With its 40+ mm stack, the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is one of the highest road running shoes ever, so high that it’s not even allowed in World Athletics events. For all other situations, especially marathon training, this is a superb max cushioned carbon plated trainer that is so massive, protective, and fun to ride in that it surprised every runner who tested it.
- Incredibly bouncy and soft
- Extremely protective underfoot
- Top-quality upper
- Stable for a “super-shoe”
- Versatile for different paces
- Great lockdown
- Ready straight out of the box
- Welcomes wide feet
- Massive, yet great-looking
- Collects some rocks
Who should buy New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer
Buy it if you need to prepare for a marathon or even for a longer distance race and you seek plenty of cushioning, and a propulsive, very lively ride. It’s suited to advanced runners who appreciate a great amount of protection, particularly those on the heavy side.
Who should not buy it
Look elsewhere if you:
- need a lighter option. Check out the New Balance FuelCell TC instead
- want a shoe with a better-shaped outsole. Adidas Adizero Prime X can be a great choice for you.
The upper borders on perfection
Comfortable, stretchy, light, and very breathable: the upper part of this shoe is described by those who tested it as flawless. It “fits exceptionally well,” and is overall “one of the best uppers on the market.”
New Balance FuelCell Supercomp Trainer (left), Adidas Runfalcon (right)
The Supercomp Trainer receives the highest mark in our breathability test. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most breathable, we marked it as 5 based on how easily the smoke passes through the material. You can also see the most transparent (slash breathable) parts of the upper in the video below.
As for the shoe's fit, we measured the widest part of its toebox to be 95.1 mm. This is narrower than average (98.1 mm) but still within the range of medium.
Size-wise, this New Balance shoe might be running a bit small. Checking the overall internal length of the Supercomp Trainer in a men's US size 8.5, we found that it is 257.8 mm long. Based on the official size chart from New Balance, it falls between men's US 7.5 and US 8. Meanwhile, US 8.5 started at 265 mm.
SC Trainer has an outstanding ride
No doubts about the midsole’s capabilities: all testers really loved how this shoe behaves on the road.
They said it’s forgiving, very propulsive, and one of the softest, bouncier, and most cushioned experiences ever. As they put it:
- “wow, how wonderful is the feel underfoot!”
- “this is a fun shoe that brings a smile to your face”
- “a genuinely unique sensation of trampoline-like bounce that is undeniably fun.”
Using a durometer to check the softness of the foam, we received a stunning result. The FuelCell Supercomp is 56% softer than the average! It is among the plushest shoes on the market.
Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement 5 times before taking down the final result. The photo shows the final measurement.
What's astonishing is that even after being exposed to cold temperatures (like sitting in the freezer for 20 minutes) and getting 57.4% firmer, the FuelCell foam still remains 31% softer than most foams in from temperature.
As is the case with all carbon-plated running shoes, the Supercomp Trainer has a good amount of stiffness in the forefoot. Runners were pleasantly surprised with the propulsion and speed it created during long and fast runs.
The shoe is indeed very stiff. Measuring its resistance to bending, we found that it is 45% stiffer than running shoes on average.
In a manual assessment, we rated the shoe as the stiffest in both longitudinal and torsional flexibility. On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest, this NB shoe got 5.
Supercomp Trainer is incredibly protective
Judging from the reviews, the amount of protection that this shoe can deliver is amazing. The FuelCell midsole, as a tester commented, “takes the brunt of repeated footfalls and saves muscles and joints.” Another runner said that “vibration dampening is superb,” and this can for sure speed up recovery time.
The New Balance FuelCell SC is a record holder in the stack department as well. According to the brand, the shoe has a midsole height of 47 mm. However, we measured it at 40.2 mm in the heel and 29.9 mm in the forefoot.
Despite the fact that our results show a lower stack, the shoe is still a whopping 7.4 mm thicker than the average in the heel. Its few contenders include the Nike Vaporfly (38.6 mm) and the Alphafly (40 mm).
Disclaimer: We always include the shoe's insole thickness in the stack measurement. The Supercomp Trainer has a fairly thin insole - only 2.5 mm compared to the average of 4.6 mm.
Best to avoid dirty roads
Contrary to the rest of the shoe, the outsole is considered by testers of average quality. It works well on dry surfaces, and a little less on wet ones, but overall it does the job. What can be annoying, is that it picks up rocks and debris from the ground, as they get easily stuck if the road is not clean.
You shouldn't expect a lot of life from this outsole either.
The rubber piece on the bottom is only 2 mm thick. For reference, the average is 3.4 mm.
Secure lockdown in the New Balance SuperComp Trainer
Another aspect that was praised by experts is how the shoe hugs the foot and provides an excellent lockdown. One of them pointed out that it “secures the foot as well as anything [he has] experienced.”
A major contributing factor to the foothold is the shoe's gusseted tongue.
No heel slippage has been reported by the runners either.
The shoe features a very soft, form-fitting heel counter. Assessing the stiffness on a 1-5 scale where 1 is the most pliable, we rated it 2.
A shoe for many different scenarios
As an experienced runner said, this New Balance shoe is like “a well-oiled diesel engine.” It’s excellent when it comes to running long distances, but it’s perfectly at ease on shorter runs too, at slow to uptempo paces, and even for recovery days.
Don’t expect the SC Trainer to feel light
As noticed by a tester, the biggest con of this shoe is “weight, weight, weight.” It still delivers a fantastic ride, but runners were very aware of its 11.3oz (320g), especially on the longer runs.
Not as wobbling as other competitors
Super-shoes, as they are now called, are often unstable due to their stack. Yet, in the SC Trainer, this issue has been addressed fairly well and runners said that despite not being the best on sharp corners, it has good lateral stability and feels more secure and stable than other similar shoes.
This New Balance shoe is built on a nice and wide platform, which turns out to be wider than average: 113.9 in the forefoot (2 mm wider) and 93.9 (5 mm wider).
No issues were reported regarding the shoe needing time to perform best. According to experts, the upper and the midsole work amazingly well since the first step on the road.
Shocking and attractive at the same time
It’s for sure a shoe that gets noticed. As a runner pointed out, “visually, the stack looks immense.” Despite the initial shock, he couldn’t but appreciate its design and colors, as well as another tester did: “what a great-looking shoe!”