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“From heel striker to forefoot runner – Why I love my Newtons”

Posted by on Friday, July 10, 2009 @ 9:20 am | Leave a reply

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.

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How to Reduce and Avoid Common Running Injuries

Posted by on Monday, June 22, 2009 @ 8:18 am | 7 Replies

Efficient form and lightweight shoes are the keys to staying healthy

By Danny Abshire, co-founder, Newton Running

Do you think a running shoe with a thickly cushioned heel pad and rigid medial post can keep you from suffering common running injuries such as plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome or shin splits? Think again.

Recent research and news reports are confirming what those close to the sport have known for years: running shoes with thick midsoles, extensive anti-pronation devices and large heel crash pads don’t prevent injuries.

The key to preventing running injuries is to run with lightweight shoes and efficient, low-impact running form. Running in heavy, overbuilt running shoes can put more strain on a runner’s body, reduce proprioception necessary to engage proper form and make a runner’s feet and lower legs overwork braking and propulsive muscles and connective tissue — a combination which can actually make a runner more prone to common overuse injuries.

A recent study at the University of Newcastle in Australia concluded there is no scientific evidence to support claims that running shoes with elevated heel crash pads and elaborate anti-pronation systems prevent injuries in runners. The findings have been published in the March 2009 edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“Since the 1980s, distance running shoes with thick, heavily cushioned heels and features to control how much the heel rolls in, have been consistently recommended to runners who want to avoid injury,” Dr. Craig Richards, one of the researchers, said in a press release announcing the results of the study. “We did not identify a single study that has attempted to measure the effect of this shoe type on either injury rates or performance. This means there is no scientific evidence that [those shoes] provide any benefit to distance runners.”

Dutch researchers have previously found that between 37 and 56 percent of recreational runners become injured at least once each year. The most common maladies are found in the feet and lower legs, but others include pelvis and lower back injuries.

“Not only can we no longer recommend a shoe [with an elevated heel and pronation control system], but the lack of research in this area means that we cannot currently make any evidence-based shoe recommendations to runners,” Richards said in the release. “To resolve this uncertainty, running shoes need to be tested like any other medical treatment, in carefully controlled clinical trials.

“This will ensure that only running shoes with proven benefits can be marketed and sold as therapeutic devices. Until this occurs, health professionals will not know whether the distance running shoes they are recommending are beneficial, harmless or harmful.”

A recent story in the London Daily Mail confirmed what the Australian report suggested in an excerpt from a new book called “Born to Run” by journalist Christopher McDougal. That story referenced Dr. Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, who offered the startling conclusion that: “A lot of foot and knee injuries currently plaguing us are caused by people running with shoes that actually make our feet weak, cause us to overpronate (ankle rotation) and give us knee problems.”

To run efficiently, you have to understand your body and how it naturally moves across a surface with as little muscular force as possible. The tenants of good running form include running with short strides and a quick cadence, landing lightly on the midfoot/forefoot area (the ball of the foot, but not the toes), and quickly lifting your foot off the ground instead of pushing off with excessive muscle force. A slight forward lean and a relaxed arm swing are also key components.

To illustrate what Newton Running calls the “Land-Lever-Lift” technique, take the simple test of running barefoot across a smooth floor. More than likely, you’re naturally going to land lightly at your midfoot/forefoot and quickly pick up your foot to start a new stride. Your body doesn’t allow you to land on your heels because it isn’t engineered to accommodate the blunt force trauma of repeated heel striking. Unfortunately, most contemporary running shoes have been designed for running form that demands heavy heel striking and dampens the afferent feedback which allows the foot to sense the ground.

Two of the biggest mistakes distance runners can fall prey to are 1) excessive heel striking that causes abrupt braking of forward momentum, and then pushing off too hard with the toes to start the forward motion again; or 2) using only propulsive muscles,(the calf group, hamstrings and Achilles tendon) by running too far up on their toes like a sprinter and not using the body’s natural cushioning system. Each of those form flaws puts too much vertical movement into every stride, and that leads to inefficiency and considerably more impact, muscle and tendon stress on the body.

Danny Abshire is the co-founder of Newton Running, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that makes shoes that promote an efficient midfoot running gait. He has been making advanced footwear solutions for runners and triathletes for more than 20 years.

