The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is a super high stack height running shoe meant to work in tandem with New Balance’s upcoming marathon racing model the SuperComp Elite v3. And while the stack height measurements on this bad boy are too high for pros (illegal according to World Athletics standards), that shouldn’t stop recreational runners from using the SuperComp Trainer in training and races.
And that’s exactly what I did. To test the limits of the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer I wore it for several 4-6 mile runs, double-digit long runs, and a 4th of July 10k race. This may be the perfect shoe for ramping up for a marathon, especially if you’re a taller or larger runner.
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer
Release Date: August 2022
Weight: 10.45 oz
Drop: 8mm (39mm forefoot, 47mm heel)
Sizing: True to Size
- Rundown: The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is a super high stack shoe perfect for long runs and minimizing wear and tear on legs.
- Massive Cushion
- Fantastic Upper
- Rock Collector
As we’ve previously written in our Best New Balance Running Shoes article, the FuelCell formula that New Balance uses for running shoes is propulsive. It’s bouncy and matches up nicely with any other new-age foam available these days.
The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer takes FuelCell to a new level by offering an insane amount of FuelCell. The midsole is 47mm thick at the heel. That’s 1.85 inches! My normal 6’6″ height (without shoes) suddenly sprouts to near 6’8″ in the SC Trainer! Only the adidas Adizero PrimeX can match those stack heights and it’s a much less stable shoe.
The point is the huge stack of FuelCell makes a huge difference in impact protection. Yes, the telltale bounce of FuelCell is still present, but this much of it really affects recovery time. After a long 10-20 mile run, your legs typically feel beat up (and for good reason). With the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer, both after the run and the next day, my legs feel much better than normal. The FuelCell takes the brunt of repeated footfalls and saves muscles and joints.
While ramping up my miles I found myself consistently reaching for the SC Trainer because I knew it would help my legs feel better faster than the alternatives in my shoe closet.
The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer uses an engineered knit upper with a separate, also knit, gusseted tongue and it’s super comfortable. The knit is accommodating and very breathable while still nicely locking down the foot so you’re comfortable and secure. Its stretchiness will appeal to wide footers and those with other odd foot shapes.
What’s crazy is most of the work is done by the upper build itself. The laces don’t do much except draw the foot into the heel. Great job by the New Balance design team of building one of the best uppers on the market.
The problem with the similarly high stack adidas Prime X and several other marathon running/racing shoes is a lack of stability. Sitting on a big block of foam can feel like standing on a platform, and if the platform isn’t wide enough, you’ll feel a constant danger of sliding off that platform or twisting an ankle.
The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer solves this issue with the midsole sidewalls slanting outwards towards the ground, effectively creating outriggers at the forefoot and heel that keep the wearer upright. New Balance also uses a slight horse hoof shape at the heel to dissipate ground forces in the right direction.
In addition to the geometry of the midsole, underfoot, New Balance uses a new void construction that runs from the heel to the forefoot. The void lets you see all the way to the carbon plate. And while the main purpose of the void is to allow the carbon plate to flatten and bounce back, I think the foam having room to expand into the middle of the shoe helps prevent it from expanding to the outsides of the shoe thus improving the overall stability.
While the SC Trainer is stable for a high stack racing shoe, don’t take it off-road onto rocky or rooty terrain. The knit upper can’t quite handle the kind of angles generated by those obstacles. But if you stick to roads and groomed trails, you’ll feel secure both picking up speed and rounding corners with reckless abandon.
All the FuelCell on the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer comes with the cost of excess weight. For super competitive racers, this shoe will be too heavy to use on race days. But if you’re a bigger or taller runner, the trade-off of weight for extra cushion might be a no-brainer.
I used the SC Trainer to run a 4th of July 10k, the iconic Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. The Peachtree course is great for the first three miles as it heads downhill but the uphills in miles 4 and 5 as the July heat and humidity continue to increase, are brutal. Despite all that, I nabbed a 34-second PR. To me, feeling comfortable, stable, and bouncy on a race course far outweigh the downsides of a heavier shoe.
So while I mention the weight as a downside, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be like me and hardly notice the excess weight because this shoe just works.
This is a watch-out more than a true con. The void on the bottom of the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer can pick up large rocks similar to how various On Running models do so. This is only something to worry about if you’ve got lots of rock lawns around you (like our friends in Arizona) or your greenway has a rocky parking lot (like mine). Just a quick check of the outsole before you start your run will solve the issue. Because the void is so big, only larger rocks get stuck in there and they’re super easy to pull out.
New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer Summary
The New Balance FuelCell Supercomp Trainer is perfect for long runs. If you love running shoe tech and do runs above 10 miles often, this is a great shoe to add to your rotation. A high stack, massively cushioned, super comfortable shoe like the SC Trainer has a lot of value when you’re training for long races like marathons or ultramarathons. It’ll save your legs and help you be ready for race day.
And, if you’re like me, you can even use it on race day with great results.
- Massive Cushion
- Fantastic Upper
- Rock Collector