Monday, September 13, 2010

Newton Distancia Racer Review

As a gift to myself for finishing my first full marathon, a week after July 4 I bought a pair of the much talked about Newton Distancia Racers for P7,000.00 (approx. USD 159.00). I was sold to buying such an expensive shoe (average running shoes costs around P3,500-5,000.00) since I've made it my mission to adapt to midfoot/barefoot running after reading Born To Run and Chi Running.

I was also sold to the numerous articles/books I've read that changing from heel-striking to midfoot-striking could make my runs injury-free, particularly on my left knee. Much of the "blame" would also be on my running buddy and triathlete/officemate @paopedal who swears by the product's technology.

I also read the Newton blog-reviews of BaldRunner ("this shoe will not make you faster in road races") and RunningNinja ("They are designed specifically for people who are already mid-foot/fore-foot runners, or for people who are working on transitioning from a heel-strike stride to a mid-foot/fore-foot stride") prior to my purchase.

In RUNNR BHS, I was able to test it on the store's treadmill. It was good to know that my barefoot running tests showed that I've improved my gait to near-midfoot after my first try at RUNNR almost a year ago. With the Newtons, the storeguy said that it seemed that I've easily adapted to the shoe compared to most first-time wearers.

Needless to say, I've considered all angles before I bought the shoe.


On my first run (1km), the shoe felt very light (244 grams) compared to others I wore previously (my Adidas tResponse Stability weighed 360 grams while the Asics Gel Foundation 8 I'm still using weighs at a hefty 390 grams!). Newton recommends to just double the distance-increase during break-in period but I overdid the 2nd run (3-4km). I ended up with extremely painful calves for the next few days.

Moral lesson: follow the directions.

After the soreness of my calves had healed, I must say that the next runs with the Newtons were really great. The patented lugs were forcibly correcting me to strike midfoot. It also made me conscious of preventing heel strike although the soles of the shoe indicate that I still heel-strike a little on my right foot.


I've logged about 90-100km already with this pair. Aside from using it for my tempos (5-8kms), a few short easy days, a couple of long runs (14km last Sunday) and a speedwork session last Saturday (10x200m), I've used the Newtons for two 5k races as well: Rexona Run and St. Lukes QC. In both races I finished sub-30 (although the latter, St. Lukes QC, was short of 800m), which is a marked improvement, probably due as well to the continous training/running since my last 5k race (April, or was it May 2009?).


The previous pain on my left knee is slowly degressing since I started running with the Newtons. So whatever pain I have there now was brought about by the remnants of previously running heel-strike. So there's definitely a marked improvement with the change of running gait that the Newton is forcing me to do.

The problem with the Newtons is that when I heel strike (when fatigue sets in on long distances), there is no support to cradle your fall at the heel since the design is primarily for midfoot strike. The result is pain on my left heel. You really have to be conscious to midfoot-strike all the time with this shoe or else it will let your heel suffer.

Further, I think that when I switch between the Newtons and my Asics (which are of the motion-control class, i.e. heavy) the heel-support that the latter provided made me relax a bit on midfoot-strike, thus triggering heel strike. And pain.


The Newton Distancia Racer is a good buy since it teaches you midfoot strike ---a definite way to reduce injuries. It is very light that makes running smooth and effortless. It needs a couple of break-in runs before you get the feel of midfoot strike. Rushing it will cause you calf tenderness (i.e. pain!). You just need to be conscious of your gait all the time since if you heel-strike, there is not much support on the shoe to absorb the impact from the ground to the heel.

I will continue to use this shoe for training (speedwork, tempo, and short-easy runs) and racing (5k for sure, 10k probably, but currently in doubt if I'll wear them for 15k up to a full marathon). Maybe if I get more used to midfoot-strike, I'll be more confident to wear them for longer race distances.


  1. thanks Tricia! nice blog btw! the before and after pics are very inspiring.

    all the best!


  2. Hey, man great post on the review and all. It is more than just a review, its a lesson learned. THanks for sharing this fellow runner. I am thinking of moving up to a light weight running shoe. I have lost a lot of weight and toned up a good bit, and now I find that the running shoes I have now (asics 2150) are a bit too much in terms of cushioning. I am craving for a go faster shoe. My eyes are on the DS trainers by asics. WHen I tried them on, I noticed that I did not land on my heel at all, but I landed on my midfoot and had much more spring action as I wanted to go fast. Thanks for your story on the newtons. I will have to check them out as well. I need to find a retailer. Thanks for the comment on my blog on my first Half! It was a blast.

  3. @kenley, thanks for the comment. I was really amazed at your debut half-mary (2:13). Honestly, I knew from your posts that finishing it will be a synch. But a 2:13 debut? WOW! Congrats again! :)

    I think that as a runner progresses in training (and weight loss), the shoes of preference should change as well. Getting a lighter shoe is definitely the way to go if you want to improve your PRs. Notice the elite runners. I don't see them wearing a heavy Asics Gel Foundation 8 at the starting line, right? hehehe...

    All the best!