It’s great to get out-of-the-blue assignments. When I got a call from, Runner’s World asking me to profile Danny Abshire, the founder of Newton, who lives in Boulder, my first thought was, huh Out of the blue. I’d never heard of Newton and was a recreational runner at best (once or twice a week, six miles tops). But I love geeking out on new technology, particular disruptive technologies. Newton was just that—a shoe its inventor believed would change the world, or at least the world of runners. I don’t want to insert myself in the Newton argument. Google it and you’ll see why. There are plenty of forums with rabid Newtonians raving about the miracle shoe, while traditionalists and skeptics say it’s all hooey.
This much I know: The shoe inspired my return to serious running. My article wasn’t a product review, which meant my experience in Newtons didn’t make the final cut. And honestly, I have no idea if it’s the shoe itself or just Abshire’s infectious enthusiasm. But something got my ass out the door and onto the trails, sans the usual boredom and dread I had always felt toward running. My wife always jokes that I am a klutzy runner because I frequently stumble over invisible pavement weasels. But perhaps it was just that my heels were getting in the way? In Newtons, my legs feel buoyant and unencumbered. Am I faster? No. Was there an adjustment period? Absolutely. Sore calves plagued me following my first few outings. When I convey my delight to other runners, several decry, “You’ve gone to the Dark Side” or have “drank too much Kool-Aid.” Maybe so. But after dozens of runs in them, there’s no denying that something feels pleasantly different, and I cannot fathom going back to conventional shoes ever again.