Newton Running has historically been characterized by a fairly small collection of shoes. You have the Distance, Gravity, Motion, Sir Isaac/Lady Isaac and a few others, and short of incremental updates you pretty much know what you’re going to get. In the past few months, however, Newton has announced a bunch of new additions. First came the Newton Energy NR, which I recently reviewed and consider to be one of my favorite shoes of the year so far.
Shortly after receiving the Energy I got an email announcing the Newton BoCo AT, a dedicated trail shoe that incorporates small triangular lugs onto the forefoot lugs typical of other Newton shoes.
Newton’s previous foray into the trail shoe market, the Terra Momentum, seemed like a half-hearted effort to me – it’s basically the Sir Isaac with a more outdoorsy looking upper. It’s also heavy, and could best be described as a road-to-light trail hybrid shoe. I skipped on the Terra Momentum given that I hated running in the Sir Isaac, and the shoe appeared to be based on the same clunky platform.
In his review of the Terra Momentum on iRunFar, Tom Caughlan concluded with the following:
“…as a trail shoe, the Terra Momentus performs inadequately due to its high platform and stability components. I, for one, will trade agility and a low profile “feel” for the trail over premium cushioning and stability simply because I want to avoid face plants on the trail.
Possible changes for future updates that I hope to see are a lower profile, which will sacrifice cushioning and some stability. If Newton decided to make this change they could probably get the shoes down around 9 ounces, which would appeal to the rapidly-growing population of minimalist trail runners looking for light shoes. I also think that Newton should reduce the size of the Activator lugs on the forefoot in favor of a more aggressive outer sole for traction.”
With the BoCo AT it seems as if Newton took Caughlan’s advice to heart and made the very shoe that he suggested that they make.
The BoCo AT (not sure I’m crazy about that name…) appears to be a much lighter and lower profile shoe compared to the Terra. It has a 3mm drop midsole (same as the Newton Motion) and weighs in at just under 10 ounces in men’s size 9.
Newton incorporated lugged forefoot lugs which should help with traction (lugs upon lugs!). Lugs are also found on the heel and tip of the forefoot. It also looks like the outsole has been extended downward in strips along the inner and outer margins of the forefoot (same height as the lugs), which should hopefully reduce mediolateral instability caused by the 4-lug design. I’m surprised they didn’t just go with the 5-lug design of the MV3 and Energy for this shoe, and I wonder if this will compromise action of the inner and outer lugs? My guess is that this sole design will wear down rapidly on the roads, so may be best to keep this one on the dirt.
The other shoe recently announced by Newton is the Distance Elite. The Distance Elite appears to be a hybrid of the MV3 and the Distance:
Newton MV3 Upper
Newton Distance Sole
Newton Distance Elite
Weighing in at 7.2 ounces, it’s only marginally lighter than the Distance, and is priced the same at $155. Personally, I’m a fan of the Newton Distance, and thus I imagine I’d like the Elite, but I’d really see no reason to own both. The Elite seems to make the Distance a bit redundant – why would I choose a heavier shoe with the same sole at the same price? Thus, I’m a bit puzzled about the purpose of this shoe, just doesn’t seem differentiated enough from the Distance.
Both the BoCo AT and the Distance Elite will be available on November 1.
What do you think, are either of these on your wish list?