New Balance’s FuelCell SuperComp Was Made for Runners From All Walks of Life
New Balance's high-tech, high-performance FuelCell SuperComp is loaded with the brand's latest and greatest technology, but it was designed with runners from all walks of life in mind – from smooth and fast professionals to slow and sweaty weekend warriors. Boasting a new EnergyArc midsole technology, it supplies a speedy ride with a feeling of propulsion that's borderline bonkers!
The three-part Energy Arc system is the crowning feature of the FuelCell SuperComp. The first part in the trifecta is a snappy carbon fibre plate designed to enhance energy return and responsiveness. The second ingredient is a thick slab of New Balance's FuelCell foam, which provides lightweight cushioning. The third feature, cored-out midsole detailing, is more about what's not there than what is, a la a Donald Judd sculpture. New Balance calls these crevices 'strategic midsole voids,' and in layman's terms, they're the vacant areas of the midsole around the carbon fibre plate, which enable the plate to transmit more of its snappy energy return directly to the runner instead of losing it in the folds of foam.
Personally, I found the feeling of forward motion in the FuelCell SuperComp astounding. It literally guides you into your next step, gently but consistently. Even though its midsole stack height tops out at a whopping 47mm, it's feather-light thanks to the midsole voids and the airy FuelCell foam. The knit upper features an internal midfoot bootie that offers extra support as well. It's worth noting that the fit is a bit snug at first. I've worn a D width all my life and was sent a 2E which was still not nearly as wide as I expected. Thankfully, this is no cause for alarm, as it loosens up wonderfully after a brief break-in period.
After taking the FuelCell SuperComp for a few spins on the treadmill, I spoke with Chris Morfesi, New Balance's senior global product manager of performance running, to get the inside scoop on the tech.
How was this design conceptualized, and how much trial and error was required to get it just right?
There was definitely a lot of testing that went into it – I remember running around in one of its earliest iterations in my boss’ driveway over a year ago. Our goal was to create a daily training solution that brought all our learnings from our marathon racing shoes into a product for the everyday runner.
Can you talk me through the tech?
The Trainer has a two-part FuelCell midsole with a full-length, sport-specific cambered carbon fibre plate. A large midsole void is strategically placed to maximize displacement and allow that plate to flatten out as the runner 'loads,' and then spring back into shape as they move through their gait cycle. It wouldn't be able to shift like this if the midsole was fully filled with foam. This new, three-pronged technology offering is called Energy Arc and can be found in FuelCell products across various sports.
What’s the main difference between the FuelCell SuperComp Trainer and other carbon fibre running shoes on the market?
,We were able to utilize the technology and data produced from our Sports Research Lab, as well as real-time feedback from our athletes to perfectly craft this incredibly responsive and explosive shoe. Access to our athletes and this tech also helped us create our pinnacle Energy Arc technology, but what really sets the Trainer apart are the additional benefits of the height of the shoe (47mm at its highest point) and the high rebound foam that provides runners with metabolic economy benefits.
The press release says that Energy Arc technology is for all levels of runners. How does it benefit a weekend warrior as opposed to a world-class marathon runner?
It provides everyday runners and professional athletes with superior energy return, and while it can be used on intense, long training runs, it is also designed to be the perfect, go-to training shoe. An additional element the design team really wanted to focus on was the upper, which provides the creature comforts runners are looking for on longer training runs – think more heel collar padding and a plush tongue to sit on top of the foot. All these things in combination make the shoe perfect for Team New Balance elite athletes, as well as athletes running their first 5K or marathon.
The shoe was named the SuperComp after a runner from 1978 that, at the time, featured all of New Balance’s most advanced tech - essentially making it the ultimate expression of what the brand could do! Would you say the FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is the ultimate expression of New Balance running product in 2022?
Absolutely! It’s the latest model within the FuelCell platform, which is dedicated entirely to helping runners achieve peak training and racing performance by optimizing speed and energy return. FuelCell technology continues to position New Balance as a leader in performance innovation, which is why you’ll start to see this technology appear across multiple New Balance sport categories.
The 'SuperComp' naming convention was created to easily identify any running shoe that features a carbon fiber plate. The first shoe with the 'SuperComp' identifier was the FuelCell SuperComp Pacer, and the line also includes the carbon fibre track spikes that our athletes have been competing in at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp will release globally on August 1. It's priced at $180.