At WearTesters, we often get asked which New Balance shoe has the most cushioning. The answer depends on what you want out of your shoe’s cushioning. To figure that out we need to compare the two primary New Balance cushioning technologies, FuelCell and Fresh Foam. Both of these midsole technologies are designed to provide a comfortable, responsive, and supportive ride, but they differ in their construction and characteristics.
Special thanks to New Balance for sponsoring this article.
New Balance believes that if you run, you are a runner. And, to Run Your Way means whether you’re a new runner, a marathoner, or a basketball player you’re able to find enjoyment in running for what it does for you. New Balance sneakers can help you run the way that works for you. Running isn’t exclusionary…everyone can do it. And New Balance wants to meet runners’ needs, whatever they may be, with the right shoe and the right amount of cushioning.
Here are our favorite New Balance cushioning options:
FuelCell is a relatively new cushioning technology that was introduced by New Balance in 2019 with the reintroduction of New Balance basketball and the OMN1S (which was worn by Kawhi Leonard) and followed shortly thereafter by several running models including the New Balance FuelCell Propel. It’s a high-energy foam that’s designed to provide a quick and responsive ride. FuelCell is made from a blend of nitrogen-injected TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foams. This combination provides a lightweight and durable cushioning system that can withstand high-impact forces.
FuelCell is designed to provide a responsive and energized ride. It’s a bit firmer in the New Balance’s basketball models to help with the on court side-to-side stability needs. In New Balance running models, it’s both cushier and springier to help runners maintain their pace and propel them forward with every stride. In both cases, FuelCell wants the wearer to feel speedy and responsive to go faster.
Fresh Foam cushioning, on the other hand, is a more established technology that’s been used by New Balance since 2014. It’s a proprietary EVA blend designed to provide a plush and comfortable ride. It’s made from a single piece of foam that is tweaked zonally to provide cushioning and support where it’s needed most.
Fresh Foam is soft and plush. It’s typically heavier and less responsive or springy than FuelCell. It’s designed to provide a cushioned and comfortable ride that reduces impact forces and leg fatigue. Despite being around since 2014, Fresh Foam was only recently introduced in basketball with the New Balance Fresh Foam BB. In both running and basketball, Fresh Foam aims to provide a smooth and stable ride. Fresh Foam also appears in baseball, softball, tennis, and golf shoes.
FuelCell vs Fresh Foam
As we mentioned above, the key differences between FuelCell and Fresh Foam are the raw materials and construction. New Balance uses distinct processes to create these foam cushions and the end result is a vastly different underfoot feel. New Balance also tweaks these processes for different sports. We mentioned basketball and running above but FuelCell, for instance, can also be found in training, tennis, baseball, and lifestyle shoes.
And while we could continue talking about these foams at a macro level, it’ll be more helpful if we dig into current New Balance footwear utilizing Fresh Foam and FuelCell so you can figure out which model will best help you Run Your Way.
Best Neutral Cushioned New Balance Running Shoes
New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer
The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is a high-stack neutral training shoe perfect for long runs and minimizing wear and tear on tired legs. It packs massive amounts of FuelCell cushioning underneath one of the best uppers of the year. The engineered knit upper is comfortable and accommodating to all foot types. And while it may feel weighty, the SC Trainer is more stable than a shoe this tall should be. If you run long distances often and want to save your legs, or are a bigger, taller, or heavier runner, the plush, bouncy FuelCell midsole of the SuperComp Trainer is well worth your consideration. Read the full review.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $180
New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4
The New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 is a comfortable, affordable, and excellently executed running shoe. The upper’s fit is super accommodating, and any foot shape will enjoy it, especially those hard-to-please wide footers and flat footers. The Fresh Foam X feels great on foot for any amount of miles or household chores. It’s also the perfect shoe for an all-day theme park visit.
The stability is great due to the Fresh Foam midsole geometry and the foot sitting inside the midsole walls. The lockdown is solid, so even narrow footers can be confident their foot will stay in place on even the sharpest of turns or bumpiest of roads. And the style — chunktastic is in these days, so this shoe will work as well casually as it does for running. Read the full review.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $150
See the rest of the Best New Balance Running Shoes
Best New Balance Basketball Shoes
New Balance TWO WXY V3
The New Balance TWO WXY V3 is an upgrade from the last version and is even better than their flagship model for the Klaw. The traction is fantastic for as long as it lasts. Right off the bat, we know you’ll stop on a dime in these. The cushion with FuelCell works well for most positions. The FitWeave upper is comfortable and moves well with your feet. A very solid offering from New Balance. Read the full review.
Fit: True to size, Price: $120
New Balance Fresh Foam BB
The New Balance Fresh Foam BB is the introduction of New Balance’s plush Fresh Foam into its basketball line. The Fresh Foam BB is the kind of shoe you try on in-store and you wonder how it’s so comfortable for only $130. The radial-style traction pattern grips the floor well and is thick enough to be plenty durable. The FitWeave upper aids in lockdown and keeps the foot on the footbed while flexing well with the foot. As for the fit, go down half a size if you want a true 1:1 fit but if you like a little more room, true-to-size will work. We’re glad Fresh Foam got such a high-performing debut basketball shoe. See the full review.
Fit: Half size down, Price: $130
See all the rest of our New Balance shoe reviews
What’s your favorite New Balance cushioning, FuelCell or Fresh Foam? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Instagram or TikTok.