Right at the end of 2013, Newton Running announced significant technological advancements would be present in their Spring 2014 product line – the main one being the addition of a fifth lug in their unique Action/Reaction forefoot technology. Going back a few years I ran in Newtons a lot; I liked their shoes but always felt them a tad unstable and just a fraction too narrow. Their December press release, however, caught my attention and I made a mental note of the planned mid-February release date of their updated shoes.
Online reviews of the updated models were few and far between, so somewhat on a whim I decided to take the plunge and pre order a pair of the 2014 Distance III. The shoes are light (7.7oz for my size 9.5), colorful, feature a 2mm heel-to-toe drop and are built on the all-new POP 1 Platform. “POP” is an acronym for “Point of Power”; the latest version of which is said to offer
a more dynamic and aggressive ride via lugs that are accentuated more in the toe-off region.
My first outing in the Distance III was an easy 8 miler right at 7:00/mile pace. Forefoot width was excellent, and the 5th lug provided a nice stable feel exactly as Newton describe. For some strange reason though, the lugs on the right shoe seemed a little stiffer than those on the left. The left shoe really did seem to “pop” on each stride, but the right shoe lugs felt almost as if they were stuck. I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the extremely cold outside temperature.
Run number two was far more promising. Both sets of lugs popped nicely and after a brisk 2 mile warm up, I proceeded to knock off 5 x 1000m intervals at a fraction slower than 5K pace. I’d found the sweet-spot, and the shoes were working their magic.
I took something of a gamble with the third run in the Distance III. With the Shamrock Marathon fast approaching, I decided to try a long run in the new shoes with the possibility of wearing them on race day bouncing around in my mind. The gamble turned out to be a good one, as I managed to log my fastest ever 20 mile training run at just under 6:30/mile pace. For the last 5 miles I averaged 6:14/mile and it really felt like I was flying.
Due to sickness on race day, my 2014 Shamrock Marathon didn’t happen, but I’m confident the Distance III will make a great race shoe one day soon.
So, what do I like about the Distance III? First off the bat, the fit is excellent. As mentioned previously, the forefoot width is just about perfect for me and the semi-flat lacing and breathable, mesh panels keeps everything locked in nicely. In some shoes the heel cup is a trouble spot for me, but not so in the case of the Distance III – in this shoe it’s soft, lightly cushioned, flexible and the perfect height for zero irritation.
If you like bright colors, then you won’t be disappointed either – the Men’s Distance III is available in a vibrant orange upper with 360 degree reflectivity for low-light running and a red overlaid Newton Running logo. The Women’s Distance III come in a unique yellow/blue/red colorway.
I’ve since purchased the latest Gravity III model for daily training, but the Newton Running Distance III will be my go to shoe for mid-distance racing and weekly speed workouts.
From the Newton Running website:
Retail Price: $155
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 2mm
- Lightweight, breathable mesh
- Anatomical metatarsal stretch panels
- Heel lace lock
- Semi-flat lightweight laces
- 360 degree reflectivity
- High-rebound EVA
- s.h.a.r.c outsole
- Action/ReactionTM technology in the forefoot
- Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
- High-rebound EVA
- Enhanced medial midsole platform
- s.h.a.r.c in forefoot
- High abrasion rubber outsole wedge on lateral heel