.

Peter: Hoka Mach 4 > Rebel 2 > Beacon 3 >Rincon

The upper is more comfortable and the ride is softer and smoother on the Rebel 2. 


New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon (RTR Review)

Jamie- I found the Fresh Foam cushioning in the Beacon to be less durable than the FuelCell midsole in the Rebel. With the Beacon breaking down at less than 300 miles, the Rebel v2 definitely wins the durability contest. The Rebel v2 is much more bouncy, while the Fresh Foam might appeal to those looking for a firmer ride. Both great for daily training, although I find the Rebel to be a lot more “fun.” Size 7.5 in both shoes, fitting true to size. 


Jacob: Tough pick here as both are competent shoes that fill a similar role. FWIW I ran the Beacon 1 and 2 but not the 3, but 3 is similar enough for the comparison to be relevant. The Rebel v2 and the Beacon and lightweight, versatile trainers. The Beacon has a less exciting, more classic feeling Fresh Foam midsole which is firm-leaning, consistent, and stable. This is dramatically different from the Rebel’s soft, flexible, bouncy FuelCell midsole. I really like the Beacon’s consistent performance at any pace and it’s my top pick for a one-shoe quiver or a daily driver. The Rebel is a more dramatic shoe: more energetic, freer-feeling, and bouncier than the Beacon. Fit is comfortable and accommodating in both. Which to pick depends what type of ride you prefer. If in doubt or if I could only have one, I’d go with the Beacon.


Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Rebel is definitely the better shoe for me, than any of  the Beacon versions. Rebel is softer and bouncier and is just an overall easier and more fun riding shoe, and also has the added advantage of being a better fitting shoe than Beacon 3 for me. 


Ryan (M9.5): I concur that the Rebel is certainly a bouncer shoe underfoot. Both shoes are exceptionally light, have low inertia, and offer very comfortable uppers, but they ride like entirely different beasts. The Beacon’s Fresh Foam is far more responsive and stable than the Rebel’s explosive Fuelcell foam. For harder efforts, I prefer the stability of the Beacon, but for easy cruising, the Rebel is a supremely enjoyable ride.


Peter: The Beacon is one of my favorite daily trainers. The Beacon 3 and the Hoka Mach 4 were neck and neck for best/most used shoe last year. The beacon is firmer and more stable than the Rebel, but the Rebel is more fun! 


New Balance FuelCell RC Elite (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. Fit-wise, Rebel 2 is marginally higher volume. Rebel is softer in feel and more flexible across the board, due to RC’s plate. Nevertheless, RC’s higher stack makes it a more cushioned shoe for longer runs. I like that Rebel feels more natural to run in and handles slower paces better than the RC. RC would still be my preferred option for speed work and races. 


Jacob: I agree with Derek in all regards. The two shoes share a generally similar design language and feel: bouncy, soft, propsulive, modern. The Rebel is better as a daily trainer having more versatility and a more natural ride but the RC is a better racer—snappier, more propulsive, and effortless to run fast in due to the higher stack and well-implemented carbon plate. Both fit true to size with the RC a snugger a race fit, though still comfortable. This is a trainer vs racer comparison here, RC for racing of any distance and Rebel for general training.


Ryan (M9.5): These two couldn’t be much more different in terms of stiffness. The RC Elite was my favorite overall shoe of 2020 and is much more expensive, so a direct comparison on ride quality might not be fair here. That said, these shoes might pair well for a balance of training and racing. I would certainly prefer to wear the RC Elite over the Rebel on any day, for any type of run, given its incredible versatility. But I’m not one to afford $200+ trainers, so I’d happily use the Rebel for easy running, and indulge in the RC Elite for time-sensitive efforts. Both fit true to size.


Cheng: See my discussion in the Ride section for a detailed discussion. In short, the RC Elites feel closer to the ground than does the Rebel V2 despite having a higher stacked shoe. The rocker sensation is also more prominent in the Rebel but fades more quickly due to a less stable midsole (no plate).


Sam: I concur with Cheng above. I would add that both share the same formulation of FuelCell with the plate in the RC making the big difference in feel, ride characteristics and flexibility. 


Saucony Endorphin Speed (RTR Review)

Derek: The 2 shoes are very different. Speed feels a lot firmer and stiffer but more rockered by comparison. Rebel is a lot more bouncy but also more flexible through to toes so a more natural feeling ride. 


