The Newton Distance was my first experience with any Newton shoe, personally (although I have multiple friends just gush over them). They feature a very small (2mm) heel to to drop and are very light. They feature their exclusive “lugs” on the forefoot that are supposed to help force you to run with better (more mid and forefoot rather than a heel strike) form.
From my very first run, these shoes where light and fit like a wonderful little foot-hug. They felt fast and as if I could go fast in them. The lugs felt very different at first, but after a half mile I no longer noticed them. I already run generally with a mid-foot strike, so these didn’t feel like a huge transition.
I liked these a LOT right away, but enough to switch from my normal trainers? It’s hard to say. They didn’t seem to destroy my legs as much as I was expecting–runners new to the shoe definitely need to ease into them with shorter runs spaced out at the beginning, especially if you’re newly transitioning from a heel to mid/forefoot strike.
Durability-wise, we’ll have to wait and see how many miles I can comfortably get on these and how well they hold up. So far they feel really nice on an outdoor track, roads, and on the treadmill.
Although not seemingly a trail-specific shoe, I used them in a recent 5-mile (mild) trail race and they were “just okay”. I still loved the feel of them on my foot, but my forefoot seemed to slip a bit laterally on both wet grass and slick clay. However, I can see them working better in different trail conditions–perhaps able to “dig in” to rocky or sandy” trail. Other shoes may have reacted the same way under the race’s conditions.
The price tag is pretty high, and some other models cost even higher. But they might be worth it to some, I’m still up in the air. I do know that so far I like them a lot and my legs and body feel good while running in them.
The one downside I’ve noticed so far is that if I don’t wear a sock with an “achilles/heel” tab (cushioned tab), the backs of my heels get slightly rubbed and pinched. I put on socks with a heel tab, I didn’t notice the sensation anymore.
Anyone new to the shoe brand or new to a mid/forefoot strike might want to try the Newton Energy (there will be a link here once I’ve tested it enough to review), which is supposed to be more of an introductory/transitional shoe to the style.
All in all these are pretty great and I look forward to more from Newton!
Weight: 7.8 ounces, Heel-to-toe drop: 2mm