Carbon plating has become all the rage these days, there is no doubt about it. Pioneered by Nike for the most part, it has become everyone’s priority to build a better version of it. To that end, New Balance brings us their offering but it is honestly a little different. Most of these shoes are super light and designed for race day, but the TC weighs in more like a normal runner and actually feels more like something you can wear every day. To that we say… yes, please.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- This is part of New Balance’s first push into the carbon plate market.
- Designed for race day, but durable enough for your normal training days.
- Weighs in at 9.2oz or 261g for a US Men’s 9.
- Sports 30mm of cushion and features a 5mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $199.99 USD and comes in 1 color for Men and Women.
With so many carbon shoes coming into the market, it was only a matter of time before New Balance dropped their version and when they arrived, it was easy to be pumped. They are great looking and they look and feel so new for the brand, it was awesome they went in a new direction with this lineup. New Balance is killing the styling game on some of their newer shoes lately.
On the foot, they are not light like the 4%, NEXT%. Speed Elite, Carbon X, etc… they feel normal to some degree. The toebox has a really nice amount of width with plenty of toe splay so lots of freedom upfront. The heel cup holds you well and that collar can get a really nice lockdown. The feeling of all is the plushness of the midsole under your foot, it just sinks underneath you, cradling your heel when standing still. Things got real in the run though.
Our first runs were all under 10 miles and it was just about going fast and trying to find the breaking point and the TCs never backed down. They are definitely quick and it was easy to see seconds tick off, but soon we noticed something else. Speed maintenance became easier, heartrate control was simpler, and the two together meant running longer at higher speeds was easier. Then it became a game of figuring out how to use them in other areas and intervals became an easy fit. You can really turn it up and then during those historically slower miles the carbon keeps things moving but recovery is attainable.
Now race days and what do we think about the TC. For most normal runners, this shoe is just fine to use for your races and you will get great times. However, we totally see this is as Training shoe and would say look at their RC shoe for racing. This is primarily due to the excess weight the TC carries and on race day, well… every second counts.
The white on the upper is engineered mesh which is super breathable. The black overlays provide structure around the lace column and up around the collar while also giving some level of mid-foot stability, it is a more rigid material. The laces are perfect and do not loosen up much at all. The tongue can be a little annoying in that it rides just a touch high. It does breakdown after several wearings and if you wear higher socks you will never notice, but lower socks will see some irritation. Similarly, the small elf heel can do the same, but the angle of it seems to minimize this.
The midsole is the magic on the FuelCell TC. It features their super high-rebound FuelCell which feels soft and spongy to the touch. It is also about plushness and comfort and feels great underfoot. Within the foam, they have inserted a carbon plate that always wants to return to position. So when flexed, it tries to straighten out quickly which inevitably helps with the forward momentum.
The front half of the outsole is a few millimeters of blue rubber and it extends to just behind the arch. This provides traction and durability and really helps grab the ground during push-off. The back half is exposed FreshFoam that acts as a landing pad for heel strikers, nice and soft to the touch. You will also see two thinner white rubber strips which increase some durability in those key contact areas.
Style & Aesthetics
While the FuelCell TC only comes in a single color option, it looks really good. The white and black upper with the hint of blue peeking through from the outsole, just make it feel sleek and fast. The overlayed NB on the toebox is subtle enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the shoe and feel like too much. Excited to see where they take this.
The New Balance FuelCell TC might be one of our new favorite shoes and definitely something we would grab for a training run over a 4% or NEXT%. The FuelCell midsole is responsive on its own, but that carbon plate layered in with it gives it a kick in the butt and this makes it perfect for your speed or interval days. The shoe has enough heft and support to keep your foot supported and while we would not necessarily use these for race day, there is nothing stopping you. New Balance has truly started off their foray into the carbon plate world in a very strong way.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.