Wearables

Good for race days

The FuelCell Impulse strikes the right balance between cushioning and responsiveness.
The FuelCell Impulse strikes the right balance between cushioning and responsiveness.

Those who want to run fast and also look good should consider New Balance's FuelCell Impulse.

With a heel drop - the difference between the height of the heel and the midfoot - of 6mm, this pair of racer shoes is suitable for neutral runners or those with a normal arch.

The review pair is fiery red with accents of black at the heel and white in the midsole. They look more like trendy sneakers than racers.

Designed for a responsive ride, they come with nitrogen-injected foam in two segments of the mid-sole at the forefoot area - to provide more rebound during toe-off. The rubber outsole has strategically angled flex grooves for optimal lift-off while ensuring traction.

When I first put them on, I was surprised at how snug but comfortable they felt. The bootie construction makes them sock-like and comfortable. The double jacquard mesh upper holds the foot firmly while still giving toes wiggle room.

My first 5km jog in the shoes was done without socks. There were no blisters or hot spots to report. The shoes felt comfortable, like they were worn in.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $259

    MATERIAL: Double jacquard mesh upper with RevLite mid-sole

    HEEL DROP: 6mm

    WEIGHT: 232g (US9, Men's)

  • RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The FuelCell Impulse strikes the right balance between cushioning and responsiveness. Whether you are a forefoot striker or a heel striker, you can feel the extra rebound during toe-off. But heel strikers will probably feel the ride to be less smooth, as these shoes are more suited for forefoot strikers.

The shoes do not have heel counters. Thus, my injury-prone ankles did not feel adequately protected.

They also felt a tad warmer than shoes such as the Nike Pegasus series. And they do not have the kind of high-level rebound found in the likes of Adidas' Ultra Boost.

Given its thin sole and probably lower durability, I think the FuelCell Impulse is more suited for race days than long-distance training.

• Verdict: The New Balance FuelCell Impulse is a great pair of running shoes for race days and they look good as casual shoes too.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2018, with the headline 'Good for race days '. Print Edition | Subscribe