For awhile now I’ve been thinking about getting a pair of Newtons. My friends who run in Newtons, absolutely love them. A buddy of mine who is a hard core triathlete (as in almost placed in his age group in a recent Ironman 70.3 race, hardcore) runs in nothing but Newton running shoes.
Transition to a Lower Drop Running Shoe
Brian MacKenzie and Kelly Starrett have been a big influence in my running. In Unbreakable Runner Brian talks a lot about running form. I’ve been incorporating his drills into my running routines and feel they have been having a positive impact on my running. It was Kelly Starrett in Ready to Run that really opened my eyes to what footwear is doing to your running style.
In Ready to Run, Kelly talks about the importance of letting your foot work naturally. A high drop shoe puts your foot in an unnatural position. Your calf is shortened. Because of the additional shoe off your heal, you’re encouraged to heel strike. Its just what hits the ground first. Now you’re heel striking and getting into shin splints and knee pain. The force absorbed by your leg and joints is crazy. It is not something you can sustain and not get hurt. Lower the drop, or eliminate it and you will naturally stop heel striking. You will lessen your likelihood of injury.
Like I said, I wanted to get to a Newton for some time now, but I had been running in higher drop shoes in the 8-12mm drop range. The Newton Fate’s have a 4.5 mm drop. While this does not sound like much, if you’re accustomed to the change, you do risk injury. Especially if you are male and over 40. I would bet you large sums of money that you would get hurt if you’ve been running in a 12mm drop shoe to a 4mm or zero drop shoe. This is something you need to transition into. I personally pulled a calf because I had been doing most of my running in a pair of New Balances with at 12mm drop and ran a sprint tri in a pair of Saucony Kinvara’s with a 4mm drop. Mile into the run, boom, I had to limp the last two miles to the finish line.
It took me about 6 months to transition to the lower drop. I bought a pair of Saucony Triumphs with an 8mm drop. These became my primary running shoe. I also bought a pair of Saucony Kinvara‘s as my secondary running shoe. At first I’d do longer runs in the Triumphs, and interval work with the Kinvaras. At first it was just some of my interval work in the Kinvaras, then more. After a few months, I’d try longer runs in the Kinvaras.
While I was doing this in running, in my non-running life I was making changes in my footwear too. I wore zero drop shoes, went barefoot as much as I could. Avoided any shoe with a drop whenever possible. And also on advice from Kelly in Ready to Run I started avoiding flip flops. (I live in Florida, flip flops are nearly mandatory footwear!)
I’ve been doing a lot of running in my Kinvaras with the 4mm drop lately and went to a special event at St Pete Running Company last night. (Awesome little running store in St Pete btw). And I found myself checking out the Newton Fate running shoes. Sucker for a good sale, I purchased a pair!
FIrst off, the Newton Fate is a nice looking shoe:
I just like the way it looks. But I usually don’t buy running shoes on how they look. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to find the least obnoxious shoe!
One the features I wanted to try with the Newton Fate’s was their ‘fingers’ under the ball of the foot. Its hard to see in the pictures, but these are additional rubber padding in the forefoot. To my knowledge, this is a feature unique to Newton Running shoes.
With the low drop and ‘fingers’, the Newton Fate is a running shoe designed to encourage a natural running form. Danny Abshire, a co-founder of Newton running is a running coach, known as the “Foot Whisperer’ for his work with injured athletes.
Newton Fate – First Run
I decided to take the Newton Fate’s out for a trial run. I figured a little mile around town would be good enough to try them out. I ran to Straub Park then along the water, which is always a pretty run in the morning.
Here is my run from Nike+.
Newton Fate – First Impressions
Running in the Newton Fate is as advertised. I did feel the shoe encouraging a more natural running form. By natural running form I mean:
The shoe is not a magic bullet for your running form. You do need to have awareness of this form. Running in the Newton Fate, I did feel like my foot was naturally encouraged to land forefoot. I could definitely feel the support of the ‘fingers’. The fingers also seem to give you a little more of a natural roll off the toes as your foot goes behind you.
While I only ran a mile in the Newton Fate, I liked it. The drop is about the same as the Saucony Kinvara that I have been running in. The Saucony feels light and fast, but does not have the cushing under the forefoot that the Newtons have. This assessment seems accurate.
The Saucony Kinvara weighs in at 239 grams.
While the Newton Fate weighs in at 290 grams.
This really isn’t an apples to apples comparison. The Newton Fate is not the lightest running shoe that Newton makes.
Review Summary of the Newton Fate
Overall, the Newton Fate seems like a great running shoe. I’m looking forward to getting more miles in the shoe. I can see shy people are fanatical about their Newtons. For the time being I’ll probably switch between my Saucony Kinvaras and the Newton Fate. I typically alternate my running shoes while training.
The construction of the Newton Fate seems a little superior to the Saucony Kinvara, but not as good as the construction of the Saucony Triumph. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Newtons hold up in the long run.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little review of the Newton Fate running shoe.