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Newton Running Distance+ Review: Sustainable Speed
By David Salas

The Distance series from Newton Running has always been about producing speed without crushing the legs. The Distance continues this tradition of "speed trainer" in a sustainable package. The shoe comes in the 8 ounce range and provides good responsiveness and a really airy upper. The Distance+ is a performance trainer with biodegradable capabilities similar to the rest of the Plus lineup. 

Price: $170 at Newton Running
Weight: 8 oz, 227 g (men's size 9), 6.8 oz, 192 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: unknown
Drop: 2mm
Classification: Performance Trainer


The Newton Distance+ is a neutral performance trainer that delivers a familiar Newton ride with a touch more softness. The shoe uses a Dupont's Hytrel strobel to soften the ride. The Distance differentiates itself from the Gravity+ by having a much more airy and thin upper and an additional forefoot plate. 


The Newton Distance+ fits true to size in my normal Men's 9.5. The shoe has a normal width through the heel and the midfoot. The forefoot is a little more roomy. The tongue is lightly padded but still maintains a performance feel. The upper material is a little more synthetic, though incredibly airy and light. There is a really thin slightly rigid heel counter that is lightly padded as well. The lockdown of the shoe throughout is quite good and I have had no problems with slippage or translation. Overall, a very performance driven and lightweight upper with good security.


The Newton Distance+ is a performance trainer that can dabble with some hotter speed sessions and potentially racing. The shoe comes in the 8 oz range and is definitely a competitive weight for the category. The midsole is an EVA material from recycled content but does still have good responsiveness throughout thanks to the strobel and forefoot plate. The traction underfoot is decent throughout and provides good enough footing both on road and runnable trail or grass. This is definitely a shoe that prefers to get moving on road, but can dabble on some track as well. The shoe does provide a little more of an "aggressive" feel thanks to the lugs and forefoot plate. The midsole itself does feel a little softer than other Newtons I have run in. Even compared to the Gravity subjectively I found this to have an essence of softness and not quite as firm. With that said the shoe still turns over really quickly and is a fun shoe to do workouts in. You can do daily miles, and although you feel really nimble, I almost find myself wanting to run faster and don't have as much fun on the easy days. This is a performance/speed shoe that keeps the Newton DNA in a modern package. The lugs feel a tad less noticeable than the other models I think in part due to the softness. The transition in the heel and midfoot pretty fluid and integrated pretty well with the forefoot lugs. Those running in this shoe will have to have some calf strength and stability since it does pitch you forward pretty quickly onto the forefoot. With that said though the Distance+ and new Gravity+ both are my favorite Newtons. Distance+ leaning towards speed, and Gravity+ leaning a little more training, but still go fast.


The Distance+ is not necessarily aimed at stability, but does a decent job. Newton shoes in general do tend to be a little  bit lower on the stack heights and feel a little more grounded. Though the Distance+ is a little bit softer, it still feels very grounded from the get-go. The lugs also provide a pretty firm point of contact and you pretty much always know where you are. The upper locks down really well and provides good and trusted security when running in the shoe. The traction is decent enough for most conditions as well. The platform width is pretty normal throughout in comparison with most performance trainers. With all of this said, it is still a very neutral shoe. There isn't much outsole in the midfoot region which also might make this feel a tad softer. Those with neutral mechanics and light stability needs will probably like the design a lot, though those that may require a little more stability underfoot might look for something like the Motion+. Stability is pretty good overall though for having more of a minimal design. 


Throughout this review I have talked a little bit about calf and lower leg stability. The main muscle groups we would be looking at here would fall under the triceps surae. The triceps surae consists of the three different muscles. These three muscles are the gastrocnmius, soleus, and the plantaris. Most people are familiar with the gastrocnemius. This muscle has two heads and creates that bulk on the inside and outside of the upper calf muscles that bulge when someone has really defined calves. It is made up of a lot of type II explosive fibers and can create a lot of energy in a quick amount of time. The soleus is primarily oxidative and is a big driver of running economy and endurance. When we have good control and strength of the soleus this is where we can see large improvements in running stability and economy. The soleus controls the forward motion of the shin when we are walking and running. It also has the largest cross sectional area of any of the calf muscles. Though not as "powerful," it plays a much larger role in running mechanics and stability.

With a shoe like the Distance+ it is much more important to have stability in the calves, especially the soleus. The reason why is because the transition of the shin forward is going to happen a little bit quicker. Bohm et al. (2019) found that reduced shortening velocity of the soleus through the stance phases of the gait cycle may have positive impacts on running economy. Indirectly we can infer that the greater the stability and control we have in the soleus, the less crashing forward we will have. The result of this would greater economy when running. The Distance+ is a shoe that will work really well for some that have this area of their leg already developed well, but may take a little adaptive work for others.


Bohm, S., Mersmann, F., Santuz, A., & Arampatzis, A. (2019). The force-length-velocity potential of the human soleus muscle is related to the energetic cost of running. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286. 


I like the Distance+ a lot. This shoe and the Gravity+ really opened my eyes to some of the stuff Newton is doing. I think they are moving in the right direction having a different plate design for the performance shoe and using materials they can make last in sustainability. My main thing with the shoe is probably just rounding the heel a tad more and easing that transition through the midfoot. Despite having a really fun toe off, I still kind of felt disconnected with the other parts of the shoe. I had this in the Gravity+ as well. When running fast all of this goes away, but I think the transition could be cleaned up a tad as I am wearing that region more than I normally would. The other thing would probably be weight. If this going to be in the training category, then it is pretty solid where it is at. If it wants to dabble in the racing category it is a little north of where the market is. 


The Distance+ is a performance trainer and potential racer for those looking to have a close-to-ground feel with a really quick transitioning forefoot. A prerequisite will be to have good calf and plantar flexor stability so that you can run smoothly mile after mile in these unique shoes. Heel contact is still fine, though the midfoot transition being a little quicker through the forefoot requires good soleus stability. The shoe is really responsive throughout and gives a dynamic ride that you can bring to the road or track as a training companion. 


Fit: (Very well fitting upper with great accommodation. Very airy with good lockdown and security.)
A- (A great shoe for workouts and training companion. Still feels a little short of a racing shoe to me compared with everything else on the market but something you can use to hit workouts, intervals, and tempos.)
Stability: B+/A- (Definitely a neutral shoe but does a good job with indirect elements and lockdown to give a trusted and predictable ride.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (For using recycled materials and making a biodegradable product I think they did pretty darn good. The design is still going to be aggressive to some on usage, though overall a solid package.)
Personal: A- (A really fun shoe to run in, though even I have to work on my calf and intrinsic foot endurance a little to run in it a little more consistently. Overall, a very fun shoe and training companion.)
Overall: A- (A very well done performance trainer that can hit a little bit of everything. Great upper and good cause. The shoe still bottoms out a little bit as a genuine racer but can work as a great training companion for those with good lower leg stability.)


Price: $170 at Newton Running

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***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Newton for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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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