The Newton Gravity III is considerably more cushioned than the racing-oriented Distance III. Like the Distance, the new Gravity III features the 5-lug forefoot, a terrific improvement in comfort that make little or no compromise in Newton’s mission of guiding your foot to the vaunted mid-foot strike. Whereas the old four lug models felt a little like cleated bicycle shoes, the five lugs in the Gravity III are barely noticeable. High mileage runners will appreciate the extra cushioning as well.
As a self-professed early adopter, I gave the original Newtons a go several years ago, drawn to its bright sock-like upper and its promised new technology to aid in footstrike. I wanted to like them—I even bought a second pair, a fluorescent pink number that raised funds for breast cancer research. But try as I might, I couldn’t warm up to that annoying bump under my forefoot. Even with a “proper” footstrike, those lugs never let up.
However, the new five-lug models have finally got it right. Adding that extra lug and slightly rearranging the placement underfoot helps realize the raison d’etre for the shoes: an aid for proper footstrike. The five lugs more naturally correspond to your foot’s anatomy, making for a more natural feel.
The Gravity III is heavier than the Distance III and is my least favorite of the two. It is designed for higher mileage, so it’s heavier and stiffer with a higher heel to toe ramp than the lighter, more nimble Distance. They’re both pure road shoes—the looser upper and the lug placement made for a little too much foot float on the track. But for everyday running and racing, these two models are hard to beat.
Value Coming in at $175 the Gravity is not for the bargain hunter. If you need to pay more than that, there’s a Kinsei out there waiting for you—not even Hokas come in that high.
Comfort To my mind, a simple mesh sock on top of a lightweight, yet protective sole is running shoe Nirvana, and the Newtons got it right. This is a great feeling shoe, socks or no socks.
Responsiveness The unique lug construction of the Newton sole is perhaps only second to Hoka in terms of responsiveness. As your foot strikes the ground, the lugs compress, and as toe-off begins, the lugs recoil, aiding your forward motion. It’s subtle, but significant.
Speed The Gravity is designed as an everyday high-mileage trainer, though it could be a great race day shoe for the Clydesdale looking for a race-like feel.
Quality of Materials The simplicity of the upper belies the workmanship of both the Gravity and the Distance. These are top-of-the-line running shoes. Expect a longer life for the Gravity, owing to a reinforced heel and toe outsole.