Langer has two pair of Newtons, but when I ran with him in late August he’d not yet put enough miles on the shoes to make any conclusions.
In my testing, which has included about 200 miles over two months on the Gravity model, I’ve come to love the shoes. They keep me upright, forward and feeling fast. They are well designed, good looking and comfortable. (They’d better be all that for $175.)
Are they miracle shoes? For some runners, maybe. I am a perfect candidate for Newtons, as I land on my heel when I get lazy but am a natural forefoot striker. These shoes reinforce that forefoot stride, keeping me running fast and efficient by encouraging me to land on the actuators, which are right under my forefoot region.
The Gravity shoes have worn well, too. The actuators show signs of use, with the front tip of the lugs now rubbed off and angling down from repeated pavement pounding. But it’s been 200 hard miles, and I’ll likely get another 200 miles out of the shoes before they’re dead. That’s a normal lifespan, according to Dr. Langer.
Newton makes some big claims with its fancy new footwear. You pay a pretty price for a tryout and, depending on your running style, there may be few gains.
As for the company’s claim of rebounding actuators that spring you into each stride, I’m not sold that this is noticeable. For me the advantages have been the shoes’ great fit, the subtle stride-enhancing details, and the position they put my foot in to better run the race.
(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)