New Balance FuelCell TC (RTR Review)  

Derek: I wear US9.5 in Rebel, and US9.5 for TC for long runs and easy runs, and US9.0 for TC for speed work. Fit-wise, the TC feels longer than Rebel at the same size and if you want a more performance fit, I would go half size down in the Rebel vs the TC. TC is one of the very few shoes I own more than 1 pair of, and paid for. That should tell you something. The TC is a special and incredibly versatile trainer. The Rebel is similar to the TC in that both have pretty soft and bouncy heels (read: unstable for some), with the key difference being the TC has a stiffer forefoot partly due to its plate and partly due to stiffer outsole rubber. The Rebel is more natural-feeling and flexible through the toes at slower paces. Overall both are incredibly versatile shoes. Rebel wins big by on weight savings, TC wins on “assistive Carbon plate”. I’d say it’s a tie, but the retail price difference is pretty big here. If you can’t find the TC (because it’s often sold out), the Rebel would be an excellent alternative, though I suspect it will sell pretty fast too!


Jacob: I made many comparisons to the TC throughout the review. The TC and Rebel v2 are top choices for bouncy, modern trainers from NB. They share a soft, bouncy, propulsive FuelCell midsole (though softer feeling and more flexible in the Rebel due to specific formula and no plate). 


The TC is higher stack, softer, heavier, and more dramatic in effortless ride and easy of running effect due to the carbon plate. The TC was my favorite trainer of 2020 and my favorite long run shoe of all time. It is comfortable and easy to cruise in, fast, and protected. It’s not my top choice but I would consider racing a marathon in it. 


The Rebel has a different feel being lower stack, lower weight, and much more flexible. The ride is more free-feeling but less directed and not as easy to lock-in and cruise. It isn’t as cushioned and is less conducive to long runs. Both shoes are versatile, comfortable, and fun to run. As for fit, I agree with Derek that the TC fits a bit larger, but I went true to size in both and recommend that wholly. Both shoes fit my medium-width foot extremely well—comfortable and locked in. 


Highly recommend either of these shoes. The TC is my favorite due to cruiseability but the Rebel is fun for its free-feel and light weight.


New Balance FuelCell Propel (v1 and v2) (RTR Review)

Jacob: Both are trainers in the FuelCell line. I’m comparing both the v1 and v2 Propel as they are very different. The Propel v1 and the Rebel v2 are interestingly similar shoes with soft, flexible, wide, stable midsoles. However, the Rebel v2 is much lighter and the rocker/geometry is better implemented which makes it more propulsive and easier to run fast. The Propel v2 is firmer and more structured than both the Rebel v2 and Propel v1. Thus in the Propel v2 and Rebel v2 comparison, the Rebel is the freer-feeling, bouncier, lighter, more dramatic choice and then Propel is the more solid, stable daily trainer. The low weight, upper fit, fun-factor of the Rebel is higher so it would be my pick, but both are competent daily trainers. The Propel is $30 less expensive and has a more durable outsole as well.


NIke ZoomX Invincible Run Fk (RTR Review)

Sam: The two plateless rebound leaders! The Nike is heavier by 2.5  ounces and $50. It is considerably more cushioned and more stable but still as with Rebel a neutral shoe and a flexible one way up front for final toe off. Taken to fast paces it moves along with lots of energy but due to its massive geometry more awkwardly than Rebel. It sits more in the daily trainer class of shoes while Rebel leans uptempo. 


New Balance 890v8 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Rebel 2 is much more clearly the faster/better shoe overall. I did like the 890v8 and both shoes have a similar platform. The FuelCell in the 890 feels firm whereas the Rebel 2 FuelCell feels soft. Both midsoles become less prominent in that feel after running. The outsole of the 890v8 had durability issues, but I ran with it on country roads whereas I elected to keep my Rebel 2 for pavement only. I found the 890 to be a bit narrow on the lateral side whereas the Rebel 2 felt roomier. I wore a women’s size 8 in both shoes. If you like the 890v8, but want more speed, the Rebel 2 is a great choice. 


Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The 890v8 outsole and Rebel 2 outsole are actually very similar. They work well in terms of grip but not so well in terms of durability. As for ride, they are a study in contrasts. The 890 is firmer and the rocker reminds me of the old Vazee Pace shoes, while the Rebel 2 rides softer and bouncier while still having some rocker to the ride. Rebel is clearly a more fun and dynamic ride, but 890 might be more efficient for tempo work. 


