Shoe Review: New Balance FuelCell Prism
Speed meets stability in the New Balance FuelCell Prism.
Taking visual design cues from the carbon-fiber-plated New Balance FuelCell TC, the low-profile Prism pairs a springy FuelCell midsole with a traditional medial post. The foam-post combo delivers a ride that’s both energetic and stable.
Designers covered the shoe in a lightweight mesh upper that’s streamlined for a speedy feel, and they coated the outsole in durable rubber for confident grip when you hit top speed. While New Balance primed the Prism for fast paces, it also has enough foam underfoot to stand up to higher mileage days.
Fleet Feet runners reviewed the New Balance FuelCell Prism to see how it fits and how it rides. Here’s what they thought.
New Balance FuelCell Prism
7.7 oz (W), 9.5 oz (M)
Everyday training, speed work
New Balance FuelCell Prism Materials and Fit
From the looks to the materials, the New Balance FuelCell Prism isn’t a complicated shoe, which is perfect when you want to focus on your speed.
Designers topped the FuelCell Prism with a lightweight engineered mesh upper. The single-layer mesh is seamless for a more comfortable experience, and it’s breathable to keep your feet dry when the weather heats up. Fleet Feet reviewers didn’t experience any clamminess or overheating in the Prism, even on mid-summer days when the heat was at its worst.
The mesh also has solid structure. It boats a secure midfoot with flexibility in the forefoot for a natural bend during toe-off.
Even before you take a step, though, the Prism feels fast.
"I want to put on a New Balance elite race kit and do a tempo run," says one Fleet Feet tester. "This is the feeling I get when putting this shoe on my feet."
Like the mesh, New Balance engineered the Prism with a streamlined heel cup. The lightly structured heel cup has a slim internal heel counter for a secure fit without any bulk. Designers also added a little bit of memory-foam-like padding around the heel cup to make it more comfortable.
The forefoot has plenty of room for different foot shapes, and New Balance makes it in wide sizing for runners who need to size up.
According to another tester, the roomy toebox was surprising. "I've worn other New Balance racing shoes that felt very streamlined throughout," she says. "But this shoe offered plenty of room. In fact, I had to synch down the laces a bit more before I started my track workout. But after that, the fit was perfect."
Even with the lightweight feel, though, reviewers say the FuelCell Prism fits like an everyday trainer should.
“The Prism feels very secure in the midfoot, and it has plenty of room in the forefoot,” one reviewer says. “It’s clearly a shoe for fast days, but it’s comfortable enough for longer runs, too.”
New Balance FuelCell Prism Ride and Performance
The FuelCell Prism feels quick.
New Balance designed the Prism with a low stack height and a 6mm heel-to-toe drop, which makes the shoe feel more connected to the pavement than shoes with more foam. One Fleet Feet reviewer says that ground feel creates more confident foot placements.
“I really like how I can feel the pavement in the Prism,” he says. “It makes me feel more nimble when I have to quickly step off the curb or take a sharp turn.”
Reviewers say the low stack height also encourages a quick turnover. The Prism can handle cruising speeds thanks to the cushion provided by FuelCell foam, but it’s also adept at picking up the pace.
Another reviewer says the midsole makes the shoe.
"The midsole is my favorite part of this shoe," he says. "Overall, you can tell there is intent built into every aspect of the midsole that will encourage you to run fast or at a quicker cadence."
Then there’s the main stability feature: a medial post.
"I don't normally wear stability shoes," says another tester. "But I love the gentle structure these add, especially when I'm tired and my gait is getting sloppy. This makes them perfect for everything from the track to long runs."
New Balance used the traditional medial post—a firmer wedge of foam beneath the arch—to add a touch of stability to the shoe. The firmer foam compresses less under your weight than the surrounding foam, which makes it more durable to help ease the effects of overpronation.
You can feel the difference between the post and the rest of the FuelCell foam if you squeeze on the sides of the shoe with your hands. But the post blends seamlessly into the ride.
“The Prism has a very smooth transition,” one reviewer says. “I don’t notice the post at all, but I do notice how stable each step feels. There’s no wobbling or side-to-side movement.”
Coated in a generous amount of outsole rubber beneath the forefoot, the Prism gives you solid grip on pavement or the track.
The New Balance FuelCell Prism cuts out distractions to give you a speedy ride.
Designers used a streamlined mesh upper that’s lightweight and breathable, and it’s shaped to fit comfortably for speed work and daily maintenance miles. The energetic full-length FuelCell midsole delivers a springy ride, and the integrated medial post offers a hint of stability.
With a low-profile silhouette and uptempo feel, the New Balance FuelCell Prism gives you the stability you need in a pace-focused running shoe.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.
By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.