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New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 Review: A Super Shoe for Everyone?
By Matthew Klein

The New Balance SC Elite series has been a favorite among recreational runners starting with version two. Although not the fastest shoe, it has continued to be one of the more comfortable super shoes on the market. Part of this has been the lack of aggressiveness due to a non-PEBA foam, an incredibly soft foam and a little extra upper room that often all translated to additional comfort over long miles. The newest version changes some of this with a complete redesign including a new PEBA-based midsole and a redesigned upper. Despite the changes, it still remains one of the most comfortable and less aggressive super shoes on the market. So while not the fastest shoe, it may be one of the more accessible for the majority of the population. 

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.1 oz, 230 g (men's size 9), 7.2 oz, 204 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40 mm / 36 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Shoe Purpose: Super Distance/Marathon Racing Shoe

Pros: Highly Cushioned Ride, PEBA midsole, Comfortable, Great for Long Runs
Cons: Not the Fastest, Slightly Unstable, Slightly Loose/Thin Tongue, Slightly Irritating Achilles Tab 


The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 is the newest version of New Balance's popular comfortable super shoe. A new PEBA-based FuelCell is one of the major updates to this shoe, along with a brand new upper and overall design. Despite the visual changes, the SuperComp v4 maintains its title as one of the most comfortable and more relaxed super shoes. Although there is plenty of bounce, it will work best for those new to super shoes or those running longer and slower to uptempo paces at half to full marathon paces. The new upper provides a more normal fit although there is a little extra room in the midfoot. While not the most stable shoe, it is highly cushioned and smooth, making it an excellent long run or long race day shoe for the majority of people who want a bouncy and soft ride.

: Saucony Endorphin Speed 4
PAST MODEL: New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3

(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

The New Balance FuelCell Supercomp Elite v4 fits me slightly short in my normal US men's size 10. This has not caused me any issues over moderate mileage and I would not change from my normal size 10. Most of this comes from the upper being a little low over the toe box and some late toe spring. Most people should consider going their regular size with thin socks while others between sizes may want to consider a half size up - especially if they are using this for longer distances.

The upper fits normal to slightly snug at the lateral toes and as mentioned is slightly lower volume. This can be adjusted with the laces and this is one of the rare super shoes that also comes in a wide for those that need it. The forefoot is normal to slightly snug mostly due to the lower sitting upper at the toes and the lateral aspect of the foot. This transitions into a normal midfoot featuring a thin non-gusseted tongue. I did not have any major slippage but did have to make sure the tongue stayed flat when I put them on. This transitions into a normal to slightly snug heel with a moderately flexible heel counter. The counter is stiff in the rear portion and flexible on the sides. This did not bother me but there is only a little heel collar cushioning so those with heel sensitivities should still approach with caution. The thin heel collar, especially around the Achilles tendon, requires high socks. Especially during faster running where the foot plantarflexes more, I have had mild blistering on my Achilles. Taller socks fixed this for those most part over moderate distances (~10 miles) but those opting for marathon distances may need to make sure they have tall thick socks for full protection.

Despite lack of a gusseted tongue, the security is fairly good. I have had to lock down the laces in the midfoot for a secure fit but tightening them to much causes excessive pressure on the top of my foot. I have not needed to lace locked the shoe some may want to consider it. This shoe, like most super shoes, is meant for going in straight lines. There is not a ton of structure to the midfoot, so quick turns in this shoe are not optimal. Going in a straight line is fine. The slightly short fit and thin heel collar make socks a must in this shoe. I have tried shorter distances sockless and come away with irritation on my Achilles, so I would encourage the use of socks. 

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Matt well: Saucony Guide 17, ASICS Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, Saucony Endorphin Elite, Nike Ultrafly
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Saucony Kinvara 14
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, Altra Timp 5

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: No
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing:
Is the Forefoot Flexible: No
How Flexible is the Shoe: Not at all
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Yes
Recommended for Haglunds: Potentially
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Above Average (for a racing shoe)


The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 is a comfortable long distance super shoe. The midsole features a new blend of PEBA-based FuelCell, which feels soft and bouncy underfoot. The material is soft in classic FuelCell fashion but has far more pop/responsiveness than the prior version. The weight is a little heavier for a racing shoe coming in at over 8 oz (men's size 9) but this adds to this shoe feeling more comfortable for longer miles at a variety of paces. The heel drop is listed at 4mm and this is exactly what it feels like. The heel has the most bounce of the entire shoe with a soft and resilient ride. The forefoot is a tiny bit firmer and I found myself landing farther forward to avoid getting stuck in the heel. The rearfoot reminded me of the original Alphafly where I found myself compressing the low drop rearfoot enough that sometimes I had to climb out of the shoe.