Nike Peagaus Turbo 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Rebel 2 and Turbo 2 fit in the same category for me: lightweight, uptempo shoes that can handle distance runs. I love both shoes, but I give a slight edge to the Rebel 2 for its better, more comfortable upper and roomier toebox. I do wish the Rebel 2 did not have an elf heel and/or had additional lacing eyelets, but even then, the heel fit is better than the Turbo 2. The only advantage of the Turbo 2 (for me) is the full rubber coverage of the outsole, which improves durability and prevents a bottoming out feel on longer runs. 


Derek: Peg Turbo feels a lot less cushioned and lower to the ground, and has a less rockered forefoot. In terms of softness of the foam, the 2 shoes are quite similar.


Skechers Razor 3 and Razor+  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. Fit-wise, Rebel 2 is more accommodating especially at the toebox. Rebel is noticeably softer and has a more rockered feel to the ride compared to Razor 3, which can feel a little flat for heel-strikers. No bottoming out in Rebel 2 for me, which can happen in Razor 3 on downhills. Overall, the Rebel 2 feels like a faster and more enjoyable version of the Razor 3. Both seem to be prone to quick outsole wear. 


Renee: A wore a men’s size 6.5 in the Razor 3 and a women’s 8 in the Razor+. I agree with Derek, that the sizing is the same, although the Rebel 2 is more accomodating throughout the upper, which I prefer, especially in the toe box. I thought both shoes “bottomed out,” because of the lack of thick rubber on the outsole and relatively softer midsoles. I wore the Razor+ for a 50k on crushed rock, and the bottoming out ride was felt after 20 miles or so. The Rebel 2 seems less likely to have as much of that feel, but I did not choose to run more than 13.1 in the shoes on rock or gravel. Overall, the Rebel 2 is my choice for overall comfort and speed. 


Cheng: Echoing Derek, the Rebel V2 has a better fit than does the Razor 3. Further, the single-layer material of the Rebel also works better to wrap around the foot volume than the relatively stiffer material of the Razor. While both have a similar rocker feel, the Skechers’ platform seems to better maintain this dynamic at faster paces, most likely due to the stiffer foam. However, Hyperburst is certainly not as marshmallow-soft as FuelCell is, especially at slower paces.


Skechers Razor Elite (RTR Review)

Derek: Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. Fit-wise, Razor Elite is a lot snugger and more performance oriented in fit. Razor Elite feels noticeably less cushioned than Rebel 2, and works better for fast workouts or shorter races. Rebel 2 works better as an uptempo trainer and even daily trainer for me. 


Jacob: An interesting comparison. Both are very light, bouncy uptempo trainers. The Rebel leans towards the daily trainer side while the lower stack, while the less cushioned Razor Elite is more like a racer. The fit of each shoe follows this trend as well where the Razor Elite is tight overall with a narrow toebox. The Rebel is definitely more comfortable and accommodating. The Razor Elite is a much snappier, springier shoe and more conducive to fast running. It is less suited to daily training and less forgiving and protected than the Rebel, so for anything outside of workouts and racing, the Rebel is a better pick. 


ASICS MetaRacer (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. Fit-wise, both are pretty similar though ASICS is a bit narrower through the arch. Rebel has the softer feel and is overall more forgiving, though it doesn’t transition as fast as the Metaracer and this is especially telling once you start to do 5k-pace or faster. Metaracer for pure race or speed work with Rebel more of an all-rounder for me. 


WATCH THE REBEL V2 VIDEO REVIEW (11:55)



The FuelCell Rebel v2 will be available April 2021

Products reviewed were provided at no charge for testing with no other compensation from New Balance to RTR or any reviewers. The opinions herein are the authors'

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35 comments:

ChuaRH said...

Great review as always! Comparisons with the Peg Turbo 2? Both seem very similar as non-plated, lightweight uptempo trainers with soft bouncy foams... Might be the Turbo 2 update everyone was waiting for.
Would like a comparison with the Endorphin Speed as well.

Rebel Runner said...

Great reviews! I am currently on the Rebel v1 (bought some sales ones to keep me through lockdown). What is the comparison between the Rebel v2 and the nike invincible for ride? I was about to go all in on the Nike, based off your review. It reads like the Invincible may be a bit more stable.

Unknown said...

I am also interested in the comparison with the Endorphin Speed.

Unknown said...

Glowing review of what we expect to be a killer shoe when it releases. I work for New Balance and wanted to clarify a common misconception highlighted in your review about our footwear line-up. Fuel Cell is actually a family of shoes, not a midsole compound. While the Rebel v2 does share a foam package with the RC Elite, this is a different compound that was in the TC, which was different from Rebel v1. The Fuel Cell family is our line of performance, speed and rebound driven shoes but contrary to popular belief is not a midsole compound thus the vastly different rides of different shoes within the family.

