I have been a fan of Newton Running shoes since 2009 when I purchased my first pair of Gravity (then they were called Gravitas.) I have owned and run countless miles in Sir Isaacs, multiple versions of the Gravity, Distance, MV2, and MV3 (review coming soon.) The biggest feature you will notice about the Energy NR compared to other Newton Running shoes is the five less pronounced lugs. Except for the MV2 and MV3 all the other Newton running shoes have four lugs. When I first heard of the Energy NR, I figured they were trying to make a shoe that would appeal to more customers and be less appealing to me. I imagined I would be writing a review about a mediocre shoe that I might recommend to a beginner to both running and the “Newton experience.” I had heard some mixed thoughts on the shoes from some of the wear testers, so I wasn’t expecting too much from the Energy NR. Meaghan and I were provided with Newton Energy NR running shoes, so that we could write this review.
Meaghan: I’ve never owned a pair of Newton’s, but I’ve read a lot about the brand and science behind the shoes. Ever since I started gravitating towards minimal style running, I’ve been interested in trying them. Plus, any running brand with a marketing campaign around “flying your freak flag” seems worthy of a review.
My first impression of this shoe was that it looks like a giant, bulky trainer. But, as we all know, looks can be deceiving. They are light (women’s weigh in at 7.0 oz) and fit perfectly. I always appreciate a shoe with a broad midfoot and open forefoot to endure my wide feet. These have both. The Energy is one of the softest shoes I’ve run in. With a 6mm drop, they provide plenty of support and cushioning. The lugs in the forefoot feel comfortable on toe-off and the support through the midfoot and heel give a smooth, spongy ride. The mesh upper is breathable and light, while the collar and tongue are lightly padded for comfort. Right out of the box, I felt comfortable taking these out for a long run (one of my first runs was an 18-miler.) I never had any hot spots, pain, or irritation and they felt great through every workout.
Thomas: My first run in the Newton Energy NR was an 18 miler. I pulled the shoes out of my trunk and strapped them on last minute. These shoes fit well. I love that the toe box isn’t oversized. the toe box trend has gone too far, some of them feel like bell bottoms or flares. They just keep getting bigger. What was I saying? Oh yeah, the good stuff about the Energy NR. The shoe feels light on the foot (9 oz.) which is surprising since it also feels super cushy. They have held up really well too. I have put over 100 miles on the Energy and the bottoms/outsoles still look fresh. The upper doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary overlays, the shoe is pretty simple. With a 6mm drop they don’t throw the breaks on during my stride. They just feel good. Between the fit and the cushioning, they feel like a luxury shoe. Clouds come to mind.
Meaghan: I appreciate what Newton has done to make this shoe comfortable, but I certainly don’t feel fast. The spongy cushioning is perfect for long distance and recovery runs, but I wouldn’t use these for a speed workout. I also prefer to double knot my laces which was a challenge due to the length. The good news is that they stayed tied regardless (a rare occurrence for me)!
Thomas: They might be too cushy, which why I tended to pull them out for my long slow distance (LSD) runs and recovery runs. One online friend mentioned he took the insoles out and that it provided the perfect amount of cushion and road feel. I did not try this, however Newton may want to look at a thinner footbed insert or play with the amount cushion in the midsole.*
Meaghan: The Newton Energy NR is a quality shoe. I’ve put over 65 miles on them and so far I haven’t seen any real wear. They’ve continued to be my choice of shoe for easy runs, long or short. Since Newton’s intent was to transition the average runner into a Newton runner, I am the perfect case study (having never run in Newton’s before). I’m curious to try out a more traditional Newton shoe such as the Gravity or Distance with a smaller drop and the “actuator” forefoot lugs. I don’t know if I’m hooked on these shoes, but I can attest for the quality, and I’m certainly intrigued.
Thomas: I really like this shoe. I have three top shoes in mind for best running shoe of 2013, one of them is the Newton Running Energy NR. Some of my favorite training runs in this marathon cycle involved doing warm up runs to the track in the Energy NR, then putting on the Newton MV3 for the speed work, finally throwing the Energy back on for the run home. There is not another shoe that I have tried that combines light weight and super cushioned ride that the Energy NR packs. The shoe is holding up above average. After over 100 miles there is barely any sign of significant wear on the bottoms. This is a fantastic shoe for long runs, a little too squishy for speed work or 5ks. I know I just said they are not good for shorter speedier runs, however, I did run a 5k and place second in my AG wearing the Energy. It was was a smaller race with only about 300 people and I was not planning on running it competitively. Check out Runblogger’s take on the Newton Energy NR and Brandon Wood’s review on the Gearist.
*I waited to read Runblogger’s review until I wrote mine. I respect Pete’s opinion and did not want to be swayed. After publishing the review I saw that Pete had tried the Energy with the GOrun 2 foot bed insole. I tried it out on a 9 mile run. Newton may want to try it out too. I have my marathon shoe picked out for the Lehigh Valley Marathon in two weeks. If I didn’t I might go with the Energy with the GOrun 2 insole.