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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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Gaining Momentum: The Terra Momentus Off-Road Trainer Arrives Soon

Posted by on @ 10:10 am | 17 Replies

They’re coming, and we’re getting excited!

Trail-m_rev

TERRA MOMENTUS=MOMENTUM
MEN’S off-road TRAINER
WEIGHT: 11.2 oz
SIZE: 6-13,14,15

Trail-w_rev

TERRA MOMENTUS=MOMENTUM
WOMEN’S off-road TRAINER
WEIGHT: 9.2 oz
SIZE: 5-11

UPPER
• Highly breathable, fast-drying, debris-proof closed mesh
• Abrasion resistant collar lining
• Slip-proof laces with heel-securing double eyelets
• Lightweight flexible molded P.U. support frame
• Reinforced toe cap
• Reflective logo and heel tab
• Gusseted tongue

MIDSOLE
• Tuned Action/Reaction Technology™forefoot and heel
• Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
• Tuned firm high-rebound EVA
• Midfoot/rearfoot support chassis for added stability
• ETC anti-friction, anti-bacterial sockliner
• Accommodates orthotics

OUTSOLE
• High traction and durability rubber compound

Green Features
• 100% recycled laces, webbing, insole topcover
• 100% recycled box, packaging
• 10% recycled outersole rubber

The Momentum is an off-road guidance trainer designed for runners committed to a more efficient natural running style. It provides intelligent control for all foot types on all types of terrain, from groomed bridle paths to technical mountain trails.

Available JULY 2010 MSRP $139

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Epic Camp New Zealand

Posted by on Thursday, January 7, 2010 @ 11:02 am | Leave a reply

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!

EpicCamp

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.

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Terry Clemens Wins Free Shoe Drawing

Posted by on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 4:28 pm | Leave a reply

TerryBig 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.

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Height of Heel Matters in Foot Pain Prevention

Posted by on @ 2:56 pm | 3 Replies

Chungli Wang

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.

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Shoe Geometry 101 – Running Shoe Re-Evolution

Posted by on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 @ 12:00 pm | 7 Replies

By Danny Abshire, co-founder, Newton Running

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.

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Newton Shoes Featured in Oil Painting

Posted by on Thursday, October 29, 2009 @ 8:46 am | 3 Replies

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.

Newton 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.

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Newtons Are Just What the Doctor Ordered

Posted by on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 @ 9:36 am | 5 Replies

Dr. Segler

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.

Continue reading

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Sir and Lady Isaac Product Details

Posted by on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 @ 8:08 am | 2 Replies

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!

SirIsaac09med11SirIsaac_newton(med)

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.

UPPER

  • 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

MIDSOLE

  • 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

OUTERSOLE

  • Second generation durable, high traction actuator lugs
  • Increased toe spring
  • Pronounced heel rocker
  • High-wear carbon rubber with traction tread

GREEN FEATURES

  • 100% recycled laces, webbing, insole top cover
  • 100% recycled box, packaging
  • 10% recycled outersole rubber

$149.00 USD

10.9 ounces (size 9)
6-13, 14, 15
Order a pair here!

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