The Newton MV2 is what I like to refer to as a "goldilocks shoe." The Newton MV2 strikes a nice balance between traditional running shoes and barefoot/minimalist shoes. The Newton MV2 is a lightweight, zero drop shoe, which encourages a natural midfoot/forefoot stride, but a reasonable midsole, as well as lugs placed under the forefoot, allow for more ground protection and a more comfortable ride for those long runs. By including the most important features of barefoot shoes with added forefoot protection has created an in between shoe that you may find to be just right.
About Newton Running
Before there was Born To Run, Danny Abshire, co-founder of Newton Running and author of Natural Running, recognized the importance of a natural, barefoot style, running gait. Armed with a proper understanding of running biomechanics, Danny Abshire set out to create a running shoe that encouraged natural running. This was the foundation for Newton Running.
Newton refers to the MV2 as a racing flat, however, being the most well cushioned shoe in my collection, it is the shoe I have chosen for the majority of my ultra marathon training.
Viva la Zero Drop!!!
The Newton MV2 is a true zero drop shoe. A zero drop shoe no difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot. A minimal or zero drop differential is the most important feature of any natural running shoe.
In other popular zero drop shoes such as the Merrell Trail Glove, and Vibram FiveFingers, zero drop is achieved by not including a midsole. Instead, producing a shoe that is just a level outsole connected to an upper. Newton has taken a different approach. Rather than eliminating the midsole, the heel is lowered part way, and lugs are included under the forefoot to raise the forefoot level with the heel height.
The distinguishing feature of the Newton MV2 outsole are the lugs beneath the forefoot. Unlike previous Newton models, the Newton MV2 features five lugs rather than four. I believe the idea was to put a lug beneath each metatarsal. beneath each lug is a hollow chamber which allows each lug to compress and then spring back, theoretically allowing for energy return from the shoe. This is what Newton refers to as its patented action/reaction technology.
In my first hundred miles in these shoes I did not notice that this special piece of engineering provided any competitive advantage, but I did notice that the simple act of having the lugs beneath the forefoot, provided the forefoot with more forefoot protection from the ground than in most traditional running shoes, while simultaneously slightly raising the forefoot to create a zero drop shoe.
The midsole of the Newton MV2 provides more cushion than barefoot shoes such as Vibram FiveFingers, which have no midsole. A more cushioned shoe provides a comfortable ride over long distances, however, this also means that your foot is less able to retrieve feedback from the ground. Less ground feel allows the foot to be in contact with the ground for a longer period, producing a less efficient stride.
This being said, the midsole of Newton Mv2 strikes a good balance between barefoot shoes and more traditional running shoes. Offering comfort and protection for those long runs, while still encouraging natural, barefoot style, running form.
The upper of the Newton MV2 is a thin synthetic mesh. Thin enough that you can see through it when held up to the light. But this pours lightweight material is also very durable. After 100 miles of rocky trails (which the Newton MV2 was not designed for), the upper, though no longer sparkly white, is still in perfect shape.
Weighting in at only 5.8 ounces the Newton MV2 is lightweight for a racing flat, and it makes for an amazingly lightweight training shoe.
The Newton MV2 has a particularly narrow toe box. Unless you have a foot shaped like a missile, consider purchasing a half size larger. Though a narrow toe box is not a deal breaker, Newton Reps, if you are reading this, I do wish you would consider a toe box that is foot shaped.
Transitioning to a Zero Drop Shoe
Most runners are accustomed to traditional running shoes with an excessive heel-toe differential. This has left left most runners with muscle imbalances in the lower leg that can cause injury if transitioning to quickly to a zero drop shoe. Should you transition to a zero drop shoe? Yes, however, read this guide to ensure that your transition goes smoothly without injury.
Would I recommend the Newton MV2 to a friend?
As a natural running advocate, I strongly encourage the use of a lightweight zero drop shoe, to encourage a barefoot like running gait. The drawback to most lightweight zero drop barefoot/minimalist shoes is the lack of forefoot protection. The Newton design fixes this problem making the Newton MV2 ideal for the experienced and efficient natural runner interested in longer training runs. For less experienced runners, this shoe is probably best utilized as Newton suggests, only for shorter training runs and races.
Have you run in these shoes? What was your experience? How does it stack up against other shoes? Leave your comments below.