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New Balance SuperComp Trail Review: Well-Rounded
By David Salas

The New Balance SC Trail takes FuelCell to a new arena. The SC Trail is a super shoe for the trails and delivers the classic soft and rockered ride New Balance has delivered in other SC models. The shoe offers a lightweight package with a few trail specific modifications to make the SC Trail a dirt friendly member of the family. 

New Balance SuperComp Trail
Price: $199 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.8 oz, 249g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36.5mm heel/26.5mm forefoot
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Trail Racing Shoe ; All Terrain Shoe


The New Balance SC Trail is a trail running shoe that uses New Balance's premier foam FuelCell. The shoe offers a nimble and lightweight ride with plenty of cushioning underfoot. The Vibram outsole does a good job of sticking to dirt and the carbon plate keeps some rigidity and responsiveness. The softness of the shoe also gives some appeal towards an "all-terrain shoe" vs a trail specific shoe.

: Saucony Xodus Ultra 2, Salomon Glide Ride 2


The New Balance SuperComp Trail fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The fit is pretty sound throughout being normal width through the heel, midfoot, and forefoot. Lockdown throughout is fairly good with the lacing system. The engineered mesh upper is surprisingly soft and comfortable. For most situations this upper does really well. There is some stretch to the upper and it does seem to help with swelling accommodation. The stretch in the material is most noticeable medially and laterally. On road and runnable trail conditions this does not seem to be an issue. It is really only noticeable in technical or uneven footing where there are a lot of divots and in downhill situations. However, this is common in trail running.

I think the upper is incredibly comfortable for 80-85% of situations, though it can feel a little dicey on those downhills and uneven situations. The stretch is accentuated a little more by the really soft midsole and platform. The geometry is good, but it does let the foot do what it wants. The softer foam and setup may increase that pronation moment a little more; in situations where the shoe is uneven or the loading profile is higher, the medial collapse and stretch of the material is evident. I think the shoe would really benefit from increasing security medially and laterally in the SC Trail. Otherwise the dimensions and material is quite comfortable. 


The New Balance SC Trail is interesting. The shoe certainly has trail elements thanks to the outsole and torsional rigidity of the platform. The shoe has a nice balance of responsiveness and rocker. The shoe transitions smoothly at a large variety of paces. I have been able to log easy day miles in these as well as rip some hard strides. The ride reminds me a lot of the SC Trainer 2 but a little lighter and more stable under foot thanks to the additional traction. The Fuel Cell midsole is very soft and provides plenty of underfoot protection for those who like that sensation. The carbon plate firms it up a tad and helps it maintain its structure when running through a full gait cycle. There is a deep midline groove that lets the medial and lateral components interact independent of each other. These components create a rockered shoe that is noticeable, but still oddly natural feeling (because of the compression of the softer foam and decoupling).

I really enjoy the transitions listed above, though there is one thing that gripes me a little. It's the upper integration with the shoe and platform. On road situations, it is totally fine. In most trail situations the SC Trail is also fine, though the upper has a decent amount of stretch to it. The softness of the foam and decoupling of the midsole does predispose the foot to move around a little more. I notice I collapse a tad more when off the of the predictable road surfaces, and ultimately rely on the upper more. In downhill situations or areas of larger divots the upper does not do a great job of keeping the foot on the platform medially. Ironically it seems to do okay turning, but movement medially specifically seems to give me some issue. This shoe does lose some points there, as it is supposed to be a trail-specific model. With that in mind however, the shoe gives some great appeal as an all terrain performance trainer or racer vs a trail specific racer.  


It is no secret that FuelCell is soft. With that said I was surprised how stable the platform came off. The rocker profile is done really well and the foam is integrated nearly seamlessly. There is a deep midline groove that lets the medial and lateral sides of the foam act independent of each other. The plate does a good job of stabilizing the foam and creating a smooth rocker pathway for the foot to travel. The upper, however, could be better. It is comfortable and does well in road and runnable trail settings, but struggles with technical terrain and uneven footing. There is some stretch to it and I notice that there is a decent amount of medial collapse upon landing (individual, but also terrain dependent loading). This has made me pick my steps a little closer in downhills or paths with more divots. Most other trail settings though, this shoe will do just fine. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Upper Security
By David Salas

The New Balance SC Trail is a very fun shoe to run in. The shoe uses a lot of the new technology in the footwear world and brings it to the trails. FuelCell foam specifically is very soft and has a decent amount of bounce. The shoe also uses a carbon fiber plate and creates a fun experience on runnable dirt. 