Fortunately, the rocker design does keep motion forward, but those sensitive to low-drop shoes should be cautious here. Those who want a low drop with a large heel rocker will do well. The heel bevel is angled medial but the rearfoot foam compresses enough I did not feel this too much. The midfoot transitions smoothly forward into an equally smooth forefoot. The forefoot is slightly firmer than the rearfoot but still soft. The forefoot rocker is easy and feels comfortable at both easy and faster paces. Despite the label of being a "super shoe", the SuperComp Elite v4 is still one of the more relaxed and easy going super shoes. Those runners who are looking for something that is equally comfortable and responsive will do well here.

From a use perspective, the SuperComp Elite v4 does best at long run and uptempo/marathon efforts. It struggles at efforts faster than half marathon pace and I had a great deal of difficulty getting anything remotely close to top-end speed out of this shoe. It does best with longer consistent efforts even down to easier efforts. With this capacity, it will work extremely well for those who want a super shoe but do not want an aggressive ride. Runners who struggle with more aggressive super shoes will want to look at this shoe, especially runners in the above 3:30 marathon range. It is comfortable with an easy rocker that feels good at both easier and uptempo paces, compared to most other super shoes that only feel good at faster efforts. This will be a great choice either as an introductory super shoe or a super shoe that doubles for easy and longer efforts. Those wanting a comfortable marathon/distance racing shoe will find this may fit the bill.

Fortunately, the outsole durability matches more and longer use. I have 30 miles on my pair and only see real wear at the exposed FuelCell foam at the midfoot. The forefoot and rearfoot rubber have barely any wear. The midsole foam has maintained its cushioning and bounce. For that reason, I suspect that this super shoe will last an above-average number of miles for a distance racing shoe. While the durability is great, the traction and surface versatility are average. The giant gap in the heel and midfoot easily collects large rocks on trails and the amount of exposed PEBA leave the shoe open to damage on anything but road. Additionally, the softer midsole does best on firmer surfaces as softer surfaces make it feel even less stable. The traction is also only moderate and works best on dry road. I have slipped a little on wet road, so highly suggest those interested in this shoe keep it to dry consistent road surfaces. 


The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 is a neutral racing shoe. There are no traditional methods of stability. The base is wide, the midfoot does not narrow and the central groove does act like a large guidance line. There are small sidewalls that run on the medial and lateral sides of the heel and midfoot. However, the midsole material is so soft it negates any major stabilizing affect. Additionally, the heel bevel is angled medial. Although this is offset by a little extra medial heel flare, it creates additional direction medial. The forefoot does have a good combination of stiffness and a great forefoot bevel. Those who need stiffness up front though may find the softness of the midsole offsets this which adds comfort but a bit less stability. This makes for a neutral racing shoe especially in the heel and midfoot that will work best for those with stiff and/or stable ankles. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Matching Shoes to Different Runners with Different Paces
By Matthew Klein

It is well-known that different runners respond differently to different shoes. Different people also respond differently to different shoes at different paces. Some shoes will work better at faster paces, other shoes will work better at slower paces. Some people run at faster paces while others run at slower paces. Each pace causes different types of loading through shoes and thus may require different shoes. There are other biomechanical factors outside of pace, including weight, joint loading angles, moments, joint powers, etc that will influence how a person responds to a shoe and vice versa.

One unique hypothesis among all these variables is that certain shoes will best match people who "vibe" best with them. By vibe, I am referring to vibration. When muscles contract, they do so at a certain speed. This is controlled by the central nervous system, which stimulates muscles through nerves that carry electrical impulses (Jalali et al., 2019). There is a theory called "muscle tuning" that suggests that during certain types or amounts of vibration, muscles contract more and there is more neuromuscular activity (Pujari et al., (2019). When we land on the ground (impact), there is a certain amount of vibration associated with that impact. When you add a shoe underneath the body, the shoes compress and cause a degree of vibration in the body. Each type of foam, the geometry, stiffness etc will all influence that vibration. The midsole foam will especially influence this as the compression rate and resiliency directly impact the human body's interaction with the ground. Given that different people respond best to different levels of that vibration, different shoe midsole compression rates will work best with different people depending on their speed, muscle activity, biomechanics and more (Hoitz et al., 2020; Wakeling et al., 2002).

A shoe like the SuperComp Elite v4, which seems to compress and rebound a little slower, will likely work better at slower to moderate paces as the muscle contraction needs to match the compression rate of the shoe. Thus, slower runners may benefit more using this type of shoe than faster compressing/rebounding foams like those found in super shoes like the Alphafly 3. Faster runners may get more benefit from a shoe like the Alphafly 3 given the faster compression/rebound rates and more aggressive ride. It is not that each unique runner can't get some benefit out of each shoe type. Based on their unique biomechanics though, one may benefit them more than the other. It is already known that slower running speeds see different benefits from super shoes compared to faster speeds (Joubert et al., 2023). This theory may explain more of the why behind it. 

