Newton Energy Running Shoe Review

Newton EnergyThe first time I put on the Newton Energy NR I didn’t know quite what to think. My first impression was that they were crazy soft and that the heel lockdown was really slippy. I though maybe Newton had swung and missed with the newest shoe in their lineup. (Disclosure: These shoes were media samples provided free of charge by the manufacturer)

My first run in the shoes wasn’t bad, and heel-slippage seemed to be a non-factor once I got moving. But, they were still ridiculously soft and I remained skeptical.

Shortly after that first run I came across a discussion about the Energy on the Running Shoe Geeks group on Facebook (join us!), and most of those who had run in it were also complaining about the softness and loose heel lock, and the consensus seemed to be that the shoe morphed into something beautiful if you ripped out the insole entirely.

So, on my next run I swapped out the included insole for a thin, flat Skechers GoRun insole and the shoe was transformed to the point where I would say that if I were running a marathon this Fall I’d almost certainly choose the Energy for the race. It’s a perfect match for my stride over long distances.

The Sole Makes the Shoe

The Newton Energy is the second Newton shoe model (along with the MV2/MV3) to incorporate their new 5-lug design (see below right):

Newton Distance SoleNewton Energy Sole


Newton Distance Racer (left) and Newton Energy (right)

One of the issues I have had with previous Newton shoes like the Distance Racer (see above left) is that the four lugs do not extend to the margins of the sole on each side. This makes the shoe feel a bit unstable mediolaterally, particularly when making turns in the shoes. Furthermore, the lugs protrude downward quite a distance from the sole making it feel like you are rolling over a speed bump if you walk or run heel-toe in the shoes (I hate walking in 4-lug Newtons). The new lug design fixes both of these issues in that by adding a lug they now extend all the way to the inner and out margins of the sole, and the lugs no longer protrude as much – I can walk much more comfortably in the Energy than in the Distance for example.

The other big, big difference between the sole of the Energy and the sole of other Newton shoes is that it is indeed very soft. It’s soft to the point where if you heel strike hard with the insole removed you’d likely bottom out the cushioning. The only shoe I can compare it to in this sense is the original Skechers GoRun. Now, this is where the lugs really save the day. Because the lugs are made of firm rubber and are overlain by a firm plate, the forefoot gives a bit initially but has a much firmer and responsive feel to it during propulsion and toe-off. As someone who primarily loads from the midfoot forward, the shoe is a great match for my stride. It’s firm exactly where I need it to be, and if I do load the heel slightly I barely notice because of the softness in that region. I’m not sure I’d like running in the Energy if I were a hard heel striker, but if that description doesn’t fit you then this shoe is amazing.

As for stack height, with the included insole the Energy is reported to be about 6mm drop. With the insole removed it’s about 2-3mm drop. That sounds about right based on how the shoes feel on the run (my caliper batteries are dead so I couldn’t measure it myself…). Weight is reported to be 8.6 oz in men’s size 9.

Newton Energy SideNewton Energy Medial

Upper Construction and Fit

As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the fit of the Energy felt off the first time I tried them on. The heel wasn’t locked down well and the midfoot felt a bit tight. After swapping out (or removing) the insole for a thinner one the fit is great. Snug through the heel and midfoot, and a roomy but not spacious forefoot (similar to other Newton shoes I’ve worn). Running Warehouse reports that the shoe runs 1/2 size large, but I found that a size 10 fit me fine (however, I do wear a 10.5 in a lot of shoes, including most Saucony models). You definitely will not need to size up in these.

The upper is composed of a stretchy mesh that is not at all constricting, and the interior is a smooth material that feels good against the bare foot. The interior of the heel and ankle collar is well cushioned and comfortable. There is a plastic heel counter, but no noticeable arch support with the insole removed. I tried running sockless in them and got blister under the ball behind my big toe, but that could be do to the fact that I swapped in a non-Newton insole. It wouldn’t be fair to criticize Newton for that.

Newton Energy Top

Performance

I’ve run 45 miles in the Newton Energy in the past 2-3 weeks, including runs of 13 and 14 miles. This is one of those shoes that disappears on my feet, and quite honestly, if I had to choose just one shoe right now for all of my runs over 10 miles this could very well be it. The forefoot is responsive enough for distance racing speed, and it’s soft enough for slow, easy miles. I’d opt for something lighter and firmer for a 5K, but this shoe would handle most of my other needs without issue. I’m a big fan!

