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New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer 2: Rare Changes
By Andrea Myers, David Salas

The New Balance SC Trainer was a fan favorite for many runners last year. The footwear line continues with the SC Trainer 2. The shoe is still in the maximum cushioning category, though comes with some changes. The changes to note are a lowered stack height and a more snug fitting upper. The SC Trainer is still a max cushioning training shoe for logging long miles. 

New Balance SC Trainer 2
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.7 oz, 275g (men's size 9), 7.8oz, 221g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40mm heel, 34mm heel
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Daily Trainer, Max Cushion Trainer


David: The New Balance SC Trainer v2 follows up on the fan favorite maximum cushion trainer. The SC Trainer brings some changes to the design by lowering the stack height, weight, and some changes through the upper. The shoe still has the SC Trainer feel, but a little more nimble and versatile in V2. This is a max cushion training shoe with a sharp rocker and plate. 

Andrea: The New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer v2 is the long awaited update to the original SC Trainer, which has been a favorite of mine for recovery runs over the past year. My one complaint about the original SC Trainer was its weight, and I was happy to see that v2 is over 1 oz lighter than the original. I loved the original for its rockered and relatively firm ride, and I was excited to see what v2 would bring. While I like the reduction in weight of v2, the changes to the upper and the forefoot rocker made v2 a miss for me. While I definitely prefer v1, those who disliked the high heel collar and firmer ride of v1 will find a lot to like in v2.

SIMILAR SHOES: Saucony Kinvara Pro, Skechers Max Road 6
PAST MODEL: New Balance SuperComp Trainer


The New Balance SC Trainer 2 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The fit feels a little more snug throughout than V1, but in a good way for me. The shoe has a much more streamlined feel to it in this model. The volume is a little lower and the upper feels a little more secure on foot. The mesh material of the upper is a tad thicker and has less stretch to it than V1. The width in the heel and midfoot is normal, though the toe box and forefoot run a little narrow. Those who love wide toe boxes and are sensitive to more narrow forefoot tapers this may come with some caution. The tongue is thin but padded well enough to lock the shoe down without issue. There is a heel counter that is moderately padded through the heel collar. I did not have any irritation or hot spots and felt relatively secure throughout. The only major note I have would be to widen the forefoot region a little more. 

Andrea: The New Balance SC Trainer 2 fits true to size in my usual women's size 9.5. Overall, the fit of v2 did not work as well for me as v1. I loved the fit of v1 and I have relied on it for almost 200 miles of recovery running, knowing that my feet would always be comfortable in its sock-like mesh upper. I found the toe box of v2 to be a little lower volume and the stiffer upper material to be less accommodating. I definitely noticed some pressure on the dorsum of my great toe, which was not painful, but annoying enough to cause some discomfort. The midfoot of v2 is a little wider than v1 and I needed to tighten the laces more than I normally do to achieve sufficient lockdown.

The heel also feels wider than v1 and I experienced some heel slippage, which was fixable by cranking down the laces. There is a semi-rigid heel counter in the lower half of the heel and a moderate amount of padding internally. Those who were sensitive to the high heel collar of v1 may be more comfortable in v2. The tongue is thin, flat, and gusseted, and I did not experience any discomfort related to the tongue or laces. The laces are flat and have a moderate amount of stretch, which is what I think contributed to the lockdown issue I experienced.

While the changes in the fit and upper of v2 may work better for some runners, I definitely prefer the fit of v1.


David: The New Balance SC Trainer v2 is a max cushion trainer for logging large amounts of miles. The shoe feels capable of doing that and a little more. The previous version felt like a shoe that was exclusive to easy days, secondary to weight and simply how high the shoe was off of the ground. New Balance lowered the stack height and made a lighter package. This is really prominent with how it feels on foot. The shoe has the same soft FuelCell midsole with Energy Arc carbon plate as the previous version, but with a full ounce off the original weight. The shoe feels a lot more nimble and runnable for different scenarios. I have felt comfortable in runnable trails and dirt situations as well as gently picking up the pace. The SC Trainer has made its way into the long run conversation for me, whereas v1 was a shoe I would not have considered it.

