Category Archives: Shoe Design

Ask Sir Isaac: “Why do Newton shoes cost so much?”

Posted by on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 12:38 pm | 3 Replies

Welcome to the first installment of “Ask Sir Isaac.” We hope to make this a weekly article on The Running Front and as such we need your questions! You can submit them on our Facebook Page or on Twitter. Without any further ado, here’s Sir Isaac!

Hello there everyone! I know what you’re thinking; “Hey, didn’t you pass away in 1727?” Well, yes but I make special trips back every now and again to throw down Ye Olde English learnin’ on you modern folks. Today’s question comes from Shawn B.:

why do newton shoes cost so much? I know the pat answer is “durability.” But what is it about your shoes that make them more durable than “Brand X”? Do you not use EVA? Is it because of a forefoot/midfoot strike? A midfoot strike still results in a pounding to midsole cushioning materials, which eventually wear out. I have heard that your forefoot lugs also wear out fairly fast. Brooks, Nike, Asics, Mizuno all use midsole cushioning materials that are built to last (DNA, gel, air, wave plate) but as we all know, break down at approx. 350-400 miles. You must be claiming that your midsole materials are superior in some way, right?

Rather than answer this in one lump, I think I’ll break it down point by point.

We do in fact use EVA in our shoes but it isn’t placed to take to be the primary force of any footfall. Rather, the EVA merely acts as a support structure for the bulk of our patented technology. Newton Running shoes are very durable because of their construction, and because the structure of the shoe allows for a natural gait.

In a natural state (barefoot) the foot does not slide into the ground, landing on the heel and ripping skin along the way; nor does it have a strong toe-off which would be extremely abrasive to the ends of your toes. In order for this technique to manifest itself in a shoe, we have eliminated a large, built up heel. The Newton Running heel to toe height differential (aka “drop”) is a maximum of 3% (Sir/Lady Isaac and Terra Momentus). As a benchmark, the industry standard drop is about 12%. This means that Newton Running shoes are effectively flat like the drop of a bare foot.

As to the lugs which Newton Running refers to as “Action/Reaction Technology™” (they owe me for that one!): in a traditional EVA shoe, the EVA foam would soak up roughly 60% of the impact force on the forefoot but would return very little of that energy resulting in a loss. The Newton Running Action/Reaction Technology™ absorbs roughly 40%+ more impact shock than any other medium and returns 85% of what would have otherwise been wasted energy. This helps with efficiency and mimics the natural elastic recoil of the human foot.

As to the comment about the lugs, “I have heard that your forefoot lugs also wear out fairly fast.“, rather than me rewriting something that has already been well written, here’s a link to Newton Running’s info on normal wear and wear patterns: http://newtonrunning.com/support/faqs/running-shoe-wear-patterns

Beyond the technology, Newton Running is the only company that holds as one of its primary goals education. They want to see you run long, strong and healthy. With that in mind Newton’s co-founder Danny Abshire wrote his book entitled Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running as a way to bring proper natural running form and mechanics to anyone.

Finally, I’d like to point out that Newton Running is a very small company. They’ve only been around since 2007 I would argue that relative to the size of Newton Running, it’s impact on the running and triathlon world has been monumental and continues to grow in leaps and bounds every year. Newton Running holds 13 worldwide patents and makes shoes that have a premium technology and 15+ years of research behind them.

Thank you very much for your question Shawn and we certainly hope that you’ll try a pair out for yourself and truly see what the technique and the technology is all about!

~Sir Isaac Newton

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Chiropractor Recommends Newton Running Shoes

Posted by on Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 1:37 pm | Leave a reply

Chiropractor Dr. Lane just posted this video explaining why he recommends Newton Running shoes to his patients and delves into what differentiates our shoes from other running shoes in the market.

Thanks Dr. Lane for the cool demo of the Action/Reaction Technology and explaining the principles behind natural running form!

