New Balance Rebel v4

Is it the daily trainer of the year?

The world of daily trainers has changed a lot in just four years. We're seeing a new generation of shoes that are lighter, faster, comfortable and more versatile than ever before. Choices of daily trainers are no longer limited to Pegasus, Ghost, Ride and Ultraboost. One shoe that really stands out is the New Balance Rebel. Each edition redefined what we should expect from our everyday running shoes.New Balance shoes used to be hard to find in India, but that's changing. You can now find them in select stores and online, so there's no excuse not to try them out.

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I've been a big fan of the Rebel for a while now. Rebel v2 was the first shoe I tried from this new wave of daily trainers, and I was hooked. Now, with the Rebel v4, New Balance has raised the bar once again. It is a daily trainer with uptempo focus.

So, what makes the Rebel v4 so special? Does it really do justice to all the hype around it? Read it now.

What makes up Rebel v4?

True to its name, the shoe looks like a Rebel. With its sharp midsole edges and pointed toe spring, the silhouette is unlike any of the previous versions — it's like a shoe from the future. While it borrows some design elements from the Adidas Adios lineup, it still manages to feel refreshingly new. I like that it can be mistaken for SC Elite v4, while paying a cheaper price.

Upper

The upper is a lightweight mesh that provides excellent breathability and minimal padding to keep the weight low. The upper mesh feels similar to the mesh found in Puma Liberate Nitro & Deviate Nitro Elite v1 & v2. The mesh is a big improvement on Rebel v2, and keeps its shape well. Branded as “FantomFit '', the same upper is also used in New Balance's super-shoe SC Elite v4. The mesh is see-through thin in some areas, particularly in the toe box, enhancing ventilation during runs​​. That said, don’t expect any padding in the upper.

Upper is light and breathable

Midsole

The midsole of the Rebel V4 uses a new version of New Balance's FuelCell foam. This foam is a blend of PEBA (polyether block amide) and EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), compared to the Nitrogen infused EVA, TPU blend used in previous editions. This new foam is what makes the shoe so special, more about it later in the review.

New Balance got the FuelCell foam right!

The shoe stack has been increased to 30mm now (from 27mm). But this is still low compared to other up-tempo trainers. It has a 6mm drop, making it ideal for midfoot strikers. Midsole on the Durometer feels extremely soft at 15-20 HA. One of the softest that I have seen for a daily trainer. The shoe weighs at 218 grams for UK 9.5, which is also one of the lowest for daily trainers with this stack height.

Heel

Heel has decent padding for such a light shoe. The midsole’s bevel extends beyond the heel, and the wider midsole below the heel gives it good stability. The 30 mm midsole is not too high when compared to many other trainers, which also helps the stability.

Outsole

The outsole rubber is not uniformly spread across the entire outsole. Instead, it is placed in critical areas such as the heel and forefoot, where the most wear typically occurs. A decision probably made to keep the weight in check. The rubber has an interesting polygon pattern that helps with traction.

Why did you consider the shoe?

Well, there are a few reasons. First off, having used the Rebel v2, I was eager to see how the Rebel v4 stacked up. I'm always on the lookout for a versatile shoe that can handle both daily training and speedwork, as I just started my next marathon training block. The Rebel seemed to fit the bill. Plus, the initial impressions that I'd read in online forums were overwhelmingly positive. And let me be honest, the fact that it's made with PEBA foam definitely piqued my interest. Oh, and did I mention I found them on sale on Myntra? That sealed the deal.

Ride Experience

I've clocked over 80 kilometers in these shoes, and I can confidently say they're fun to run in. The shoe has decent bounce, even at slower speeds, and you can definitely feel the responsiveness of that FuelCell foam. It's not as soft as previous editions, so if you're looking for a super plush ride, this might not be your pick. But it helps that you don’t feel it is sinking below the foot.

Rocker is quite aggressive

The aggressive rocker is the first thing you'll notice. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it really helps with that smooth foot transition. It's a versatile shoe that's great for easy runs, long runs, and tempo runs. Every workout that I have thrown at it worked great. It's really a do-it-all kind of shoe. However, it is not ideal for short sprints, as the ground feel isn't as pronounced and it's harder to get that explosive push-off. Overall, it's just a really fun shoe. It's light, it's fast, and it makes running enjoyable.

Comfort and Fit

The shoe is extremely comfortable and feels incredibly light and fast on foot. However, the aggressive rocker design can cause your toes to curl up, especially if you have a high toe girth like I do. Unfortunately this was further exacerbated by the limited sizing options available on Myntra when I bought the shoe (more options available now). I usually wear a UK 10, but they only had half sizes, so I went with a 9.5. This led to my big toe getting smashed and losing a toenail. Ouch! On the plus side, the heel padding is very comfortable and provides a nice cushion for your foot.

Stability

Despite the PEBA foam, which is generally known for being soft and bouncy, which actually doesn’t help much with stability. Most shoes add plates (Carbon or nylon) to add stability. The stability of the Rebel v4 has been surprisingly great even without a carbon plate. NewBalance nailed the Eva and PEBA compound just right. Unlike the v2, where my foot felt like it was sinking into the midsole, the v4 provides a more stable platform. This is likely due to a combination of factors, including the wider base and the firmer feel of the foam. Overall, I've been really impressed with how stable the shoe feels, even during tempo runs and workouts.

Stable Platform

Road Grip

The road grip is very good on tarred roads. Even on roads with loose sand, and wet patches, the grip has been decent. The wider base helps with sharp turns as well.

Aesthetics & Ergonomics

The shoe's design is truly unique and futuristic. With its bold angles, sharp lines, and pointed toe spring, it looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. I personally love the aesthetic, it is dynamic, feels fast, and it definitely turns heads when I'm out on a run.

Review Summary

Toe box

loosetight

Forefoot

loosetight

Heel

loosetight

Size

smallerlarger

Ventilation

warmairy

Stability

lowhigh

Responsive

lowhigh

Cushioning

hardsoft

Grip

poorgreat

Ground Feel

can feelcan't feel
PROS
Lightweight Design: Weighs only 218 grams for UK 9.5, ideal for daily training and uptempo runs
Responsive FuelCell Foam: Blend of PEBA and EVA provides a responsive and bouncy ride
Enhanced Breathability: Lightweight mesh upper offers excellent ventilation and keeps weight low
Stable Platform: Wider base and firmer foam provide good stability without a carbon plate
Versatile Performance: Suitable for easy runs, long runs, and tempo runs
Good Traction: Strategically placed rubber with a polygon pattern enhances grip and durability
Comfortable Heel Padding: Provides a smooth and stable ride with decent cushioning
Futuristic Aesthetic: Modern, dynamic design with bold angles and sharp lines
CONS
Aggressive Rocker Design: Might cause discomfort for runners with high toe girth
Limited Padding in Upper: Minimal padding may not suit runners who prefer more cushioned uppers
Not Ideal for Short Sprints: Less pronounced ground feel makes explosive push-offs harder to achieve
RECOMMENDATION
The New Balance Rebel V4 is a versatile and lightweight daily trainer, weighing only 218 grams for a UK 9.5, with a responsive PEBA and EVA blend midsole that offers a bouncy and stable ride. Its minimalist upper provides excellent breathability, while the strategically placed rubber outsole enhances traction and durability. It excels in versatility, making it suitable for easy runs, long runs, and tempo workouts. Finally it is a fun shoe to run in, and I can say it is probably is right at the top for the best daily trainers list.​
SHOEGEEKS SCORE 95
95

Aravind

Aravind is a techie, running geek, and a marathoner. He is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He loves all things technology and technology in running, with special interest in running form analysis.