I’ve been trying a few shoes lately. Most of the stuff was just kinda cool, but nothing that made me change my political views or anything. Not that I have any. I mean, I don’t pay much attention. Overall, I think Clinton’s doing ok, but I’m not, like, a fan or anything. Anyway, the shoe I got most excited about was the Newton Energy.
When I first saw it, in pictures, my initial reaction was actually kinda mild disappointment. Like when you are pulling your favorite comb out of your back pocket and you break one of the little teeth off there and you’re kinda like, dang. It was like that. They just didn’t look very, I don’t know, Newtony.
When we visited Newton last year—Subtle Chuck, the James formerly known as Amish, and I—the Newtonians had sorta talked on the DL about how they were going to introduce the 5 lug cassette in a new shoe and eventually across the entire line. There were lots of Ooooohhs and Aaaaaaaahhs and MmmmHmmms. I was listening, but only kindasorta because I was busy counting all the little fancy soaps and shampoos I’d stolen from the swankity swank swank hotel they put us up in. In which they put us up. Up in which we were put? Where we stayed. In the hotel. Where I stole the shampoo. From1.
So whatever. I like Newton. I didn’t at first, but I think that was more about the triathlon thing. All the peacockery maybe. I got over that, anyway. I like that they’re thinking forefoot when everyone else is thinking rearfoot. (Seriously. Why aren’t more people doing that?) I’ve been running every now and again in my Distancia and noticed a couple of things when I wear them. One, my neighborhood loop goes by about 30 seconds faster, 5 seconds a mile or so. And B.) my glutes and hamstrings are a little tender the next morning. I don’t know what it means, but now my twerking is really fucking awesome. Anyway, I like the Distance. And I didn’t think I’d like the Energy. Maybe I didn’t want to like them, for some reason, I don’t know.
They’re the shit. Old school Newton junkies may not dig the softer midsole, or the less aggressive lugs, but I think that people who have been maybe a little reluctant to pull the Newton trigger will be all over that shit. They’re still low offset (6mm with sockliner; 3-ish mm without) so they feel fast. And all that is combined for a super smooth transition. The 5 lug set up—from the medial edge to the lateral edge of the outsole—is more stable going around corners, which might not seem like a thing, but for klutzes like myself, it’s a plus. I have a hard time properly operating a sandwich, so 5 lugs are a big, big hit. And then there’s the full ground contact, which you know I like. When I saw all that there was an instant, you know, pants issue. And I hadn’t even run in them yet.
Back in the day, maybe 5 sentences ago, I mentioned that the offset was lower without the sockliner. No shit, Schrup. But here’s the thing: The shoe feels infinitely more responsive without it. I got that tip when I was in Boulder last year, and since then have been taking the sockliner out of most of the shoes in the rotation. The Kinvara—no sockliner. 1400—no sockliner. GR Ride 2—no sockliner. So. Much. Better. That first feel, marshmallowy, bubble gum softness was never my thing anyway. Take the sockliner out of the Energy and those bad girls are ready to go. It’s pretty responsive, even though the new cassette isn’t as aggressive, so the forefoot gives you a little somethingsomething. It’s kinda addicting.2 It also frees up some space around the toes, which is nice. The upper is a smidge on the narrow side, around the toes. Weird. If you think about the Newton, you know, thing being all about natural running and shit. You know, you gotta let the mets splay. It doesn’t really bother me, but I just wanted to, you know, put that out there. And so depending on the shape of your foot, you might want to size down a half size if you’re gonna pull the sockliner out. You know, just in case.
I’m digging these Energy maybe a little too much. Not that I’m really all that concerned. My man over in Maine, Seth, who actually works for a company that rhymes with Jizuno, digs them too. And then there are others in the netosphere who take pictures of the box the shoes come in, because, I don’t know why. They like them, so, there you go.
Back in the day, like, sometime, I referenced cycling when I was talking about shoes3. Specifically, about how bike frames can be made super stiff and responsive, but then tend to lack some, I don’t know, finesse or some shit. And then how the frames that they use for that one race in French, when they ride over the roads that are, you know, shitty—those frames are a little more forgiving, a little more smoother. Anyway, that’s the way I like my shoes. I like ‘em firm, but forgiving for the long haul. The original Adios, take for example. And now the Energy! Without the sockliners! Holy crap!
The word on the skreet is that Newton are going to go 5 wide on all their footwear. They’ve already done it on the Energy and the MV3. (Or is it MV3? I don’t know, but I like how I can do those tiny baby numbers with my computer.) I think it’s a smart move, and it should make the lineup more accessible to those who couldn’t really get Newton at first. I’ll write about the MV’s here soon when you’re ready to talk race flats. In the meantime, I’m serious. Energy. The gateway drug.
1I still have, like, three of them. Very minty. Tingly.
2The Newton 12-step program is in the church basement. Go in the back door.