The New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 is designed for running fast. It has a full-length carbon fiber plate, Fuelcell foam for a propulsive feel and a rocker geometry to help roll the foot forward as you run.
The Elite V3 is the newer version of the Fuelcell RC, and is New Balance’s long-distance racing shoe in the brand’s Supercomp range. The range also features the Supercomp Trainer, which is a max-cushioned training shoe, and the Supercomp Pacer, which is a flatter shorter distance running shoe.
Weight: 8.1 oz (M), 6.3 oz (W)
Colorway: White/Bright Mint
But how does it compare to some of the best carbon fibre shoes on the market? To find out more, I’ve been running in the New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 for the past few weeks. I’ve covered around 50 miles in the shoe, over a mix of long runs, tempo runs, and faster sessions on the track. Read my New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 review to find out more.
New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 review: Price and availability
The New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 costs $229/£220, which is about standard for a carbon fiber racing shoe. For example, the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 is $250/£230, and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is $225/£210.
The shoe comes in men’s sizes US 7 - US 14 and women’s sizes US 5 - US 12. The shoe comes in two colorways — white with victory blue, and bright mint with pixel green. New Balance also released a bright red colorway to celebrate the New York City Marathon.
The shoe is available now from New Balance directly and from other retailers.
New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 review: Design and fit
The New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 is designed to go fast — the shoe has a bootie upper, and a two-layer midsole with New Balance’s ‘Energy Arc’ technology (this mainly refers to the carbon fiber plate). It’s a lightweight racer, which shows in the shoe's design.
When it comes to the fit, it comes up true to size to New Balance. I usually size up in New Balance, as I find the shoes can be a lot smaller than other brands. However, I went for a UK 5 in these shoes, as unlike my everyday running shoes like the New Balance 1080v12, I want racing shoes to fit tight to my foot. I didn’t have an awful lot of room in the toe box on this shoe. if you’re between sizes, I’d always recommend sizing up. Confused? Here’s how running shoes should fit.
The upper of the SC Elite V3 has a bootie style, with one sock-like piece of material wrapping around the foot to keep it secure as you race. It doesn’t have a huge amount of give and is thicker than that used on the Nike Vaporfly, or the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. I enjoyed the locked-in feel on the shoe and didn’t have any issue with my foot moving, even after a longer 8-mile tempo session on the track.
The only complaint with the upper is that the collar sits pretty high on the ankle, which can rub a little uncomfortably at first. I found I had to wear a thicker, higher sock with the shoe to prevent this, but it could do with being a couple of millimeters shorter for a more comfortable fit.
The midsole of this shoe is where the magic happens. The carbon fiber plate sits between two layers of foam, designed to feel soft and springy underfoot. The shoe definitely feels firmer than the Fuelcell RC running shoe, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing — the Fuelcell RC always felt a little spongey on the run and a little unstable around the corners. While I loved it for training sessions, it didn’t feel responsive enough for me to reach for this shoe on race day.
That said, it’s by no means too firm — this still has the plushness and cushioning you’d expect from a racing shoe. The 4mm drop feels fast, but if you’re here for a dramatic rocker, you won’t find it here — there’s no aggressive toe spring here, and it feels more relaxed than other carbon fiber racing shoes.
The outsole of this shoe is definitely designed for concrete. There’s not a massive amount of grip, and what’s there is focused around the heel and toe, with a bit of protection around the cutout to protect the carbon fiber plate. That said, during testing, I wore these shoes on a completely frozen running track, and on wet sidewalks, and didn’t experience any problems with slipping.
New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 review: Running performance
I enjoyed running in the SC Elite V3, and would go as far as to say this is New Balance’s best carbon fiber running shoe to date. It’s definitely got more pop than the RC Elite and feels much more stable around corners. It’s also similar in feel to the Supercomp Trainer, without the massive (illegal) stack height. It’s a forgiving ride, with enough cushion for long runs. I enjoyed wearing this on the track and found I was able to pick up the pace with ease.
That said, New Balance still need to do a little more fine-tuning to make me reach for this over say the Vaporfly Next% or the Endorphin Pro 3 for my next marathon. It has a gentler rocker, which makes it feel a little more relaxed than some of the other super shoes on the market.
New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 review: Verdict
The New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 is an excellent running shoe and a huge improvement on last year’s version. You could easily run a marathon in this shoe — it’s stable, has a good amount of snap, and feels bouncy underfoot. That said, the upper won’t be for everyone, and the rocker is more relaxed than other carbon fiber shoes on the market.
If you’re in the market for a shoe to run fast on race day in, the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 are two of the most popular carbon fiber shoes on the market, both around the same price point.
If you’re looking for a bit more bounce on your long runs, and you’re not planning on making the podium on race day, the New Balance Supercomp Trainer is also worth looking at. If you’re looking for a shoe to wear for your everyday miles, you won’t want one with a carbon fiber plate, as they aren’t very durable. Check out the best running shoes on the market in our guide.