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Shepherdstown West Virginia: a Newtonian Community

Posted by on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 1:04 pm | 2 Replies

In less than a year, Two Rivers Treads Center for Natural Running and Walking has sold over  1000 pair of Newton Running shoes. Newton Runner Dr. Mark Cucuzzella (pictured left) opened the concept store in June  2010.

Dr. Mark, one of the earliest adapters of Natural Running, began researching and learning about better running form after several foot operations in 2000. He discovered the effects of footwear affects as a runner for Brooks Sports and working on minimalist shoe projects. “By cutting the heels off shoes I understood the feel of zero-drop,” says Cucuzzella. “I didn’t need any more data to realize that elastic recoil and natural motion were enhanced with my foot in its anatomic position.”

When these projects were shelved, Dr. Mark contacted Newton Running‘s Danny Abshire, of who was building a shoe designed to facilitate proper running form. Dr. Mark and Newton Running continue to learn and evolve with  a common goal of having runners embrace the notion of “No Pain…Thank you”, not “No Pain…No Gain”.

In 2009 Shepherdstown started hosting running events that soon become the largest in the state.  There is now an entire Freedom’s Run Series of Events (www.freedomsrun.org) with partnerships with the National Parks.  The all-volunteer group builds trails and gardens for schools and has established the Historic Region as a National Heritage Area.

The events have grown such that a race headquarters was needed. Freedom’s Run race committee members Tom Shantz and James Munnis, stepped up to the challenge of creating a shoe store specializing in flat and minimalist shoes.

“The Sir Isaac Guidance Trainer has been an excellent and safe transitioning shoe for many new and experienced runners,” says Shantz. “It is durable and allows the feel and protection of a shoe as runners start to learn and understand better form at their own pace”

“We are big supporters of barefoot running as a supplement to land better and improve posture,” he adds. “Most who have not achieved proper strength, mobility and efficiency would trash a pure minimalist shoe and their bodies in two to three weeks. The resiliency and firmness of Newton Running’s midsole and its sustainable properties make it unique in the shoe market. We also teach the components of healthy movement in weekly clinics and at each customer interaction.”

The Distance Light Weight Trainer is the shoe of choice for State Champion Jefferson High School Cougars. Whereas most coach recommend cushioned trainers to their athletes, Jefferson Coach Scott Biola understands it is critical not to let his runners transition to a dysfunctional heel-to toe-pattern.  One Newton runner who has achieved great success is multiple state champion and 4:15-miler Brandon Doughty.  Brandon has but over 1200 miles in his Newton Running Gravity Neutral Performance Trainers and has avoided injury.  He will run for Oklahoma next year.  Five of Biola’s runners broke 10 minutes over 2 miles this year, when five years ago he would have had trouble finding five runners to break 5 minutes in a mile.

“Chi Running principles have helped me overcome my own injuries,” says Biola. “Getting away from heel striking is an essential aspects to teaching proper mechanics to high school athletes. I prefer to see them land on either the forefoot and rearfoot touching simultaneously or the ball of the foot (forefoot) touching first.”

“It seems that the older the athlete, the harder it is to transition away from the heel strike,” he adds. “Time spent in traditional training shoes definitely has a lot of us accustomed to heel striking. I’ve found that the Newton shoes and other lightweight minimalist models help reinforce proper mechanics. In addition to getting people away from heel striking, these shoes are also light in weight which is essential to having a rapid cadence. That quick turnover not only makes for faster running, it seems to help reduce injuries.”

Dr. Mark has these thoughts about the future: “We are seeing many runners now graduating into less shoe in a healthy and progressive way.  We look forward to the launch of the MV2 in the fall.  It will be a fresh option for those who have learned and evolved. The Isaac , Gravity, and Distance will continue to be our focus for the new and transitioning runners.  With over 1000 pair of these out now I have yet to hear of a customer or their doctor come back to us blaming the shoe. I give credit to my staff who teach patience and progression.”

