This has been been making the rounds of the triathlon interwebs recently – check it out if you haven’t seen it already. It’s pretty darn funny and there’s a great Newton reference at the 2:40 mark.
This photo was submitted to us by our New Zealand distribution partner, Daniel McDonald. He’s taking part in Epic Camp New Zealand, a 16-day triathlon camp where participants swim, bike and run from Cape Regina at the top of the North Island and finish 2,200 km later at the tip of the South Island. Sir Isaac is pretty jealous – what a cool way to see the country!
Pictured from left to right are Daniel McDonald, Rip Oldmeadow from California and Rob Hill from Australia, just before their first 22K run on day one of the camp.
Big congrats go out to Terry Clemens who won our second weekly free shoe drawing! He’s a 12-year-veteran of the New Jersey State Police who is running the Boston Marathon for the second consecutive time this spring…in Newtons! The final drawing is on Friday! Enter here if you haven’t already.
This interesting study published in the November issue of Foot & Ankle International (FAI), the official scientific journal of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS), details the biomechanical changes that occur in feet during high heel wear and the correlation between the heel height and amount of pain, pressure and strain it puts on your feet.
The study was conducted on people walking, not running in high heels, but it’s reasonable to assume that the forces involved in running in a 1/2” heel lift are considerably higher than walking.
The study’s authors suggest limiting heel height as well as the use of padding at the ball of the foot can significantly reduce discomfort and risk of injury to the metatarsal heads.
Newton Running Performance Racers have a 2 mm drop from heel to toe, the Performance Trainers are 3 mm and Guidance Trainers (Sir and Lady Isaac) are 5 mm. The typical running shoe has a heel lift of a 1/2 inch or more. You do the math.
At the start of the first American running boom in the 1970s, most people were running in fairly lightweight shoes that consisted of a rubber outsole a thin foam midsole and a lightweight nylon upper. Although simple by today’s standards, some of those early shoes were pretty good at allowing the foot to move naturally without the need for excessive muscular force and allowed a runner to obtain afferent feedback from each foot’s interaction with the ground.
As footwear technology advanced over the years, running shoes generally became cushier, softer, thicker, heavier and, in some respects even more comfortable. But, while some of the innovations were driven by performance, the end result in many cases was anything but performance-oriented. And that’s why, 30 years later, thousands of runners run with inefficient mechanics predicated on a heel-striking gait. Not only is that form not optimal for running fast, it can also lead to numerous overuse injuries.
The biggest culprit of modern running shoe design is that most training shoes have large, overbuilt heel crash pads that encourage and really only allow a heel-striking gait. Even if you wanted to run with a natural midfoot/forefoot stride pattern, the geometry and heel height of many shoes will not allow your foot to land naturally or parallel to the ground because the hefty heel gets in the way.
What is Natural Running?
Simply put, natural running is the way the human body was meant to run in its purest form - namely, barefoot – across a solid surface. That means running with efficient mechanics centered around landing lightly on the midfoot/forefoot (the ball of the foot, but not the toes) and quickly lifting your foot off the ground instead of pushing off with excessive muscular force.
In order to accommodate that style of running, a runner needs to be able to feel the ground and interact with it accordingly just as when barefoot.
And to do that, the runner needs to be wearing lightweight, minimally designed running shoes. The afferent feedback from feeling the ground encourages your body to run with light footsteps, upright posture, a relaxed arm swing and a slight forward lean.
That important feedback is obtainable via minimalist, lightweight running shoes designed to allow the foot to strike the ground with a natural midfoot/forefoot gait but is impossible to receive wearing thickly cushioned shoes and a heavy heel-striking gait. Practicing natural running form can be simple, but it may take time to unlearn old habits and learn proper technique. Ultimately, natural running can help make a runner stronger, more efficient and less prone to overuse injuries.
What Are Minimalist Shoes?
Minimalism in its simplest form involves picking shoes that allow the foot to move more naturally than standard shoes allow. But not all minimal shoes are created equal. Newton Running shoes were designed to be an extension of the feet, enhancing ground contact without the jarring impact shock of the road, sidewalk or hard-packed trail below.
Newton’s reduced heel height and sleek geometry allows the shoe to stay out of the way as it approaches the contact with the ground, and along with enhanced forefoot communication, allows the runner to strike lightly at the midfoot/forefoot instead of using a heel-striking motion that requires heavy breaking and excess muscular force.
Newton Running’s patented Action/Reaction Technology™ encourages natural running or a barefoot running gait and enhances the shock absorbency, leverage and energy return throughout the gait cycle, ultimately helping achieve a faster cadence and more efficient mechanics. Newton’s independent lab research shows the system returns up to 28 percent more energy and reduces impact up to 44 percent when compared to training and racing shoes offered by leading running brands.
Practicing natural running form can be simple, but it may take time to unlearn old habits and learn proper technique. But it also requires having the appropriate footwear to allow your body to run the way it was designed to run. Once you learn to run naturally, you’ll put yourself in position to run faster and healthier for the rest of your life.
Click here for a video about Choosing the Best Shoes for Your Needs.
Danny Abshire is 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.
