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Do you want to feel FAST? Need a speedy shoe for your upcoming 5k but don't love the price tag attached to all the newest racing shoes? Or maybe you need a pair of flats for speed work and faster training? The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Pacer is sure to fit your needs and more!
This brand-new shoe combines the old-school feel of a traditional racing flat (looking at you, New Balance 1400) with the cutting-edge innovation of more recent racing shoes to give runners the best of both worlds. A soft but trim FuelCell midsole with a full-length carbon fiber plate gives a snappy, propulsive feel while a lightweight racing upper keeps the shoe ultra-light. Read further to see what our reviewers said about this unique and versatile shoe!
STACK HEIGHT: 25mm (heel), 17mm (forefoot)
HEEL TO TOE OFFSET: 8mm
WEIGHT: 5.5oz (157g) women's / 7.1oz (201g) men's
USE: Racing, speed workouts, tempo runs
SURFACE: Road, track, urban
Aidan: The first time I really put this shoe to the test was for some intervals on grass. I had 1km repeats planned for the day and was doing them on a grassy course with a lot of sharp turns. I needed something nimble, fast, and responsive. No way was I going to reach for my high-stack shoes for that. I pulled out my SuperComp Pacers and decided to give it a go. It was exactly what I needed! Fit was great on the first go and I didn't have any issues. The shoes felt very stable and had great maneuverability around the winding course. Plus, I felt FAST in them. They reminded me of racing/training flats from what feels like a bygone age at this point in the shoe industry. I expected that from the shoe, but I was initially concerned about the lack of traction. The grass I was running in was fairly long and the outsole didn't look too promising. Once I started running, however, I knew this shoe was more than up to the task. It's very much a road/track shoe but it was worth its salt on the grass. The Pacer lived up to the hype plus some for that initial run.
Keith: The Pacer is so light and low. Running in it was like feeding my inner trackstar, that being a much younger version of myself which favored the lightest, fastest shoe possible. I had given up racing in such a thin sole for quite some time now. My first run in the Pacer sparked the possibility that I may be able to revisit that long lost time, at least for a 5k or a track workout. At first glance I would have dismissed it as not enough shoe for my well used bones, but the Fuelcell foam is ultra soft and the carbon plate prevents my foot from folding in half. I ran the Pacer out for several 5k and 10k tempo workouts and thoroughly enjoyed it. I definitely felt the impact on my feet more so than I might've in an RC Elite or Vaporfly, but it was just enough to get me through six fast, adrenaline fueled miles.
Aidan: The cushioning was adequate and felt like it was juuuuust enough. You lose a little bit of the FuelCell magic with such a minimal shoe, but it still felt very soft and bouncy. The full-length carbon fiber plate made the sole feel rigid and stiff, though the shoe still flexed enough where it wasn't uncomfortable. Definitely not flexible or rockered enough of a sole to make this an easy day shoe in my opinion and I might even hesitate to pull it for longer tempo runs.
Keith: What little cushion there is in the Pacer is super soft, so it creates a nice landing pad for a racing flat. The carbon plate adds enough necessary rigidity to feel supportive under the forefoot and give you a springiness that is very apparent.
Aidan: The Pacer was super stable. It felt very trim and low to the ground, which gave it some inherent stability. I felt that I had a lot of ground contact when using this shoe. This is far from a shoe that I would wear if I wanted to feel supported and safe, but as racing/performance shoes go, it would be hard to feel unstable in this shoe.
Keith: The Pacer feels stable as it is so rigid and low profile.
Aidan: The fit was perfect for me and felt true to size. The toebox feels like it has adequate room and doesn't cramp me at all, which is more than you can say for most performance-oriented shoes. The midfoot was secure without feeling overdone in any way. Length-wise they were great. The heel cup was good, but I did have to heel lock these shoes since the very minimal tongue meant that if I tied the shoes fairly tight, the laces would dig into where my instep met the front of my ankle. Laces were good but seemed a tad long if I didn't heel lock the shoe. The tongue's super minimal design made it feel light and tuned to your foot, but the lack of any gusseting meant that it was very flimsy and tended to fold over itself on the side of your foot which was annoying.