After the lead of Two Rivers Treads, several stores are now opening with a similar model of selling only flat and minimalist shoes. They are aligning in a partnership and all are Newton Running retailers:

  • Born To Run; Bellevue, WA
  • Natural  Running Center; Dallas, TX
  • Good for the Soles; MA
  • Revolution Running; WI
  • The Runners Sole; Chambersburg PA
  • Hunter Gait; Newcastle, Australia

The store started in a 500-square-foot second-story space and just last week moved to a beautiful  new street level space with triple the space and a new visibility.  The future looks bright for both Newton and Two Rivers Treads.  Two Rivers Treads wishes to thank the support of Newton for a successful first  year. Newton has also been instrumental in the success of Freedom’s Run as a major sponsor (www.freedomsrun.org)  and the US Air Force Running Team, of which I have been a part of for almost 20 years.

Meet Dr. Mark and learn about Newton Natural Running at this weekend’s Running Injury Prevention Conference in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Click here for more details and registration.

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Transitioning to Natural Running Form and Shoes

Posted by on Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 8:05 am | 6 Replies

Men's Gravity Neutral Performance Trainer

By Danny Abshire, co-founder, Newton Running

Whatever your body type, fitness level or experience, the two biggest changes you can make to improve your running performance and reduce the likelihood of overuse injury are:

1. Wear shoes with a nearly level profile
2. Learn how to run naturally

How an Elevated Heel Affects Running Form

For the past 30 years, running shoes have been designed with thickly cushioned, built-up heels. This type of shoe forces the body to balance itself in an unnatural, backward-leaning position. Your toes are pointing downward, your weight is shifted rearward, and your back is slightly arched. Basically, your body struggles to maintain balance while compensating for the lifted heel.

If you’ve been running this way for years — and most people have — it’s likely the muscles and other soft tissue in your feet, lower legs (the Achilles tendons in particular) and core need to adapt to the proper body position that comes with running in flat shoes.

The Achilles tendon acts like a large rubber band that stretches and recoils with every stride. If you’ve been wearing shoes with an elevated heel — including your everyday work and casual shoes — your Achilles tendon has a shorter range of motion. When you begin running in a level shoe like a Newton Running shoe, the Achilles tendon needs to stretch to accommodate for the 10-15 mm distance that used to be taken up by an elevated heel.

How to Make the Switch

If you abruptly transition from an elevated heel to doing all your mileage in a level shoe, you’re likely to feel some Achilles and calf muscle soreness. Instead, make the transition gradually: run less than a mile at a time a 2 or 3 days per week. Work on your form and build strength in your feet, ankles and lower legs with the following tips:

Work on strength and balance:

  • Go flat as often as possible! Ease the transition on your Achilles and calf muscles by walking barefoot. Wear flatter shoes even when you’re not running.
  • Do balancing drills. Stand on one foot with a mostly straight leg, lift the other foot off the ground at a 90 degree angle and close your eyes. If you can maintain balance for 30 seconds with your eyes closed on both sides, you may have enough strength be begin transitioning to level shoes. If you lose balance on either side, make this drill part of your daily regime. (Be sure to work on each foot.)
  • Do barefoot heel dips on a staircase. While holding on to a wall or railing, balance yourself with your metatarsal heads on the edge of the stair even with the ball of your foot. Slowly dip your heel below the plane of the stair, feeling the stretch in your Achilles and calf muscles and then slowly raise back up.

Increase the flexibility and range of motion in your feet and lower legs:

  • Do common wall stretches. Lean into a wall with your hands while flexing the lower calf with a flat foot. Do this with both a straight and bent knee and repeat a couple times per day after the muscles are sufficiently warm.
  • Increase the flexibility of your plantar fascia. While sitting in a chair, cross your leg over your knee and firmly push your fingers or a thumb into the center of the sole of your foot. Maintain that pressure and point your toes up and down to stretch the plantar fascia.

Focus on form:

  • After a run, use form drills to further develop specific aspects of proper running form. Skipping, bounding, high knees and butt kicks are easy and don’t take a lot of time.
  • Watch yourself run. Have a friend video your stride in traditional shoes, level shoes and while running barefoot on grass. Notice how your body moves differently in each scenario.
    Do your feet land under your center of mass? Are you running with a quick cadence and relatively short strides? Are you running with upright but slightly forward-leaning posture? Are you carrying your arms close to your body at about a 90-degree angle? Adopt this form in your new shoes.

