Newton Running Shoe Review

Innovation in the realm of running shoes often comes in the form of new colors, added padding, or subtle — sometimes gimmicky — design tweaks that do little to increase performance on the run.

That’s according to shoe expert Dr. Paul Langer, a podiatrist with Minnesota Orthopaedic Specialists in Minneapolis, and a veteran runner with two-dozen marathons, several triathlons and an Ironman under his belt. “Running shoe design hasn’t radically changed in 20 years,” he said.

Newton1.jpg

But Newton Running, a new company from Boulder, Colo., that recently shipped its debut line of high-end shoes (read: $175 a pair), has Langer singing a slightly new tune.

Indeed, Langer, who is not alone in his assessment, goes as far as saying that what Newton has done is among the biggest running shoe innovations in recent memory. “The jury is still out on performance, but there’s no doubt the company is trying something new and intriguing,” Langer said.

Newton2(lugs).jpg

So what has Newton (www.newtonrunning.com) done? The shoes feature rubber lugs — called “actuators” — that extend a quarter inch or so from the base of the forefoot region on the sole to mimic a barefoot running style, attempting to promote a more efficient and natural running technique. According to the company, the design minimizes detrimental heel-striking, promotes forefoot striking, increases speed, and prevents injury with some runners.

There’s also a claim that the actuators rebound you into each new stride — contracting on impact, absorbing energy, then springing you forward in a fit of, well, Newtonian physics.

In addition, the shoes are fairly lightweight — the Gravity model I tested are about 11 ounces per foot — and they have a mushy, dead-feeling heel, further egging you to strike on your forefoot.

Did I mention they cost $175 a pair?

continued on next page. . .

Posted by josh - 09/21/2007 05:34 PM

i’ve been keeping an eye on these for a few months now, but i haven’t gotten up the courage to plop down for them. i’m a big fan of forefoot, good posture running, so i like the idea, but my new balance mr 790s were $100 cheaper and do a pretty good job on the road and the trail …. i with they’d come down in price a little, i’d probably go for it.

Posted by manny - 12/08/2007 02:05 PM

they are ok… but not worth the price. if fore front striking is what your after there are better and cheaper models on the market. personally, i was more impressed with velocy.

Posted by Tony Kofkin - 11/18/2008 09:38 PM

They are great!Being a heavier disatnce runner i was concerned but i am now into my 5th pair and couldnt be happier.In my first run in them i was leaning so far forward i nearly fell over never mind tripping over twice due to those “lugs”.I would suggest that their claims {for me anyway}have been very accurate…but they are expensive!
Tony Kofkin-Australia

Posted by Ross - 07/10/2009 12:30 PM

I have a pair of these that I won at a triathlon about a month back. Having only put about 15 miles on them, I cant speak for their durability but I can speak for their ability to make you faster. The lean on the toes turned my calves into rocks on the first few runs, but after a few short sessions, I can already tell my speed and calf strength has increased. These would be a great addtion to a pair of normal running shoes because they teach you to run differently and you can apply that to your normal pair of shoes.

Posted by Aoife - 09/26/2009 10:06 AM

Hi

I am very interested in all your comments. I also won a pair of newtons in a triathlon and was a tad sceptical as I am a most definitely a heel striker and injury prone (generally ITB related). I wear orthotics and am an ASICs loyal customer. I am planning on using the newtons for short technique sessions but just curious if there are any recommendations out there for someone like me !!

Posted by aimee - 01/29/2010 10:04 PM

Women spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on high heel shoes that are horrible for your body but justify the cost because they look great. Any pair of shoes that promotes well being for under two hundred dollars is money well spent.

Posted by Luke - 02/01/2010 10:10 PM

I just bought these a few days ago and cannot make any huge claims about them yet, but so far I think they are wonderful. About 5 years ago I found out I had Compartment Syndrome in my shins and thought I couldn’t run anymore. A few months back I decided to change my running method from heel striking to forefoot striking. It was a difficult transition to say the least. Having a shoe that actually promotes forefoot striking, which practically eliminates my compartment syndrome pain, is well worth the 175 price tag in my case.

