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.