Take it easy!

  • Your inner marathoner might be craving the challenge and rejuvenation that a long run always brings, but refrain from going on long runs until you’ve gone through a gradual progression. Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent per week and make sure you’re diligent about self-analyzing your form and your progression.

Danny Abshire is the author of “Natural Running” (VeloPress, 2010) and the co-founder of Newton Running, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that makes shoes that promote an efficient midfoot/forefoot running gait. He has been making advanced footwear solutions for runners and triathletes for more than 20 years. For more, go to newtonrunning.com.

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Danny Abshire on San Diego Morning Show

Posted by on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 @ 3:53 pm | 1 Reply

Newton.DA.Fox5.SanDiego.2.16.11

While in San Diego this morningfor a Natural Running Symposium, Newton Running co-founder Danny Abshire stopped by the Fox 5 studios for Morning Show appearance.

Click here to watch the video in which Danny discusses the natural running principles explained in his book by the same name, as well as the science behind Newton Running shoes.

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Beware of Barefoot Running Injuries

Posted by on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 @ 9:17 am | 19 Replies

by Danny Abshire, co-founder, Newton Running

People have been experimenting with barefoot running for a long time, but in recent years the activity has gained mainstream notoriety and science-based credibility.

Most coaches, elite athletes, physiologists and other medical experts agree that running barefoot in very small doses on soft surfaces can help improve your running mechanics and teach your body to land lightly at your midfoot, but they also agree that you should wear some kind of running shoes most of the time.

“Throw your shoes away for good? Sure, if you have perfect mechanics and you’ve been living barefoot all of your life,” says Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, a West Virginia University professor and 2:25 marathoner who has studied barefoot and minimalist runners in relation to running injuries. “But that’s not the majority of runners. Most runners absolutely need to wear shoes when they run.”

What Shoe Type is Best?

If you’re used to running in a traditional training shoe with a built-up heel, running barefoot can be a fascinating experience of freedom and can be the first step in developing natural running mechanics. Running unshod your foot naturally seeks out the ground by landing at the midfoot/forefoot, where it receives sensory interaction, or afferent feedback.

This sensory input immediately tells the rest of the body how to move efficiently with light footsteps, a high leg cadence, a relaxed but consistent arm swing, an upright posture and a slight forward lean from the ankles. This same feedback can be gained while wearing some types of lightweight shoes, but traditional trainers with thick levels of foam dampen the sensory interaction and make it much harder to interpret the ground, especially with the heel-striking gait those shoes promote.

How Run “Barefoot” in Shoes

Landing lightly at your midfoot and picking up your foot quickly to start a new stride is the most effective way your body knows to propel and protect itself while running. Conversely, your body generally doesn’t allow you to land on your heel if you’re running barefoot (especially on a hard surface) because it isn’t engineered to accommodate the blunt force trauma of repeated heel striking.

True, the calcaneus (heel) bone is a large bone, but it was designed to take the lower impacts of a walking gait and help balance the body as it rolls forward, as well as to help support and balance the body in a standing position as the rear point of a tripod.

Accepting large impacts on the heel bone from heel-strike running on the roads barefoot sends tremendous shockwaves (or impact transients) up your body. Those impact transients can have numerous negative affects upstream as your body tries to offset that force and remain balanced, including various forms of tendinitis, illiotibial band strains and adverse sheering in the pelvis and lower spine.

“It’s no different than somebody hitting you on the heel with a sledgehammer with 300 to 400 pounds of force,” says Dr. Daniel Lieberman, the Harvard University evolutionary biologist who concluded in a study released in January 2010 that running with midfoot footstrikes, either barefoot or in shoes, is better and less impactful than heel-striking. “So if you’re going to do that, it makes sense to wear shoes. A shoe makes that comfortable. A shoe essentially slows that rate of loading enormously — by about sevenfold in a typical shoe — and that’s what makes it comfortable and that’s why a lot of people can wear shoes and heel-strike.”

