Thomas: Newton is moving their top shoes over to the POP platform and replacing their four lug action reaction technology. The POP platform is rated from POP 1 – POP 3, 1 being the most noticeable lugs down to POP 3 which will most likely be as close to a shoe without a lug that Newton will offer. Newton purists can debate the merits of this. I have already heard grumblings from die hard four lug lovers. I have always liked running with Newtons, but I admit I would retire them at 300 miles due to the outer lug wearing down and creating an uneven feel to the shoes landing and take off. So for me the five lug works with my foot strike dispersing the impact over a more surface area. Most of the shoes we review are media samples. We actually purchased both a men’s and women’s Distance III for this review. Men’s 10.5 weight: 8.2 oz. Women’s 7.5 weight: 6.4 oz. Drop: 2mm
Thomas: This is a low profile light weight shoe that feels fast and offers enough cushion and support for a marathon. The fit of the upper works well with my narrow foot and accommodates wider feet as well. The lugs are surely noticeable without being a distraction that some runners feel the 4 lug pattern was. I really enjoy the way the shoes outsole feels through the gait. The lugs almost have the bite of a rubber cleat. The Distance III scores with looks, fit, weight, and smooth transition through my mid foot gait. They are cool looking shoes, the bright colors draw attention if you enjoy a bit of flash. The bright colors paired with the 360º of reflective materials is also a safety feature. Believe me everyone will see you coming.
Meaghan: I fell in love with the Newton Motion III and thought about using that shoe for my last race (the St. Michael’s Half) until I learned about the Distance III. They’re a similar shoe with a few key differences. The Motion is a stability shoe; it’s meant for every day running and higher mileage. The Distance is a neutral speed trainer intended more for racing and speed work. With a very similar heel-to-toe-drop (2mm vs. 3mm for Motion), they offer similar ground feel, but the Distance comes with a slightly lighter build (6.4oz vs. 7oz).
The upper of the Distance III is designed with a breathable, stretchy mesh, a few soft overlays and reflective panels on all angles of the shoe. One of my favorite aspects of the Distance is the way it glows in the sun and reflects off the light. You can’t quite capture it in a photo, but trust me, they’re hard to miss – day or night. Another part of this shoe that I’ve come to love is the POP 1 platform, or the 5 lug “point of power” as Newton suggests. Having recently run in the Motion III, I was fairly accustomed to the feel, but they seemed particularly prominent in the Distance. I really feel like I’m getting an extra kick with every toe-off, making the speedier miles a little easier. I ended up wearing this shoe for the St. Michael’s half and they performed perfectly. I PR’d (1:30) and placed 3rd overall for women.
Thomas: Should Newton have radically changed the marque shoes? I am not sure on this one. It might have been better if they kept the Gravity, Motion, and Distance four lug, and come out with new five lug models. I am sure somebody in marketing has the answer to why they did not do it that way.
The original pair of Distance I ordered from Zappos had a defect. The welded seam un-bonded from the upper material. I posted a pic on instagram and another runner sent me her pic where the the same issue happened to her shoe. I was contacted by Newton, they requested the defective shoes back and sent me a new pair. So far no issues with the replacement.
Meaghan: Sometimes I get pebbles stuck between my lugs. Eh.
Thomas: I love running in the Newton Distance III. Days when I want to pick it up, the shoe gives me an instant pep in my step. I would still go with a speed shoe like the MV3 for the track, but the Distance III is a solid choice for training miles, tempo runs, and fast races up to and beyond 26.2s. At $155 they are on the more expensive side of trainers right now, but I think they are worth it even with the initial quality fail. I will update this if I have an issue with the replacement shoes. So far I have about 35 miles on the 2nd pair, 57 miles on the original pair.
Meaghan: Rarely do I wear a running shoe after I’ve raced in them (it’s more of a habitual thing than anything else). But I’ve taken this shoe out for runs time and time again, even after the St. Michaels half. It’s become one of my favorite shoes and a definite go-to when I’m heading to the track or working on speed. If you like bright colors and a little extra oomph for your speed workouts, you’re going to really like this shoe.
Steve Speirs’ review of the Distance III