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Balancing Act: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Super Shoes for Running Performance

Coach Rick Muhr recently ventured into the world of super shoes, succumbing to the allure of enhanced running performance. The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer, featuring a combination of incredibly responsive midsoles, a rockered design surpassing the World Athletics' heel stack height limit, and a full carbon plate, promised a trampoline effect with each stride. Muhr shares his insights after an initial 8-mile run to adapt to these cutting-edge shoes.

Positive Observations:

  1. Improved Pace and Reduced Effort: Muhr notes a faster average pace with less effort, showcasing the
    immediate impact of super shoes on running efficiency.

  2. Lower Average Heart Rate: Despite the increased speed, Muhr experienced a lower average heart rate, suggesting reduced cardiovascular strain.

  3. Higher Cadence: The shoes contributed to a 5% increase in Muhr's average cadence, indicating enhanced turnover and stride efficiency.

  4. Increased Endurance: Muhr reported having more energy than usual at the end of the run, emphasizing the pot

  5. Quick Recovery: Surprisingly, Muhr felt minimally fatigued the following day, highlighting the potential for quicker recovery post-exercise.



  1. Considerable Cost: One significant drawback is the high cost associated with these advanced running shoes, making them a substantial investment.

  2. Outsole Durability Concerns: Muhr points out poor outsole durability as another downside, suggesting that these shoes may wear out faster than traditional running shoes.

  3. Altered Natural Movement: Super shoes can alter the natural movement of the foot, potentially affecting biomechanics and muscle engagement.

  4. Increased Injury Risk: Muhr highlights a higher risk of injury due to the greater range of movement imposed by super shoes, placing additional stress on muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

  5. Muscle Weakness and Biomechanical Changes: The carbon plate's extensive support may lead to weakened muscles and altered biomechanics, potentially contributing to injuries like plantar fasciitis.



In conclusion, Muhr acknowledges the undeniable benefits of super shoes, especially for those aiming to achieve personal bests or qualify for prestigious events like the Boston Marathon. However, he advises caution, recommending their use no more than twice a week. The potential for enhanced performance must be balanced against the considerable financial investment and the risk of altered biomechanics and increased injury potential.


Choosing the right balance between traditional and super shoes becomes crucial for optimizing running performance while minimizing associated risks.

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