REVIEW: New Balance FuelCell SC Elite v3
Written By: SportsShoes
The New Balance FuelCell SC Elite v3 is the boldest Elite yet.
Designed to give you a competitive edge on race day, this lightweight running shoe features the high-rebound FuelCell compound paired with a full-length carbon fibre plate to help promote energy return and propulsion. This two-layer FuelCell midsole delivers impressive energy return along with innovative Energy Arc technology, and the bootie upper construction provides a locked-in fit and feel. Combined with an engineered knit upper and built-in tongue for a streamlined fit and secure lockdown for race day.
The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3 are built for marathon runners who never let up. You push yourself to go the distance, so get the gear that helps you get the job done.
“Every piece of the SuperComp Elite v3 has a purpose. While designing the Elite v3 we had one rule; If something wasn’t going to add to the racing experience, it didn’t belong on the shoe. This design mentality, paired with athlete data from our New Balance Sports Research Lab, resulted in our most innovative racing shoe to date.”
Chris Morfesi, Senior Product Manager
|Size (Length):||Runs small, so go 1/2 a size up|
|Key Technology:||FuelCell, Energy Arc|
|RATINGS:||(out of 5)|
Fresh out the box, I just knew I was going to LOVE this shoe. Whilst I’m generally a massive advocate of not judging a shoe at first glance; sleek looks, premium materials and a great colourway, definitely go a long way… The New Balance FuelCell SC Elite V3 tick all these boxes for me and, to spare you the wait until the end of the article, these are the shoes I’m going to reach for when lacing up for 26.2 in a couple of months. Read on, to find out why…
When it comes to the upper, the materials feel really premium and definitely reflect the price tag of the shoe (one of my major bugbears with some other models!). The upper performed well in range of different workouts and weather conditions and, most importantly, I had no issues with breathability or comfort. One thing to note here is the stretchy tongue; personally, I didn’t have any issues with this and I actually found it made it much easier to take the shoe on and off (perhaps a great feature for the triathletes out there?), but I’m aware that some people aren’t always a fan of such designs.
As with any super shoe on the market, the midsole is really what it’s all about and, for me, New Balance have found the perfect balance with their SuperComp foam. This midsole provides enough protection to go the distance at pretty much any pace, but it really excels when operating at the ‘cruisey’ speeds associated with the Half and full Marathon distances. Whilst it’s not as ‘poppy’ as some of the more aggressive midsoles on the market (see the Nike ZoomX Next% 2 or the Asics Metaspeed Sky+), this offering from New Balance really competes with Nike’s Alphafly and, for me, even surpasses it. Whilst both have high stack heights with the latest foams and impressive energy return from the carbon plate, the ride is quite different. The Alphafly gives you a lot more bounce, but the FuelCell ensures a smoother ride and transition. Overall, it probably comes down to personal preference and what you value more.
The outsole is quite simple in design, but it does its job well and I had no real issues with grip, whether I was training on the road or the track. Here, I’d say the outsole is quite comparable with the other super shoe competitors on the market; they’re not the grippiest shoes out there, but they do what they’re designed to do in road racing conditions. Regarding durability, I don’t think I’ve put enough miles in these to give an informed opinion, though I would somewhat question the relevance of durability when it comes to high performance racing shoes.
SIZING – FIT AND FEEL
As for sizing, I actually went half a size up from my normal size 8 (ASICS & Nike), but this is normal for me in all New Balance running shoes and I did the same in the previous iteration of the FuelCell (New Balance FuelCell RC Elite V2). On feet, the shoes feel great and there’s plenty of room in the toe box, without feeling too bulky; something I really value when racing over longer distances.
Overall, the performance of this shoe is second to none when it comes to running at Half-Marathon and Marathon paces. It feels really cushioned and comfortable and manages to remain responsive enough to operate at faster paces. If you’re looking for a new long-distance racing flat, I couldn’t recommend the New Balance FuelCell SC Elite V3 more.
- FuelCell foam delivers a propulsive feel to help drive you forward.
- Energy Arc pairs advanced carbon fibre plate geometry with strategically shaped and placed midsole voids, designed to increase stored energy to deliver a high amount of total energy returned.
- An engineered knit upper with built in tongue provides a streamlined fit and secure lockdown.
- Bootie upper construction hugs your foot for a snug, supportive fit
- One-piece integrated tongue construction for a secure, breathable, no fuss fit
- Lace closure for an adjustable, secure fit
- Flying New Balance branding
- 4 mm drop; due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 4 mm drop are approximate.
- Aggressive outsole void maximizes energy displacement.
- Built to deliver the highest economy benefit for runners.
Oli Lum is the Co-Host of The Sunday Plodcast, the show that gives you a weekly insight into the lives of top distance runners and coaches.