Running Shoe Review: 2012 Newton Distance

Newton Distance 2012I’ve been trying out the 2012 Newton Distance running shoes for the last several weeks and they have become one of my favorite training shoes. The 2012 version of the Newton Distance is a lightweight neutral training shoe weighing in at 7.8 oz (221 g), with a heel-to-toe drop of 2 mm.

If you haven’t run in Newton shoes before, you may be put off by the large forefoot lugs.  These are part of Newton’s Action/Reaction Technology, which is designed to absorb the energy of a midfoot or forefoot strike and then return the energy back to you.

In my opinion, the design of the Newton Distance almost forces you to land on your midfoot.  Initially, when you put the shoes on, the presence of the raised forefoot lugs makes them seem awkward. When you run in them, the forefoot lugs are compressed as you land and the shoe feels much more natural.

The low heel-to-toe drop can take a while to adjust to, depending your running form and the drop of your current shoe.  If you are a fast, efficient midfoot striker who runs in shoes with a low heel-to-toe drop, you should be able to adapt quickly to the Newton Distance.

If you are a heel striker who is transitioning to a midfoot strike and coming from a shoe with a high heel-to-toe drop, it may take you several weeks to adjust to the Newtons. You may want to rotate them with your current shoes and only wear them for 15-20 minutes at a time to start.

I’m a midfoot striker who usually runs at a 7-8 min/mile pace.  I was able to adjust to the Newton Distance. fairly quickly and actually used them in a 5 mile race a few days after I got them. Although my calves and hamstrings were fine, I felt that the Newtons activated my glutes much more than my other shoes, particularly on my right side (uphill side of the road, facing traffic).

Newton conducts Form Clinics at its Newton Running Lab in Boulder, CO, every Saturday at 10:00 AM.  If you don’t live near Boulder, you can check this link to see if Newton is running a Form Clinic at a location near you.

The Newton Distance has a breathable, open mesh upper that keeps your feet cool when you run.  The 2012 Newton Distance costs $155 and comes in a single, bright yellow-green (mens) or sky-blue (womens) color . They definitely stand out. A group of female cyclists recently called out “Cool shoes!” when they passed me.

If $155 is too much for you to spend on a running shoe, you may be able to find the a few pairs of the 2011 Newton Distance on sale.  The 2011 Newton Distance is about 1 oz (28 g) heavier than the 2012 model, however. If you need a Stability shoe, Newton also has a Distance S model, which helps to prevent over-pronation.

Have you run in Newton shoes? How do you like them? Share your experience in the comments.

Disclosure: I received a pair of Newton Distance shoes for evaluation.

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