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Newton Wins “Best of Show” at TRIFEST 09

Posted by on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 @ 11:39 am | Leave a reply

At last week’s TRIFEST 2009, a grand expo of all things Tri, Newton Running was awarded Best of Show for runing. TRIFEST 2009, presented by TriSports.com, invites triathletes from around the world to Tucson, Arizona and hosts a variety of events including a Conference featuring industry-leading speakers, a large consumer  Expo, Affiliated Training Camps and other events like scheduled group rides and runs.

bestinshow

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M.I.T. Students Reinvent Running Shoe Lab Testing

Posted by on Monday, February 23, 2009 @ 1:18 pm | Leave a reply

Standardized shoe testingScience and innovation are cornerstones of our business at Newton Running. Over ten years ago, when Newton Running co-founder Danny Abshire first started testing radically different running shoe prototypes, he recognized  the importance of a quantitative, scientific results to prove Newton technology designs worked.

However, Danny soon learned that current lab testing is  antiquated and frustrating ‘science’ at best. For years now, the standardized running shoe lab test has consisted of a piston that hammers down on the heel of a shoe to test cushioning. There are numerous problems with this testing method, but first and most obviously, it only evaluates the heel – not very useful for Newton shoes, which focus technology in the forefoot of the shoe.

Enter: MIT graduate students.

For their 200 level engineering class, a team of MIT engineering students spent the last semester developing a new running shoe lab test. Here’s the abstract from their presentation:

“Current ASTM tests on running shoes are insufficient because they do not reliably capture the loads and displacements applied to shoes during running. This team will discuss a 3-axis machine that can be used to test running shoes that mimic’s natural running more accurately than conventional tests.

The design is comprised of a phantom foot that replicates the passive properties of a human foot and an actuated base that can impose the relevant kinematics to the running shoe. The shoe is mounted on motor to give a rotational degree of freedom. The shoe and the base are instrumented to measure force and displacement dynamically during the running cycle.

The machine can be calibrated to emulate different types of runners by adjusting the trajectories of the base. As a proof of concept we have collected force, displacement and energy data from the machine.”

Click here to watch a presentation of the innovative testing machine the students designed. We’re thoroughly impressed with the results that the test has yielded so far. The design is patent pending and we’re excited about the possibilities to use a machine like this for our future testing.

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Will Ferrell in Newtons!

Posted by on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 @ 8:55 am | 3 Replies

Check it out! Right underneath Brit’s butt, there’s a shot of Will running through Central Park in some Newton Gravity Trainers! Click the page to enlarge (Will Ferrell that is, not Britney’s backside).


New York Post
28 Nov 2008

 

It looks like he needs to work on his running form a bit, but we’re psyched to see him in our shoes. Will is a serious runner, who ran the 2003 Boston Marathon in 3:56. It looks like we might need a celebrity page for all the shots of famous folks in our shoes!

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What is the Newton Tribe?

Posted by on Monday, October 27, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | 3 Replies

People who wear Newtons have been called trendsetters, early adopters, a community, a cult, Newtonites and more. We like the “Newton Tribe” best…

Marketing guru Seth Godin has a new book out, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. As a way to promote and brainstorm the book, he invited an online “triiibe” to make a book of their own. It’s available for free on Seth’s blog.

On page 12 of the user-submitted book, there’s a story about the Newton Running Tribe by Marcus Galica:

“Yesterday I received in the mail my first pair of Newtons. Since I’ve been struggling with chronic knee problems, I willingly parted with $175 of my hard-earned cash in order to buy this pair of running shoes.

They’re rumored to reinforce a mid-foot strike (which is said to reduce impact on the knees). I took them for my first run this afternoon, on a pathway known as the Strand that goes from Manhattan Beach to Redondo.

After a total distance of about 12.5 miles, I still felt light on my feet and no soreness in my knees, so they seem to work as advertised. Wonderful. However, it was one fleeting interaction with another runner on the Strand that alerted me to Newton’s Culting of Brands approach to marketing these new shoes:

1) You won’t find them at your local Sports Authority; only a handful of renowned running specialty stores across the country carry them.

2) Most of the early adopters are intense triathletes. We’re talking the Ironman crowd.

3) They only come in obscenely loud colors like orange, yellow, pink, and green.

4) They’re $175. If you’re buying a pair of these, you’re serious about running. (Or a poseur, maybe.)

What was the interaction? Well, if any of you have run on The Strand before, you’ll know that because of the sheer density of runners and joggers, you typically won’t receive the customary “runner’s wave” that you’d get if you were someplace more remote.