MrChengChen said...

Noted! Let’s connect via Instagram (@MrChengChen)? I’d love to chat more about New Balance.

MrChengChen said...

Regarding Peg Turbo’s, the foam feels similar during the initial aspects of ground contact, but totally different across the transition and toe off.

Main difference here is the significant rocker. Rebel V2’s feel like 30+ mm stack while Turbo’s feel 20 mm to me.

Anonymous said...

Wow only February 1 and already some rocking shoes about to hit the shelves( Mach 4 included).

Maybe I missed this but how does the cold weather impact all of these soft shoes/foams? Is there a different feel to the shoe depending on the season? For example is foam softer in high summer heat and humidity?

Just curious if this is a factor in which shoe one of you guys with lots of choices on the shelf choose any day/time of year?

migueneitor said...

So I'm a heel-striker and an overpronator. I wanna get excited about this shoe but I'm not sure if it's gonna work for me. What do you guys think? Maybe with a more supportive insole? If not, any nice and bouncy alternatives?

Anonymous said...

How about compared to the novablast given the same price point?

Chis C said...

Why Rebel v2 vs spending $30 more for Endorphin Speed. Both lightweight uptempo trainer/speed day shoes.

MrChengChen said...

I’ve put many miles in the 20-30F range and can attest that this blend of foam is very temperature resilient. In that respect, it functions almost like a PEBA foam.

MrChengChen said...

I use Currex insoles with the Rebel V2. However, the internal support doesn’t add to external stability, and these are definitely more on the unstable side (especially at slower paces).

roy hampton said...

Thank you RTR team for a great in-depth review. Also very interested in a comparison to ASICS Novablast

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Chris C,
Indeed both uptempo shoes but very different in ride. The Speed is plated and relies on a rocker while Rebel v2 is flexible and relies up front on the rebound of the foam ( softer than PWRRUN PB) and the flexibility for propulsion. Comes down to preferences.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our index page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi migueneitor,
Not sure it would be your best bet as an all around daily trainer but likely could be fun in the mix for faster shorter runs. Not sure what you mean by "heel-striker and an overpronator." as most all feet and runners do both to a certain extent and pronation "control" seems to be over prescribed.

What shoes work for you now and which don't is a good place to start?

A clear next step up in terms of cushion and stability although not a support /stability shoe with yet more bounce would be the upcoming (we hope Feb) Invincible Run which is described in the comparisons with link to review.
Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi migueneitor,
Another for sure and described in comparisons the upcoming Hoka Mach 4. Note quite the super rebound but more stable and a super fun shoe. A bit better all arounder than Rebel v2.
Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks Rebel Runner!
Yes the Invincible is a comparison for sure based on its high energy "return" rebounding ZoomX vs. quite similar FuelCell. I added a comparison to the review which is also below:
The two plateless rebound leaders! The Nike is heavier by 2.5 ounces and $50. It is considerably more cushioned and more stable but still as with Rebel a neutral shoe and a flexible one way up front for final toe off. Taken to fast paces it moves along but due to its massive geometry more awkwardly than Rebel. It sits more in the daily trainer class of shoes while Rebel leans uptempo.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Roy and Anonymous
Compared to Novablast from Renee:
I like both shoes, but the comparison of which shoe is better for me easily goes to the Rebel 2. I consider the Novablast a fun, easy day shoe whereas the Rebel 2 favors uptempo paces yet works for slower paces too. The upper of the Rebel 2 is better quality and better fitting, and the ride of Rebel 2 is smoother and more stable. I wore a women’s size 8 in both; the sizing is comparable with slightly more length in Novablast.
Sam, Editor

migueneitor said...

Thank you so much for the detailed response and for giving me a different perspective into this whole over vs under pronation debate.

I'm not an experienced runner by any means. When I started a couple years ago I went for a stability shoe to address my flat feet and over pronation. They were the adidas supernova sequence boost or something like that. They felt secure but they weren't very fun to run in.

After reading great reviews (including this website's) I transitioned into a more neutral shoe: the NB 1080v10, which is my current shoe. It works quite well for me, or so I think.

I'm trying to get something more suited for faster paces and all these new foams sound super exciting, but I fear that sacrificing stability will cause me pain. So yeah, maybe I'll give those a try.