Continue reading

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New Spring 2010 Trainers are almost here!

Posted by on Monday, March 8, 2010 @ 9:39 am | 10 Replies

NR_eblst-MarPreOrder

They’re almost here!

Our updated 2010 Performance Trainers are on the way to us and we’re now taking pre-orders. Both the Gravitas Neutral Performance Trainer and the Motus Stability Performance Trainer feature an updated heel design with a new, highly durable outsole rubber, a new high-rebound midsole, an improved fit in the upper and of course, bright new colors! Order yours today and we’ll get them to you by the end of the month!

Men's Gravity

Men's Gravitas=Gravity

Women's Gravity

Women's Gravitas=Gravity

Men's Motion

Men's Motus=Motion

Women's Motion

Women's Motus=Motion

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Newton Rep Explains Newton Shoe Technology

Posted by on Thursday, February 4, 2010 @ 9:58 pm | 1 Reply

Here’s a cool video shot by Steve Mackel of SoCalRunning.com at the Tuscon Marathon expo.

That “Newton rep” also happens to be Steve Gartside, Newton Running’s president. Steve is always busy managing our rapidly growing company, but he still loves working the expo floor and sharing his passion for natural running with others.

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Newton Running’s Take on Barefoot Running

Posted by on Friday, January 29, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | 3 Replies

In the past few days we’ve been inundated with calls and messages from friends, customers and fans asking, “Did you see NPR.org barefoot running story or
BBC barefoot running story story about barefoot running?”

The answer is yes, we’ve seen Dr. Lieberman’s studies at Harvard and it clearly validates what Newton Running is all about.

Please read the open letter below from Newton Running co-founder Danny Abshire and our Director of Education, Ian Adamson.

Our Take on Barefoot Running

Many of you have seen or heard the numerous national news stories about barefoot running in the past few days. This news comes on the heels of the recently published study, Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners by Harvard University anthropologist Dan Lieberman.

Dr. Lieberman and colleagues concluded that modern, cushioned running shoes change the way humans run and hypothesize based on their biomechanical findings that forefoot and some midfoot strikes may make runners less prone to some kinds of injury. (He explains his hypothesis in this video).

That comes as no surprise to us at Newton Running. Our company was founded on the belief that the lifted heel in modern running shoes promotes improper form and can contribute to various injuries. Our shoes are designed specifically to accommodate and enhance natural running foot-strike and gait and are based on decades of research and observation on shoe technology and running mechanics.

Running barefoot is not a viable option for most people, except for short training sessions on forgiving surfaces. Plus, the transition to barefoot running or ultra-minimalist shoes can be difficult and/or painful for runners who have spent their whole lives running in heavily cushioned and overly structured shoes.

Newton Running shoes feature a geometry and design that facilitates your natural gait and protects you from harsh running surfaces. We offer the only viable alternative to both modern running shoes and barefoot/ultra-minimalist shoe running.

Newton Running Shoe Design

1. Typical running shoes feature a thick, padded heel and a steep heel-to-forefoot ramp angle (gradient), which encourages heavy heel striking, increases shock loads and dampens afferent feedback (the ability to sense the surface under your shoes). Newton Running shoes have a negligible gradient (between 1% and 3%), which allows your foot to land with a reduced impact and take advantage of your body’s natural suspension system. (click images to enlarge)

heelprofile_illo

2. Newton Running shoes provide industry-leading impact force reduction and energy return with our proprietary Action/Reaction Technology™ strategically placed on the sweet spot under your forefoot.

sweetspot

3. Newton Running shoes are built with a biomechanical plate positioned directly under your metatarsals to enhance afferent feedback and allow your feet to spread naturally under load. The soft foam in regular running shoes dampens and blocks valuable protective feedback at foot strike. Without feeling the ground, runners will impact and push harder, creating the possibility for injury.