Regarding durability, I am seeing wear of the anterior 1/3 of the lugs, to the point where the tread is no longer visible. There is still a ton of rubber left though and I have found this to be typical of my experience with other Newton shoes. Wear on remaining portions of the sole is minimal.

Conclusions

If you’re a light heel striker to forefoot striker this is definitely a shoe to consider, and at $119 it’s the lowest price shoe in Newton’s collection. These days it’s priced right within range of many other shoes in its niche, though I’d love to see the price down around $100. If you’ve been wanting to try a Newton, this would be a great place to start.

The Newton Energy is available for purchase at Running Warehouse, Zappos, City Sports, and Kindrunner.

For another take, check out Thomas Neuberger’s Newton Energy NR review at Believe in the Run.

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Trisha Eason says:

    The insole is not glued down in the distance and I have four old pairs to pick from! Thank you.

  2. Your review was spot on. The insole is to thick, and I would love a thin one. Peter, do you know where I could get a thin insole like the GoRun or GoBionic to use in these?

  3. SuperSonicEd says:

    I love how the arch is on the same level as the heel, I might have to pick up a pair Wish they made a zero drop model though

  4. Diabetic shoes says:

    Thanks for the information..

  5. Trisha Eason says:

    Hi! This is my first time commenting here, but have used this bloga ton to make shoe decisions. I have been wearing Newton distance u for years and love them. I’m intrigued by these. I never realized why I hate turning in my current Newtons and never thought about the lug placement being the reason. Would swapping insoles from the distance work for these? And what is comparison for the distance? Thanks!

  6. Did you find this shoe to run big? I used the shoefitter on running warehouse and it has me a full size smaller than my regular shoes. I would really like to try these on but no shoe stores in my area sell them-so I would be just taking a chance by ordering them.
    Also, I am looking for a marathon training shoe-sounds like you like this for long distances-does it still encourage proper form like the others Newtons? I was also looking into the Distance.

  7. I have been trying to decide if I should go with these or a pair of Cortanas for an upcoming road ultra. My kinvaras are just not cutting it for those distances on that surface. Which would you go with for that type of race and surface?

  8. Mark Cucuzzella says:

    Pete,
    Really good assessment of the Energy. We exchanged in post a few weeks back on cushioned flat shoes and I mentioned I liked this one for its firmer feel. you and couple others commented on how soft it was. I did not really get that. I had been running without the insole (I always take them out) and like you a more midfoot/forefoot runner. The shoe felt firm and “poppy” on the landing and not squishy. Glad you did some experimenting and took it out on a longer run. I may try this one for ultra distance. happy training and racing this fall! Mark

  9. Very good review (as usual). Based on your recommendation a few days ago, I purchased a pair and went on a short run yesterday afternoon. The soft heel is definitely something to get used to (although it didn’t bother me once I got going) and the feel of my feet in the shoe is a bit odd (I feel like my heel is lower than my forefoot, but we know that is not true). A noticeable thing for me is that the shoe “feels” like it is helping me push off; I’m not sure if that was intended or not.
    One run in, with many more to go, I am more than satisfied with my purchase. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Glad you like it! I almost wonder if the super-soft heel bottoming out will make people shift foot strike forward a bit? That was the thinking with the Skechers GoRun.
      Sent from my iPad

  10. Pete, another great review. I do all of my runs in New Balance MR00 11.5 EE. They are great up to 12 miles or so. I really like the firmness and they are so light. Beyond that I think I need a little more padding. I tries Kinvaras a while back and they just didn’t work out. My foot is really wide at the toes but my instep and heel are pretty normal. Do you think the Energy would be a good choice? I am not afraid of a little drop, and it may be good for my calves and Achilles over longer distances.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Newtons do tend to fit a bit wider up front than other shoes. I had a guy who wears a 4E try my pair on and he was impressed, if it weren’t for a neuroma that could be aggravated by the lugs he really wanted to take them for a run.
      Sent from my iPad

  11. These would seem to demand a high amount of ankle flexibility and lengthened achilles/soleus. I don’t mean to scare anyone away, but be wary of TMTS when putting miles on a sole with a firm forefoot and low drop soft heel.

  12. Sam Winebaum says:

    Thanks for great review Pete. Getting mine in tomorrow. I have always liked the Newton Gravity for fast running and ran my fastest half of recent years in them but struggle on the slow stuff, lugs and all. Stability in front lugs will be welcome as I never liked “turning” in the 4 lug Newtons. I wear my shoes in two places on the lateral heel usually up a bit and then towards the toe so we’ll see.

