Newton Running — a new company from Boulder, Colo. — shipped me a pair of its Men’s Cushion Trainer model last week, which feature lugs that extend from the base of the forefoot region on the sole to mimic a barefoot running style.
Update: Here is my full review on Newtons: http://gearjunkie.com/newton-running-gravity-shoes-column as well as a few more of our reviews of Newton Running shoes.
These rubber lugs — made to strike the pavement and rebound you into the next stride — promote a more efficient and natural running technique, according to the company. But for $175 a pair the question is: Are they worth it?
In my initial test runs, including about 40 miles of pavement pounding over a week, I’m liking what I see. Or put that, I’m liking what I feel.
These shoes keep you upright, discouraging heel-strike in your stride. See here for an interesting Flash animation demonstration on the concept: http://www.newtonrunning.com/run_better.php
This is the company’s explanation of the technology:
“Newton Active Membrane Technology allows you to land on your forefoot safely. Few shoes can come close to Newton’s impact rating in the forefoot. When your forefoot impacts first your foot has less of an opportunity to pronate or supinate as it would if you were heel striking, minimizing injuries. After the forefoot makes impact and the actuators are driven fully into their corresponding chambers (the action), then levering and propulsion come into play. As you push off and drive forward the lugs are released (the reaction) providing energy return that in comparison to traditional foam shoes feels alive and fast.”
Lot of technical jargon in there, but the long and the short for me so far is this: Newton Running seems to be onto something. I need to run a few weeks on these for the Big Opinion, though my initial reaction is positive.
I just signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday, a 26+mile jaunt through my home towns of Minneapolis and St. Paul held in October. Will be interesting to see if the Newtons are still on my feet at that time.
Watch for the full review of the Men’s Cushion Trainer next month.