Going Natural

I’ve always been a natural kind of gal.  Growing up in Southern California, it’s been easy.  Shoes are an option.  Makeup just makes me late in the morning.  I prefer a wash and wear hairstyle.  I forget deodorant constantly.  It only makes sense that I would eventually gravitate to a natural running shoe.  As we all know, I’ve been enveloped in a harrowing search for the perfect running shoe.  I thought maybe I’d found bliss with New Balance but during the April Fool’s Half, I had the most extreme foot pain I’ve ever experienced.  I finally bit the bullet and bought these little numbers, the Newton Energy.

Purrrrty

It’s a gateway shoe. 

These particular shoes are designed as a transitional shoe.  They’re pretty comparable to my fashion sneakers, yet they’re more breathable and have these funky little raised platforms called “lugs”.  I had no idea these even existed in shoes.  In theory, these lugs facilitate an easier transition from heel strike to a mid-foot strike, which lessens injury and pain.  Which is good because I do not like pain. Well, I’ve spent my first week with my new trainers and I just want you all to know, you’re witnessing something magical happening here.

I took two circuit classes and did two short, 1-2 mile runs in my new sneaks.  I started with easy runs to build up my tolerance, so to speak.  I followed these instructions from the Newton Running site, http://www.newtonrunning.com/run-better-1/form.  The shoes fit my wide foot nicely.  I usually have very little lace leftover and my shoes still feel tight.  These are nice and roomy with plenty of lace to spare.  I can wiggle my toes and my foot doesn’t spill out over the base.

I had zero foot pain during my workouts.  ZERO.  However, the day after my run, I had muscle soreness in all these new places.  My shins, the inside of my knees, my obliques and love handles ached the next day.  The biggest shock was how light I felt during my run.  The lugs work as a landing platform and make kicking off super easy.  One of my runs was up Mt. Rubidoux, a steep mile long hill that I’ve never been able to run before.  I still couldn’t run all the way, but there were moments of jogging that seemed effortless.  Needless to say, I felt nothing short of euphoria.

I’m hesitant to proclaim my love and devotion quite yet, because it’s only been a week and I haven’t used these shoes for any long distances.  But I’m rapidly approaching the point of no return.  I’m already trying to decide my next pair.  Should I go for mileage?  Speed?  The options have been blown wide open!  Newton may have just changed my running life.

Do you run natural?  Have you been contemplating the switch?  Any advice?  Share in the comments! 

10 thoughts on “Going Natural

  1. These sound much like my Altra Intuitions. I started off with them gradually and did have some calf pain because they were drop zero shoes. I can honestly say that they feel great and I never had any foot pain, but about a month and a half after using them regularly i’ve experience the worse IT band pain ever. I don’t know if that was just a coincidence or not. Obviously my IT band pain probably had more to do with my form than my shoes!

    • My shins have been super sore this week but I never know if it’s from my shoes or from some new thing my trainer made me do. I tried Altras a couple years ago but I didn’t give them enough time. I’m going to stick it out this time!

  2. I bought / tried the Newtons. I did like them. However, given my ongoing IT band syndrome, I’m not really sure if they were for me or not. I would be happy to try them again once I am without knee pain…but for now, I am sticking to my Brooks Glycerin which have been a good shoe for the moment.

  3. I don’t think there’s much “natural” about the Newtons, even though they have now a more “anatomically correct” lug count. Not saying they are bad shoes mind you. I’m a big believer in Form > Function, and you can run with healthy form in almost any sort of shoe, however certain shoes do help better than others 😉

    The Skora Fit (http://bit.ly/NBNAww)would be a nice step in a more natural position, it’s zero drop and quite flexible, but still has 16mm of stack height. It’s my go-to shoe for long runs.

  4. I also like “natural” running shoes. I have a pair from Altra, and they are wonderful for my wide feet. I trained for a triathlon in them. I hope you continue to enjoy yours as well.

You’ve heard my thoughts! Would love to hear yours here.