The Newton Distance Elite is a performance running shoe built for speed. Weighing in at just 7.2 ounces, this shoe is a serious featherweight contender. The minimal upper is seamless, breathable, and comfortable with or without socks. The sole of the shoe is made from high rebound EVA and features 4 high-density rubber lugs under the mid-foot to promote an efficient and natural running style. The heel to toe drop is 2mm.
Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve been a bit skeptical about the Newton running shoes for some time. The grossly over-sized lugs just seem weird compared to all the mainstream running shoes. When Newton offered to send me a pair for review, I wasn’t sure how I’d work them into my rotation. But, I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised.
The Newton Distance Elite is bright and colorful. It’s extremely lightweight and minimal in terms of stability features, cushioning, and construction of the upper. The shoe is a definite low rider at just 2mm from heel to toe. And, there are those odd lugs under the metatarsal region of the foot.
The lugs felt a bit strange as I walked around my living room. I decided to go for an easy 6 miles and see how they felt out in the wild. Once I was in motion, they felt really good. As corny as it sounds, it actually felt like I was running downhill. My natural mid-foot strike was a perfect match for the Newton design.
Newton Running claims that their shoes facilitate greater forward propulsion that lets runners go farther and faster with less fatigue. I soon found myself running a bit faster than I had planned to run. Even the hills felt easier to get up. However, by mile 5 I was starting to notice two things: my lower calves were tightening up, and the area of my foot directly above the lugs was feeling a bit of discomfort. After consulting the FAQs at Newton Running I learned that these feelings were normal and to be expected as I adjusted to the new shoes.
I decided to work the Newtons in twice a week on my fast days. I’d like to run in them more, but I know my body needs some time to adjust to the radically different shoe design. Newton recommends starting with runs of 15-20 minutes, while continuing to log the bulk of your mileage in your traditional running shoes. Eventually, your body will adapt to the healthier and more efficient running gait and you’ll be able to wear your Newtons on every run. With Newtons, it’s not just about the shoe, it’s about the natural running form that the shoe promotes.