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Newton Energy NR: Review
Last fall I had the opportunity to travel to Newton’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado to attend the Newton School of running. Prior to attending the school I was somewhat unfamiliar with the brand since it was a relatively young company and I had always been partial to running in more traditional brands like Asics, Saucony, and Adidas, which is what I used in college. I also had some reservations about the brand, having heard from other runners who had developed issues such as calf and forefoot pain caused by Newton’s signature mid-foot lugs on the bottom of their shoes.
However, when I was introduced to the Newton Sir Isaac, I instantly began using it for a large percentage of my mileage. Even though I’m naturally a mid-foot striker, the pronounced lugs became a constant reminder of where I need to land. So after putting a few hundred miles on the Isaac’s with quite a bit of success, I began wondering what my next shoe might be since I normally rotate between three to five shoes at a time. Note that I believe that it’s very important for any avid runner to have at least two shoes that they can rotate between as different feels and pressure points tend to help keep the body healthy and injury free.
With spring season came the release of the Newton Energy NR. Unlike any other shoe in the Newton lineup, this shoe has a 6mm heel to toe drop. It weighs out at 9 ounces for men and 7 ounces for women, which is light for a training shoe. In weight this shoe compares very closely to the Newton Gravity but feels totally different. I would say the Newton Energy NR feels more like a normal running shoe without losing its signature Newton flare. Newton went with a five lug system (as opposed to four used in all other shoes) which I believe makes the shoe more stable while transitioning through your gait cycle. One of the first things I noticed out of box was that the heel has a slightly softer cushion than what I’m used to. With a firmer heel I normally feel more of a connection with my foot to the ground, but Newton has definitely gone with something new with this shoe. Through the midsole they use their Action/Reaction technology that is one of the most responsive materials on the market. Most shoes just try to absorb the impact, but this Newton Energy NR gives off a little pop which in returns make the user a more efficient runner.
Even though I do not usually wear orthotics in my running shoes, this shoe will better accommodate them than previous models due to its width. If one were to look at the shoe on a wall it would appear to be flatter than 6mm drop. Furthermore, it even feels flatter while running, which I enjoy as a forefoot striker. To fully test the Energies I wore them on roads and sidewalks as well as rocky single-track trails. Even though I liked the feel better on cleaner road surfaces, I found the Energies to be more stable on trails than previous models due to the additional lug and the softer, less pronounced lugs.
Another important adjustment Newton made with the Newton Energy NR is price point. Prior to the Energy, most Newton shoes were priced around $150-$180. The high price tag was a result from Newton shoes being handmade (stitched and such), instead of machine made like most other shoes in the market. In addition, the laces come from 100 % recycled goods (which also sets Newton apart from other brands). With that being said, sometimes it’s still hard to justify paying $175 for a pair of running shoes! I remember the days when spending even $100 for a pair of running shoes was too much. Consequently, Newton has priced the Energy NR at a much more affordable price point of $119. This should be regarded as a big win for Newton and I expect it will attract many more buyers to Newton’s customer base.
. Even though color has nothing to do with the functionality of the shoe, everyone still wants their shoes to look sharp. Avid runners are typically proud of their gear and like to be seen. Personally I like loud and vivid colors, they get me more excited about running. When I walk into a room or run by people on a trail I want them to notice how awesome my shoes are. This is another reason I’ve become a Newton fan. Ever since the beginning of Newton’s launch, their bold colors and unique combinations have always set them apart from other running brands. The Newton Energy NR is available in two colors for both Men’s & Women’s and in keeping with tradition, –one will not be able to miss them
Keep in mind, that just like most natural running shoes; the most important part about trying this new shoe is taking your time with it. Don’t think about changing your stride, JUST RUN NORMAL. Your calves will most likely ache some at first. Just make sure you are stretching and keeping your intensity while transitioning into a lower heel to toe drop shoe. Imagine your muscles are like rubber bands; very flexible and elastic. When your standard running shoe is around a 12mm heel to toe drop, switching to a 6mm is a big difference! The calf muscle is actually being stretched a lot more in a lower heel to toe drop shoe. Your body will adjust and you will actually become a more efficient runner because you will be prone to land more on your mid-foot. The idea is to work on shortening your stride and speeding up your cadence – all while landing on your mid-foot directly under your body.
I would recommend the Newton Energy NR to runners who like mild stability and neutral based shoes. It will work with the natural pronating motion that helps promote a stable footing on the ground while running. The Newton Energy NR is great as a lightweight trainer for everyday runs and yet light enough to race in. It’s also perfect as a high school cross-country training shoe, as long as the trails are not too sloppy. In my opinion, this a landmark shoe for Newton. If you are already a Newton fan you should definitely think about upgrading to the Energy NR. If you haven’t tried a Newton before, this is a great time to check one out with the new Newton Energy NR.