Newton Distance 2012 Review

If you liked the 2011 Newton Distance you are going to love the 2012 Newton Distance. The 2012 Newton Distance has all the things you liked about the 2011 model, but is now more lightweight, with a much sleeker profile.

The Newton Distance is a natural running shoe that lives up to its namesake. This is a distance runners lightweight trainer. Light enough for the short runs, or even racing, but it is the sustained comfort over long distances that really makes this a distance runners shoe.

Zero Drop?

The near level profile of the Newton Distance promotes a natural forefoot stride. The willingness to create running shoes that do not have a raised heel is the defining feature allowing innovative shoe companies such as Altra and Newton to carve out a piece of the overcrowded running shoe market.

At 2mm, the heel-toe differential of the Newton Distance is half that of the Nike Free 3.0, the Brooks Pure, or even the first model of the New Balance Minimus, which all fell 4mm short of a zero drop shoe.

Unlike the Newton MV2 the, the Newton Distance is not zero drop, but with only a 2mm differential between the forefoot and the heel, they might as well be zero drop, which of course begs the question as to why they are not zero drop. (Perhaps like the Newton MV2, the Newton Distance could be made zero drop and ship with a 3mm insert to help transitioning for those not yet accustomed to a zero drop shoe.)

2011 Newton Distance
2012 Newton Distance


When it comes to running shoes, lighter is better. The 2012 Newton Distance weighs in at only 7.8 ounces, nearly an ounce lighter than the 2011 model.


If you have a near level profile, show it off. That is exactly what Newton has done in the 2012 model of the Newton Distance. In the 2012 model, Newton removed unnecessary EVA from around the heel of the shoe. This not only removed weight, but also made for a much sleeker looking shoe, and let’s face it, looks do count.

If you are like me, you like your running shoes loud, and the Newton Distance is just this. With vibrant shouting colors these shoes get noticed, though I do wish that more color options were available.

MV2 has 5 Lug Pattern (top)
Distance Has 4 Lug Pattern (bottom)


The defining feature of a Newton outsole is the lugs beneath the forefoot. After decades of putting air pockets, and gel pockets, and springs and any number of other ridiculous features in the heels of running shoes, I applaud Newton in in placing protection under the forefoot where it is needed most. I did however find that I prefer the five lugs of the MV2 over the four lugs of the Newton Distance.


150 miles and very little wear and tear

The lightweight mesh upper is very breathable, does not absorb water, and like I mentioned before, comes in screaming loud colors. One advantage the Newton Distance has over the Newton MV2 is the sidewall at the widest part of the foot. This somewhat stretchy sidewall allows for foot splay even for wider feet, and is durable enough to not blow out even with extended use.

Toe Box

Though not foot shaped, the toe box of the Newton Distance is generous and will allow even wide feet to splay without causing blisters or blowing out the sidewall


Comfort is the category where the Newton Distance really stands out, particularly for really long runs or races. The MV2 is sleeker, and more lightweight, but the Newton Distance trainer stays comfy even when passing mile 25.


Side to side comparison
Both size 11

Sizing is tricky with Newton shoes.  I am a size 1o.5. To get a proper fit with the MV2 I went with a size 11 and the toe box was still rather narrow. The Newton Distance however, seems to fit more to size, but you may wish to try them on before buying.

What I liked Most About the 2012 Newton Distance

  1. Only 2mm drop
  2. Lightweight
  3. Durable
  4. Comfortable
  5. Loud Colors

Things I would like to see in the 2013 Newton Distance:

  1. Zero drop (with insert for transitioning)
  2. standardized sizing
  3. More color choices


Shoes do not make the runner, but wearing the right shoe helps. The Newton Distance promotes proper natural running form, and that is why Newton is such a fast growing brand in the running world. The near level profile of the Newton distance encourages a midfoot/forefoot stride, but ultimately it is up to the runner to implement this natural running form.

Even as lightweight as the it is, the Newton Distance is still more shoe than I am accustomed to. For my shorter runs I prefer a the Newton MV2 over the Distance, for those really long runs the Newton Distance provides comfort unmatched by the barefoot shoes to which I am accustomed. This shouldn’t be surprising, it is named the Newton Distance precisely because it is a shoe designed with those long distance runs in mind.

Buy the Newton Distance at

What was your experience with the Newton Distance Trainers? Leave your comments below.


6 thoughts on “Newton Distance 2012 Review

  1. I just started running in the Newton Distance U. I am loving them, but my stride is still transitioning. Weird thing is I am still over-pronating slightly with my right foot, but at least my left foot is perfect. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment. I am glad you are loving the shoes.

      There are many things that can cause over pronation on one side. Try facing feet straight forward and doing a few squats. If your right foot tries to turn outward and/or right knee moves inward you may have tight IT band. If this is the case make sure to stretch and roll the IT band with a foam roller before your run.

      Let me know if this is or is not the case and I will try to help you out.


  2. I actually prefer the 2011 design of the distance shoe over the newer model. I enjoy the roomier toe box however the inside of the shoe feels different overall. I find it is not as “springy” feeling as last years model. I find it more difficult to run on my fore-foot while racing in the newer version….not a bad shoe…just prefer the 2011 model which overall fit better and was more comfortable.

  3. I’ve been wearing the MV2s for a year now, they were my first intro to lightweight/minimalist running and I bought them after being videotaped in a variety of shoes and was told I ran with the best form in these. I love them because of how lightweight they are but now I’m training for a half and my IT band is already tight in my hip most of the time (I have an extremely over-supinated stride). I’m wondering if I should switch to the Distance for a bit more support on the longer stretches? Or will neither effect the IT in reality?

    1. There are quite a few things that can cuase the IT band to stat acting up. If you have had your MV2s for a year it may be time for replacing. If you liked the mv2’s you will probably also enjoy the “Distance”, and the “Gravity.” You will also want to check in on your stride to ensure your arches are not collapsing while running, and that you have very limited or no lateral motion, as these are the two biggest contributors to IT band pain.

  4. sadly i was the victim of misinformation about the distance 2012 on the website, where i bought them. they say there the shoe has a 4mm drop. despite really loving the shoe (and this should be a lesson to all) i obsessed about them NOT being a zero drop shoe, when in fact they virtually were (2mm is, as you say, virtually 0mm).

    so, partly foolishly, partly misguided by the wrong info, i bought first a new balance minimus and then when these proved too harsh on the cement and asphalt i run on, i bought the mv2 off the newton website. neither of these shoes gave me the cushioning i need on my 5 mile runs on concrete/asphalt, although the newton mv2 did give me a springy bounce the first 35 min of my 65min run, but that faded for the last half of the run and i suffered almost as much pain as with the minimus.

    checking out stats on yours, and the newton website, i see now my obsession about finding a 0mm drop shoes vs. the 2012 distance was unfounded. the 2mm drop is close enough (tho i, as you, wish newton would turn it into a true 0mm)…HOWever, the incredible energy return and damping of hard surfaces (naturally, nothing like nike air max or other heel-loaded over cushioned shoes) is a life saver. i have L4/L5 herniated discs and these shoes allow me to keep running. the choice to go to a true minimalist on very hard surfaces for over an hour was a big mistake for me…tho maybe not for you. but i’m guessing for most people, long runs on hard surfaces will not work in a true minimalist shoe, and i’m here to say, the 2012 distance is a comfortable, light, enjoyable and remarkable shoe. aptly named too.

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