Well, get ready for the surprise of the summer and probably what will become a trend from a most brands over the next few years, its the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer. This is a performance distance training shoe with a cushioning level that is illegal for elite racers but still plated to deliver close to race day speed more comfortable during your long run training days. It is a ton of fun to run and buttery underfoot so if you like a max cushion shoe want a little more get up and go, then definitely worth your time.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A massively cushioned plated distance trainer that brings the best of New Balance into a single shoe.
- Illegal for racers given the stack height, but will make everyday runners very excited.
- Weight – 10.7oz or 303g for a US Men’s 9
- Cushion – 43.5mm of cushion and an 8mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $180.00 USD
- Colors – 3 options
Construction and Materials
- Upper – The SuperComp Trainer features a lace knit upper very similar feeling to shoes like the Rebel v2 from last year, but even silkier. It also boasts a decently padded heel collar and moderate internal heel counter.
- Midsole – The midsole takes two massive pieces of New Balance’s FuelCell and puts an arched carbon plate down the middle. Additionally, their Energy Arc technology introduces a hollow area that the plate flattens and then re-expands on take-off for enhanced propulsion.
- Outsole – The outsole uses lightweight solid rubber high-wear areas delivering solid grip and traction.
What we loved
To say this was expected was far from the truth. While everyone is trying to keep right under that legal 40mm mark for midsole cushioning, New Balance said forget that and went big with the SuperComp Trainer. At 43.5mm, this is one of the highest stack shoes on the market and note only that, they put a plate in here as well. This shoe is directly targeted at half marathon and more likely marathon level racers who are looking for a training shoe that mimic race day while also being a bit easier on the legs.
The upper on here is reminiscent of the SuperComp Pacer, just a little more built up. If you haven’t tried that shoe, then you can more closely think of it as the next evolution from last year’s success, Rebel v2. The material is thin and breathable, the toe box shape is accommodating allowing for a little more toe splay, and the saddle fits well helping with side to side stability. The gusseted tongue is thin but the design does a lot to prevent any sort of lace bite. The heel cup features moderate padding a slight internal counter, but can definitely say you can get a really solid lockdown with these.
The big success on here is obviously the midsole and we can confirm that is feels just as good as it looks. Remember that crazy good midsole on the Rebel v2? Well, imagine those two thick slices of FuelCell with an arched carbon plate sandwiched between them. New Balance then included negative space in the midsole where the plate can flex down into on impact, only to return to shape on toe off, providing that explode toe off you are looking for. There is a caveat here we will get into in a moment, but the underfoot sensation on these is spectacular. The closest we have felt recently is the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 but these definitely have more cushion and a little more structure up top.
Unlike most race days, New Balance has added a decent amount of rubber on the outsole and while it is targeted to high wear areas, it is more than most and does contribute to the “trainer” mentality of these. It grips and tracks well and can also tackle handle wet roads with ease.
What we didn’t
Our only big caveat on these is around the performance and all that foam. The shoes does perform insanely well, no question about it, BUT all that foam does do a bit to dampen the performance from the carbon plate. We did up good times in these, better than without a plate, but we weren’t necessarily feeling it as much as we first thought. For many people, there is plenty of performance, cushion, and responsiveness and they will feel faster in these but more elite runners will definitely see this as a trainer only shoe.
The New Balance SuperComp Trainer is probably one of the cooler shoes of the year and brings together elements we loved while also improving on them. The new upper is silky smooth, breathes well and holds you well, huge improvement from the RC Elite v2 and the Rebel v2. The midsole is dreamy and pillowy underfoot and the performance is still amazing and while some won’t get all the performance out of these, it still is amazing. We can see a lot of long run training days in these and CAN’T WAIT for the RC Elite v3 (SuperComp Elite) as we have to imagine its going to share a lot of these features.
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Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.