Posted by Hanna - 03/05/2010 12:22 PM

I would love to hear how these compare to the Vibram five fingers. I’m a marathoner and have been plagued by IT issues, so I’m considering a move to the barefoot running style. I’m a bit afraid to jump straight to the Vibrams. Anyone have thoughts?

Posted by Taylor - 04/26/2010 03:08 PM

Hanna, I just ran my worst marathon ever. I think god put a few extra IT band’s in my junk just so they could flare up.
VFF’s aren’t perfect. I would even be looking at Newton thread’s if the Bikila came out on time. The toes on Vibrams don’t flex downward; very rigid. This can lead to you smacking the balls of your feet. Sesamoiditis or something.
There is no perfect shoe.
My only advice is: run barefoot, fast, and a lot. It will straighten up your form; then you can figure out what shoes go with that form

Posted by Paul - 07/03/2010 09:13 PM

Bought my first pair in August 2009 and I absolutely hated them at first. I could only log 2-3 miles before my calves were completely fatigued. I stuck with them though, and then started logging my long runs in them. Then end result was bringing my best Marathon time from a 3:29 to a 3:09. Have been running in them ever since, and with a more efficient stride, I’ve found it takes a lot of pressure off of your knees. These are definitely worth the price and last between 450 and 500 miles.

Posted by Seerwright - 07/21/2010 03:54 PM

I bought my first pair recently. I bought into the running philosophy that Newton promotes a year or two ago: a forward position that keeps you tending towards the balls of your feet. I figured I had made good progress when little evidence of my otherwise intense pronation showed up on my last two pairs of running shoes. So I bought the Newtons and have made a fairly easy transition. I still feel awkward and I’m feeling some aggravation on my left knee (which is fussy to begin with), but I can see a pace difference in the data that comes off my GPS. I’d recommend them if you think you can commit to a new running style. It’s a big “if”, but the payoff can be big if you can pull it off. Happy running.

Posted by Chas - 08/11/2010 10:00 PM

I’ve been eyeing Newtons for a few weeks now but have a question I haven’t heard addressed:
I’m a big runner (6foot 3, 210lbs) and relatively new to the sport (read: massive heal strike), just finished my first half-marathon. I have had three ACL reconstructions (2 left 1 right) and have only found running comfort in heavy super stable shoes (mizuno wave creation11s). Any ideas what the Newton/forward running technique might do for knee pain, especially for the larger runner?

Posted by alex - 02/09/2011 11:20 AM

Chas, I am 6’2’‘ 200lbs and these shoe make me fly. the transition made me super skeptical. Let your runs rell effortless and fast picking up and placing of feet in these shoes and they will teach you efficient running stiride and strenghten your fee and legs.

Posted by Shafiq Kamal - 02/18/2011 06:39 AM

Those rubber lugs underneath looks like it’s for trailing. But the design looks great. Will sure do make heads turn with those striking colors. But for $175, I could easily land myself an Asics GT 2160. It’s doing me good so far. And cheaper.

Shafiq @ Best Running Shoes for Women

Posted by rog - 03/04/2011 08:09 AM

Are the distance racer small fit? I have the trainer and its true to size but have wide feet. Should i chance half size up? Nobody sells them near me to try on.

Posted by Streak - 05/16/2011 02:05 PM

I am a 60 yr. old dentist and former distance runner, due to many years of distance running I developed a tear in my right achilles tendon. After seeing several sports physicans and undergoing every treatment know to man, except surgery, which I elected not to entertain as the result would have been unpredictable, I was told to give up running and do something else, that was over 15 years ago. I tried to run many times during that 15 year hiatus with miserable results, after the first run my tendon would swell and the pain would cause me to walk with a limp for a week or longer. Recently while on an airline flight, my wife read an article in a womens magazine about Newton running shoes, and asked me if I had heard of them. I said no but would like to read the article. I was so impressed that I decided to give them a try. That was in early March of this year, and to date I have been able to run, three to four times per week, absolutely pain free, and have loged over 100 pain and symptom free miles. I can tell you from my past experience, that in any other shoe, I would not be able to walk right now. Thanks to their wonderful product, I am back on the road again. I would highly reccommend that any one with a chronic problem attributed to running in the past, unable to find a solution, give the Newton Running Shoes a try.

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