Saturday, May 11, 2013

First Run Report: Newton MV2s

These are my uber-expensive (in my experience) ultralight running shoes. They have a funky ridge on the sole just under the ball of my foot, so landing anywhere other than fore-footed is really not an option. Not a mid-foot striker's shoe. Definitely not a heel-striker's shoe. Not a walking shoe. And it takes some getting accustomed to stepping on uneven ground, because the sole interacts with the ground in a way I did not anticipate. (A few near ankle twists stepping up and down on curbs and the like.)

I ran 5 miles on Thursday afternoon after a long tough morning workout split between swimming, pool-based leg exercises, and weight-room leg exercises. My legs were toast but I wanted a few miles running. It was not easy.

Some guy pulled up next to me in his SUV, two kids strapped into the bench seat next to him. He said something garbled, which I assumed was "get the f__ off of the road." Keeping my poise (a rare result -- congratulations, me!), I asked "I'm sorry?" He: "You're a really good runner!" Now I'm taken aback. Me: "Thank you!" He: "No, I'm serious."

Forgive my relating what cannot come out humbly. Too, for all I know this guy has never seen anybody run before. He certainly was not wearing Team USA garb!

Today in Indianapolis I had planned a longer (10-ish) run. My legs were still toast, exacerbated by the long drive yesterday. I was dreading it. I thought "just a few miles and I'll loosen up. If I only go 5 that's okay too." Not wearing the Newtons, but remembering the form they caused me to have, I started out -- and felt phenomenal. It made no sense. My quads and calves were killing me standing still, but running felt comfortable, even easy. I could feel the glutes taking all the stress of the stride. I rolled comfortably, even quickly, for 10 miles.

Here's the rub: at the end, my quads and calves still hurt. It is not as if I loosened up and had a good run. It is as if I ran with different muscles entirely.

This is a lot to load on one short run with a new pair of shoes (recall that today's run was back in my trusty Asics Hyper Speeds). But maybe the Newtons were the light-switch I needed?

A note: the catalog says these run 1/2 size small. A full size small is more like it.


  1. Be careful of the calves. I'm familiar with the can't walk but can run phenomenon. I experienced it this Fall when my form was clicking. It's been a while. Maybe there's a lesson in that. . .

  2. Your thought is that I am not appreciating what I am doing to them? That is a concern. Many thanks.

  3. Two thoughts, actually, not entirely related.

    First, one of the things I loved about running this fall was the smooth effortless feeling of the forefoot/midfoot stride, when it was working. One of the odd things about it was that there were often things that hurt (quad/hamstring etc.) when I was walking, or running slowly, that stopped hurting when I started "planing".

    Second thought, when forefoot striking, I need to be careful not to run too high on my toes. That led to a major calf disaster early in my stride changeover, and I think may be the source of some of my current problems (particularly on the right side).

    Third, the precise thing that has scared me about the Newtons is that little pad on the ball of the foot that forces you onto your toes. It strikes me as a bit of a gimmick that would feel great while running (that flyng feeling when your heels don't touch the ground), but could put too much stress on the calves if you're not careful.

    That's the full thought.

  4. Very helpful, thank you. Yes, the funky sole is a gimmick. Maybe it is like training wheels in that once you get the hang of it you can go back to your own shoes with normal soles. Of course, what if the strike this shoe forces is wrong for a particular runner's particular anatomy?

    1. Hey if a newbie like me wanted to EASE himself into more forefoot work, and is a bit full of trepidation of doing it old school by just going barefoot for a few hundred yards here and there because of the recent plantar nightmare...what would be a good Newton to start with? I like the funky sole idea a lot esp if it forces you onto the fore or mid foot...but I worry about starting out in racing flats for that. Does Newton have another kind of shoe with a funky sole, that you would recommend, ie with a similar ridge?

    2. They all seem to have it to a greater or lesser degree: From the profile pictures, it appears the shoes labeled "performance" are the most dramatic, but they have some of those that are not ultralight.

      I should be clear that I have no recommendation. I've literally run 5 miles in these and so far find them intriguing. Ted has convinced me not to be too excited until I learn more.

  5. Holy cow these are £135 here!!!!

  6. I'd suggest taking it slow. Start with one of the minimal shoes with a reduced heel drop, and see how that feels. There are even some standard training shoes with a reduced heel. That's sort of how I worked my way in, without realizing it. I noticed better form in my Mizuno Wave Creations than my Asics Nimbuses (both traditional shoes), and realized that it was because I was running farther forward in the Mizunos. I actually mostly made the switch _before_ buying five finger and minimal shoes.