It’s a busy weekend for the crew at Newton Running with events and expos on both the left and right coasts. First up, is the expo at the LA Marathon on Friday and Saturday at Dodger Stadium – please come say hello to our team (Steve, Yo, Erin and Erica) at the brand new Newton booth. On the other side of the country, we’re teaming up with All3Sports.com to host a booth at the ING Georgia Marathon expo at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Timmy and Tory will be in Atlanta to answer all your Newton needs.
The expos in LA and Atlanta will be the first opportunity see (and/or purchase) our new Performance Trainers. In fact, if you come by our booth and try on a pair of new shoes, and say the code words “level platform,” we’ll give you a free gift (while they last).
Finally Danny, Ian and Dr. Mark are hosting our second Natural Running Symposium on Friday and Saturday in Boston, where we’ll also have our new shoes to try on.
We hope to see you out this weekend!
Next week at Luke’s Locker in Dallas we’re hosting a Natural Running Symposium, the first in a series of national educational seminars hosted by some of the top experts in running form, biomechanics and injury prevention.
This is a free, open to the public event featuring Newton Running co-founder and running form expert Danny Abshire, Newton’s R&D/Education director and adventure racing world champ Ian Adamson, and running science expert Dr. Mark Cucuzzella. On Tuesday evening, the team will lead an informative discussion about biomechanics, injury prevention and running shoe design. Then on Wednesday morning, Danny, Ian and Mark will lead a Natural Running form clinic starting at the Dallas store.
What: Natural Running Symposium
When: Tues., March 2 @ 6 p.m.
Where: Luke’s Locker, Dallas (3607 Oak Lawn Avenue) 214-528-1290
Hope to see you there…tell your friends!
Our next Symposiums will be March 19-20 at Marathon Sports in Boston and March 25-26 at Road Runner Sports in San Diego. Stay tuned for more dates and details.
This past weekend Newton’s Ian Adamson escaped the snow in Colorado to find some sun, surf and most importantly, dry trails in Los Osos, California. For those of you who don’t know, Ian is a seven-time adventure racing world champion, but he’s been retired for several years and now works full-time on Newton’s product development team and serves as our director of research and education.
Ian’s adventure racing days may be over, but apparently his quest for adventure hasn’t been quenched. Ian has committed to run in this summer’s Badwater Ultramarathon. He was in Los Oros for the Montana de Oro 50K trail run, and finished a very respectable 7th place - according to Ian, “old man should have trained for more than a month.”
Newton runner Van McCarty won the race and set a new course record. Congrats gentlemen!
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?”
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)
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.
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.
Danny Abshire Co-founder and CTO
Ian Adamson Director of Research and Education
There’s a great discussion going on over at RunnersWorld.com about a new study that links running shoes to injuries here. Here are a few thoughts that our Director of Education, Ian Adamson, would like to add to the dialogue:
- There are several on-going, multi-year studies at Harvard, MIT and the University of Newcastle (AUS) that are looking at injury related to footwear. Harvard department of Anthropology is about to publish a study that dissects unshod human running gait and injury (or lack thereof.)
- If the only injury from running shoes is Achilles tendinitis, is the implication that the other “running related injuries” such as neuromas, plantar fascitis, blisters, bunions and joint problems would be present in if people didn’t run?
How Shoe Geometry Affects Running Gait
I’m on the front line seeing runners who present with all of the above and more, and the vast majority are treatable with appropriate shoes (the closer a shoe reflects the geometry of the foot the better, although protection from man-made and unnatural surfaces is prudent), especially a lower heel/ramp angle combined with proper form coaching.
There is no doubt in my experience (running competitively since 1973, 12 years as a professional athlete, 10 years in the shoe industry, 10 years as a bio-mechanical engineer) that lifted heels in running shoes introduce an unnatural geometry that interferes with our natural (and injury protective) gait.
