New Balance FuelCell Prism v2 Performance Review
ALDREN: I’ve been on a mission to find a lightweight stability shoe to use on my tempos and track sessions for the past two years. Every trainer I wielded either lacked enough stability or weighed an arm and a leg. Without wanting to blow the bank on a carbon-plated shoe or increasing the likeliness of injury in a non-stability shoe, I’m usually left to run my workouts in an old pair of Nike Zoom Structure 22 (rest in peace) or the Brooks Launch GTS 8. Here emerges the New Balance FuelCell Prism v2.
MEAGHAN: I didn’t love the original FuelCell Prism, so I didn’t have great expectations for v2. Would these feel as squishy as the originals? Still a little short? The updates aren’t drastic, but they’re substantial.
THOMAS: Stability ain’t so stable anymore. Stability shoes used to be made up of a very rigid heel cup, dual-density foam medial posts, and overbuilt chassis. The modern take has moved stability to lighter posting and guide rails. The overall structure of these shoes has loosened up to become lighter and less clunky. Shoes that have taken advantage of this trend are the ASICS Kayano Lite, Nike React Infinity, Puma Eternity, and the shoe we are talking about here, the New Balance FuelCell Prism v2.
ALDREN: I missed out on v1 so that means I’m riding blind into this update. The goal of the Prism v2 is to be a lighter-weight stability trainer. At 9.4 oz (men’s 9), that’s exactly what it feels like on the run. During my first fartlek session, I forgot the shoes were on my feet, which is a good thing. Imagine you’re in the middle of the race. Ideally, you’d be focusing on the person ahead of you or keeping your pace rather than thinking about the bricks on your feet. All this shoe does is help you run smoother and faster.
The upper is a synthetic mesh that somewhat resembles the Adidas Ultraboost PB. There’s also a slightly padded tongue to reduce lace pressure and cushioned heel to add a little more comfort than your average tempo trainer.
The magic is in the midsole with the Prism v2. Due to the design, the medial side has a lot denser posting that sits right below the arch. Buyer beware: don’t expect this to feel like the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 with posting. This is more of a firmer ride that falls into its own category. To add to the stability is a dense rubber lying beneath the posting and lateral side of the heel.
MEAGHAN: Right off the bat, the Prism v2 gets an upgrade in aesthetics. The white upper and bright purple outsole is a good look. The step-in feel is great and the shoes fit true to size. There’s a really roomy toebox for us wider-footed folk and the stretchy laces do a nice job of locking said feet down. There isn’t a ton of padding around the collar and heel, but it’s enough to add some general comfort.
Beneath the foot things have definitely changed. The FuelCell cushioning is a lot more responsive/bouncy and less squishy than last year’s model, and I prefer this version much more. The heel and forefoot are covered in plenty of durable rubber, and I haven’t had any signs of wear and tear. This shoe is technically a stability shoe, with slight medial posting, but it’s nothing very noticeable. It definitely doesn’t feel like your traditional, stiff stability shoe.
THOMAS: What I like about the Prism v2 is that it doesn’t feel like a stability shoe. It’s light at 9.63 oz/273 grams for a men’s size 10. That might not sound featherweight, but we’re talking about a stability trainer. The original Prism felt squishy and I couldn’t feel the stability features at all. The v2 is firmer and adds some rubber under the heel that reminds me of the HOKA J-Frame. It’s like a horseshoe that’s longer on the medial side and helps create the guidance pronators require.
The upper of the Prism v2 is a breathable synthetic mesh that’s almost transparent over the toes. A lightly padded gusseted tongue provides surprising comfort. The lacing system is quick and easy to dial in with zero heel lift. The padding around the ankle is just comfortable enough without being overly stuffed.
The FuelCell midsole is firmer this round, but a good firm. Along the medial side, New Balance uses molding to create the dense support that pronators need. The drop comes in at 6 mm.
The Prism v2 is versatile, especially at $120. It can really cover a lot of your training needs, from picking up the pace to cruising down the street.Shop Prism v2 – Men Shop Prism v2 – Women
ALDREN: I’m not entirely sure this is bad, but I think the Prism v2 is a stability shoe for people who don’t necessarily want a stability shoe. For those in need of a little bit more structure in their shoe, I’d recommend the New Balance 860v11, Vongo v5, or literally anything on the 7 Best Stability Shoes of 2021 so far. The Prism v2 feels stable enough but I don’t think it will be stable enough for everyone.
MEAGHAN: While my two complaints from the original Prism were fixed (too squishy, a little short), I have to note that the shoes gained a little weight. My W7.5 came in at 8.08 oz (229 grams) compared to 7.3 oz from the previous model. Outside of that, I can’t say much.
THOMAS: My question on the Prism v2 would be: Is there enough stability in the shoe for people who really need it? As a person that likes neutral shoes, I was quite happy with the Prism v2.Shop Prism v2 – Men Shop Prism v2 – Women
ALDREN: I think my feet will appreciate not immediately jumping into a carbon-plated shoe when I want to go fast. The New Balance FuelCell Prism v2 provides plenty of pop, making it a solid fast day option with a touch of stability.
MEAGHAN: The New Balance FuelCell Prism v2 is a quality trainer, and maybe most notably, you can get a pair for $120! If you overpronate or just need a little extra support underfoot, definitely give this shoe a try.
THOMAS: Once again New Balance has proved it can play in every running shoe category. The FuelCell Prism v2 is a fun, lightweight trainer that can handle a majority of your training needs, especially if you need a little guidance in your life. The styling is banging, the feeling on foot is dialed in, and the price is reasonable. I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.
You can pick up the New Balance FuelCell Prism v2 for $120 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Prism v2 – Men Shop Prism v2 – Women
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That men’s colorway is the bomb!! I have the white and red pair and love them!
Can anyone tell me what the difference between the prism and the propel are? Which are best for long runs? Thanks.
The prism has the stability posting.
The insole in these is trash…
I just got these and put in 4 miles in them but am experiencing some pain in the lateral side of my right foot. I’m an overpronator and this sensation is new to me…