Keith: My size 11 is right on the money. This shoe fits like it's ready to race, with the upper feeling almost invisible. It has plenty of room in the toebox and has a nice locked in midfoot without feeling like it restricts any movement. It's cut deep enough around the ankle so that it makes no contact. The heel doesn't have much of a cup to it but it holds everything in place well without placing undue pressure anywhere.
Aidan: I would recommend this shoe for speed work, shorter distance racing (probably no further than 10k for me personally but I could see it being used up to a half marathon), and possibly some tempo runs. This is a shoe that feels like it shines most during interval sessions on the track or a more mild cross country course.
Keith: This is a 5k to 10k specialty shoe. It is great for a speedy racer who would rather still feel the ground instead of a thick slab of superfoam.
Aidan: This shoe is most similar to the Nike ZoomX Streakfly, the Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8, or maaaaaybe the Brooks Hyperion Tempo and the Endorphin Speed 1 or 2 in my opinion. The first two are the only real competitors to this shoe that I can think of. The Streakfly, Takumi Sen 8, and the Pacer are all shoes that combine new-age "superfoams" with the lower-stack feel of racing flats. The Pacer feels more aggressive than the Hyperion Tempo and the Endorphin Speed 1 or 2 and lacks some of the daily trainer feel in those shoes, but still loosely maintains their ethos of a versatile performance shoe.
Keith: Nike ZoomX Streakfly, Saucony Kinvara, Brooks Hyperion Tempo, Altra Escalante, On Cloudflash.
Keith: This is a newcomer, but it could be considered the next generation of the beloved New Balance 1400 which was discontinued a few years ago. In comparison the Pacer is lighter, softer, and springier! The technology we have been seeing in marathon racers is finally funneling down into racing flats, giving this category a much needed resuscitation breath.
Aidan: The SuperComp Pacer would be a great option for those who want the feel of an old-school racing flat but want to experience all the new technology of "super shoes" like the Nike Vaporfly/Alphafly, Saucony Endorphin Speed, New Balance SC Elite, etc. Like Keith said, loyalists to the New Balance 1400 might be interested in trying this one out. Another crowd I could see using this shoe is an athlete looking for a training flat to be used for track and cross country workouts. If you don't need to spoil yourself with a $200+ racing shoe for training purposes, this would be a versatile and nimble option to add to your rotation.
Keith: The Pacer is for the speed specialist! Whether a college track athlete or a 5k roadster who likes a more traditional racing flat feel. With the added edge of the carbon plated technology, racers no longer have to go max cushion to get to their PR's.
21 year old
Wears men's size 10
Started running track in 8th grade chasing a girl I liked and now it's my only personality trait! I'm the president of the Michigan State Running Club where I compete in cross country in the fall, track in the winter/spring, and road races in the summer. You'll most often find me running around the dirt roads and trails of Brighton, whether it be around Huron Meadows or the Brighton Recreation Area. I love the woods and peaceful runs where the pace doesn't matter, but I also love ripping on the track whenever I can! I also love to talk shoe technology and how what we wear can impact our bodies, which is why I started working at Running Lab in early 2021.
37 year old
Wears men's size 11
Running has always been a part of my life. When I was younger it was mainly a way to stay in shape for soccer; running track in the off-season was a way to train hard and stay competitive. I liked it, but it wasn't until my first marathon in my late 20's that I really fell in love with running. Since then I have completed 7 marathons and a 50 mile ultra while also competing in countless 5k, 10k, and half-marathon races. I enjoy running just about anywhere except the treadmill. I prefer trails in the woods to the road and my favorite spot is the Corsair Trail System in the Huron National Forest near East Tawas, MI. I also frequent the many trails we have in Southeast Michigan. I currently work at Running Lab and have worked there for a total of just over 2 years. My favorite thing about running is that it can be super competitive yet the running community is so supportive of each other.