I’m a long-time fan of Newton running. They do a great job at educating, teaching and informing people around the globe about proper running form. The shoes? They’re just the means to put all that knowledge and technology onto your feet. I tell people to get over the price tag – I spent an extra $30 on my first pair 10 years ago and it changed my running form and mechanics forever. I’ve been injury-free ever since.
Hello Old Friend
I have not worn Newton shoes for a long time however so when a friend introduced me to Newton’s first trail running shoe – the BoCo AT – I was intrigued and cautious at the same time. I had used the original Newton Performance line for about 3 years before the lugs started to hurt more than they helped. I was concerned that the lugs on these trail shoes would interfere with the grip, cushion and feel I’ve come to expect in my (trail) shoes.
I’ll be honest, most of these things don’t matter to me but no self-respecting shoe review would be complete without them. They’re light, priced well and darn near zero-drop…if nothing else, the colors will get you noticed!
Retail price: $129
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Heel-to-toe drop: 3 mm
Color: Really bright green (men’s) or really bright pink (women’s)
Shoe name: Derived from the birthplace of the shoe (Boulder, Colorado) + All-Terrain = BoCo AT
How They Fit
They are perhaps the truest-to-fit shoe I’ve ever found. With a borderline Oompa-Loompa shoe size (US 8.5), I’ve found that most shoes fit well around the heel and ankle but tend to be a tad too long in the toe box. When I compared these against other shoes I have (using ShoeFitr), you can clearly see they are true to size yet the feel, comfort and cushion is much better than anything else I’ve worn.
Over time, most other shoes stretch and give in all the places you want them to stay snug – ultimately causing rubbing and blisters. I’ve yet to experience any stretching with the BoCo AT and the fit remains as true as the first day I tried them on.
How they Feel
I realize that feel is very subjective but the first thing I noticed about the BoCo’s is how great they hugged my entire foot. With most shoes, there is always that one thing you overlook because you’re madly in love with the rest of it. But honestly, these just feel like they were made for my foot. Even with my Superfeet insoles replacing the ETC anti-friction and anti-bacterial sockliner (what ever the hell that is…), this shoe fits like a glove.
Until trying the BoCo’s, I’ve struggled finding trail shoes that provide an evenly-laced experience from top to bottom. The fat laces make this shoe easy to tie, evenly distributes the pressure and more importantly stays tied. The toe-box is not so tight that my toes feel restricted or rub against the inside though. That fit translates evenly across the top of my foot and all the way back around my ankles and into my heel.
And the lugs? Not an issue with these. As you can see, they are almost underwhelming in terms of prominence on the shoe. It might even make you wonder why they even bothered. The cool thing is that they’re well integrated to the overall structure of this shoe. They provide a solid base and traction yet just enough feel to encourage fore-foot striking to propel you across any trail you care to tackle. I’ve never felt off balance or unstable in these shoes – either because of the lugs or the overall fit. Something I can’t say of other shoes I’ve worn over the years.
How they Wear
I am approaching 100 miles on these shoes and about the only thing showing wear is the green foamy arch part on the bottom of the shoe (wear = the raised Newton logo is rubbing away). I imagine the rougher the trails, the faster this will wear. The more important parts of the shoe like the tread and lugs have shown little to no wear and remain exceptionally stable on trail runs of all distances (up to 15 miles) The rubber toe bumper has saved my piggies more than a couple times and seems to take a beating pretty well. Though I have not run in the elements (e.g., rain or mud), I have a good sense that the tightly meshed upper (that is supposedly treated with a durable water-repellent coating) is at least breathable enough to prevent my feet from over-heating and solid enough to keep the dirt and gravel out.
You need to try the Newton BoCo AT’s.
Even if you’ve never experienced Newton’s before, this freshman offering is one of the first shoes I’ve been immediately satisfied with. While other shoes take time to adjust or break in, these have impressed me with their level of comfort, cushion and feel while on the trail. The price point is even slightly less than other more well-known trail brands and yet they live up to both the durability and performance standards Newton has come to be known for.
Though I don’t envision wearing these for ultra distance races, I think they are a great shoe for both recreational and race settings. They are my shoe of choice these days and it takes a lot of convincing to add other shoes into the rotation. I hope you like them as much as I do.