Back in March we provided an initial review on the Newton Lady Isaac Neutral Guidance Trainer, a neutral shoe designed for running and other activities. It’s now been a bit over two and a half months using these shoes and we’ve learned a bit more about our running form and these shoes. We expect to continue testing these shoes for another few months before we bring you a final review.
Before you read this review, make sure you head back to our first review to learn a bit more about Natural Running, Newton, and the barefoot running philosophy.
Our Running Since the Initial Review:
In April, we ran three times a week for an average of 5 to 6 miles each run. Since our reviewer is just a few weeks away from her due date, this qualifies as her long run. Also during April, we did a cardio workout two days a week using these shoes, since Newton claims their shoe is great for cardio in addition to running. Generally, these two workouts were on the elliptical for an hour and a half or a step class. Occasionally, we mixed it up with a spin class. Most of these long runs in April were on a treadmill due to Chicago’s unforgiving weather.
In May we reduced our training load a bit. Twice a week we got outside for a 4 mile run and two days a week we worked the elliptical for an hour.
Pros and Cons of the Lady Isaac Neutral Guidance Trainer:
One of the things we haven’t overcome with the Newton shoes yet is being conscious about our running form. Even after two and a half months, we have to be aware of our form and correct our footstrike to make sure we land mid/forefoot versus landing on our heel.
Though our form feels good, we aren’t absolutely sure we’re striking properly. Since much of our running has been on the treadmill, our shoes aren’t showing significant wear to tell if we’re landing mid/forefoot versus on the heel. We hope this changes as we get back on the pavement.
Finally, our biggest concern has been heel pain and soreness. After long runs, longer than an hour, we have experienced a significant amount of heel pain. This could be due to improper form on our part and we’re exploring ways to mitigate the pain. The good news here is that Newton doesn’t expect the process of switching to new shoes to be as easy as slipping on Newtons. We had a conversation with a Newton rep and she provided a great deal of information regarding natural running. First, we checked out a few drills as described by Danny Abshire. You can also check out Newton’s YouTube channel for tips and tricks. You can also check out Newton’s running clinics if they happen to be close to you.
Now, there are a number of good things we’ve noticed about the Lady Isaac Trainers. First, we absolutely love the fit of the shoe. Since we have a wider foot, the spacious toebox feels great and the mesh really helps keep our feet from overheating during long runs.
Second, the lightweight design and cushion in the forefoot is excellent and does give us a bit more bounce during workouts, especially the cardio we’ve done recently.
During our elliptical workouts, these shoes have eliminated the constant numbness we normally experience. Though we don’t know what causes this in our previous shoes, we never had an issue with the Newton’s.
Finally, our most significant and positive experience with these shoes is the lack of joint and muscle pain. Even taking into consideration that pregnancy has caused a reduction in training intensity, these shoes have done a great job eliminating joint and muscle pain. We often experience IT band pain, largely because of lack of strength in our abductor muscles. With these shoes, we have had NO knee pain, period.
Though we normally only test shoes for 2-3 months, we are going to continue using and reporting on these shoes. Since changing our form and running style is an important component of using these shoes, we think an additional two to three months of testing is necessary before making a final decision. We’re working on our form and hope to eliminate the heel pain we’ve experienced on longer runs. We will keep you updated if there are any developments, but barring that, look for a final review in July.