Last March, I wrote a blog about Newton Running Shoes – specifically I wrote about Newton Running Shoes and Writing – click here to read it. Newton, a running shoe manufacturer, located in Boulder, Colorado, isn’t a household name in running shoes, although, it is a name that is becoming a known commodity among serious runners.
I suppose I could be classified as a serious runner, at least if longevity in the sport has anything to do with it. This is my 34th year of running. I don’t race. In fact I don’t even run in the daylight. I’m not a vampire. I am one of a small group, in the running community which I refer to as night runners.
We’re the people you see running along the side of road at all hours of the night. Normally we wear reflective gear and often carry flashlights. We startle people who have had one or more, too many drinks, or are just not paying attention. Some of us night runners even get upset when a driver doesn’t see us. Face it, a hundred and seventy or eighty pounds of flesh and bone against four thousand pounds of steel and plastic is hardly a fair competition – that’s like Alabama vs. Notre Dame, or Alabama vs. LSU, or Alabama vs. Texas – well, you get the picture, and this blog isn’t about football or even night running.
I’m writing to tell you about the greatest running shoe ever built, and to ask a question.
Newton Running Shoes, developed by Danny Abshire, a pioneer in forefoot running, are different. For all practical purposes, all other brands are built for heel strikers, which means, just what it says. Runners have been taught to land on their heels, which isn’t natural, for human beings. And, with practically every running shoe, other than Newton, it’s impossible to land any other way. Heel striking alone is the cause of almost all of runners’ injuries. I know because I was an injured runner for more than twenty-five years. Now, at age 70, I run over 1,200 miles a year, and I do it without orthotics, without knee braces, and without pain. I do it because of Newton Running Shoes.
In September, 2009, I found Newton Running Shoes. I was surfing the web, looking for something that would ease the knee pain when I ran. In spite of orthotics and a brace on each knee, running had become almost too painful to endure. I don’t know what I Googled to get to Newton Running shoes but I’m glad I did. I told Christina, my wife and also a runner, about them. Together we shared the news with Adrienne Wall, our friend and partner.
Within a week we all had our first pair. Last night we slipped on our latest and took them for runs. Before we left the house, Adrienne snapped the picture (from left to right – me, Christina, Adrienne). Like all running shoes, Newtons wear out. In my case that happens in 225 – 250 miles. The girls’ shoes last longer because they are obviously prettier and also because they are much lighter on their feet. In spite of their extra shoe life, I estimate that between the three of us, we go through ten to twelve pair a year. When I multiply that by the three plus years we’ve worn Newton’s, I figure we’ve purchased thirty to thirty-six pair since we slipped on our first ones. At an average cost of $125.00 to $150.00 per pair, Newton’s aren’t cheap. You can go to your local running shoe discount store and buy two pair of the flavor of the day for less than we pay for one pair of Newton’s.
It’s been my experience that when I recommend Newton’s to someone, they say one of two things. If they haven’t heard of them, they say, “I’ll look them up on the web.” If they have heard of them, they say, “they are too expensive.” I drop the conversation at that point, regardless of their response. At least I drop the audible part of the conversation. A thread continues to run in my mind if they said Newton’s are too expensive. It goes like this. If you can afford custom orthotics, knee braces, doctor visits, and excruciation pain, why don’t you consider a relatively inexpensive alternative?
Finally, I believe that I’ve found the answer to that question. I believe that this country has become so short sighted regarding everything that has a price tag; there is no more long game, regardless of the stakes, and frankly, I find that more than a bit puzzling.
However, there is an upside here for us. Namely, with fewer runners finding Newton Running Shoes there are simply fewer runners crowding the street – especially at night.