At first glance, the Newton Distances look nothing like a shoe that minimalist or barefoot runners would be interested in. However, I’m here to tell you there is much more to this pair of shoes than you’d expect. I’ve spent a few weeks with the shoes now and have a greater appreciation for the them. I also have a better understanding of what they’re designed for.
Danny Abshire, a co-founder of Newton Running, discusses in his book that he is a huge supporter of barefoot running as a method for training for longer runs. Abshire also explains that while barefoot running is often ideal, there are also times when we find ourselves running on hard concrete or surfaces with sharp rocks and tiny bits of glass and running barefoot often isn’t ideal. To help solve this problem, he started making Newton Running shoes.
Newton’s are designed to help individuals run in a natural running form (as if they are barefoot) while providing high levels of protection typically found in traditional running shoes. Using Keith Olbermann’s faulty logic, he probably would have been better suited for a pair of Newtons than FiveFingers.
Even with thicker soles Newton believes their shoes are for minimalist runners. They describes minimalist shoes as:
Minimalism in its simplest form involves picking shoes that allow the foot to move more naturally than standard shoes allow. But not all minimal shoes are created equal. Newton Running shoes were designed to be an extension of the feet, enhancing ground contact without the jarring impact shock of the road, sidewalk or hard-packed trail below 1
The Newton Distance Light Weight Neutral Trainer
Whether you agree or disagree with Newton about how to classify minimalist running shoes, the shoes do a great job of helping individuals run in proper form. For me, running in proper form is one of main reasons I started running in FiveFingers, and because of this I respect what Newton has done with their line of running shoes.
The Newton Distances are some of the lightest “Full sole” running shoes I’ve ever used. Their design and color scheme make them clearly stand out. When I wear them I often get asked about them and what their designed for, similar to the questions I receive while wearing FiveFingers. It seems to me that the marketing teams at shoe companies must be working more closely than ever with the shoe design teams.
The shoes are very comfortable but feel more like a traditional running shoe when you put them on. I did not really notice a difference in them until I started running with them. The shoes are made up of a mesh material that helps keep the shoe light weight and breathable. It offers comfortable support around the rest of the foot.
Technical Specs and Sizing
The Newton Distance Feature the following Technical Specs:
- Weight: 8.6 ounces
- Minimal surface contact for Forefoot
- Thick midsoles that help force impact to move from your heel to your midsole
- Slip-proof laces
Newton Distance Sizes
Newton suggests that their shoes run smaller, however I traditionally wear a size 11 and their size 11 fit just fine for me. Newton Distances comes in Men Sizes 6 – 15. If your not sure about what size to get, I suggest getting the size you use for most your other shoes or maybe a half size larger. Having shoes that are too big can cause blisters and other problems with your running form.
Running in Newton Distance
The Newton Distances are made for running and they are great for it. I enjoy my runs in the Newtons as they allowed me to focus on my running form. With each step I would receive feedback from their midsole design letting me know when and where exactly I was landing with each step.
I tested the shoes on runs of 3 and 4 miles and never had any problems. I did have a bit of pressure in my arch that appeared to come from the midsole but this may be because I was focusing so much on how the Newtons impacted my running form.
I have yet to test these on longer runs but my guess is that they’ll perform the same way. The fact that the shoes are so light makes it easy to keep going with them because you don’t feel weighted down.
Who Should Buy The Newton Distance
In my opinion, the Newton Distances are prefect for runners that really want to focus on improving their form. Proper running form can help protect from injuries and should be a major focus of any individual that plans to run long distances continually. They’re great shoes for individuals that want to build up their foot and lower leg strength and to compliment those running in barefoot shoes that want to push into longer distance runs.
If most of your running is done on concrete or hard, rocky surfaces the Newtons may be a good option for you and help protect against ground pounding that other minimalist shoes do not excel at.
I would not suggest these shoes for everyone. If the feedback you get from feeling the ground with FiveFingers is very important to you then you will be frustrated with the Newton Distances. You just don’t get the same ground feel or feedback from them.
If you do mostly trail and dirt running then the Newtons also may not fit your needs and either Vibram FiveFingers or the Merrell Barefoot line may suit you better.
More Photos of the Newton Distance
The Newton Running shoes will be perfect for individuals looking to get the benefits of proper running form but live in city or locations where they do not have the benefits of running on natural and diverse surfaces and also want to avoid FiveFingers or other more minimalist/barefoot shoes. They can be extremely helpful to individuals working to improve their running form.
The Newton Distance may not be for everyone but they do what they’re designed to do extremely well. If they are minimalist enough is up to you to decide but don’t count out their value without taking a closer look.