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New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 Running Shoe Review

by Sportitude

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 will be available for purchase from Sportitude from the 1st of March 2024.

Soft and seriously lightweight comfort come together in the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 running shoes. This translates to a fun, energised sensation as you float over the road or shift the pace up a gear for interval training.

As Sportitude shoe expert Josh Willoughby explains in his shoe review below, the New Balance Rebel v4 running shoe is in a league of its own and it’s challenging to really pin-point its competitors.

It’s a world away from where it left off in the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3, while sharing some similarities with the New Balance SuperComp Elite v4. Unlike the SuperComp Elite v4, the Rebel v4 offers a different feel and experience, being free of a carbon fibre plate.

New Balance have shed non-essential weight in this forth evolution of the Rebel running shoe family. They have developed a refined FantomFit upper complete with gusseted tongue and sleek internal heel collar for a secure lockdown.

It features a re-imagined outsole with extra coverage in the forefoot and vertical flex grooves. This engineering complements the super soft midsole foam - providing increased structure and longevity without going overkill on flexibility.

The FuelCell PEBA blend in the midsole makes this running shoe ultra-versatile – responsive yet plush – all in a lightweight package.

If distance is your goal, you may prefer to look elsewhere at a true mileage running shoe that offers more durability and support. However, for daily training and joy-inspiring runs, the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 hits the mark and then some. 

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude. In front of me I have the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4, a very exciting shoe coming into its fourth iteration.

This running shoe is landing here in Australia in the first week of March in 2024. It has already gone live in the US and the reviews so far have been very positive.

We had to wait till this date, being February, to do a review here in Australia. We had to follow some guidelines from New Balance Australia to make sure we didn't release it early.

I've had my pair of New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 since November last year and I've been lucky enough to put some kilometres into this running shoe to get an understanding of what it is all about. It's a huge change for New Balance from the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3.

I usually do a comparison review, but because these two running shoes are so different, we're going to treat the New Balance Rebel v4 in its entirety as a new shoe to market. I'll talk to you about all the significant features of the outsole, the midsole and the upper, and profile the person that should be using it.

I’ll also give you my subjective opinion at the end of this review to let you know if I enjoyed it or not. Without further ado, let's get stuck in.

Upper

Let's talk all things upper first. New Balance have used the FantomFit construction and it looks extremely similar to what you see in the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4. However, there are a couple of subtle differences.

You have the same amount of material through the toe box in reference to how it feels in terms of volume, space and width. It also has very similar ventilation channels through the toe box.

The tongue is very similar again, with almost the same amount of thickness and breathability channels through the top. However, the biggest difference is the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 has a gusseted tongue. I thought it was strange for a performance shoe like the New Balance SuperComp Elite v4 to not be gusseted, but only time will tell.

The gusseted tongue in the New Balance Rebel v4 running shoes gives you a conformed fit on top of your arch and allows for a really good stabilised feel through the midstance of this shoe.

As you’re coming to the back half of the running shoe, we have an internal heel collar on play. It is not as noticeable and it's very refined, so don't think this is going to feel like a New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 or a New Balance Fresh Foam X 860 for example in reference to how much support you get.

It’s a very refined upper on the internal heel collar, so there’s not a lot of memory foam. It’s all about reducing the weight in the New Balance Rebel v4 running shoes.

It's still very comfortable and I found this running shoe to be stable enough up top. New Balance could probably have put a little bit more support around the back of this heel counter, however all that would do is add to the overall weight and throw out the counterbalance. All in all, it’s a very light and extremely breathable upper with reference to the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4.

Outsole

You can see straight away there is more outsole in the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 through the forefoot. There is a strategic rubber placed at the back for the person who comes down heel first.

However, through the front half of this running shoe there's a lot more rubber. There’s two main flex grooves on offer, one flex groove that's closer to the medial side which runs in the vertical line of this shoe, and one that's closer to the lateral side.

The reason these flex grooves run in relation to that transition through the Z-axis is because if you had them horizontally or even diagonally like the New Balance 1080v13, the running shoe would be way too flexible because the midsole is light and soft.

If you picture the flex grooves going across horizontally, it would have way too much bend through the forefoot and it would not feel comfortable. The release would be quite harsh and aggressive on your forefoot. Structuring that forefoot up gives it a little bit more structure, integrity and longevity in reference to the midsole performance.