Check out this beautiful artwork sent to us by James Dean Erickson. It’s entitled “Running Sneaks” and is an 8″ x 10″ oil on linen painting.
About the artist:
James was born in Detroit and grew up Belleville, MI. He attended the University of Virginia (ed note: go Hoos!) where he ran Track and Cross Country and studied Studio Art and Art History. Currently James is enrolled in the MFA program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. More of my the artist’s work can be viewed at www.jamesdeanerickson.com and http://wallblank.com/products/seven.
This morning we received a very in-depth Newton shoe review from Dr. Christopher Segler, a renowned podiatrist, foot surgeon and Iromnan finisher based in Chattanooga.
The full review is posted below, but for the time-challenged, here’s his overall impression:
“I can say that for me personally, I believe Newton Gravity Trainers are proving to be a valuable training tool and are changing the way I run for the better. As an award-winning podiatrist and foot surgeon caring for athletes, I would recommended Newtons to any of my patients who have had a history of injury, or simply hope to run more efficiently. It seems the greatest benefit is, of course, for those demanding efficiency such as marathoners and Ironman triathletes.”
Newton Running Shoe Review
by Dr. Christopher Segler
Why I Decided to Write This Review
There are really two reasons I decided to write this review of Newton Gravity Performance Trainers. The first has to do with the fact that I am an award-winning foot surgeon and podiatrist who has chosen to limit my practice to elite, competitive and recreational athletes. For this reason, I get questions about running shoes from a lot of runners. I am frequently asked about “new trends in barefoot running” as well as about shoes like Newtons that reportedly create more of a barefoot-type running experience. I always prefer to answer such questions on the basis of scientific theory as well as personal experience.
The second reason is that I am an age-group Ironman triathlete who has aspirations of qualifying for Kona one day. So I have a very personal interest in discovering any and every way to increase my own biomechanical efficiency, decrease my risk of injury, and run faster. Newtons (in theory) should to do all three, so I thought I should give them a try.
We’ve had some recent requests to post more information on the new Sir and Lady Isaac shoes that are now available on our website or from a specialty retailer near you. We’ll also be at the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n Roll marathon this weekend, Ironman Wisconsin Sept. 10-12 in Madison, and at the ING Distance Run in Philly Sept. 19-21. Come see us and try on a pair!
The newest addition to the Newton family offers intelligent control for all foot types. The Isaac is a neutral guidance trainer designed for runners committed to improving their running form to the more efficient midfoot/forefoot running style.
- Highly breathable, fast-drying, closed mesh
- Slip-proof laces with heel-securing double eyelets
- Lightweight ergonomic support strapping
- Metatarsal stretch panels
- Reflective logo and heel tab
- Single-density, high rebound EVA that stabilizes all foot types
- Second generation Action/Reaction Technology™ forefoot and heel
- Midfoot/rearfoot support chassis for added stability
- Beveled heel and toe
- Met-flex enhanced forefoot flexibility
- Enhanced sock-liner that increases energy return and protection
- Accommodates orthotics
- Second generation durable, high traction actuator lugs
- Increased toe spring
- Pronounced heel rocker
- High-wear carbon rubber with traction tread
- 100% recycled laces, webbing, insole top cover
- 100% recycled box, packaging
- 10% recycled outersole rubber
We’re very excited, because this weekend Newton Running is launching its Sir and Lady Isaac Guidance Trainer at Ironman Louisville, Ironman Canada, and the Chicago Triathlon! This picture is from the race expo at Ironman Louisville, where our Newton Running team is having fun spreading the word about the new Guidance Trainer. Although it’s humid here, race conditions are looking good.
Many US retailers will start stocking the Sir and Lady Isaac next week. Newton Running will also be at the Virginia Beach Half Marathon next weekend, Ironman Wisconsin over the following weekend, and the ING Philadelphia Distance Run later in September. If you’re nearby any of these events, stop on by to check out our new Sir and Lady Isaac Guidance Trainer, or just to say “Hi!”
We just came across this terrific post from Johnny Hammond, a 43-year-old age-grouper triathlete and runner in the UK. It’s an interesting story about his nagging running injuries and how his transition to forefoot running and Newtons has dramatically helped.
“At the beginning of my winter training this year, I started training with a new triathlon coach who wanted me to change my running style from heel striker to forefoot running. He said it would increase my speed and running efficency, and reduce my risk of injury. I was apprehensive at first and questioned his judgement.
I’d struggled with a left shin splint injury for the past 3 years and had gone to a lot of expense to get special orthotics and the right running trainers to try and ward off this recurring injury. But, I was still finding it hard to run longer distances without my shin splint (left tibia post to be precise) flaring up, so I decided to give forefoot running a go.
At first, I found it really hard to run on my forefoot without my heels dropping so my coach suggested that I invest in pair of Newtons, initially as a training aid. He told me that the Newtons would ‘put me up’ onto my forefoot and help me to progress from heel striker to forefoot runner.
I’d also heard the buzz about Newtons on the triathlon circuit and decided to find out what all the fuss was about. £120 later and I was sporting a pair of lightweight orange and white Newton Distance S trainers, a far cry from my bulky motion control Asics running shoes (also £100 plus shoes).”
Read the rest of Johnny’s post here.