Newton sneakers are known for being minimal and mostly flat. They’re made to help runners connect their foot with the ground without having to go completely barefoot.
So as a runner who typically needs a supportive, cushioned shoe and who has never previously succeeded with a minimalist type sneaker in the past, I was extremely surprised to find that Newton’s Motion III Mileage Trainer is a comfortable shoe for me.
Other slightly minimal shoes that I’ve tried in the past (like the Saucony Kinvara 4 and the Addidas ClimaCool) left me with sore feet and threw my IT bands out of whack. I loved that they were lightweight, but the lack of cushioning made them very uncomfortable to run in for me.
Then came Newton’s Motion III Mileage Trainers. Of course after the previous experiences described above I was hesitant to try them, but all the good things I had heard about the brand’s shoes from other runners helped instill a bit of confidence in me.
Because I tend to need a shoe with more cushioning I’ve strayed from running long-distance workouts with these and reserved them for short sprints and easy recovery runs, both workouts that I’ve found them to be a great sneaker option for.
The soles of Newton shoes feature what the company calls “lugs” (or an “anatomical metatarsal stretch panel”) at the forefoot of each sneaker. It’s a horizontal row of small panels designed to absorb impact and increase responsiveness through a “dynamic movement system.”
Previously their sneakers were designed with four lugs, but many of the new models, including the Motion IIIs, feature a fifth lug, which is said to increase the “pop” sensation that helps runners keep their gait light and trampoline-like.
Before now I had never run in a Newton shoe before, so I can’t attest to the difference made by the extra lug, but I did notice the “pop” sensation and felt that the feature definitely helped me to keep my gait light and felt more well-connected with the ground for a more natural running form.
The lugs are also said to help runners land in the mid-foot to forefoot area, a running technique that helps avoid heel strike which is sometimes argued as poor running form. Because my feet felt more in control and connected to the ground I do feel like I am better able to achieve a forefoot strike when I run in these shoes.
The Motion III’s also feature a lightweight, breathable mesh, 3mm heel-to-toe drop and 360-degree reflectivity for increased visibility. The women’s version weight in at 7.8 ounces and the men’s at 9.3 ounces.
I’ve personally found that they are a comfortable minimal option that I can use for short speed workouts (which are ideally run better with a more lightweight shoe) and would recommend them to runners looking for a more natural shoe that will provide cushioning without adding extra weight.
Related: The 20 Best Running Shoes of 2014