Why I wear Newtons, Part III
I\’m not sure of the exact date when I discovered Newtons, but thanks to this site, I can tell you the first time I spoke about them on my show. It is BMP #16 at about 29 minutes in. From that point, much of the research I did on the shoes themselves was done away from Brandon\’s Marathon. I did however, talk some about the technology of the shoe and how it works. I also encouraged people to go to their website rather than hear the information secondhand from me. I STILL encourage everyone to do this.
The first time I tried Newtons was in October in Richmond, Virginia when I was picking up my race packet for a sprint triathlon I was doing. The store where the pickup was located was also a Newton dealer. I asked and they happily allowed me to take a pair of trainers for a spin around the block. They were exactly what I was looking for and felt amazing. Before anyone suggests that they felt \”amazing\” because I wanted them to feel \”amazing\”, I made a promise to myself when I began this website that I would be as transparent with my audience as possible, sharing every feeling that I had (though not necessarily every event). I have kept that promise, and not in the way our government is \”transparent\”, rather, for real.
Due to the fact that Newtons do cost a bit more than many running, a fact which does not escape me or my wallet, I could not immediately get my hands on a pair. Also, I wanted to wait because at the time, Newton had announced a new, all-weather shoe, that would be more appropriate for running in New York City in the winter, which would not be shipped until the end of the year or early the following year. For my birthday (December 2) my father and stepmother gave me my first pair of Newtons (which wouldn\’t be in my hands for a couple of weeks, but what can you do?)!
My Newtons arrived on December 15, 2008. I know it seems excessive that I know when they arrived, but again, thanks to this site I have a record. Before then, I had been slowly transitioning to forefoot for a while and my legs were more than ready. As luck would have it, I had a race about five days after getting my Newtons, however, Mother Nature intervened and dumped a ton of snow on the city and Central Park was a cold, slushy, snowy, icy mess, so I opted for my Vomero\’s. With the exception of some extremely snowy or disgusting weather runs, that was the last time I would go Newton-less.
But, WHY did I switch? The answer to that question has a few layers. First, as I said earlier, I was blissfully unaware of what running actually was. For me it was something where I just went out and did it to lose weight or to look better, but now I was doing it because it was fun! Yes some of the long, boring mile remained long and boring, but they were not so laborious as before. Keep in mind that I did not all of a sudden get my Newtons and begin forefoot/midfoot striking, I had been doing it for a while in my existing shoes. Newtons, due to their minimal heel-toe drop (about 1/6 of an inch), allowed me to use a much more \”piston-like\” (up and down) action with my legs rather than having to force my toes down to overcome the giant wedge of my Nike\’s.
Second; I wanted to go farther and longer. This part is less about Newtons, \”the shoe\” and more about the technique which they use and promote. Over time, I had come to discover, through trial, that forefoot running, with a shorter, more efficient stride, allowed me to go longer with minimal fatigue. It also allowed me to get up hills, where before I had to walk, I could now run up no problem. I know that this, again, may sound like a bit of, \”hey mom! look how I can run faster and jump higher in my new shoes!!\” syndrome, but again, this is NOT about the shoe, but about the technique that they promote. As I said before, I am not a small, lanky runner type of guy. I am tall and big and can bench-press about 275 lbs. (or could before I began trying to lean out for my Ironman). I have not had a single injury, save for ITBS which was existing, since running in Newtons. Not shinsplints, not plantar fasciitis, not knee pain, nothing.
Third; when you go to Newton\’s website, you will notice that, while they are a shoe company, they are less about the shoes themselves and more about running healthy. On their YouTube channel, there are seven videos talking about the shoes themselves but EIGHTEEN videos that are about running technique and testimonials. In my experience this embodies what Newton is all about. They are taking a stake in the general health of the world around them and promoting running healthy, shoes or no shoes. When the guys from Newton came to New York this past June and did a running clinic, about half the people there were wearing Newtons and the other half not. While they definitely told us about their shoes a bit and why they were different, not ONCE did they say, \”Now go buy our shoes!\”.
I wear Newtons because they work for me. I wear Newtons because they promote a technique that I believe in. I wear Newtons because when I wear them, I\’m not \”getting through\” a run, I\’m just running! If you have never tried a pair, try them! What do you have to lose? If your shoes work for you and you have zero problems, don\’t try them. But don\’t knock it until you try it.
I don\’t work for Newton, and everything I\’ve said in the parts of this article are how I feel. When I run in my Newtons, or barefoot with the same technique, I feel alive. I feel like I want to run, not like I have to.