Monday, August 11, 2014

Shoe Review Times TWO: Newton Running's Distance & Fate!

Yes, I've been busy testing shoes again.  And no, I'm neither getting paid to do so, nor am I getting free shoes.  HOW do I go about getting one of those gigs?!  Because I think I've proven my expertise in such matters.  ;)

Anyway... I've been slogging through yet another hot, humid, Florida summer and about the only ray of light (you know, beyond the many cancer- and heat stroke-causing rays emitted by the freaking sun) in my training has been the glory of Newton Running shoes.  I already detailed my experience with the Gravity '13 model, and I'm happy to report that I'm still running in it and still loving the ride!  BUT... the more I run in them, the less comfortable every other shoe feels.  And I really do need to alternate.  So I grabbed a pair of an earlier model Distance on clearance, and a month or so later, a pair of the new Fate. I've been running quite a bit in both. Results?  Read on!

Newton Running Distance
The Distance is Newton's second main neutral shoe, very similar to the Gravity in shape and form, but with less weight.  I find the "Distance" name a bit misleading, as this feels like a speed shoe to me.  Just picking them up out of the box, I could feel they were lighter than the Gravity, and immediately noticed the different heel...

Distance sole
Gravity sole
See how the Gravity has that extra, black layer of outsole?  That's a pretty rugged rubber that doesn't wear quickly.  See how the Distance has no such extra layer?  Its heel is the soft, foamy material found in the midsole.  What this means for a heel striker is some major wear and tear on the heels.  What it means for this forefoot striker who's pretty light on her heels even while walking is limited wear and tear on the heel, but lots of extra pep thanks to losing the excess weight!  These shoes are FAST, I tell ya.

That said, the lack of extra stuff on the heel also means less stabilizing back there.

Additionally, there's not much in the upper to control heel movement, nor to support the Achilles; the mesh of the Distance is a bit more stretchy than the Gravity, and allows my feet to move around more.  In some ways, this is good: nothing in this shoe pushes or pulls in any uncomfortable way.  But the lack of ankle stability is dicey with my bum Achilles; I've only taken these up to six miles at a time so far, as that's about the point at which I feel like I need extra support.

I may never wear the Distance for longer runs, but they're still a great addition to my shoe line-up!  They have all of the awesome energy return of the Gravity, thanks to those super lugs, fit my feet and mechanics beautifully, and deliver a super-peppy ride.  I've been enjoying them for both speed work and, rather surprisingly, as a walk-around-theme-parks shoe.

Moving on to my newest shoe...

Newton running Fate
The Fate is one of Newton's new line of 5-lug shoes, and falls into its middle, P.O.P. 2 category.  What the heck does that mean?!  Well, here's a guide: Choose Your Ride.  In my view, the P.O.P. refers to how much "pop" one gets from the lugs, with P.O.P. 1 giving the most energy return (Gravity falls into this category), P.O.P. 2 giving a little less "pop" and a little more cushion, and P.O.P. 3 offering more cushion and a ride similar to traditional running shoes.

Full disclosure?  I couldn't have cared less about which P.O.P. level I was selecting: they had me at lime green. 

Okay, yes, the color is awesome, but how's the ride?  Let me tell ya...

Starting at the top, the upper is really, really nice and, in most ways, a big improvement over previous Newton models.  All of that green is a fine mesh that's super stretchy: there are absolutely NO potential hot spots likely to cause rubbing, that I can tell.  It's almost a sock-like fit, but not quite - though, I do feel like I could size down a half-size in cooler months and it would fit more sock-like in the smaller size.  My only real gripes are that the tongue could be a bit more plush (I can feel the laces clearly through it on my instep - not problematic so far, but could be on a very long distance), and the heel is a little loosy-goosey, thanks to the soft, stretchy material.

Fate and Distance, side by side

Underfoot, the Fate is a pretty neat ride.  The lugs are less pronounced than on the Gravity or Distance, and I'm less aware of them under my feet while running, though they still give a nice energy return on liftoff.  Beyond that, the Fate's sole offers far more cushioning than the Gravity or Distance, but in such a way that it doesn't feel spongy.  It's more a reactive cushion, if that makes sense, reducing some amount of impact without making me feel as though I'm sinking into mud.  This is HUGE for me, as other highly cushioned shoes have left me feeling like it took a lot more effort to pick my feet back up after landing.  Not at all so with the Fate!

Fate's sole

I'm noticing that the Fate does a superior job, too, of helping me land closer to mid-foot, which reduces a lot of wear and tear on my metatarsals.  I usually end with some pain in that area after a long run in my Gravity's, but that hasn't happened yet in the Fates.  

The Fate's heel is a bit beveled, which helps guide my walking stride; a big plus when I'm fatigued and form starts to get sloppy.

See the beveling?

So far I'm really liking the Fate for easy runs and long, slow runs; it does a nice job of easing aches and pains without feeling like I have a couple of foam pillows strapped to my feet.  It's not as speedy as the Distance, but it just might out-workhorse the Gravity!  

A couple of minor quibbles: 1. these are pretty awful in the rain.  I ran about a mile in pouring rain the other day in them and they just fill up like tubs.  I don't mind being wet, but sloshy and heavy isn't great.  2. that soft, stretchy upper is very unforgiving of mechanical breakdowns.  My feet tend to start rolling outward on the run, and inward on the walk, when fatigued, and the Fate's upper does nothing to prevent this.  I hesitate to move to the Kismet stability model, as any amount of stability seems to invite ITBS into my life.  I've found, though, that a light support insole on tired days fixes things up nicely.  So nothing terrible here, just a couple points to note for those considering the Fate.

So far, as you can see, I'm thrilled with my new-found love affair with Newton Running.  They truly are the only shoe I've tried so far that doesn't irritate my left peroneal tendon, and (knock on wood) I've successfully worked back up to 9+ miles in them with no sign of ITBS.  I don't think the shoes house any sort of magic, mind you - only that I've maybe found some shoes that work properly with, and enhance rather than fight against, my mechanics.  Are Newtons the right shoes for you?  Only one way to find out - give 'em a try!


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  2. Newton is an awesome running shoes. I have completed around 200 miles and still shoes in good condition.

  3. The toebox on the new shoe is larger, and the shoe is more Reebok 15 Off

  4. Thanks for the review. New into Newtons, and I have been using the Gravity IV for a month or so now, and I like them.

    Want to get a second pair of Newtons. I am leaning towards the Fates, as I am getting a good discount and I think will last more than the Distance. What are your recommendations for a neutral runner? Is the Fate down a "step down" compared to the Gravity?