Monday, 3 October 2011

New shoes – Sir Isaac S by Newton Running

In July, results of my Biomechanical Analysis at UPANDRUNNING Dubai indicated what I feared to admit, I’m a heel-striker. Click on this link http://barefootindubai.blogspot.com/2011/07/im-heel-striker.html to read and watch footage of the Biomechanical Analysis testing. One of the suggestions of the report provided to me was to try running shoes by Newton Running (http://www.newtonrunning.co.uk/) since these are shoes specifically designed for runners who want to develop a more natural style, be that either barefoot running or POSE technique.



As you can see from these pictures, the main difference you notice is that the forefoot of the shoe has four thick raised sections. The science behind this is that they take the impact of the footfall and spring back to propel the runner forward. I can see the point of that, what I’m not sure is why there’s only four rather than five? Surely each of these sections are to support the metatarsals, and at my last count I had five of these. I’ve looked through the ‘Science’ section (http://www.newtonrunning.co.uk/science/action-reaction-technology.html) of their website, but this isn’t specifically addressed.

Enough science, let’s talk about how they feel. Firstly, the raised sections feel huge. For those readers who’ve played football, the raised sections feel like running on concrete in moulded-stud boots, but lots more comfortable. The second big surprise is that just like when you first put on Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) are start running, the Newtons immediately change your style so that you stop heel striking. It’s automatic. I think the reason for this, is that in a standard running shoe the height drop between the heel and toe is 1/2 inch. This makes it difficult to avoid hitting the heel portion of a regular shoe first. The Newton shoes have only a 1/6 to 1/5 inch drop.

So once you get over the fact that you can feel these four sections underfoot, and that you’re naturally moving to a mid- forefoot strike, they’re a great ride. I feel light and fast, but unlike with VFFs, there’s no issue with running downhill, or needing to stop or change direction quickly. They’re providing all of the motion support I need, but they feel like wearing lightweight racers.

There are two problems: the first one is the pain of the adjustment phase. Just like trying to get to grips with barefoot running, running in the Newtons is hard work on my calves. I’ve been very careful not to run in them too much or too often. Changes in style take a very long time. The longest run I’ve done in them so far was 7 miles, and I noticed after 4 miles my calves were really tight and sore. I switched back to my old running style and then felt OK again.

The second issue, I haven’t yet found a stockist of Newtons in the Middle East. I bought mine in London (stockists there include Bike and Run, Pro Feet, Run and Become, Suka Sport and Sweatshop Harrods) for £120. However, if you're comfortable knowing your size, Newton Running UK will deliver to the ME.

Overall, I'm really happy with them so far. I'm happier with my technique, and feel secure that the Newtons are providing enough cushioning in the right place to help me avoid the broken foot issues of the past.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

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