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New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 Review

This super trainer brings race-day features to a shoe designed for logging lots of miles, but lacks versatility
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New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 Review
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey
Price:  $180 List
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Manufacturer:   New Balance
By Nathaniel Bailey ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 5, 2024
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#21 of 25
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 7.5
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6.0
  • Stability - 20% 3.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 4.8

Our Verdict

The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 brings race day features, like a carbon plate and strong rocker geometry, to a shoe designed for easy mileage. It's one in a growing list of “super trainers” that have the technology we're used to seeing in performance-oriented shoes but are optimized for slower running. We think the SuperComp is a good shoe, but it has very limited versatility, especially considering its price. It struggles at faster paces, is heavy and unstable, and the extremely early rockered ride makes it a poor choice for non-heel strikers. Heel-strikers who value soft, premium comfort for their easy or long runs might enjoy this shoe, but we think there are better options to accomplish that task.
REASONS TO BUY
Plush cushioning
Comfortable upper
REASONS TO AVOID
Rocker may be uncomfortable for mid/forefoot strikers
Heavy
Less comfortable at faster paces
Pricey

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Bottom Line Lots of cushioning and plated, rockered geometry make this a solid easy-day shoe, but it can't pick up the paceA daily trainer that can handle most runs, the Novablast 4 is fun and extremely comfortableAn all-around standout that can handle easy days as comfortably as hard workoutsBouncy, responsive and well-cushioned, this shoe is performance-oriented but still versatileA daily trainer that blends comfort and versatility at a reasonable price
Rating Categories New Balance FuelCel... Asics Novablast 4 Saucony Endorphin S... New Balance FuelCel... Puma Velocity Nitro 3
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
7.5
8.3
8.0
8.5
8.0
Responsiveness (25%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.5
7.0
Stability (20%)
3.0
7.0
5.7
4.0
6.0
Upper Comfort (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.5
6.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
4.8
5.9
7.1
8.8
5.3
Specs New Balance FuelCel... Asics Novablast 4 Saucony Endorphin S... New Balance FuelCel... Puma Velocity Nitro 3
Sizes Available 7-14 US, regular & wide 6 - 15 US, regular 7-15 US, regular 7-16 US, regular & wide 7 - 14 US, regular
Style Plated daily Daily/cushioning Plated daily Daily Daily
Measured Heel Stack Height 43 mm 43 mm 38 mm 36 mm 39 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 3 mm 7 mm 6 mm 5 mm 10 mm
Plate Type Carbon None Nylon None None
Rocker Angle 22.0 deg 22.5 deg 25.0 deg 19.5 deg 18.0 deg
Rocker Apex Location 59.17% 66.53% 67.74% 62.18% 66.67%
Measured Weight 10.40 oz 9.76 oz 9.73 oz 7.98 oz 10.07 oz
Upper Engineered knit Engineered woven/knit Engineered mesh/knit Engineered mesh Engineered knit
Midsole FuelCell FF Blast + Eco PWRRUN PB FuelCell Profoam
Outsole Rubber AHAR Lo Rubber Rubber PumaGrip
Heel Tab Type Extended heel pull Finger loop None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The term “super trainer” is murky. We use it to describe shoes that integrate some elements of premium race-day features into a daily trainer. Like any running shoe, a super trainer exists somewhere on the spectrum between comfort and performance. The SuperComp Trainer v2 lands far closer to the comfort side of that spectrum. That's great for easy days, but we found it struggled whenever we wanted to push the pace.

