Just a quick note about our shoe reviews... as Pose Certified Running Coaches, we will only review shoes that have been designed according to our philosophy of natural running and the guidelines set forth by our certification. This generally means shoes that have a heel-to-toe drop of no more than 4.5 mm that promote forefoot landing. For more information on why we take this approach to shoes, please see our blog post: 3 Steps to Finding the Perfect Running Shoe. For more information on the Pose Running Method, please start with this blog post: Running Injury? Strike a Pose! (Running Method).
The Newton Distance Elite was designed over a year ago for the Newton Elite Running Team. The team requested a shoe that was lighter than the new 5-lug Distance models. So they built it on the "old" 4-lug platform to save on weight, apparently that 5th lug makes all the difference! Since, we’ve been running in Newton’s for years, we had no problem adjusting to 4 lugs. The 5-lug platform provides a wider base and is therefore more stable, so unless you’re used to running in Newton’s you may need more time to adjust to these shoes.
Julia: I actually prefer the 5-lug platform because it provides more stability when I round corners but Patrick prefers the 4-lug platform because he believes he can feel the road a little more. Even among the pros it seems the 4-lug versus 5-lug platform is a matter of personal preference, for example, long-time Newton-sponsored professional triathletes Craig Alexander and Rachel Joyce run in the Distance Elite, but others, like Tim van Berkel (three time winner of Long Distance Triathlons: 2008 Busselton, 2010 and 2011 in Copenhagen) continue to run in the 5-lug Distance model.
Newton made other choices to make this shoe as light as possible. The upper has been reduced to just a single layer of large gauge mesh. There are only three points on the upper that have some form of reinforcement: the toe section, the mid foot section, and a small heel cup. This makes the upper extremely flexible and light but also eliminates most of the support. This lack of support becomes even more pronounced when running on curves or on anything other than smooth asphalt. But to be fair, this shoe was built for runners with a neutral gait and concerned only with speed.
As we mentioned earlier, the midsole is the traditional 4-lug platform but interestingly is not classified as POP 1, 2, or 3 as all of the other models. Why? Not sure. But the drop is exactly the same as other POP1 Distance models. The heel is made of lightweight EVA Foam vs the traditional rubber compound, which has better wear.
Patrick: I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of how the original Newton Distance (versus Distance Elite) fit around my big fat toes. The Distance Elite is a bit more lightweight, a bit more flexible, and I find that this shoe has more of a natural feel on my foot than the original Distance models because of the wider toe box. This allows my toes to splay more naturally when I land on my forefoot and activate that famous Newton Action/Reaction technology in the sole.
If you are in strong shape and run with an efficient gait, the Distance Elite can be a great shoe on race day. Due to the lightweight nature, you may want something more substantial for your everyday training shoe. If you’re a triathlete, you’ll will want to equip your pair with a faster lacing system, but on the plus side the upper is so open and porous that the shoe doesn't hold water.
However, if you require even modest support or cushioning, we advise you to pick one of the other models in the Newton line. The Distance Elite is a great, light shoe and available in an Ironman branded model, but it is probably only ideal for runners and triathletes who have a super-efficient running technique and can get away with the bare minimum of support and cushioning.
The Newton Distance Elite (or Ironman Elite) weighs in at 7.2 ounces for men's size 9. The Elite model comes in two colors, the Ironman Elite in just one.
Keep on Running!
Julia, Patrick & Jo-Jo
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