New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 vs. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

Written By Sunny

Choosing the right shoe for your next Personal Best isn’t just about picking the flashiest kicks. It’s about finding the perfect fit, feel, and responsiveness to have your legs screaming “faster!”

Enter the epic showdown between the RC Elite v2 and the Vaporfly NEXT% 2.

The NB boasts a bouncy FuelCell midsole and a propulsive carbon plate, while the Vaporfly reigns with its ZoomX foam and maximum stack height.

But which is best for you?new-balance-fuelcell-rc-elite-v2-vs-nike-zoomx-vaporfly-next-2

Buckle up because we’re about to dive deep into the nitty-gritty of both shoes, dissecting their cushion, speed, fit, and everything in between so you can pick the perfect match for your victory lap.

Overview of FuelCell RC Elite v2 and Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2

This versatile racer boasts a knit upper for comfort, a carbon plate for propulsion, and FuelCell foam for a plush, responsive ride.

Ideal for everyday runs, tempo workouts, and even marathons, it offers ample cushioning for long distances without compromising speed.

So, ditch your old kicks and get ready to fly. new-balance-fuelcell-rc-elite-v2

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

This lightweight contender prioritizes pure racing performance. Its ZoomX foam delivers explosive energy return while the carbon plate propels you forward with each stride. The synthetic mesh upper reduces weight, and the forefoot geometry allows a quick toe-off.

The Vaporfly 2 is best for seasoned racers seeking new

Ultimately, the FuelCell RC Elite v2 excels in comfort and versatility, while the Vaporfly Next% 2 shines in raw racing speed. Both offer cutting-edge technology to help you crush your next run, whether a daily jog or a record-breaking race.

Feature Comparison of Nike Vaporfly 2 and New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2

Both footwear belong to the racing shoe category but differ in cushioning, responsiveness, weight, durability, and overall design.

Understanding these unique characteristics enables you to make informed decisions that match your running style, goals, and comfort preferences.

FeaturesNike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2
ClassificationRacing shoeLong-distance racing shoe
Weight6.9 oz for men's size 97.7 oz for men's size 9
Stack Height40mm heel and 32mm forefoot36 mm heel and 28 mm forefoot
Drop8 mm8 mm
Durability400 miles300 - 400 miles
UpperEngineered mesh fabricSingle stretchy knit mesh
MidsoleZoomX foam with a full-length carbon fiber plateFuelCell foam with a full-length carbon fiber plate
OutsoleHarder rubber heel and softer rubber forefootRubber
Toe Box WidthNarrowWide
PriceAround $250Around $320

The data in the table reveals that both shoes are impressive racing sneakers.

However, after thoroughly examining each characteristic, it becomes evident that one outperforms the other.

To gain a comprehensive insight into the superior shoe, refer to the following section.

Primary Differences Between FuelCell RC Elite v2 vs. ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

Understanding the distinct features distinguishing the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 from the FuelCell RC Elite v2 is crucial for individuals striving for optimal running performance and comfort in their racing shoes.

Critical differentiators include responsiveness, midsole technology, fit, and price, significantly shaping a runner’s overall experience.

Below, I’ve outlined the distinctions between the RC Elite v2 and ZoomX Vaporfly 2:

Upper Construction

Nike’s Vaporfly 2 takes a less-is-more approach. They have opted for a sleek, redesigned mesh upper that breathes like a champ. Plus, the light padding on the tongue keeps the laces from digging in.

On the other hand, New Balance combines different materials with the FuelCell RC Elite v2. This upper is a thin, hyper-breathable knit that feels like it’s barely there.

But don’t be fooled by its minimalist vibe. The heel cup is snuggly and supportive.

And those slightly off-center laces are not just for a unique look. They support the highest part of your foot, giving your forefoot some serious breathing room.

The result?

A locked-in feel that’s spacious at the same time.upper-of-new-balance-fuelcell-rc-elite-v2-and-nike-zoomx-vaporfly-next-2

Midsole Technology

With a stack height of 39mm at the heel and 31mm at the forefoot, the New Balance RC Elite v2 gets close to the maximum allowed.

But the cool part is the softness of the midsole makes the drop feel less drastic.heellateral-new-balance-fuelcell-rc-elite-v2

The carbon plate is nestled snugly inside the midsole, and thanks to the extra height, it gets to curve easily. This steeper slope means more stored energy, just waiting to be released with every stride.

Also, the midsole foam, it’s not just any foam. New Balance’s FuelCell is a nitrogen-infused masterpiece that’s both bouncy and soft.

But don’t worry, it’s not just about comfort.

This supercritical TPU/EVA blend provides excellent energy return, so every ounce of effort you put in comes back to propel you forward.