This particular Saturday afternoon, after about 10 miles, I had probably passed close to 500 other runners and joggers, and I did not receive a single “wave”. But as I approached an intensely cut-up, triathlete-looking man, I noticed he was wearing bright green Newtons.”

At the same moment he noticed my brilliant orange pair, and we immediately exchanged a hearty wave. On top of the “wave”, our eyes locked momentarily as we passed each other, and we shared a “nod”. Within this “nod” was a profound understanding: we were part of the same tribe, and this was my initiation. Even though thousands of people were running on The Strand today, our Newtons were the secret handshake no one else knew about.


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Craig Alexander Testifies: I Don’t Modify my Newtons!

Posted by on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 @ 2:09 pm | 4 Replies

There’s been a rumor floating around that Craig Alexander, aka Crowie, shaves the lugs off his Newton shoes. Now, we do know that Crowie did shave his head, his face, his legs, and most importantly, a bunch of time off his run in Kona, but NOT his shoes. To quell the rumor mill once and for all, here’s Crowie’s response in his own words:

“For a while now I have been aware of a rumor circulating that I in some way alter my Newton Running Shoes.

Crowie\'s \To be brutally honest, this is insulting to me on every level. What is being suggested is that I would promote a product to my fellow athletes and then not actually use it myself. I feel this is a massive attack on my integrity. The truth of the matter is, I ran in Newton running shoes by choice for three months before I signed on as a sponsored athlete with the company.

And in fact, when I placed second on debut in Kona last year, I was not under contract to Newton Running. I have not trained or raced in anything else since the end of July last year.

The great thing about being a consumer is you get to try products and choose what you like. So anyone considering buying running shoes, I urge you to do exactly what I did, and that is to try everything that is available and then choose the best.

If you look at the post- race photos of me at the finish line last Saturday (click photo above to enlarge), you will notice that my shoes are in no way altered from their intended state. Also, the photos of my little post-race celebration, which I heard has also been misinterpreted, will show on close inspection that nothing has been done to the shoes.

Just to clarify, I took my shoes off at the finish line to beat out the flames because they were ” smokin’ hot” after having just run a 2:45 marathon.

If in the future, anyone out there feels the need to make an ill-informed opinion about any of my sponsorships, please feel free to contact me before you make a total and utter fool out of yourself. All you are actually doing is bringing myself and a great product and company into disrepute. Have some backbone and question my integrity in person rather than through an anonymous chat site.

The people starting these rumors need to pull their heads in. You are out there intentionally spreading lies and mis-truths. I’m not sure what your agenda is, but you should have a good look at your own motives and integrity.”

Craig Alexander is the 2008 Ironman World Champion.

Now, to be clear, Newton’s head designers mad scientists, Danny Abshire and Ian Adamson, have and will continue to work with our pro athletes to experiment with Newton’s shoes, ‘tuning’ the technology to test new innovations. This is a critical component of Newton’s design process; real world tests with the world’s best athletes to continue to push the envelope of shoe technology.

Stay tuned here for an upcoming preview of Newton’s spring ’09 shoes, featuring some really cool new innovations!

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“Newton-esque” a Fashion Buzzword?

Posted by on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 @ 11:54 am | Leave a reply

From a journalist who was recently in Beaverton to preview the new Spring ’09 Nike running shoes:

“And the neon colors in this line are very Newton-esque.”

Is that a new word?

Regardless, I guess imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. Jennifer Abshire is the keen eye behind Newton’s bright neon colors and bold looks. A quick glance through any recent issue of Vogue or InStyle (where Newton was featured in January and May) and it’s clear Jennifer was right in predicting neon is back!

We can’t wait to see Nike’s neon knock-off new shoes.

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John Mayer Rocks Newtons – UPDATE!

Posted by on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 @ 2:45 pm | Leave a reply

John Mayer wearing Newton MotionsIntrepid John Mayer stalker fan, Heather, from Sugar Land, Texas, found several photos of rock star John Mayer kickin’ it in his Newtons. Here he is wearing the Newton Motion shoe, coming out of the gym in West Hollywood.

John also mentions Newtons on his personal blog. Click on the link that says “Smart.”

More John Mayer Newton photos here.

And get your John Mayer obsession fix here.

Thanks for sending us these links Heather! Your Newton hat, visor and socks are in the mail!

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