New Balance FuelCell Rebel V4 Review: Speedy & Stylish

The FuelCell Rebel V4 strikes the perfect balance between comfort and speed, making it perfect for daily mileage and tempo runs in style. I'm keeping these, and have awarded them a Trail & Kale Editor's Choice award for their excellent performance at $140.


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I think we can all agree that the New Balance FuelCell Rebel V4 shoes are incredibly stylish, but beyond their looks, what type of running are they for, and what runners will enjoy them?

In this Rebel version 4 review, I’m covering the key features of these road running shoes, what really makes them stand out, areas for potential improvement, how they fit, who they’re best suited to and ultimately, whether they’re worth $140.

The Key Specifications

  • Price: $140 for the men’s and women’s versions at New Balance
  • Sizing and fit: True to size with a medium width fit. A wide version is also available.
  • Weight: 6.1oz (172g) for a size US(W) 7.5 (my pair).
  • Drop: 6mm
  • Toe box width: Medium
  • Stability: Neutral, so there’s no additional stability or support
  • Midsole Cushioning: Responsive
  • Best for: Tempo runs, speed work and race day for 5k through half marathon (or possibly marathon).

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel V4 running shoes are well suited to tempo running and speed interval training, as well as running fast over the 5k, 10k and half marathon distances, as they strike a balance between being sufficiently cushioned but still with strong focus on being lightweight and conducive to fast running.

Running in the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 - tempo runs, speedwork, race day...

They’re well-priced at $140, especially when you consider that these running shoes weigh in at just 6.1 oz for a women’s US 7.5. For context, many other slightly more cushioned road running shoes will typically weigh between 7 to 8 oz for my size.

The FuelCell Rebel V4 shoes fit true to size. If you know your shoe size in other running shoes or regular trainers, I suggest sticking to that size with the Rebel V4 and they should fit you well. They’re not particularly high-volume, nor are they what I would describe as a foot-hugging fit – they land somewhere in the middle of that scale. Note that if you have particularly wide feet, there is also a wide version of these shoes you can opt for.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel V4 review

In terms of drop, these shoes have a 6 mm drop from heel to toe, which is right in the sweet spot for me personally when it comes to road running shoes. I tend to land on my midfoot when I run, so it suits me well to have a drop of between 6 and 4mm. If you tend to land more on your heels, you may find you prefer a different running shoe with more cushioning towards the rear of the shoe and a higher stack height of 8 to 10mm, which is what we see on many what we call max cushioned road running shoes.

Looking more closely at some of the shoe’s details, the upper is constructed from a thin mesh that’s clearly been designed for optimal breathability, making these shoes an excellent choice for summer runs. The heel area includes padding, which, while reducing breathability somewhat compared to the toe box, is fairly standard in running shoe design. The lacing system is straightforward and efficient, with the laces remaining securely tied without the need for double knots.

The outsole of the FuelCell Rebel V4 comprises rubber covering approximately half of the shoe, primarily in the front where you’ll mostly tend to land as you run in them. Interestingly, the heel features a small extension, a “kicker,” that goes beyond the heel of the foot, which is intended to enhance stability during runs.

This design element is consistent with other current New Balance models, such as the SuperComp Elite V4, which Alastair recently reviewed (read his NB Supercomp Elite V4 review). Now here’s something interesting to contemplate – look how similar these two running shoes look, from first appearances:

However, while similar to the Rebel V4 in appearances, the SuperComp Elite V4 is definitely a different shoe, retailing at $250 and featuring a carbon fiber plate.

Lastly on features, let’s take a moment to appreciate the aesthetics, the FuelCell Rebel V4 stands out as one of the most stylish running shoes this season. The excitement of unboxing them and the immediate desire to take them for a run was undeniable, largely due to how they look! It helps that they’re available in what I consider to be an appealing colorway – the shoes I have as pictured throughout this review, and there’s also a very cool looking electric blue and a white option for those who prefer lighter shades.

Who are they going to be best for?

They’re best suited to those who like to run fast, landing on your mid to forefoot, given their light weight, lower than average drop, and cushioning and outsole patterns. Whether it’s for those high-intensity 5K or 10K efforts where you’re pushing your limits by running faster than usual, or even for running a half marathon, these shoes are versatile enough to be your companions on a variety of runs.

There is a good amount of cushioning in the midsole for any of these distances, offering plenty of rebound as well as responsiveness.

