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Monday, September 3, 2012

2012 Newton Gravity Shoe Review .....Running With Training Wheels!

Since coming back from my April knee surgery, I had decided to try and move to lower profile with a lower drop from heel to toe. I have been a forefoot to midfoot runner for all of my 36 years, only moving to the back of my shoe when highly fatigued. I have been primarily running in shoes with a drop between 4 and 8 millimeters. I have been using the brooks pure flow, asics gel sky speed, asics gel lyte 33 (primarily on treadmill), and saucony guide 5 for longer runs. Three weeks ago I purchased a pair of Newton Gravity shoes. I had always wanted to try them, but felt I needed to start moving down in shoe drop first, and the high price of the shoe always seemed too prohibitive to take the risk. Well, as I said, I have been running in lower shoes of late, and I was able to find these at trisports on sale, and with a coupon code, I was able to get them down from their $175 list price to $105. This is above my usual price limit of one hundred, but if I was ever going to try them, The time was now.
The shoes upper fits my 13D foot perfectly. Good heel hold, medium in midfoot, and just enough splay in the forefoot for my hammer toes to spread out without feeling sloppy. The upper material is light and there are no odd spots, seams, or threads to create any blisters or irritation. The drop is around 2 millimeter. What makes the shoe unique is the transition plate in the forefoot with the 4 lugs.
The lugs compress upon landing, and spring back upon leg lift. It is an unusual sensation...not in any way bad, but more like an assist to getting your foot up and moving. It works well on hard packed dirt and asphalt. Most of my runs are on a mix of sandy dirt, hard packed dirt and gravel, and asphalt bike trail. The firmer the surface, the more you notice the effect. When retracing my steps on the sandy areas, you see your lug landing footprint, but the soft sand mutes the effect. I also think these would not be the best of shoes for technical trails, but can't say for sure. I started using these shoes for the first 5K of my 10K runs, stopping at home to switch them out with other shoes. Newton suggests a long acclimation period to adjust to these shoes, as some folks get more leg pains when first starting out. After two weeks, I started moving up to 8K in these shoes without switching off. Yesterday I did 6 repeats of a half kilometer at a moderate fast pace on both dirt and bike trail. The three repeats on asphalt (the latter three) were substantially smoother and as it turned out when I got home to download data from the garmin, a good bit faster. The reason I made the comparison to "training wheels" is that when you are on a firm surface, these shoes TELL YOU when you are landing properly, and the rebound helps you to lift versus trying to push off, and your form is immensely improved. Although these shoes are light, they feel more substantial underfoot. My calves are definitely a bit sore after running in them, but my surgically repaired knee is substantially LESS sore than from other shoes. So, I will let you know how I feel about them after I get more than the first 40 miles or so I have run in them. I must say though, If they correct your form, reduce the pounding, and hold up better than so many of these new lightweight foam midsoles seem to hold up, they may prove to actually be a better value in the long run, even with their premium price. Stay tuned!

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