Newton News – story and photos by Caroline Treadway
Every Saturday morning, Newton co-founder Danny Abshire holds a free weekly clinic at the Newton Running Store in downtown Boulder, Colorado. An avid runner myself, I was curious to see how the new neon runners measured up to the hype. Please read the rest of my Newton post on venturethere.com!
It’s 10 am and the participants are trickling in. Abshire greets each one, “Do you have any pain? Tight muscles?” He listens to various complaints with steady gray eyes that barely contain his passion for running – and Newton shoes.
“Newton is all about the laws of physics,” Abshire says, assessing Natalie Golaszcewski’s feet. The 24-year-old recent college graduate says she’s been on the couch for six months due to knee pain and tight IT Bands.
“I’ve been doing physical therapy but it s not really working,” Golaszcewski says. “I’ve always been a runner, I’ll do anything to run again.”
Abshire holds up one of her old sneakers. “See this?” he says, pointing to the beefy heel. “For the past 30 years, we’ve been heel-striking in foam shoes without proper attention to form. We have to retrain our bodies to run.”
Inspired by Sir Isaac and barefoot Olympian Zola Budd, Newton founders Danny Abshire and Jerry Lee are revolutionizing the running world with shoes meant to mimic the mechanics of barefoot running, for complete novices and competitive long-distance runners alike.
But Newton isn’t just worried about feet. The company donates to causes like Athletes for a Cure Prostate Cancer Foundation (co-founder Jerry Lee is a survivor), Trickle Up, an organization that helps people living on less than $1 a day and One World Running, which donates “gently used” sneakers internationally.
Abshire leads the group to a park and we shed our shoes. “Feel that?” he says, wriggling his toes in the cool grass. “See how you can feel every blade of grass with the front of your foot but not the heel? That s because we have over 200,000 nerve endings in our forefoot.”
He coaches each of us on proper barefoot running technique. “Head up, hips level, quick, light strides, now lean forward.” Abshire zooms forward like a Segway. “Feel the freedom of your ankles. We run with our whole body, not just our legs.”
David Wheeler, a Boulderite who’s run competitively for 12 years, says he’s actually speedier since donning the new sneaks. “In one week, I’m way faster in these shoes than I’ve ever been.”
An unexpected convert, I left the Newton store $150. lighter, a smarter runner and ready to adopt Abshire’s ethos: “Running should be fun. The point is to relax and be in a peaceful place.”