The toughest thing the New Balance SC Trainer v2 will have to overcome is comparisons to the game-changing New Balance SC Trainer v1. The first version was an out-of-nowhere, odd, marshmallowy high stack training shoe that changed the way we think about training shoes with lots of midsole foam. It even helped create a new category of super trainers.
And while the super trainer category is hard to pin down, the SC Trainer was a workhorse that excelled at protecting legs from the beatings taken during regular long runs. Can the New Balance SC Trainer v2 possibly reproduce the lightning-in-a-bottle effect that New Balance created with the original?
New Balance SC Trainer v2
Release Date: June 2023
Weight: Men’s 10.1 oz., Women’s 8 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The follow-up to the SC Trainer isn’t groundbreaking but it continues a now-popular line with a solid yet unspectacular new entry.
The New Balance SC Trainer v2 is no longer packing the borderline absurd amount of FuelCell foam that made v1 a 47mm skyscraper. It’s still squishy, plush, and protective but it no longer feels like a huge departure from New Balance’s SC Elite v3 marathon shoe and other high-stack marathon racers.
It’s still packing a lot of cushy foam, but it now feels more normal. And I guess that was always bound to happen after the shocking surprise of how good v1 felt on foot. That feeling was basically impossible to top.
So maybe it’s a good thing that New Balance focused on making this shoe race legal while still delivering the main benefit of the first one. When you wear this shoe for a workout or a long run, your legs will feel less beat up the next day.
This midsole still has the pop you’d expect from a shoe named the SC Trainer, but it no longer delivers the groundbreaking, mind-blowing feeling of the first one.
I guess the old saying is true, there’s nothing like the first time.
A lot of people didn’t like v1’s knit upper but I loved it and called it “fantastic” in my review. So a new upper was always going to be a downgrade for me. But this ho-hum running shoe upper may be exactly what you were hoping for.
The engineered mesh upper features a bunch of vinyl overlays in dot and logo form to create some structure. New Balance also really opened up the breathability across the toe and tongue.
The bottom of the tongue had some weird puffing issues for the first few runs owing to how it’s sewn to the toebox. This happened despite the tongue being gusseted on both sides. After 25 miles or so, it seemed to work itself out. Be prepared for the tongue to do some odd puckering when you first get them on feet but it should go away with time.
And while the upper isn’t as soft or as form-fitting as v1, the New Balance SC Trainer v2 delivers a completely serviceable and reliable upper. It’s nothing special, but it works well and feels good on long runs.
The outsole on the New Balance SC Trainer v2 is similar to the v1 outsole but the forefoot gets a checkerboard pattern which immediately proved more durable than the wavy pattern previously used at the forefoot.
This is definitely an upgrade and will pay dividends in wet conditions (think water stations during races) or during winter months. This shoe is so good at saving your legs, that you’ll want to use it in all weather types. Better traction is a huge help and a great upgrade by the New Balance team.
Is the New Balance SC Trainer v2 wide foot friendly?
Yes, just like with the original and the awesome New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4, the New Balance SC Trainer v2 is quite accommodating and wide foot ready.
Is the New Balance SC Trainer v2 worth $180?
Yes, the New Balance SC Trainer v2 is worth $180. The original version was also worth the money, so feel free to buy that one when it goes on sale. You’ll be getting great value as retailers close out their inventory.
For the SC Trainer v2, you will get $180 worth of cushion, bounce, protection, and durability. I’ve yet to meet someone to whom I recommended the original SC Trainer that didn’t feel like they got their money’s worth. I can already tell v2 will deliver more of the same opinions.
I already mentioned the weirdly puffy bottom of the tongue but here are a couple of other things to watch out for.
The big cavity on the bottom side of the SC Trainer v2 shows off the carbon plate but it’s also a rock catcher. Because it’s so big, only the biggest and heaviest rocks get stuck in there. Keep that in mind if you have to traverse any sections of parking lot, trail, or driveway with solid-sized rocks (see the below picture for reference).
While it didn’t affect me as much as the rock catcher con, the weight of the SC Trainer v2 is still on the high side. It’ll feel light if you’re coming from the original, but the SC Trainer v2’s weight is still on the high side for daily running shoes. To me, the weight is well worth the trade-off, but I mention it as a downside for those weight-obsessed running shoe geeks.
New Balance SC Trainer v2 Summary
The New Balance SC Trainer v2 brings the same energy as the original but isn’t groundbreaking or innovative. Instead, it settles in as an extremely well-cushioned, bouncy, comfortable, leg-saving running shoe primed to help you complete your longest, hardest workouts as you gear up for long distance races like the marathon and half marathon.
If you buy it and use it to save your legs during the doldrums of high-mileage training cycles, you’ll feel fresher on race day. That alone will make this shoe a no-brainer for a large portion of the running public.