Get the scoop from the team at The Running Company
Editor’s note: This feature is brought to you by New Balance and The Running Company. New Balance’s 2022 range of running shoes is now available at your local The Running Company store.
When looking at New Balance’s 2022 line up, it’s a case of evolution and revolution. Shoes such as the 880 and 1080 have fanatical followings, with new devotees coming on board every year as the models evolve through a series of small brush strokes – a minor adjustment here, a finishing touch there.
And then there’s the revolutionary product, where the New Balance team gets to create something brand new, without the constraints of heritage or expectation. In past years we’ve seen it come through on products such as the RC Elite v1 and v2, and this year it’s the FuelCell SuperComp Trainer, a high-stack, high-cushion training shoe with a carbon plate.
To celebrate this release of New Balance’s 2022 running line up, we’ve teamed up with The Running Company to bring you a look at what some of their team are wearing when they’re not putting shoes on the feet of thousands of runners Australia wide.
“The FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is a truly exciting prospect from New Balance. It’s in many ways the reimagining of what a trainer can be.”
The Running Company, Head Office
The Fresh Foam X 880v12 is the latest update to the long-heralded 880. It’s a shoe that has never been about being flashy – instead, it’s a neutral, daily trainer with the right balance of cushion and responsiveness. Occasional runners like it because it feels like a running shoe should feel, and purists love it because it gets the job done without gimmicks or fanfare. We tapped Nathan Shearer, retail development manager at The Running Company, for his thoughts on the shoe and who might love it.
“Version 12 of the New Balance 880 would comfortably be the best iteration – for me specifically – that I’ve ever worn. Historically, I’ve found the shoe a little bit too stiff and rigid, and I have an equally rigid foot so it tended to feel a little bit clunky and like I was fighting the shoe too much.”
Nathan, who hails from Preston and got into running in his early 20s, says the evolution of the 880 has given him exactly what he was looking for.
“This latest version, with the softness of Fresh Foam in the heel and the livelier and higher rebound FuelCell in the forefoot, has made for a wonderfully smooth ride for my gait and I think I've really benefited from the softer and more flexible midsole.”
So, who does Nathan think might like the 880v12?
“With the softer overall platform and a more aggressive fit, particularly around the heel, I think the modern 880 is now firmly a runner’s shoe – it will suit someone with a slightly more efficient gait and perhaps slightly less mobile mechanics.”
The Running Company, Geelong
Brianne Hook lives in one of Australia’s most idyllic locations: on the coast at Anglesea, a short drive from The Running Company’s Geelong store she runs with her partner. Since having a baby eight months ago, Bri has been on the return to running, banking a lot of easy runs in the 1080.
The Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is undoubtedly New Balance’s most popular running shoe. The 1080 has always been the model that just “works” for most people – a generous bed of Fresh Foam creates endless comfort, while the Hypoknit upper provides the right balance of barely-there comfort and lockdown. For Brianne, the beauty of the 1080 is in its versatility.
“The slightly denser feeling of the Fresh Foam X makes the 1080v12 quite versatile. I can wear it for easy running and can pick up the pace without feeling sluggish. The 1080v12 can cover all distances from short easy jogs to long runs, doesn’t feel heavy underfoot and can tolerate running over a variety of terrains. Living on the Surf Coast, most of my running is on dirt roads and mild trails, and the 1080v12 can perform every time.”
Brianne, who says she runs for the feeling of freedom and loves the simplicity of running, points to a couple of design features that “make” the shoe. “I love the new heel cup – it gives the feeling of a deeper, more secure fit, and the stretchy knit upper disappears around my foot while still feeling locked in.”
The Running Company, Albert Park
If you want to know what type of guy Mitch Lorkin is, he once ran 5km at the Dubai Airport while waiting for a connecting flight by jogging up and down the terminal building. Halfway in, he recruited a fellow traveller who completed the run with him. He’s that sort of guy. The type who has a pure love for running, and who wants to share that love for the sport with others. None of this is relevant to New Balance’s FuelCell SuperComp Trainer, but I like the story.
Anyway, the FuelCell SuperComp Trainer is a truly exciting prospect from New Balance. It’s in many ways the reimagining of what a trainer can be. We’re used to thinking of them as heavy, cushioned, lifeless options – they’re the shoe you reach for out of necessity, but New Balance have truly revolutionised the format here. Just ask Mitch.
“The SuperComp Trainer is the first new ‘super shoe’ to really excite by offering something new – it’s responsive and fast enough to race in, protective enough to go long in and comfortably cushioned enough to jog in. If I had to choose one shoe to do it all, this would be it.”
And that’s the thing about high-stack, carbon plated shoes (commonly referred to as “super shoes”). They’ve always been about one thing and one thing only: going fast. And maybe that meant they lacked certain other qualities, like stability or comfort. You can deal with that if you’re going all out for a PB, but New Balance have found a way to offer a much more complete package.
I asked Mitch who he thinks the SuperComp Trainer might be best for, and here’s what he had to say.
“If you struggled in super shoes, historically, because they lacked an appropriate or safe enough platform for you to train in, lacked adequate stability or didn’t offer enough protection underfoot, this might be for you. It's also potentially a great option if you like the super-shoe feel and want to extend that to your easy days.
It’s definitely a great shoe and a plated super shoe for the masses, but it still won’t be appropriate for everyone – I’d highly recommend getting into your local The Running Company Store to determine their suitability for you before purchasing.”
So, there you have it. Whatever your running goals are for 2022, the team at New Balance have quality options to help you get where you’re headed. There’s a reason shoes like the 880 and 1080 are on their twelfth iteration: they’ve built huge fan bases because they help runners keep running. And the SuperComp Trainer? It just might be one of the most fun shoes released in the last year.