Newton Distance U Preliminary Review

While I wait for my new Mirages to arrive, my shoe guru and training partner Kath hooked me up with a new pair of Newton Distance U so I don’t have to run in my racing flats for another week. Newtons have been taking the running world by storm and argue that their novel materials and structure will help you find the “right position” while you run. This is a twist on the fad (a word I use without judgement) of minimalism in running shoes.


Specifically, the features of Newtons according to Newton are:

Action/Reaction Technology: Basically a better material that purports to improve energy return

Minimal Drop: More natural running motion

Biomechanical Sensor Plate: Uh, thing to trip over, from my experience yesterday. Purportedly to help improve communication with the ground

Lightweight Comfort: Less to carry, more comfortable over the long haul

The first few minutes of the run were…interesting.** I am a midfoot striker anyway and used to running in minimal drop shoes (Kinvara is 4 mm, Mirage is 6 mm), but the Newton is a new feel altogether, primarily because of the aforementioned “biomechanical sensor plate.” This plate, which is really a big hunk of plastic right where my foot wants to plant, tripped me up and altered my stride a lot and it took a few minutes to get used to it. After that, I learned to ignore the “improved communication” and had a somewhat pleasant, although unremarkable run in the Distance U’s. I loved the color, which was very similar to the custom color of my last pair of Kinvara, and the fit was extremely comfortable with lots of room in the toe box. While I didn’t fall in love with the shoe for running, I actually really enjoyed wearing them for walking around and for strength/plyometric work. I wouldn’t want to try box jumps with the sensor plate, but I was happy to squat, lunge and lift with them on.

All in all, my hour in the Distance U’s wasn’t life changing, but they were an interesting shoe that someone looking to learn (or be forced really) how to forefoot or midfoot strike might find helpful. For me, they are likely to stay in my life as a gym shoe or backup pair under my desk at work. I might try them out on a longer run too, to see how they do over 90 to 120  minutes of running.

Anyone made the switch to Newtons?


**Newton suggests that people acclimate to the differences in technology more gradually than say, heading out for your 8 mile recovery run. I run in a shoe fairly similar to the Newton, so my calf and achilles are used to being more lengthened than in a traditional shoe.

4 thoughts on “Newton Distance U Preliminary Review

  1. Ryan

    How many miles do you typically get out of a pair of Kinvaras? I have a pair with well over 300 miles on them and I have been feeling like I overextended them by a significant amount. I just got a new pair last night, so tonight I should see how much of a difference there is between the old ones and the new ones. I am running a marathon in mid-May and rough math leads me to believe the new pair would have around 250 miles on them by race day. I am thinking that 250 miles may be too many for the shoes to be of good use on race day.

    1. runnerunderpressure

      I don’t run my Kinvara as long as I do other shoes and usually consider them pretty dead by 350 miles. They do start to show wear around 200 miles (especially in the toe box for me), but I don’t start feeling that “I need new shoes” feeling (achy knees, shins etc) until about 350.

      As for your race shoe, shoes don’t really need as much break in as they used to, especially if you have the same model. If you get a new pair a week or two before the race, you should be ok.

      1. Ryan

        Thanks. 330ish miles didn’t seem like too high of a number for the shoe to feel very dead, but knowing someone quite a bit lighter than me finds them dead by 350 makes me feel like I am not just being overly sensitive/concerned.
        Good luck in DC this weekend.


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