That said, the midsole is so soft that it can reduce the carbon plate’s snappy propulsion. But that’s just a minor downside in this exceptional midsole.

The RC Elite v2 gives you the best of both worlds: pillowy comfort and rocket-powered propulsion.

Let’s switch gears to the Nike Vaporfly 2.

The NEXT% 2’s midsole isn’t your average slab of foam. It’s a light, spring PEBAX material that Nike has whipped into a glorious ZoomX foam.

They’ve sandwiched a full-length carbon fiber plate right in the middle. Nike calls it the ‘spring plate.’spring-plate-of-nike-zoomx-vaporfly-next-2

Trust me, the name perfectly describes its characteristics.

The ZoomX foam cushions your footfall like a plush marshmallow, soaking up impact. But then, the carbon plate kicks in, propelling you forward with an energy return Nike claims is a whopping 85%. It’s like someone’s pushing your foot with every step.

And don’t let the thickness fool you.

The midsole stack height might be pushing the 40mm limit (the max allowed by the racing community), but it’s surprisingly light.

Think of it like running on a cloud that launches you into the next stride. That’s the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 midsole experience.

Weight and Durability

The RC Elite v2 is all about featherweight performance without sacrificing sturdiness. It’s like a sleek panther, light on its paws but ready to dive. The upper is thin, shedding grams like no other shoe.

Right out of the gate, the Elite v2 is a featherweight contender. It practically disappears on your feet.

But don’t be fooled by its delicate looks.

This racing shoe is built for speed, with a responsive FuelCell midsole that wants to launch you forward with every stride.

I must admit, durability-wise, it’s not its strongest suit.

But New Balance has beefed up the outsole compared to its predecessor, so you can expect it to handle some light training miles and race day confidently.

Just remember, these are racing sneakers. Treat them right; they’ll reward you with speed, a comfortable ride, and an extended lifespan.

Conversely, the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is a high-tech racing shoe with explosive speed thanks to that crazy ZoomX foam that feels like running on clouds.

But this comfort comes at a cost.

The upper is sheer, and the ZoomX foam isn’t exactly known for its long-term durability.

Think of the Vaporfly as your secret weapon for crushing PBs, but maybe not your everyday training shoe.

So, which one should you choose? Well, that depends on your priorities.

If you’re a die-hard racer chasing down every second, the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is your trump card. But if you want a lightning-fast shoe built to last, the New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 might be your perfect match. 

Fit and Sizing

With the Vaporfly NEXT% 2, I dialed in at my usual 10. It hugged my foot snugly, ready for action without feeling cramped. Plus, it handled marathon-induced swelling like a champ.

But, here’s the issue – the heel. While the heel counter is excellent, the collar just wouldn’t lock down.

Let’s swap shoes and try on the NB RC Elite v2.

In my usual size 10, it felt true to size, but with a surprise – a bit shorter than I expected.

And that wasn’t all! This shoe loves wide feet, especially up front. There’s so much wiggle room for my toes.

But the downside is a slightly loose insole. Easy to fix, though; just glue it down or swap it out for a snugger fit.

So, if you’re a fan of roomy racing shoes with a trainer-like midfoot, the RC Elite v2 might have your name written all over it.

Just be warned, the wide forefoot comes with a slightly wider heel, though I didn’t experience any slippage there.

The toe guard starts narrow but stretches over time.

In addition, the tongue is thin and snug. The semi-rigid heel counter hugs the foot without any issues.

So, for me, the FuelCell Elite v2 is the winner for its wider, more secure fit, crucial for marathon distances where foot swelling is

Performance Comparison

Energy Return and Responsiveness

New Balance’s FuelCell RC Elite v2 has this bouncy, springy midsole that feels like it’s launching you with every stride.

Nike’s Vaporfly 2 counters with its ZoomX foam, which functions as a trampoline, propelling the runner forward with minimal effort.

It’s a close call, but the Vaporfly’s snappier feel wins this round, making you feel like you’re running on clouds with jetpacks.

Cushioning and Comfort

Imagine running on pillows for miles. That’s basically what both shoes offer, but in different ways.

The RC Elite v2 has a plush midsole that always hugs your feet. The Vaporfly NEXT% 2, on the other hand, is lighter and more aerodynamic but still surprisingly comfy.

This one’s a tie because it depends on your preference: cloud-like softness or sleek comfort.

Traction and Grip

Nobody wants to slip and slide on race day, so both shoes have grippy outsoles.

The NB FuelCell RC Elite v2 has these raised lugs that dig into any surface, even wet roads. The Vaporfly NEXT% 2 has a more minimal tread, but the rubber compound is super grippy.

