My Newton Running Gravity Shoe review is now live here: http://gearjunkie.com/newton-running-gravity-shoes-column
The initial blog and review of the shoes on this site — http://thegearjunkie.com/newton-running — created more buzz than any other write-up last year.
Now three months later — and a couple hundred running miles down the road — I’m ready to offer some opinions and conclusions on these $175 shoes.
My column goes into some detail, but the long and short is that 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.
So what has Newton (www.newtonrunning.com) done? What makes them so special? 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.
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.
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.