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