The Nirvana of Finding Your Ideal Running Partner.
I wanted to try Newton shoes for the longest time and finally luck intervened. At the recent Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 2016 trade expo, Newton Running Philippines brand manager Leo Libuna made us try some models. It was love at first try for me. The fit was right and comfy, the design and colors popping, the cushioning was responsive – the instant deal breakers for me. Afterwards, I submitted my name and some contact information, together with the rest of those who also tried some models, to be raffled off during the race participants briefing by the end of the day for a chance to win a spanking pair of Newton Fate 2016!
For starters, why Newton running shoes? First, I wanted neutral shoes with ample cushioning but of the responsive, “springy” and rebounding type. Not the soft and cushy variety that sucks the energy out of every stride instead of returning the effort made. Second, it must be still be considered lightweight despite my ample cushioning requirement with a minimum of 4mm heel to toe drop (I am definitely not a fan of flat shoes.). Third, the forefoot cushioning must likewise be ample for my midfoot to forefoot stride orientation. Fourth, I like the insole to be cushy and comfy even without socks – no hard edges, nor stitches whatsoever. Last but certainly not the least (in fact, the main consideration for me), is the design aesthetics and color combination. They should not look very conventional and drab. They should either come in tri colors of the flamboyant spectrum or classic black with some bright colored details.
• Fits snuggly in the ankle and heel portion
• Soft interiors with roomy toe box (anyway I have a thin foot so this might not be the case for some)
• Responsive sole the way I wanted it (the patented slugs helped a bunch)
• Sleek design in classic black, neon green and neon orange color contrast (It helped that the Newton logo is in bright orange color as an added touch.).
I managed to run longer and further (for an hour) than I usually do after some running hiatus (as per experience, usually I can only manage 45 min max.). The speed I can attribute to the fact that I was able to maintain my midfoot/forefoot strike longer without trying so hard. The lugs encouraged this running orientation because they provide protective cushioning and rebound response.
When I reverted to heel strike after my midfoot/forefoot stride muscles began to tighten, the shoes have enough heel cushioning to absorb the impact and prevent knee injury. Rolling the foot in the heel-strike running orientation, the soles felt smooth and natural despite the lugs. They even enhanced the forefoot roll-off with the added push. Even when walking, they helped in contributing to forward momentum.
The lugs might seem unusual to the sole at first and may provide a bit of pressure and discomfort for those with sensitive soles. A few minutes into running though will “desensitize” them enough to vanish the discomfort. By the way, the Newton Fate model comes with POP2 or Point of Power 2 lugs. After some research at Newton Running.com, I learned that it is designed to be less responsive and defined than POP1 thereby making it a good introductory model for those new to this structural innovation. The five individual lugs are beveled rather than “squarish” and are less protruding. The Newton Gravity model, a neutral shoe as well, comes with POP1 and thinner soles ideal for both training and racing. For now, I prefer this model with thicker sole and less delineated lugs.
Okey I have to admit – I am using the novelty of having new shoes to encourage me to start running once again, run more often and farther. So I set myself to run for two hours minimum and not be bothered by speed nor distance covered.
It started very uncomfortably. Not the shoes for by now we have already overcame our initial getting-to-know-you phase to be already comfortable with each other. I was running with discomfort on my chest – tightness and pressure building and extending to my throat. I am taking this as a bad sign that I need to have checked later. For the meantime, I decreased my pace to slightly faster than walking just to see if my discomfort abates.
I felt much better after 3K or almost 30 minutes of very guarded pace walking over uphill and trying my best simulation of running over easier sections. My legs, though a bit heavy, are hopeful that the lightness of the shoes will eventually rub on to them. Save for some moments of trying to check if there are small stones trapped in between lugs as I am feeling and hearing something (there are none actually, must be my mind), the experience went smooth.
Newton Fate felt as if it was designed and engineered for me. Despite being my first long run using these shoes, there were no problematic areas in the insole that rubbed on my feet even after two hours of abuse (My initial goal of two hours was extended by 20 minutes!). I was wearing regular running socks by the way. In fact, I was deliberately pounding on the lugs to benefit from their “trampoline” bounce. Even during my many walk breaks, I can feel them working to give me that extra push. These shoes won’t let me walk!
My running route includes the McKinley Hills area where there are sections of steep inclines. I tried to run as long as I can over them. The excellent traction of the outsoles of the shoes helped a lot not only in climbing but also in breaking my downhill acceleration. The sturdy build of the shoes supported my feet well despite this model being cushioning rather than a stabilizing one. Given this initial impression of this shoes’ excellent construction, I can safely conclude that this will last me more than the 500 miles – an arbitrary lifespan running shoes are given. Not unless another luck come my way, I do not abide by them.
By the end of my run, my legs felt not as fatigued as I felt each time using my popular but very “tiring” too-cushy-mushy running shoes. The build of the shoes all conform to my initial criteria of ample enough heel to toe cushioning, not less than 4mm drop, sturdy construction, good design with touch of colors, over-all comfort and lightness. I think I found my perfect running partner in Newton Fate 2016.