Midsole

Let’s talk all things midsole in the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 next because there's a bit to break down here. First things first, we have the FuelCell technology. The FuelCell technology in the New Balance Rebel v4 is a combination of PEBAX and CO₂ and nitrogen infused EVA.

The PEBAX makes up around 20% of the midsole component which gives it that responsive feel through the overall transition. The balance of materials is going to play to that longevity and also the element of cushioning which you seek in a running shoe like this.

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 has very similar characteristics to the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4, however it is closer to the ground with 30mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot for that offset of 6mm.

With the cutaway components, a lot of effort has gone into the overall engineering geometry of the New Balance Rebel v4 running shoes. That's to reduce weight, but not to sacrifice overall performance and stability.

There is no carbon plate on offer with the New Balance Rebel v4 running shoe, so it is more flexible in reference to its overall performance in the midsole and outsole compared to the New Balance SuperComp Elite v4.

The extra coverage to the forefoot and those vertical flex grooves will provide more integrity through the front half, so the running shoe doesn't become really flexible on release.

Key Statistics

Now to discuss a couple of key statistics, then I'll break it into my subjective opinion.

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 running shoes are very light. The men's size 9.5 is 197 grams and the women’s size 7.5 is coming in at 157 grams. The stack height is 30mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot for that offset of 6mm.

Josh's Subjective Opinion

Pause and have a breather because I want to tell you how I found the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 running shoes performed for me. It is insanely light and soft.

There's going to be a lot of people that it triggers some emotion in reference to weight and density of foam. It screams a lot of fun and it screams enjoyment, but you have to be very careful with putting this shoe on your foot in reference to what you're going to be using it for.

I overdid it too much in my first run of this running shoe back in November. I got out the door and went for 15km, and that was way too much in reference to me using this shoe for a long run. However, where this running shoe sung for me was when I rolled it into some interval training and used it for some fartlek sessions.

Floating in this running shoe was effortless, but when you want to pick up the pace and put some force through that midsole it performs quite nicely. However, there won't be a lot of people that will gravitate towards the New Balance Rebel v4 for mileage.

I've heard some people that have reviewed this shoe that said they could use it for easy day long runs. However, there's a lot more running shoes that offer a very similar experience in cushioning, but you're going to get a lot better support and overall longevity with the midsole.

I'm anticipating the New Balance Rebel v4 to last anywhere between 300km to 500km. That might be a little bit less for some, it might be a little bit more for others. It's not really designed to be a true mileage shoe and last forever and ever. You wouldn't expect that with the weight and the density of foam on this offset. Take that with a grain of salt.

Are There Similar Running Shoes To The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4?

Is any shoe similar to the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4? Absolutely not, I really mean that. Some reviewers out there have compared this to the Asics SuperBlast (above) and I truly think the two are totally different in reference to the outcome of performance.

They may talk to the same cohort of runners - that lightweight pick up the pace or easy day long run shoe - but are two totally different shoes in my opinion.

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 is so light and so soft. The Asics NovaBlast v4 is light but it's more stable and it will last longer, so it depends on what you're looking for with reference to the overall outcome of your running shoe.

I haven't done a review on the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 comparing it to the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 today because I don't think it's relevant. This new model is so different than the New Balance Rebel v3 and we're almost treating it as if it's a new shoe to market.

The Wrap Up

If you have any questions in reference to the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4, please contact our Sportitude shoe experts.

Please subscribe to the Sportitude YouTube channel if you haven't already done so to stay notified and we'll keep knocking out these shoe reviews for you the magnificent running community all around the world.

More importantly, if you've used the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 or the previous versions of the New Balance Rebel, please let us know how that shoe has gone for you.

If you've been lucky enough to use the New Balance Rebel v4 running shoe we'd love to know how it has gone and what your expectations were after using this new and exciting model from New Balance.

Until next time, stay safe and be kind to one another. We'll see you out the road. Take care.  


FEATURES

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4

  • Support: Neutral
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: New Balance FuelCell
  • Heel Height: 30mm
  • Forefoot Height: 24mm
  • Offset / Drop: 6mm

Men

  • Weight: 238g / 8.4oz (US 9.5)
  • Width: D (standard)

Women

  • Weight: 198g / 7oz (US 7)
  • Width: B (standard)


For a more in-depth shoe fitting experience, you can book a free 15 minute video chat in a Live Fit session or make an appointment to discover your RunDNA at Sportitude Running@Hindmarsh.

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