The transitions of the shoe are relatively predictable. The SC Trainer has high stack height with a rocker geometry. The FuelCell cushioning is on the softer end and has a lot of compliance and moderate bounce to it. The heel has a moderately sized bevel and toe spring. The compliance of the foam allows for some compression of the midsole and doesn't require as much of a posterior-lateral bias. There is a midline groove through the shoe that allows the medial and lateral ends to operate independent of each other. I would say this is experience is felt and the transitions throughout feel oddly natural for how high up and stiff the shoe is. The rolling sensation and sharper toe spring work really well for my mechanics and the SC Trainer has been a shoe I keep reaching for. I wanted to like V1 and I am happy that I definitely like V2. 

Andrea: The New Balance SuperComp Trainer v2 is marketed as a high mileage training shoe with max cushion and a carbon plate. While I loved the fit and ride of v1, my one complaint was its weight, which kept me from picking up the pace at all in that shoe. Version 2 has lost over 1 oz from its predecessor, and its reduced weight definitely lends itself to easy to moderate paces, much more than v1. I would personally not use this shoe for runs at marathon pace or faster due to its weight and the issues I had with its geometry, but others may find the shoe useful for faster long runs or marathon pace intervals.

The performance feature that stood out the most to me on all of my runs was the early forefoot rocker. Shoes that have an early forefoot rocker tend to not work well for me as a midfoot striker because it feels like as soon as my foot hits the ground, the front of the shoe disappears and I am forced into push off sooner than I would like. This is the primary sensation I got when running in this shoe. The early forefoot rocker in combination with the lower volume toe box created a fair amount of pressure on the dorsum of my big toe. The forefoot rocker of v1 starts later as compared to v2, which is one of the reasons I prefer the ride of v1 to v2.

The thick FuelCell midsole provides ample cushioning at initial contact and strikes a nice balance between compliance and resilience. It is soft enough to provide ample protection when my feet and legs are tired, but provides enough energy return that it does not feel like a marshmallow. I found v1 to be on the firmer side (which I liked), but I would definitely say that v2 is significantly softer than v1. The shoe feels like its stated 6mm drop and I did not have any issues with the rearfoot getting in the way, even when running slowly. The extensive rubber coverage provides decent traction on wet roads, and the rubber appears to be more durable as compared to v1. I would expect higher than average durability out of these shoes based on the rubber coverage and the fact that my v1 pair is still going strong at 200 miles. 


David: The SC Trainer v2 is definitely not a stability shoe. With that said it actually does some things pretty well. The overall geometry and midsole integration helps keep things rolling forward and feeling relatively centered. The midline groove of the medial and lateral midsole allow for some independent operation of the foam. The traction underfoot is actually quite good. I felt like it was trustworthy in pretty much every situation I took it. One interesting thing I noticed about the SC Trainer v2 is that the forefoot outsole is also bowled in a little bit, allowing for some more impact and crashing through the forefoot. The sidewalls are integrated really well through the medial and lateral midfoot. The upper security is also surprisingly good. Outside of having the compliant FuelCell foam, I don't really feel unstable in this shoe which is a good thing. 

Andrea: The SuperComp Trainer v2 is a neutral shoe with some elements that help stabilize the high volume of FuelCell. The carbon plate, medial and lateral sole flare, wide base, and rocker geometry all provide some guidance from initial contact to push off. The central cut out in the midsole may also act as a guidance line, regardless of where a person lands. The wide base helps make this high stack shoe feel more grounded and secure. I think New Balance has done a nice job balancing out the tall midsole and making this a shoe that will be a versatile trainer for some. For me, the early forefoot rocker actually made the shoe less stable due to my mechanics, but for those who land further back, may be instrumental in helping with the transition to push off. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Less Foam? 
By David Salas

Over the last couple of years we have been seeing shoes increasing their stack heights in accordance with the new World Athletics regulations. For road racing shoes are not supposed to exceed a maximum stack height of 40mm. There are no rules towards training shoes however. Many companies have been playing around with stack heights, as the general population seems to be moving towards a maximum cushioning preference. One interesting change in between the New Balance SC Trainer and the SC Trainer v2 was actually a reduction in stack height. There can be many reasons for doing this, but why? 

