Newton Boco AT – One Word: Gimmick!

Newton-BoCo-ATTrail shoes come in various forms and each brand has their unique selling points to cut through the clutter. Some are points of difference that are beneficial, while others are just gimmicks. For example, look at the stupid barefoot/minimalist running fad that sucked so many people in! Well, Newton has a gimmick of their own – forcing you onto your toes. Now this is fine…if you’re running a track race of 5,000m or less. But when it comes to the longer stuff, it’s just plain ridiculous. Even the fastest marathoner in the world lands and pushes off from the midfoot. These shoes try to make you toe-off, which aint gonna happen at 4 minutes or slower per kilometer, which is your average trail run pace.
Now that I’ve covered that element of the Boco, I’ll talk about the other things, some of which are great. In terms of looks, they’re bright, have a genuine tough appearance to them and will stand out from the crowd. That said, they’re still ugly. The 3mm heel to toe drop is minimal, so there’s nothing to worry about there, plus they’re quite light (272g). The upper is made from a closed mesh that keeps the dirt out and is very supportive. A water repellent coating helps keep your feet dry, which is handy when you’re walking through wet grass before a race. I for one hate shoes where your toes are wet before even starting the race, thanks to simply jogging around on grass that’s wet with morning fog.
1f138d03-d842-4241-a328-d69481339f28The midsole is soft and rigid, with the only really flexible part being right at the toe. I personally would have preferred the rigidness to run right through the shoe, giving a stable platform. The grip is fantastic on rocky or muddy terrain and gives you confidence when descending. The toe box is spacious but not overly open, giving you a snug fit but not to the point where you feel your toes pushing against the front when running down steep hills. There’s also a really good toe bumper that protects against rocks or other hazards on the trails.
In all, the Boco is a decent shoe and some will argue that being forced onto their toes is a good thing. I can’t help but feel that it’s not necessary and can be detrimental. Most facets of shoe design that look to change your biomechanics, such as anti-pronation, are there to prevent injury. In this case, it’s not done for injury prevention, but to supposedly improve performance….which it won’t.

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