Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Newton Review

So Newton's, how did they fair?

The answer is very very well. Would I buy a pair? No - but that's not to say I wouldn't highly recommend them. Read on...

I am predominantly a forefoot striker so they work very well for me. If you are a heel striker then forget about it - stop reading and go salivate over the Shimanao Di2 pictures. However, I am not a totally neutral runner but a mild supranator and consequently I was not landing centrally on the forefoot but rather on the outside. Over the first 21k this was not noticeable but when I started the New Balance 15k run straight afterwards things were a little different.

Not only did I notice the lack of support but in my tiredness I was running with a far less pronounced forefoot strike (as any tired runner would naturally do) - I found the lack of support to be a little disconcerting and painful during the run and especially downhills but for the next few days I had knee pain (I never have this), calf pain and hip pain. I have over extended myself before but these injuries, although temporary, were very different this time.

Don't read too much into this though, the simple fact is that these shoes were fabulous while I was running fast and strong. In fact I didn't feel great when I started out in the morning and never found a "second wind" so I was expecting my first 10k time to Sri Hartamas to be around 50m30s, I was quite surprised to see it at 47m15s - a good time for me.

The loop around the petrol station and the return run were similarly better times than I felt I'd achieved. That says a massive amount in itself.

So why wouldn't I buy a pair? First of all I love my Asics. I train in a pair of heavy duty Nimbus and race in a pair of DS Trainers (despite the name these are probably the best racing shoe I've ever come across in terms of lightness, support and shear speed).

Secondly, I'm probably best at 10k to 1/2 marathon runs and Sprint to Olympic Distance triathlons - perfect for the Newtons. However, for some inexplicable reason I keep entering Ironmans and Marathons - I guess it must be the romance of the distances because I don't do half as well in them nor do I enjoy them as much as the shorter races. Anyway, the point being that I don't believe that Newtons are built for marathon distances unless you are a very efficient, light and neutral runner.

So in conclusion, Newtons are: -
- very fast, if they work for you mechanically
- fabulous for anything up to a half marathon
- they are light
- do not retain much weight in the guise of sweat
- look fabulous
- extremely comfortable (until you start getting tired)

Buy them for sure if you are a forefoot striker, reasonably efficient runner and are looking for an extra bit of speed over 5k to 21k races. If you haven't found the PERFECT shoe for you yet and you fit these criteria then go for it.

Just accept that these shoes will put extra load on your calves so they will take time getting used to but I predict your fastest times yet once you've spent three months training in them.

However, bear in mind: -
- not for heel strikers
- not for heavy or inefficient runners
- not for marathons (unless you are very light and very efficient)

Thank you to QuickSport ( for making these shoes available to me. I must admit I would have liked to have kept them for a few weeks to really put them through their paces but alas that wasn't to be. I predict that there are going to be a lot of people in KL running in them and going quicker than they ever have before.

I'm going to stick with my Asics DS Trainers though and work on losing a few kgs in order to keep up.

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