I don't have access to internal testing at New Balance, but reducing stack heights can have some benefits. 40mm of foam is still quite a bit, albeit 7mm less than the original stack height. The lasting argument for the last few years was that increased stack heights may increase running economy. Running economy can be influenced by many factors. Barrons et al (2023) created a study where mass and footwear were controlled and the stack height was varying. Looking at 50mm, 45mm, 40mm, and 35mm stack heights they found that there was not a significant change in running economy, though some changes in ankle eversion (Barrons et al, 2023). Ankle eversion (some functional transferring to pronation) was found to be increased in larger stack height shoes, potentially impacting some stability. If all things are equal, the SC Trainer very well could have seen some improvements from a lighter weight and lower stack height from the original. 


Barrons, Z. B., Wannop, J. W., & Stefanyshyn, D. J. (2023). The Influence of Footwear Midsole Thickness on Running Economy and Frontal Plane Ankle Stability. Footwear Science


David: I feel that the SC Trainer 2 worked really for me, though I do have some suggestions. The volume is pretty low for what the shoe is. If someone is sensitive to lower volume and more snug fits this could easily put some pressure on the top of the foot. The other recommendation I would make would be to make the forefoot a little bit wider through the upper and toe box. The shoe has this tight racing shoe feel, but feels like it may be a little much for a trainer design.

I loved v1 except for its weight. New Balance did a good job reducing the weight of v2, but also made changes to the upper and rocker geometry that made it much less comfortable for me. Others may feel differently, particularly those who did not like the high heel collar of v1. For v3, I hope that they will refine/reduce the forefoot rocker to make it more similar to v1 and improve the material and overall fit of the upper. I feel like v2 was one step forward and two steps back for the SC Trainer, and I hope that v3 will make more forward progress in fit and ride.


David: The New Balance SC Trainer v2 is a daily training shoe for someone that likes a softer max cushion shoe with a pronounced rocker. The forefoot rocker really keeps you moving forward and the lighter weight of the shoe makes it feel more rhythmic. The shoe has a little more versatility now for long runs as well. Those that like a shoe with a little more of a snug lockdown and rocker geometry should find this shoe quite fun.

The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 is a max cushion, plated daily trainer that will work best for heel strikers and those who do not need a lot of room in the toe box. We are seeing more running shoe companies make a super trainer version of their carbon plated racing shoes, and the SC Trainer is marketed as the training companion to the SC Elite v3. As compared to shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and the Puma Deviate Nitro 2, both of which can be used for workouts at any pace as well as racing, the SC Trainer v2 is heavier and less versatile. The SC Trainer v2 is more similar to the Saucony Kinvara Pro in terms of weight and ride. I would love to see New Balance develop a shoe that is a true peer to the Speed 3 and Deviate Nitro 2.


Fit: (Decently comfortable and with good lockdown, though volume may be too low for some and the forefoot can certainly be wider)
A (A lively but rhythmic ride for the training shoe. Cushioning does well and the paces feel good at daily efforts and slight uptempo. Need to like forefoot rockers though.)
Stability: B (Not too bad for how soft Fuel Cell is. Traction, upper lockdown, and geometry help with stabilizing how compliant the platform is))
DPT/Footwear Science: B (A more streamlined version of V1, though nothing majorly innovative going on from previous model)
Personal: A (They did it. I wanted to love V1 but found it to heavy and not "rolly enough" but this one works for my mechanics)
Overall: B+ (A solid daily trainer for those wanting a soft but bouncy ride for daily mileage)
Fit: B- (narrow toe box, loose midfoot, stiff upper, and stretchy laces made for a inferior fit)
Performance: B- 
(early forefoot rocker did not work for my mechanics, weight continues to limit use to easy runs)
Stability: B- (neutral shoe with features that stabilize high stack, definitely not a stable neutral shoe)
DPT/Footwear Science: B- (one step forward (weight) and two steps back (fit and ride) compared to v1)
Personal: B- (fit and ride worse for me as compared to v1)
Overall: B-


New Balance SC Trainer 2
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at New Balance for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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