Newton Shoe Hunt 2011

Aug 8, 2011 by

Newton Shoe Hunt 2011

New Gravitas

If you’ve looked around my blog, you’ve seen that I have been moving toward minimalist shoes.  This seems to be going well, but my Kinvaras are getting high in miles and I don’t plan on using them much longer.  Also, I currently don’t have a long run shoe, having abandoned my Mizuno Wave Inspires after my foot injury in February.  What to do with half and full Marathon training looming?

As I mentioned, in my last post, Summertime Blues?, one of the motivation steps I planned to take was to purchase  a pair of Newton Running Shoes.  Why Newtons?  These are not marketed as minimalist shoes.  Having read reviews of Newton shoes from the Natural Running Center and Runblogger, I believe a pair of Newtons will help me on my journey to better form, less heel to toe drop, and ultimately, no more left foot pain. Maybe I’m just buying more magic beans.  We’ll see.

Since Newtons are not sold in my part of South Carolina, I planned to drive to Charlotte, North Carolina to see them.  Sure, I could order online, but I wanted to try them on and not hassle with any possible returns from online retailers.  I called a Newton dealer in Charlotte,  and they held a pair of Distance Racers for me.  Well, the Distance Racers did not work very well.  They were tighter in the toe box than I expected, rubbing my pinky toes.  Unfortunately, the store did not have my other choice, the Distance Trainer.

Hmm. Slight Change of Plan

After reviewing the specs and some reviews on the shoes (thanks, iPhone), I decided the Distance Trainer or Gravitas (a trainer also) would probably make more sense, since they should last longer and Newton shoes are pricey.  However, the Distance Trainer is cut the same as the Racers, so I expected them to be tight on my toes as well.  Long story short, I ended up at another running store, Charlotte Running Company, where I purchased a pair of the Gravitas model.  They fit much better across my toes due to different styling.  Also, I liked the blue color much better than the green  Distance Racers.  The heel to toe drop on the Gravitas is listed as 3mm, instead of the 2mm Distance Trainer or Racer. As an added bonus, the store was giving 10% off all purchases, and it was a back-to-school sale tax free weekend in North Carolina, so I saved a good bit of money on the shoes.

First Impressions

From a distance, the Newtons, look like most other traditional running shoes.  Upon closer inspection, though, you can see that the sole is different.  There are 4 lugs that provide the action/reaction system Newton describes on their website.  My wife said I was getting my own pair of Shape-ups…arggh.

Both stores warned me to take it easy transitioning to the Newtons.  So does the literature that comes with the shoe.  As a first run, I only did one mile.  The feeling is definitely different than any other shoes I’ve had.  With the lugs,  I felt like I was landing on a small ball under the balls of my feet.  This seemed to engage the muscles and tendons of my feet more than other shoes, especially that tendon on the outside of your foot that is about the size of 1/2 a golf ball (Fibularis brevis tendon maybe?).  They also seemed to work my right calf differently.  The next morning, my left arch was a little more sore than usual.  I plan on running a little bit every other day this week to ease into them.  I’ll update my progress in future posts.

Here’s a video of my form on the treadmill with them after the road run:

Newton Gravitas on Treadmill




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