Newton MV Racing Flat Review: Hybrid Footwear That's Halfway Good

Running shoes today tend to be either gigantic foam pillows or super-thin slices of rubber. Oh, and those neon green Olympics shoes. Some middle ground between those first two types of shoe would be great for rookie minimalist runners. Is the Newton MV² the perfect compromise?

What Is It?

A freaky hybrid minimal running shoe.

Who's it For?

People transitioning to minimal running, or minimal runners who want a little extra protection for longer distance.

Design

Very light, at 164 grams. Thick rubber lugs cushion the forefoot, and a mesh upper breathes extremely well.

Using It

The MV² is a race fit shoe, so it's pretty snug -- go up a half-size if you want more comfort.

The Best Part

The lugs. Working on forefoot striking? The lugs give you a target to hit on every step.

Tragic Flaw

Uncomfortable. The forefoot is way too narrow, which doesn't let your toes splay out like other minimal shoes. The lacing system compresses your foot too much. Socks get bunched up inside.

This Is Weird...

The shoes are unstable -- running on uneven surfaces (like grass) is awkward and uncomfortable.

Test Notes

  • It's a zero-drop shoe, meaning the heel and forefoot are on an even plane.
  • The lugs have a slope to them, in the front. It acts as a ramp and helps your foot roll forward into the next step.
  • The laces come untied easily. Swapping them out for some Yankz shock cord laces greatly improved comfort and performance.
  • There are a series of holes on the sole, just in front of the lugs, presumedly for releasing water from the shoes.
  • Transitioning to minimal, zero-drop shoes is something you have to do s-l-o-w-l-y. The shoes come with some 3 millimetre wedges for your heels to help you get acclimated.
  • There are a fair number of seams inside, running barefoot in them will take some getting used to.
  • If you were hoping to wear them for the biking and running sections of a triathlon, don't. The lugs make pedaling extremely awkward. I found that out the hard way.
  • The build quality leaves something to be desired. After less than 50km, the sole was already peeling away from the upper. After 80km, the gap was even more noticeable.
  • The small bit of foam padding is very firm. It gives you a little leeway to accidentally heel-strike once or twice, but if you come down hard, you will really feel it.

Should You Buy It?

This is definitely a niche shoe. If you are a minimalist runner wanting a little more protection for a longer race or run, then probably. If you are looking for a shoe to transition to minimal running, then maybe. It won't fully satisfy hardcore minimalists or people who want the cushy runners they're used to. For those who want something in between, they're pretty sweet -- until they start to fall apart. At this price, that shouldn't happen so soon. [Newton]

Newton MV² Racing Flat

Type: Road running Weight: 164g Drop: 0mm Men's sizes: 6 - 14 Women's sizes: 5 - 12 Men's colours: black/green or white/orange Women's colours: black/green or white/orange Price: $199 RRP in Australia