Derek Li said...

Peg Turbo feels a lot less cushioned and lower to the ground, and has a less rockered forefoot. In terms of softness of the foam, the 2 shoes are quite similar.

Derek Li said...

Vs Endorphin Speed, the 2 shoes are very different. Speed feels a lot firmer and stiffer but more rockered by comparison. Rebel is a lot more bouncy but also more flexible through to toes so a more natural feeling ride.

Derek Li said...

This shoe is not very stable at the heel as it’s quite soft. I am not sure if a supportive insole is enough to solve that. You are going to have to try it to see, but I’m not optimistic.

Derek Li said...

The Rebel has a snugger first compared to the NovaBlast. Rebel has a similar bounciness to the Novablast but it’s a thinner shoe and has a more pronounced forefoot rocker, so it feels less squishy with a little bit more ground feel especially in the forefoot and it seems to roll through a little easier. The weight difference is significant. I think Rebel makes for a more fun shoe to go fast in. I prefer Novablast more for medium to slower paces.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
How does the rebel v2 compare with the Fuelcell Prism, cushion (stack height etc), responsiveness, stabilty. Which would be better as a daily trainer but also do tempo runs at times thanks :)

Unknown said...

Hi Sam,

May i know if , in your opinion, this is the shoe with closest feeling to the original Saucony Freedom ISO?
Your review of that matched exactly what i felt when i ran in them - still the best feeling pair of shoes i've had and i have been trying to find an updated shoe with the same feeling, i have ran in the Novablast, Endorphin Speed, RC TC and Escalantes...nothing came close to the firm, bouncy and fun ride of those original Freedoms.

Do you have any recommendations? Keep safe and am enjoying all the great content thanks to all at RTR! :)

Cheers,
Sasi

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Unknown,
Some similarities but also differences. A far more supportive, lighter and effective upper for Rebel v2. I found Freedom 1 upper barely adequate in its support. The cushion here is considerably softer and as bouncy if not more with less shock transmitted. The Rebel while a flexible shoe has for me better midsole /outsole stability overall. Also look at Freedom 4 whose review you will see linked below. It has a springy bouncy ride and a great upper.
Hope this helps.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our index page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

What's the fit of these shoes like under the arch? Is there a pronounced midsole bump under the arch? I loved the fit of the Beacon V3, with the exception of the arch feel... I felt there was too much of a bump under my arch, which really irritated my plantar fascia. I would have preferred a more flat midsole (not in terms of drop, but just in terms of the arch feel)

MrChengChen said...

The default insole does NOT have a significant arch bump/support. See my insole discussion above as I’m also very sensitive to the arch bump. I actually sometimes look for that bump to support the plantar fascia (when injured). Feel free to DM me on Instagram @MrChengChen.

Epi said...

Alwaysc enjoy your reviews, but one piece of feedback. As a heavy medial heel striker, I like a view of running shoes directly from behind to look at the medial vs lateral midsole heel thickness. Many side on photos here but none straight from behind.

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Epi,
Thanks for kind words about RTR. A very good point about the rear heel shot. I have added along with a medial side shot and some additional text at the end of Midsole section.
Sam, Editor

JustARunner32 said...

Great reviews as always from the RTR crew! This is definitely on my list to get as soon as it's released. May have to buy two just to make sure I won't have to wait a few months as I know these shoe will be sold out quick.

Also, did the crew get the new razor to review? time frame of when the skechers razor excess review will come out? Looks like these two shoes will be battling for the #1 spot. 2021 is starting off great!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi JustARunner32,
Thanks for kind words! We do have the new Razor Excess. See our RTR FB and IG for some details and pics. We can say more than the basics for now but it is scheduled to release in March and is a higher stack version of Razor.
Sam, Editor

Unknown said...

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the response, yeap i will try on the Freedom 4 once it is available in my country (SG), hopefully it does have some of that bounce that the original Freedom ISO's had. The current implementation of the PWRRUN PB's in the Endorphin line up gives a different experience, i am guessing due to the inclusion of the plate within it, hopefully the Freedom 4's can bring back the almost-uncontrolled bounce from the Freedom 1's.

Cheers,
Sasi

Joseph said...

This looks like a great (and very good looking!) shoe! I appreciate the very thorough review and comparisons! One shoe that at least statistically seems quite similar to the Rebel 2 is the Hyperion Tempo. How would you compare the two?

Unknown said...

As always, great review! Curious how the Salomon Phantasm stacks up against this and the Razor. Thanks