New Balance SuperComp Trainer review

So tall, it's illegal

a side-on view of the New Balance SuperComp Trainer
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The New Balance SuperComp Trainer is a bouncy, springy, running shoe, ideal for marathon training, but its huge stack height won’t be for everyone.

Pros

  • +

    Bouncy

  • +

    Exciting to run in

  • +

    Stable

  • +

    Versatile

Cons

  • -

    Heavy

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Not suited to uneven ground

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The New Balance SuperComp Trainer is a beast of a running shoe — it’s so tall it’s not legal (the 47mm stack height means it’s well over the 40mm rules set by World Athletics), and bouncy enough to make your legs feel fresh mid-marathon training cycle. It’s designed to be the ultimate training shoe, and it ticks a lot of boxes, but its price tag is as hefty as its midsole, meaning it won’t be for everyone. 

Specifications

Weight: 11.3 oz (M), 9.3 oz (W)
Drop: 8mm
Widths: Two - standard, wide 

How does it compare to some of the best running shoes, or indeed the best carbon fiber running shoes on the market? Below, we take a look at the shoe in greater detail to help you work out whether or not it’s the right training shoe for you. Read our full New Balance SuperComp Trainer review below to find out more. 

New Balance SuperComp Trainer review: Price and availability

The New Balance SuperComp Trainer costs $180/£210 and is available in three different colorways in the men’s version — white, spring glo, and grey, and two in the women’s — white and spring glo. It comes in sizes US 7 to US 14 in the men’s version and US 5 to US 12 in the women’s. In the US, it’s available in two widths — standard and wide. 

There’s no doubt about it, for a training shoe, the price tag is steep. In fact, it’s around the same price as the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. Of course, there’s no reason why you couldn’t complete most of your training miles in this shoe, and wear it on race day (as long as you’re not planning on making it onto the podium), but it’s still a lot of money to spend on a training shoe.  

New Balance SuperComp Trainer review: Design and fit 

The first thing you’ll notice when you get this running shoe out of its box is its huge midsole — there’s no doubt about it, this is a high-stack, maximalist shoe. The shoe has a stack height of 47mm at the heel and 39mm at the forefoot, giving it an 8mm drop. The shoe feels tall but is remarkably stable for its height. Compared to shoes like the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, even when accelerating around corners, I never felt unstable in this shoe. 

Like other shoes designed for race day, the New Balance SuperComp Trainer also has a carbon fiber plate that runs through the midsole. The plate has a scooped shape — designed to flatten as the foot hits the ground, then rock the foot forward. There’s also a large midsole cut-out that runs down the center of the midsole, designed to help keep your foot in the center of the plate — another much-needed stability feature when the shoe has a stack height this high. 

It’s worth noting that, like a lot of New Balance shoes, the SuperComp Trainer comes up a little small. I run in a UK 5 (US 7.5/EU 38) in most shoes and a UK 4.5 in casual trainers. In New Balance, a UK 5 is a US 7 and an EU 37.5, so I sized up. Not the end of the world, but worth noting before you buy. 

the upper of the New Balance SuperComp Trainer

(Image credit: Future)

Upper 

The upper of the SuperComp Trainer is a light knit, so light in fact, that it’s almost see-through when you’re wearing bright socks. There’s no way you could class a shoe with this amount of midsole foam as lightweight — at 11.3/9.3oz, it’s definitely on the heavier side of things when it comes to running shoes, but New Balance has clearly tried to save weight where they can, and this shows in the thin upper. 

That said, it’s by no means a bad thing — I found it sat nicely on the foot, and the laces provided a good, locked-in feel, which is needed when you’re so high off the ground. 

the midsole of the of the New Balance SuperComp Trainer

(Image credit: Future)

Midsole 

The midsole is where the magic happens with this shoe. As mentioned above, there’s a thick wedge of New Balance’s FuelCell foam, which is soft and bouncy. Similar to other carbon fiber shoes, however, the shoe isn’t overly plush — there’s still a firmer base to spring off from, as the carbon plate sits pretty high in the shoe. 

In an attempt to make the shoe more stable underfoot, the shoe has a wide toebox, and a raised wall of foam around the top of the midsole to help keep the foot in place. This definitely works — the shoe feels stable despite being so tall, that is unless you’re making a literal U-turn, or running on the track. 

the outsole of the New Balance SuperComp Trainer

(Image credit: Future)

Outsole 

These shoes are definitely designed to be worn on the road or light trail. There’s not an awful lot of grip, and the outsole has two strips of rubber on the forefoot and at the heel, which sit around the midsole cut-out. I didn’t have any issue with the shoe feeling slippy, even when running on wet tarmac, but there’s no real lugs, so we wouldn’t risk this on trail races.

New Balance SuperComp Trainer review: Performance 

I really enjoyed running in this shoe — it’s bouncy, fast, and comfortable, even when running on tired legs. I’ve tested it over a number of miles, both easy long runs, and faster tempo sessions, and found the shoe coped well. It’s an exciting shoe to run in, and when wearing it for a twisty half marathon (The Royal Parks Half) it felt stable enough to propel me to a PR of 1:43. 

the upper of the New Balance SuperComp Trainer

(Image credit: Future)

That said, it won’t be for everyone. I’m a stompy runner who loves a max cushioned shoe, so this is a dream, but faster, lighter runners might find it just a little too heavy, and a little too unstable. If you tend to overpronate, you mind find you have to really think about running in this shoe. I also found when running around tight corners my foot would slip slightly off the carbon fiber plate, and I had to correct myself in the next stride. 

New Balance SuperComp Trainer review: Verdict 

These are a fun, bouncy running shoe that has enough versatility to make them a good buy. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed training and racing in it and would argue that despite being on the more expensive side of things, it’s more versatile than other carbon fiber shoes that you have to save for race day. 

That said, it won’t be for everyone due to its heft and its stack. If you’re likely to get onto the podium, you definitely couldn’t have this on your feet on race day, and you’ll probably find it too heavy to enjoy doing a lot of your training miles in it. If you overpronate, it’s likely you mind find this shoe a little unstable due to the high stack height. I’d check out the likes of the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 or the Sauncony Endorphin Pro 3 instead. 

Finally, if you’re just looking for a daily training shoe, there are far cheaper options on the market. If you’re a fan of a maximalist shoe, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run 2 or the On Cloud Monster are both high-cushioned, fun running shoes. If you’re looking for a decent all-rounder, the Nike Pegasus 39 and the New Balance 1080 v12 are both worth checking out. 

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.