New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 Review

Despite having all the ingredients to be a great all-rounder, the New Balance SC Trainer v2 fails to deliver

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2
(Image: © Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Our Verdict

The New Balance SC Trainer v2 sounds like a fantastic arrival, with ingredients such as the FuelCell foam midsole and carbon plate suggesting it delivers super-shoe performance on everyday runs. However, I found it sluggish during speedy sessions and, while it’s comfortable for cruising around in, there are better, cheaper options for that job.


  • Somewhat versatile
  • Comfortable


  • Not great for speedwork
  • Cheaper options available
  • Outsole collects stones

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Of all the announcements of super-trainers to launch in 2023, the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 looked the most like a full super-shoe. It has the same FuelCell foam, carbon plate and Energy Arc rocker as the New Balance SC Elite v3, the brand’s top racer, and a lower stack height than the original SC Trainer, bringing it under the 40mm limit set by World Athletics and reducing its weight.

Unfortunately, these exciting ingredients have not produced an exciting shoe. The SC Trainer v2 is heavier and less versatile than other super-trainers, like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and Adidas Adizero Boston 12, which are among the best running shoes. It’s a good cushioned daily trainer but doesn’t merit the high price, especially with so many excellent alternatives available for less.

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 Review: Price And Availability

The SC Trainer v2 launched in June 2023 and costs $180 in the US and £210 in the UK. That’s expensive even for a super-trainer packed with tech, and not far off the price of the best carbon plate running shoes. My sample for this review was provided by SportsShoes.

How I Tested This Shoe

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

I’ve run 30 miles (48km) in the New Balance SC Trainer v2, using it for a mix of training runs including a track session and a tempo 10K, along with easy runs. I have also tested the original New Balance SC Trainer and the brand’s carbon racer, the SC Elite v3, plus many other super-trainers.

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2

New Balance Fuelcell SC Elite V3, left, and New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 (Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Design And Fit

The main change New Balance has made with the SC Trainer v2 is to tone it down. The stack height of the new shoe is 40mm at the heel and 34mm at the forefoot for a 6mm drop, in contrast with the outlandishly high SC Trainer, which was 47mm at the heel and 39mm at the forefoot.

This makes the new shoe more stable and lighter—it’s 9.7oz/276g in my US 9.5/UK 9 compared with 10.8oz/307g for its predecessor in the same size. The trade-off is that you lose some of the bounce of the super-stacked SC Trainer.

Given that the SC Trainer v2 still has a midsole made from two layers of New Balance’s FuelCell foam and a carbon plate, you’d still expect it to be bouncy, and the foam used in the SC Trainer v2 is less dense than in the original. It also uses the brand’s Energy Arc rocker geometry to help move you onto your toes faster.

All those features are similar to the design of the SC Elite v3, but the geometry of the SC Trainer v2 is different—and New Balance can change the formula of FuelCell foam from shoe to shoe. It has a different ride from the Elite v3 carbon racer. It’s geared more for easy paces, being more stable and less propulsive.

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 outsole

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The knit upper is padded around the collar and has reinforced sections to create stability and support the foot. The shoe fitted well in my normal running shoe size, with no heel-slip and a good amount of room in the toe box.

A large groove is cut out of the middle of the outsole, a feature that reduces weight and also helps center the foot when running to increase stability. In my experience, this groove will catch stones if you run on any gravel paths, which is annoying and risks damaging the exposed carbon plate.

Around the groove there is good rubber coverage on the outsole, and there is even rubber on the front of the carbon plate to protect it from the ground. I found that the shoe gripped well even in wet conditions.

Running Performance

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer, left, and New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 (Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The original SC Trainer was too heavy for my taste, and the high stack of soft foam made it feel unstable at times, especially on longer runs when my legs got tired. It was, however, sensationally bouncy and fun at times, and I hoped that the updates made to the SC Trainer v2 would see the shoe retain those characteristics while making it speedier and more practical for daily use.

Unfortunately, the ride of the shoe has been dulled significantly and that has not come with the gain of greater versatility. The SC Trainer v2 didn’t impress me on faster runs, especially during the tempo 10K I did where the shoe felt heavy and the transition from heel to toe was sluggish.

It was more enjoyable on shorter reps at the track, and it can handle speedier workouts, but it’s less capable on this front than other super-trainers like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and Asics Magic Speed 3.

The SC Trainer v2 feels more like a shoe designed for easy daily training runs, and it works well for these. It’s comfortable and stable even on cambered sidewalks and the ride is fairly smooth. 

However, for these runs it still doesn’t feel that bouncy or fun, and the plate doesn’t seem to add much. I’d be just as happy in a traditional and much cheaper cushioned shoe like the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 for this kind of run, while other super-trainers like the Asics Superblast are more springy and fun on easy and long runs.

Is The New Balance SC Trainer v2 Worth It?

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The New Balance SC Trainer v2 is an OK all-round running shoe but doesn’t have the speed or thrilling ride required to compete with the best options in this area, like the Adidas Adizero Boston 12, Endorphin Speed 3 and Asics Superblast.

It’s more akin to two other cushioned plated options released recently, the Saucony Kinvara Pro and Hoka Mach X, both of which are also at their best for easy running. Of these three, the Hoka Mach X stands out as the best and most versatile, and it’s also the cheapest.

Both price and performance hold the New Balance SC Trainer v2 back. It’s fine, but a disappointment to me given the quality of its components. For the kind of runs I enjoyed most in it, I’d just get a normal cushioned shoe, and if you do want a plated shoe for daily training, there are better picks.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.