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 Newton BOCO AT 5 Review

Designed to be a durable trail running shoe that can tackle nearly any weather or condition the Newton BOCO AT 5 delivers. Newton continues to create a unique running experience as the BOCO AT 5 features many components familiar to the Newton brand as well as some unique features specifically for the trail. The BOCO AT 5 has a water resistant upper, multidirectional lugs throughout for traction on the trails, and a metatarsal stretch panel. 

Specifications (per Newton Running)
Weight: 10.6 ounces
Stack Height: N/A
Drop: 3mmm
Classification: Trail Running


The Newton BOCO AT 5 is a very unique trail shoe. The shoe has nearly unmatched traction and a claw like sensation with contacting the ground. This creates a really responsive toe off not normally felt in many trail models. The shoe continues to expand on the unique running experience that Newton has done for years while also providing the runner with some traditional trail features like a water resistant upper and foot and ankle protection over many different kinds of terrain. 


The Newton BOCO AT 5 fits true to size overall with normal width throughout the heel (maybe slightly wide) and midfoot. The forefoot has a slightly wide toe box for toe splay similar to most Newton models. Overall the hold on the foot is good through the midfoot and heel and I required no lace lock. Occasionally some debris would kick up into the heel from trails, but overall it fit well. The shoe has a toe bumper up front to help with rock protection and abrasion when running. Though this came in handy many times it is on the thick side and makes the front of the shoe feel shorter on length. Though I did have some pressure to the region with some rubbing, I never had large problems with it. It was just mostly noticeable with large declines and sharper turns. The upper is water resistant with a thinner construction medially and laterally which helps a little with the drainage. The overlays are strategic and keep the foot and upper reinforced well. Overall the upper is very impressive, for it is durable and also breathable in all conditions. The bumper is an awesome addition to the shoe, but may be too prominent for some. Lengthening the shoe slightly might fix that. 


This is the fun part. The shoe does not run like what the specifications would tell you. The shoe is so nimble and quick for a shoe that weighs 10.6 ounces. The forefoot lugs are noticeable, but more from a traction and propulsion standpoint. They feel more subtle than other Newton models, but still present in a positive way. The multidirectional lugs are integrated into the shoe very well and provide next level traction in any situation. I have taken this through rocks, mud, woodchips, varying technical level trails, and never once felt like the shoe was going to give on me. The ride is firm like most trail shoes, though still protective enough for longer mileage. For those use to firmer shoes it could be a potential road to trail option, though this is much more trail specific in design. The forefoot is pretty flexible for a trail shoe and has a flex groove built in just beyond the forefoot lugs. The drop ratio of 3mm feels true but the transition points of the shoe are constructed well enough that it does not feel overly aggressive. As described earlier, the shoe has a claw like sensation when gripping the ground. The heel has just enough cushioning and transitions quickly through the midfoot to toe off, and so the lugs are felt. The shoe feels like it wants to be run in quickly and helps keep the legs feeling light, even in "mushy" situations. The shoe does really well in descents and in sharp turns, though is a little inhibited by the bumper being so involved length wise. I would have some rubbing on the foot in that region, but confidence in the shoe to make those types of moves was never in question. 


The stability of the BOCO AT 5 is really well constructed. Newton normally keeps lower stack heights and relies on dynamic mobility and interaction of the shoe for cushioning and stability. The lower stack height and firm ride contribute to stability. The upper is very well constructed and will hold in nearly any situation. There are no formal posting measures, but the outsole does have an extension along the medial and lateral aspect of the forefoot, almost creating a guide rail for the lug system. This does a great job of keeping motion linear and is noticeable with the positive impact on traction. This is arguable the most "sticky" shoe I have run in trails and this also contributes to stability. The toe guard makes things difficult, for it positively impacts the stability of the shoe, but its over involvement could put pressure on the region and make the runner choose to run the shoe slightly differently. 


The Newton BOCO AT 5 is a trail running shoe that can do a little bit of everything in the trails but leans more toward training mileage. However in heavy technical terrain and in mountain racing it could be an option with the traction's ability to run technical terrain downhill in tight situations. The shoe is very fast for its weight and makes a great training trail shoe, workout shoe, and potentially long distance racer if someone is used to lower stack and cushioned shoes. 


The Newton BOCO AT 5 had some wear early on in the forefoot lugs but has held well since then. I would expect normal durability out of the BOCO AT 5 when compared to most trail shoes. The lugs are thick and prominent and should be around for a while. I'd expect 300 quality trail miles out of them with some occasional road use thrown in there. The upper should hold just fine and not blow out. The midsole has remained feeling consistent throughout wear testing and should continue to ride well throughout the life of the shoe. 


Newton did a good job of creating stability without using formal "stability" measures. What do I mean by this? They used the construction and geometry of the shoe to their advantage. Most trail shoes tend to run firm and provide good traction with reinforced uppers. Newton also did this, but decided to get creative with the concept and make the BOCO AT 5 unique from other trail models on the market. Newton did this by adapting their normal forefoot lug pattern and integrating it into a trail model that was interactive from nearly every angle. The outsole has multidirectional lugs at nearly every common contact point to ensure traction and stability through that transition point. Then whether someone is a heel, midfoot, or forefoot striker... it doesn't matter. The midfoot to forefoot transition has a build up in the outsole lugs on both the medial and lateral aspects of the shoe that create a guiderail effect. Once the foot is traveling through that pathway it enters the Action Reaction Technology that Newton uses in all of their shoes to give it a snappy and quick toe off. I am a big fan of them using multiple smaller lugs in this region rather than their normal large single 5 lug design. The smaller lugs and gap allow for a little bit more flexibility in a rigid design which also allows for a smoother toe off. On top of that their is a deeper flex groove just distal to the forefoot lugs. The result is a really smooth, stable, and engaging ride without any posting or maneuvering of dual density foams. Kudos to Newton. 


 I really like the Newton BOCO AT 5 and have minimal recommendations. The ride is very fun and nimble, but is hindered a little bit by the length issue and toe guard involvement. I like the toe guard itself, but think that the shoe can be lengthened slightly to allow for a little bit more room for the "piggies" while still protecting them. 


The Newton BOCO AT 5 is a trail running shoe for anyone who is looking to eat the ground every time they make contact with it. The traction is arguably the "stickiest" I have ever experience and I am fully confident taking it into any situation on the trails. The shoe is fast and nimble for its weight and will cater to those who like lower stack height and lower drop trail options. The shoe is potentially raceable for longer trail distances but leans more towards daily trail efforts. With how fun the ride is... I would love to see Newton make a trail racing specific version of this model. 


Fit                     9/10 (great fit throughout, slightly wide heel, feels short length with thick toe bumper)
Ride                  9.5/10 (toe guard puts pressure on toes in large declines and sharp turn situations)
Stability            9.5/10 (toe guard puts pressure up front, saved by forefoot flexibility, multidirectional lugs great)
Speed                9.25/10 (fast for weight, but still noticeable in large climbs and long miles)
Durability         9.25/10 (early wear on forefoot lugs but should last normal training volume)

Total Score: 93% 

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Newton Running for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 36 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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