I was immediately impressed with the supremely-comfortable lightweight cushioning of the Fuelcore Coast 4. I also quickly realized that the Fuelcore Coast 4 was much larger than my other running shoes of the “same” size.
The Fuelcore Coast 4 runs a half to full size big, so I definitely recommend trying these shoes on before purchasing.
As I tightened the laces for my first run in the Fuelcore Coast 4, I noticed that the tongue was integrated into the knit upper with eyelets for the laces stitched onto the outside of the upper.
The lack of a tongue is problematic in this shoe for runners with narrow feet. While this one-piece design provides slip-on functionality, it doesn’t allow the laces to tighten over the tongue while the tongue remains flat, as it typically would.
Since there is no tongue, tightening the laces bunches up the fabric in between the lacing eyelets were the tongue should be. This caused initial discomfort as the crinkled fabric poked and pressed into the top of my foot.
After manually manipulating the upper to relieve this discomfort, I set out on my first run in the shoes and was pleased to discover how light yet responsive they were.
They felt nimble underfoot and provided plenty of cushion without the bulk.
New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 General Info
The Fuelcore Coast 4 is an economical choice for novice runners with a neutral foot-strike. The shoes offer a smooth, natural ride, and a gentle heel-toe drop (8mm).
Weighing in at 6.1 oz. for women and 7.2 oz. for the men’s version, they are lightweight and agile yet still provide plenty of cushion for runs lasting up to 2 hours.
This shoe is ideal for short daily runs and 5k/10k training, but lacks the durability necessary for half and full marathon training. The Fuelcore Coast 4 performs best on pavement and groomed natural surface paths.
New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 Sole Unit
The Fuelcore midsole employs a combination of EVA foam densities to achieve the optimal balance between responsiveness and softness.
The midsole becomes slightly more rigid in the midfoot and heel where the foot is less flexible. New Balance’s Response performance insole rests on top of the midsole to further enhance the shoe’s responsive and supple feel.
The outsole boasts a simple, yet effective construction that minimizes the use of blown rubber in order to keep the shoe lightweight.
Blown-rubber is strategically concentrated in an arch configuration along the toe and heel to prevent accelerated wear in these locations. However, the limited use of blown-rubber leaves the foam exposed under the forefoot.
This area of the sole is frequently in contact with the ground, so the lack of blown rubber is problematic in that it significantly reduces the durability and traction of the shoe.
Runners should exercise caution on wet surfaces when wearing the Fuelcore Coast 4.
New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 Upper Info
The Fuelcore Coast 4 upper is flexible, breathable, and minimizes the use of seams to keep the shoe lightweight. The upper is comprised of a pliable knit material on the outside and a smooth liner on the inside.
It appears the Fuelcore Coast’s designers were going for something similar to the Nike Flyknit, but failed to achieve the snug, soft, and natural feel of that shoe’s sock-like upper.
As previously mentioned, the shoe does not have a traditional tongue which prevents the laces from being comfortably tightened over narrow feet.
The Fuelcore Coast 4 also lacks the extra eyelet near the mouth of the shoe that would allow for lacing techniques that provide a more secure fit and prevent heel slip.
Lack of these traditional features and the stretch in the laces, make it difficult to snugly tighten the shoe around a narrow foot. My feet moved around inside these shoes more than I would have liked them to.
That being said, I do appreciate the fact that the laces do not extend down over the toes, but stop just above the metatarsal heads, providing a roomy toe-box.
Lastly, the Fuelcore Coast 4 does not feature a typical heel counter. This element of the design is intended to make the shoes easy to slip on with the assistance of a pull-tab on the heel.
However, I found that the opposite was true: lack of a heel counter makes the shoes more difficult to put on because the heel collapses every time I step into them.
New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 Conclusions
The New Balance Fuelcore Coast 4 is a reliable option for new runners with a neutral foot-strike who aren’t quite ready to spend $100+ on a pair of running shoes.
They are lightweight and responsive, yet provide enough cushioning underfoot to serve as your daily go-to trainer.
Experienced high-mileage runners and those training for a half or full marathon may find that this shoe lacks the durability or support necessary to stand up to their training.
However, long-distance runners looking for a cost-effective shoe for recovery or easy runs will find that the New Balance Fuelcore Coast 4 definitely deserves consideration.
We purchased a pair of New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 from zappos using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.