A top down look at the New Balance Rebel V4 running shoe
A top down look at the New Balance Rebel V4

For those runners who are light on their feet and don’t require extensive cushioning, the Rebel V4 can also carry you through a marathon, although many runners may appreciate a more cushioned shoe for running that distance.

You could also pair these shoes so you wear these for training runs, then switch up to a fancy Super Shoe (whether the Super Comp Elite V4 I mentioned earlier in this review, or one from another brand such as the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4, for example).

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The features of the Rebel v4 that work really well

The first thing to note—and you’ve likely gathered this by now—is how much I admire their aesthetic appeal. However, the benefits of these shoes extend far beyond their looks.

The fit is another significant highlight for me. As I mentioned earlier, they fit true to size right out of the box. When you encounter a pair of shoes that visually urge you to lace them up and they then feel great on your feet even before you hit the road, it’s a strong indicator of a great running experience ahead. That was my sense the first time I slipped these on.

If you need a little extra motivation to get back into doing regular speed work in your training, or shave a few seconds off some of your personal records, without the need to invest over $200 in more expensive “super shoes,” these are certainly worth considering.

A closer look at the breathable mesh upper on the New Balance Rebel V4 running shoe
A closer look at the breathable mesh upper on the New Balance Rebel V4 running shoe

Another aspect I’ve been particularly appreciating is their suitability for summer running. It’s not just the look but also the functionality, specifically the breathable mesh upper featuring New Balance’s Fantomfit technology – running in them on these warm California days, my feet remain surprisingly cool and dry in these shoes, even when I’m working through speed work intervals.

Lastly, I’ve been impressed with the outsole. The traction’s been reliable and I like how it wraps up the front of the shoe so I can do hill repeats confidently knowing I have some rubber on the toe area as well as the sole.

The outsole on the New Balance Rebel V4 running shoe - reviewed on Trail and Kale Running Co.
The outsole on the New Balance Rebel V4

➡ If you’re enjoying this review do me a favor, drop a comment down below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more running shoe reviews just like this one. If you’re familiar with these running shoes, share your thoughts on them in the comments.

The features that could be improved for the next version

As I highlighted at the start of this review, this shoe is nice and lightweight, New Balance has clearly taken care to keep the materials minimal without compromising on performance. However, lightweight running shoe materials can bring some potential drawbacks, especially for runners who are particularly hard on their footwear or those who aim to maximize their use over an extended period.

Some people might find that these shoes show signs of wear sooner than anticipated. Although my pair is still relatively new and I haven’t noted any significant wear and tear firsthand, here are a couple of areas to look after if you buy these shoes.

Firstly, the tongue of the shoe is crafted from a very thin foam. So it’s worth taking care to hold it up as you slide your foot in to the shoe, to prevent crumpling or pushing it down towards the toe box, which could lead to unwanted creasing or damage over time.

There's that minimalist foam tongue on the NB Rebel V4
There’s that minimalist foam tongue on the NB Rebel V4

Similarly, I suggest taking care with the shoe’s heel counter, hold it up as you slide your foot into the shoe rather than pushing your foot in and crushing it, which could damage the foam padding.

The heel counter and collar area of the NB FC Rebel v4 running shoe
The heel counter and collar area of the NB FC Rebel v4 running shoe

I’d also suggest taking care with the shoe’s upper. As mentioned earlier, it’s made of a nice thin and breathable mesh and I would probably not wear these shoes extensively for running in bad weather where they’re going to get very wet and / or dirty as that may compromise the mesh over time.

Is the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 worth buying?

They’re well-priced at $140, lightweight, and engineered for fun, fast training runs and races. For runners who are not ready to invest in a “super shoe,” which can cost upwards of $200, the Rebel V4 presents an attractive alternative all round.

I really hope you found this review of the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 running shoes informative and enjoyable. If you did, don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter, so you don’t miss our other in-depth running shoe reviews as they drop.

YouTube Video review

Did you know we also create shoe review videos on our YouTube Channel too? Click the image below to watch our New Balance Rebel Version 4 review on YouTube next.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel V4 Review: Speedy & Stylish 2 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 Review Gallery

One of Trail & Kale's co-founders, a mom, and guardian of our resident trail dog, Kepler, Helen can be found trail running with Kepler and enjoying road runs with her mini in a jogging stroller, all while testing out the latest running gear for our readers.


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