Ramp Angle Comparison in Minimalist Shoes
It would take a lot to convince me that strapping 1/2 to 1″ foam to your heel doesn’t alter your stride. If you cut virtually any running shoe lengthwise you can see the drop from heel to the ball of the foot. The Nike Shox as noted above is one of the worst offenders. It used to be that 24 mm heel height (1 inch) and 12 mm (1/2″) forefoot was standard, but those numbers have changed dramatically in the last few years. Some popular running shoes are up to 35 mm in the heel.
The old standard drop (24-12) gives an 8% grade in a Men’s US size 9 shoe, but most are now far in excess of that, up to 15% in some cases. An 8% road grade (rise/ run as a %) is where most states give truckers a warning. Racing flats can be better in terms of being more level, but virtually none are actually level. The best on the market are:
- Vibram (2 mm differential = 1.3%)
- Newton Performance Racer (2 mm/1.3%)
- Newton Performance Trainers (3 mm/2.0%)
- Newton Guidance Trainers (5 mm/3.3 %)
- Asics Piranha 3 (6 mm/4.0%)
- Biom (8 mm/5.3%)
It is interesting to note that some perceived “flat” shoes are not: Nike Free 5.0 (10 mm/6.7%), Nike Zoom Streak XC (11 mm/7.3 %), Nike Luna Racer (12 mm/8.0%), Brooks T6 (13 mm/8.7%). On the other end of the spectrum, the Brooks Beast has a 16 mm drop and 10.7% grade.
My personal experience: ran track and cross country barefoot and injury free through high school. Ran in Dunlop Volley tennis shoes through college (no heel lift http://www.volleys.com.au/flash/index.html), injury free. Was given a “modern” running shoe with a heel lift by a sponsor in 1989 and sustained my first running related injuries. Started back with level shoes again in 2007 (Newton) and viola, injuries gone.
Ian Adamson, our full-time director of product development and part-time race director extraordinaire, just reminded us next weekend is the 24 Hours of Triathlon here in Boulder. This race is super fun and an awesome test of endurance. There’s a category for just about everyone – from solo to teams of 4+ people.
Sign up here.
If you need added incentive:
ALL ENTRANTS RECEIVE
• FREE Newton Running Shoes with donation toe RACC
• $40 technical running top
• $20 technical running cap
• $16 sport towel
• Swim cap
• Finisher medal
• Sponsor sample bag
Ian is also looking for volunteers:
• Volunteer for the whole race and get a pair of award winning Zeal Sunglasses.
• Meet fun, energetic and great people.
• Receive a free tech shirt, tech hat and sport towel ($76 value)
• Take part in a unique one of a kind event.
• Market your club or organization for free for 24 hours.
• Get involved in your community.
• Help others in reach their goals.
• Get a discount on Newton Running shoes.
• Beats 8 hours at the office!
A film crew from Cities x Design stopped by our offices a couple weeks ago to talk with Danny and Ian about Newton’s design philosophy and shoe technology. Check out the results below.
Cities x Design is a 35-city trans-media research trip across the United States recorded online and later to be released in film, exhibition and print. Cities x Design is laying the groundwork for new thinking that promotes local creativity and design practices that add value to cities. The mission is to connect cities, cultures and creative people in order to demonstrate how investing in design can change perceptions, boost economies and create unique places.
Here at Newton Running, we like to perform rigorous product testing. Last week, we were testing the stickiness of the rubber on our shoe outsoles.
(Ok, not really. We had a team building day at the office that ended with a rappel off the top of our building in downtown Boulder, CO. I guess this is what happens when your product development director is also a world-champion adventure racer).
So, not only did Josh Cox pull off a major feat at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Sunday in Tempe AZ, but several of Newton’s own kicked some butt too. Newton co-founder Danny Abshire and his partner in product development, Ian Adamson, both qualified for the Boston Marathon with their strong finish times in Tempe. Newton’s sales manager extraordinaire Robert Dennis and our indispensable vice president Anne Klein both ran the half marathon distance. They all reported seeing LOTS of Newtons in the race field, especially at the front of the pack
Congrats to all!