What are they?
Hard to describe, but they have these quarter-inch extensions on the outsole of the shoe that are called “lugs.” Of course, you can get more information from http://www.newtonrunning.com, but often, manufacturer websites describe shoes in such a way that you always wonder if there is anything bad about them! Have no fear, this is why I am writing this review.
Firstly – do they really help your running form?
In short, they have not helped me with my running form, at least consciously. I don’t find my arm carriage, lean, point of contact with the ground, etc. any different than if I were wearing regular running shoes from Asics or Mizno.
So why do I wear them?
What I did find, however, was that the shoes had a significantly bouncy and lively feel to them. When I did a shoe comparison, I noticed immediately, that, from an subjective point of view, my foot was spending far less time staying “stuck” on the ground. However, I wish I could measure this and do a proper comparison. But I suppose, perception is everything, and I feel that my turnover is noticeably higher with these shoes. I would also argue that wearing these shoes have made me slower, at least at the beginning, for fear of the reported Achilles injuries. However, once the break-in period was completed, I felt that I was all-the-better in switching to these shoes.
You’ll actually notice that you might be able to take a half-size down from your typical Asics and Mizuno shoes, as the Newton shoes seem to have a more performance-oriented fit. I also find that the shoe fits better with elastic laces, than with the traditional laces supplied.
So, any drawbacks?
Actually yes. I noticed that the skin just under the metatarsals do get noticeably more callused, and require special attention after months of running and buildup of dried skin. Whereas before, when my heel would become significantly more chapped and dry from Asics or Newton shoes, I noticed that my forefoot is more affected now.
I have absolutely no regrets in switching over to Newton Running’s products. I find that I am more connected to the road due to the “bounce factor” and higher cadence that these shoes offer.