4. The anatomically designed upper and midsole allows your foot to move naturally throughout the gait cycle. In contrast, most modern running shoes are highly structured, rigidly encasing your foot and preventing natural movement. Over time, this weakens the foot and creates overuse of propulsive muscles/tendons, increasing the likelihood of running injuries.

Coaches around the world routinely use barefoot drills to improve running form. Newton Running has created the first natural running shoes for everyday training and racing that encourage barefoot running form. Join us in the Natural Running revolution.

Sincerely,

Danny Abshire Co-founder and CTO
Ian Adamson Director of Research and Education

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Barefoot Running Goes Ballistic

Posted by on Thursday, January 28, 2010 @ 12:54 pm | 9 Replies

Barefoot running was one of the most talked about trends in the running industry last year. From the bestselling book Born To Run, to the explosive growth of the Vibram Five Fingers, runners everywhere seem to be talking about barefoot running.

Well, the buzz about barefoot running is about to hit a fever pitch. As we’ve talked about in previous posts, Harvard anthropologist Dan Lieberman has been studying the evolution of human running for several years. Dr. Lieberman has just published the results of his study in the journal Nature and the mainstream media is running (cough) with the story.

For those of you who listen to NPR on the drive home, you might have heard this story on “All Things Considered” today.  The story is also available on NPR.org and features a pretty interesting video:

Not surprisingly, Vibram Five Fingers are also getting a lot of attention from the media (Vibram sponsored Lieberman’s study). The Five Fingers clearly help people to try barefoot running, while providing some protection from rocks, glass, etc.

How do Newton Running shoes compare to Vibram Five Fingers?

As we talked about in the previous post, Newton’s are built for Natural Running but some of you may be wondering how Newtons compare to Vibrams. Amanda Brooks asked just that on her blog, Run to the Finish, and Newton Running’s Director of Education and Research, Ian Adamson, had this response:

“Running Newton Shoes and Vibram Five Fingers have many similarities, at least from a form perspective. The primary difference is the cushioning and energy return provided by Newtons, which is largely absent in Vibrams.

Newton Gravity Trainer: 3mm heel-to-forefoot drop / 2.0% gradient

Newton Gravity Trainer: 3mm heel-to-forefoot drop / 2.0% gradient

Both Newton Performance Racers and Vibrams have a 2 mm heel lift, or toe drop depending on how you look at it. This translates into a 1.3% gradient in the shoe, also referred to as ramp angle or drop. Newton Performance Trainers have a 2% gradient, which although very small, can be felt by aware runners. Regular running shoes have a much steeper angle, up to 15% depending on the shoe.

 

Asics Gel Kayano 15: 22mm heel-to-forefoot drop / 14.7% gradient

Asics Gel Kayano 15: 22mm heel-to-forefoot drop / 14.7% gradient


Barefoot running forces you to run efficiently and preventatively with respect to injury. Vibram’s allow people to experience barefoot running with an added layer of protection from harsh surfaces, while Newton’s go one step further, adding forefoot cushioning and  a significant energy return component.

Newton shoes are much kinder to the body’s structure and musculature when transitioning from a traditional running shoe to barefoot, and allow you to perfect a natural (barefoot) form while providing protection and cushioning.

Newton’s Action/Reaction Technology has been carefully designed to facilitate afferent feedback, which means the nerves in your forefoot feel the ground very quickly through the shoe. This is achieved through the outer lugs and internal semi-rigid chamber that is connected to the biomechanical top plate adjacent to your foot inside the shoe.

Traditional shoe cushioning mechanisms dampens afferent feedback, hampering proprioception and thus hindering your ability to self-regulate the impact of your foot strike. Studies show that runners strike much harder in cushioned shoes, one of the causes of injury. Running barefoot or in shoes that allow you to sense the ground encourage you to run protectively.”

Bottom line is that both Vibrams and Newtons encourage a barefoot or natural running style, but Newtons make it easier for most runners to transition their form after years of wearing ‘traditional’ running shoes.

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