Though this design is fun I did find one feeling consistent. The shoe feels like a road model that had a trail outsole placed on it without too much further adaptation for the trails specifically. The midsole and plate geometry are consistent with the road models (though higher drop with 10mm). The outsole does use Vibram Megagrip Litebase which provides good traction. The upper leans more towards a road upper, being secure but allowing stretch in a few directions. The upper in the SC Trail specifically had some laxity with the medial and lateral directions. This manifested itself most with sharper downhills and footing that was uneven or had a lot of divots. 

For trail running upper security is very important. This is for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that it keeps your foot on the platform. A good trail upper should be able to withstand forces in a few different directions to account for the varying directions it will have to hold your foot. If an upper has too much stretch the foot may move more than it wants to and risk weird steps, injury, or mechanical faults. There is no doubt that the upper on the SC Trail is comfortable for most situations, but perhaps creating a little more stability in the trail setting could help. One thing to look into would be adding some additional reinforcement through a side wall or external support for the upper. The other could potentially be to change the lacing system. In some cases a wrap closure may actually decrease peak eversion velocity in trail situations (Honert, Harrison, & Feeney 2023). 

There are many different ways to increase security in footwear. I think the SC Trail has great potential and with a little additional security this shoe could really shine.  


Honert, E. C., Harrison, K., & Feeney, D. (2023). Evaluating footwear "in the wild": Examining wrap and lace trail shoe closures during trail running. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4: 1076609. 


I love the platform and overall package of the SC Trail outside of the upper integration. The current setup feels like a performance trainer/racer for all-terrain versus a stand alone trail racing model. The upper could definitely be more trail specific and have more reinforcement to help combat increased loading medially and laterally. 


The New Balance SC Trail is an all terrain running shoe for someone that likes a softer rockered ride and would like a little additional traction for trail running. The shoe does good a large variety of situations, but does struggle with more technical footing or steeper downhills due to some stretch in the upper. For me, this a really fun all terrain lightweight trainer, potentially racer.


Fit: B (Comfortable upper with good dimensions. The medial and lateral stretch struggles with larger downhills or divots.)
Performance: A- 
(A tricky grade. The difficult with larger downhills and divots takes some points away, though otherwise the shoe transitions really well and has great liveliness to the platform. A fun all terrain shoe.)
Stability: B (Certainly a neutral shoe but the plate and geometry help. The softer fuel cell and stretchy upper take some points away here.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (A fun shoe, though feels a little like a road shoe that they placed a trail outsole on)
Personal: B+/A- (A fun shoe for all terrain easy days and strides. I don't see myself using for race efforts on the trails though.)
Overall: B+ 


New Balance SC Trainer
Price: $167.99 at Running Warehouse

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Brooks Divide 3 - A surprisingly solid trail runner at $100
Hoka Challenger ATR 7 [Stable Neutral] - This road-to-trail comes in at its lightest yet with a firmer rolling ride
Hoka Tecton X 2 - Subtle changes keep this trail racer a fun and fast ride
Hoka Zinal 2 - Hoka's super light trail runner gets an update
La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX - Winter ready running in every way possible
New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v3 - A real balance of cushion and durability for the trails
Nike Ultrafly - Nike releases their ultramarathon shoe, powered by ZoomX
Salomon Glide Max TR - A new max cushion trail entry from trail specialists, Salomon
Salomon Glide Ride 2  - A solid moderately stacked trainer for the trails
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2 - A fast, aggressive trail shoe that has one setback that holds the shoe back
Salomon Sense Ride 5 - A lower cushion, well-riding trail shoe that can do a bit of everything
Saucony Blaze TR - Surprisingly light trail running for $100
Sauocny Endorphin Rift - A flexible, light, PWRRUN PB-fueld trail runner
Saucony Peregrine 13 (and ST) - The lightest, yet also most cushioned model in the trail line
Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 [Stable Neutral]- A great trail runner becomes even better. Lighter, better fitting, and fun
Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 - An excellent walking, hiking option for runners and hikers alike

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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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Salomon Glide Ride 2

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