Again, it’s a close one, but the FuelCell’s aggressive lugs give it the edge for confidence on any

So, who wins overall?

It’s a tough call because both shoes are exceptional in their own ways.

The FuelCell RC Elite v2 is the comfy, grippy cruiser that’ll take you anywhere. The Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is a sleek, responsive shoe that’ll make you run like the wind.

Whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed to crush your next race!

Price Point and Value for Money

Both the RC Elite v2 and Vaporfly NEXT% 2 scream ‘speed,’ but which screams ‘best value’ louder?

Let’s dissect their price tags.

The New Balance is the pricier of the pair, packing some seriously cutting-edge tech like FuelCell foam and the carbon fiber plate.

But this tech comes at a cost, literally.

You’re paying a premium price, around $320, for potentially shaving seconds off your PB.

But its worth depends on whether you’re a die-hard racer with Olympic aspirations and no budget concerns; then, by all means, go for it.

Now, let’s talk about Nike.

Vaporfly, the name alone conjures up images of Eliud Kipchoge shattering world records. And at $250, Nike is charging a premium for their record-breaking fame.

The ZoomX foam is legendary, and the carbon fiber plate feels like running on rocket boosters.

But there are caveats. The Vaporfly Next% 2 is not the most stable and durable shoe on the market.

So, if you plan on setting PRs every other week, the investment might not be the wisest.

Overall, if you’re chasing KOMs and podiums, the New Balance might be your shoe of choice. But if you’re a casual speedrunner wanting to participate in Short, 10K, and Half Marathon, the Vaporfly might be your jam.

The best value is the one that fits your feet and your wallet, not just your need for speed.

Pros & Cons of Between Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 and New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2

Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the FuelCell RC Elite v2 and ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 racing sneakers empowers you to make an informed decision based on your running preferences, performance goals, and comfort standards.

This method ensures the selection of footwear that aligns seamlessly with your specific needs. Now, let’s delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both the RC Elite v2 and Vaporfly 2.

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

  • »Cost-effective option.
  • »Enhanced comfort in the upper.
  • »Features a propulsive springboard-type carbon plate.
  • »Maximum cushioning.
  • »Lightweight design.
  • »Excellent energy return.
  • »Doesn’t require a break-in period.
  • »Narrow midfoot.
  • »Short tongue length.
  • »The heel cup isn’t as secure.
  • »Treads are less durable over time.

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2

  • »Enhanced stability during rides.
  • »Excellent breathability.
  • »Soft and responsive midsole.
  • »Prominent design of the carbon plate.
  • »Provides a seamlessly smooth ride.
  • »Facilitates quick transitions at high speeds.
  • »Spacious forefoot for a comfortable fit.
  • »Increased durability.
  • »More weighty.
  • »Potential for tongue slippage.
  • »Stability issue when cornering.
  • »Higher cost.


Ultimately, the choice between the New Balance RC Elite v2 and the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 boils down to a nuanced understanding of your preferences and racing demands.

The Nike V2 is super light, with tons of energy return and a snug fit that feels like an extension of your foot. Perfect for speedrunners who crave that bouncy, propulsive feel.

But the RC Elite v2 is a comfy, cushioned shoe with cutting-edge materials for a smooth, responsive ride that’s surprisingly plush for a racing shoe.

Eventually, it’s about what you want.

Think about your running style, how much you want to spend, and whether you prioritize plushness or pure, unadulterated speed.

No matter which shoe you pick, both models offer a competitive edge to elevate your running performance to new heights. They represent the pinnacle of racing shoe innovation.


Do Nike Vaporfly Next 2 make you faster?

The Vaporfly 2’s bouncy ZoomX foam and propulsive carbon fiber plate can shave up to 4% off your marathon time thanks to increased energy return and a springy feel.

Do Nike Vaporflys cause injury?

While Nike Vaporflys aren’t inherently injury-prone, their high stack height, carbon plate, and aggressive design can alter running form and strain unaccustomed muscles. It leads to overuse injuries in some runners, especially those with pre-existing conditions or improper training practices.

What is the difference between New Balance fuel cell TC and RC?

New Balance FuelCell TC is a slightly heavier and more durable training shoe with slightly less responsive foam than the lighter, race-focused RC, which prioritizes speed and explosiveness with a more aggressive rocker and bouncier midsole.

What does the New Balance fuel cell mean?

New Balance FuelCell refers to the high-performance running shoe technology. It’s a lightweight, responsive foam that delivers explosive energy return with each stride, propelling you forward like a rocket and making for a faster, more exhilarating run.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

Leave a Comment