Newton Gravity Running Shoe Review
Newton Running shoes were launched in the UK in the autumn of last years (2008). There are constant developments in running shoes design, however, the Newtons are a bit different. While the majority of running shoes focus on cushioning and stability around the heel the Newtons are very different, in that they encourage you to land more mid to forefoot. They do this by placing a raised lug on the forefoot and having a very minimal heel to the shoe.
The principle behind the shoe is to recreate a 'more natural' foot strike. The argument being that a more built up shoe at the back encourages the shoe to land on the heel with a straight leg. By landing on the forefoot, the foot lands underneath the body, with a slightly bent leg. This makes a lot of sense because more force is exerted backwards and this helps to propel the body forwards. Moreover, by landing on the forefoot you are less inclined to over-pronate. The majority of quicker runners land on the mid to forefoot and if you take off your shoes and run barefooted you will land a lot more on your forefoot than your heel.
In my first run in the shoes, I ignored the advice to not wear them for too long initially and ran for 45 minutes. The shoes felt rather odd at first but as the run progressed began to feel better. The next day my calves and achilles were very tight! I decided to have a rest day and ease into wearing the Newtons more gradually as is suggested. The next day I ran for 20minutes in the shoes and then changed back into my normal shoes for the next 20 minutes. After a couple of weeks of running in the shoes they began to feel a lot more natural and I really started to enjoy wearing them. I've continued to wear the Newtons, alternating them with a couple of other pairs of shoes.
I've really liked the Newtons and intend to get another pair in the future. I found them particularly good on quicker pace runs and longer speed sessions. They certainly get you up on your toes more, which helps you run quicker. Moreover, I feel they have helped to change my running style slightly. When wearing other shoes, I feel I am running more on my forefoot than before.
However, they do put a lot more strain on your calves and achilles, so you do have to be careful how long you wear them initially. This is probably different for different people. Craig Alexander wore the shoes for the marathon at the end of the Hawian Ironman. As much as I like the shoes, I wouldn't want to have them as my only running shoe. I think for a lot of runners, a pair of Newtons alongside a more 'conventional' shoe is a good combination. However, for some runners the shoes might not be suitable at all. If you have spent a long time running landing heavily on the heel, it could be a very big change to move to landing on the forefoot.
In terms of improving running style and preventing some injuries the shoes make a lot of sense. If you build up the length of time you wear them, they give something quite different to other running shoes.Matt Whiting