Performance Comparison


new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - the supercomp is a solid shoe, but we think it's geometry and...
The SuperComp is a solid shoe, but we think it's geometry and characteristics limit who will enjoy it.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


This shoe is all about the cushioning. Our in-house team used standardized methods and measured a stack height of 43mm in the heel and 40mm in the forefoot. By the numbers, the shoe has a low drop. It doesn't run that way, though. Instead, the rocker geometry makes it run like a much higher drop shoe as it transitions through the foot.

new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - the supercomp trainer has tons of cushioning and an early rocker.
The SuperComp Trainer has tons of cushioning and an early rocker.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

The FuelCell foam in the Supercomp Trainer v2 is excellent at easy paces. It's plush without feeling lifeless but isn't bouncy. However, whenever we ran a little faster, we found the foam to be far too soft and lacking in that “pop” we love to feel.


The only real concern we have with the cushioning is a result of the very early rocker. The front part of the rocker starts near the midfoot. As a result, if you land mid/forefoot, you'll likely find running in this shoe feels awkward, like it's trying to push you off your feet earlier in your stride than you normally would. We also noticed that when landing midfoot at faster paces, we could very clearly feel the carbon plate under our feet, which isn't enjoyable.

new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - when landing mid/forefoot, we could very clearly feel the carbon...
When landing mid/forefoot, we could very clearly feel the carbon plate under our feet. That's one reason why we think this shoe is best for heel-strikers.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Responsiveness


The SuperComp Trainer v2 struggles with pace, but it feels right at home when running through easy mileage. It can work for long runs, although we prefer something a little lighter. However, the plush foam that makes it so comfortable for easy paces feels relatively lifeless and overly soft at marathon pace or faster.


Heel-strikers might find it to be a little more responsive thanks to the rocker, but this still isn't a shoe you should choose for workouts. It wants to take things easy, and that's okay.

new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - it's a little odd running in a plated shoe that doesn't like to go...
It's a little odd running in a plated shoe that doesn't like to go fast, but we think if your mechanics work well with this shoe, it could be a great long run option.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Upper Comfort


The upper is comfortable, although some runners might find the toe box to run a little small. And our survey of user reviews confirms that. The engineered mesh is moderately breathable, and the materials around the heel collar are soft and cause no rubbing issues.


The tongue is gusseted, and although it does wrinkle when the shoes are tightly laced, we experienced no rubbing or hotspots.

new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - the upper is comfortable, but only moderately breathable.
The upper is comfortable, but only moderately breathable.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Lateral Stability and Support


This is not a stability shoe. The high stack and soft foam create an inherently unstable platform. New Balance mitigated some of that with the addition of the carbon plate to provide some structure.


Additionally, the aggressive and early rocker lowers the stability rating even further. Runners who need lateral stability or some guidance should steer clear of this shoe.

new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - this cutaway should highlight why mid/forefoot runners and runners...
This cutaway should highlight why mid/forefoot runners and runners with stability needs will likely not enjoy this shoe. The rocker is early and extreme, and there isn't much by way of support.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

The SuperComp features a rubber outsole, and we didn't have any traction complaints when running on pavement. Although we felt it lacked some grip on crushed gravel.

Weight


The SuperComp Trainer v2 is a heavy shoe. It weighed in at 10.4 ounces, landing it on the heavier end of the group during this round of testing.


The weight is another reason this shoe struggles at faster paces, and it is also heavier than some of the slow-going maximalist-style shoes we tested.

new balance fuelcell supercomp trainer v2 - it's not a light daily trainer. we think it could stand to shed a...
It's not a light daily trainer. We think it could stand to shed a bit of weight.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Should You Buy the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp v2?


The SuperComp is for runners who want premium foam and a carbon plate to help take a bit of load off their legs on easy days. Mid/forefoot strikers likely won't like this shoe, but heel-strikers might get along with it very well. However, we think that for the price of the shoe, versatility is limited, and there are better options for your money.

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


New Balance makes an excellent easy-day shoe in the New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4; it has the same soft feel as the SuperComp v2 but has a gentler rocker and will work for more runners. If you're after a more performance-oriented shoe with a plate that still feels great as a cruiser but can pick up the pace more, the Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is a good choice, as is the Saucony Endorphin Speed 4.

Nathaniel Bailey