A shoe responding better at moderate or slower speeds is not a bad thing. It just means that it will work better for certain paces and for people who run at those paces. Certain companies have been talking about "pace-tuned" shoes when that concept has already existed for years. The reason behind it though has to do with the design of the shoe and what speeds it was designed best for. Shoes are tools and will usually work best for the purpose they were designed for. So just because a shoe is advertised as "the fastest shoe" does not mean it will be that for everyone.

Our goal with this website is to help you find the shoe that brings out the best in you, which may be completely different than the shoe that does that for someone else. Thus, learning what works for you is a process and journey you must embark on. Take into account your speed, comfort preferences, training/race distances and goals. Then, try some shoes on after making some educated guesses about what might work best. The more you try things on and experiment, the more you will learn what works best for you. This is a journey that takes some trial and error. Hopefully, some of what we talk about helps you in that journey. 

Hoitz, F., Vienneau, J., & Nigg, B. M. (2020). Influence of running shoes on muscle activity. PloS one15(10), e0239852.

Jalali, P., Noorani, M. R. S., Hassannejad, R., & Ettefagh, M. M. (2019). Modeling the central nervous system functionality in controlling the calf muscle activity during running with sport shoes. 
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine233(2), 254-266.

Joubert, D. P., Dominy, T. A., & Burns, G. T. (2023). Effects of Highly Cushioned and Resilient Racing Shoes on Running Economy at Slower Running Speeds. 
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance18(2), 164-170.

Pujari, A. N., Neilson, R. D., & Cardinale, M. (2019). Effects of different vibration frequencies, amplitudes and contraction levels on lower limb muscles during graded isometric contractions superimposed on whole body vibration stimulation. Journal of rehabilitation and assistive technologies engineering6, 2055668319827466.

Wakeling, J. M., Pascual, S. A., & Nigg, B. M. (2002). Altering muscle activity in the lower extremities by running with different shoes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise34(9), 1529-1532.


The SuperComp Elite v4 is a step forward from the prior version. The upper structure is far better than Version 3, but it could still use a bit more through either a gusseted tongue for security or a larger New Balance logo on the medial side of the midfoot. The midsole foam is much more responsive due to being more PEBA. However, the extremely low drop combined with softer foam does create a risk for a dynamic negative drop shop depending on landing, so I might suggest making this a 6-8mm drop shoe instead of 4mm.

Based on how soft the midsole is, I do not think there is anything major that can be done to add more stability. Any larger sidewalls will be offset by the soft collapsible foam. The heel bevel should be centered instead of facing medial and it is incredibly rare for anyone to land on the medial side of the heel. Finally, the weight has increased, which is odd given the lighter upper. This is offset by the more resilient PEBA-based FuelCell. I would suggest dropping the weight, but the SuperComp Pacer v2 may fill the place of the most aggressive/faster shoe in this line. 


The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 is a highly cushioned, less aggressive super racing shoe for those who want a comfortable, low-drop shoe for marathon paces, longer runs and longer workouts. The new PEBA foam is extremely soft but comfortable at easier to uptempo paces. This makes it an excellent long run, long workout and longer race shoe. Those who run slower or want a less aggressive super shoe that still has all the super components will enjoy this shoe. Despite all the changes, the SuperComp Elite series maintains its place as the more accessible super shoe on the market while now having a PEBA midsole. The cost increase to $250 is not necessary as it does not feel as fast as other shoes in that price range. Given the slight lean toward being a super trainer rather than super shoe given it being less aggressive, I personally would have kept it at $230.

However, it does now have a PEBA midsole, which I am assuming costs more to source. This is one of the few super shoes that people may be able to get away with training in more due to its less aggressive nature, but due to the softness I would still suggest having another non-super shoe to pair it with. I am curious to see what the SuperComp Trainer v3 looks and rides like because I suspect there may be a great deal of overlap. Many runners may still find that the Trainer works better for them as a racer as different levels of stiffness and rides will work better for different speeds. It is great that New Balance has (or will have) such great versatility between the SC Trainer, SC Elite and the SC Pacer. What remains to be seen is how runners react to them in 2024 and beyond.


Fit: (Lightweight upper with decent lockdown. Slightly lower volume with a bit more midfoot width. Achilles tab can cause irritation without socks)
B+ (Highly cushioned, lower drop ride that works best for easy to uptempo paces and longer efforts. Struggles with all out paces, better at half to full marathon efforts and beyond)
Stability: B/B- [Neutral] (Neutral ride due to highly compliant foam. Ride is somewhat directed forward but can be fatiguing to stabilizer muscles over longer miles. Medial heel bevel causes medial bias)
Value: B- (Price increase for a borderline trainer/racer is disappointing. Lower cost would make shoe more accessible for the masses that this shoe will likely benefit )
Personal: B+/A- (Extremely comfortable shoe that works better for me during recovery runs and longer efforts. Struggles at faster runs, so not as versatile for me to use as a true racing shoe)
Overall Design: B


New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse

Shop Men | Shop Women

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased from Running Warehouse for review. 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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