  13. As always, your reviews are so good. There aren’t enough shoes for you to review, unfortunately.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks John! I actually have too many unreviewed shoes, need to catch up, need more miles!
      Sent from my iPad

  14. Jim Mullahy says:

    Great review as always. How would you compare these to Saucony’s Virrate?

    • Pete Larson says:

      With the insole swap they are a bit roomier, softer in the heel, and the lugs create a different feel. The Virrata has great forefoot cushion, but doesn’t have as responsive a feel during propulsion.
      Sent from my iPad

  15. I’m sort of scared/surprised to be the first one commenting on here – anyone out there? Pete – I don’t own GoRun’s, I pretty much rock Saucony’s across the board. Would the insole from a Kinvara or Virrata do the trick for a replacement as well? I never liked the 4 lug way, and since you always do well in Saucony’s, the Energy’s sound like they’re worth a shot. Thanks!

  16. Michael Busch says:

    On the Newton Energy – I normally run in the Saucony Virratas, and Kinvara 4′s. I ordered a pair of Energy’s and they fit nicely, but I am worried that they might feel to heavy. I really prefer light shoes. I have a pair of Altra Instinct 1.5′s and they fit well, but I don’t like the weight. Would you recommend returning the Energy, or do you think the weight won’t be an issue?

    • runblogger says:

      I’ve not had an issue with the weight of the Energy myself, it’s less than an ounce heavier than the Kinvara so not a big difference. The Instinct 1.5 weighs a bit more.

  17. I run w/ Newton motion and the last couple of long runs over 15 miles the insert seems to slide out and wont stay still causing it to rub against the bottom of foot i get tired of stopping to adjust but after runs have major blisters? Does this happen to anyone else? This is my 3rd pair and never has happened!

  18. Pete,

    After reading your reviews on the Newton Boco AT and Energy, I used Christmas gift cards to order both. I’ve been running on Newton Motion (primarily) and Distance for the last two years. I’m training for a spring marathon once again. Having lived in Rochester NY for the last three years, the snow has defeated me each winter so that a spring marathon has not been realistic in spite of my goals. So the Boco AT and Energy were about training for a spring marathon in a context in which the roads are often covered in snow, usually hard-packed, while having long stretches of roads that are mostly clear.

    I reported my excitement about the Boco AT in a comment on your review of that shoe. I want also to report my experience with the Energy. Received it this week and ran twice on it for runs of 8km and 10Km. Having learned from experience that the ride on the Boco AT’s was uncomfortable for long stretches of cleared roads, I was eager to find a solution that provided decent traction in short 1/4 mile stretches of snowy roads but performed well on mostly cleared roads.

    The Energy hit the mark. The traction on the snow felt comparable to my Motions, which was adequate for the short time it takes me to get to the open road. But once I got to the cleared roads – exquisite! I ran in single digit temps and my feet were warm enough and the ride was better than on my Motions. I did not feel what you reported and which caused you and others to advocate removing the insole. For me, they got it just right. The shoe felt just like the Motion in terms of comfort, but more stable. In the Motions, I often feel a bit off balance, almost as though I’m being forced to lean to one side a smidgin while running. But in the Energy, I felt a firm grasp of the road, and the sense that I could run for many hours in them without taking a beating. I suspect they will be choice for the spring marathon. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Awesome, glad they’re working out! I just got the new Motion’s with the 5-lug arrangement, looking forward to trying them out as the shoe feels a bit like the Energy.

      • How are the new 5-lug Motion’s working out Pete? Also, when is the review due? :)

        I’m currently training for a spring marathon and very interested in the Energy after reading your review. However, tempted just to hang-on until the new 5-lug Motion and Distance come out in the next 2-4 weeks.

        • Haven’t been able to run in them yet. Have a few shoes in front of them in the queue. Maybe I’ll do a first run post like I did for the A6 jsut so I can get some initial thoughts out.

          • Yeah, would be very interested.

            I caved in the end :) and have bought a pair of the Newton Energy’s. Think I’ll be taking the insole out though from what I’ve read!

            Love the site and the reviews, keep them coming Pete!

  19. Just got a pair of Newton Energy and the running specialist gave me superfeet inserts to swap out

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