"Hi Harvey. Will you give these Newton running shoes a try?"
Yes. That Harvey.
That's the question Newton Running Company Product Manager Laura Tingle asked Harvey just before the official launch of the Newton running shoe called the Gravity+.
"Test it out," Laura says. "See if you like how they feel. And tell us what you think."
Harvey agreed. Laura and the Newton running shoe team shipped out the Gravity+ expecting to hear back from him in a few weeks.
But that's not what happened. A week later...
"He ended up running the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon in the Gravity+ and winning," says Laura.
"A week later we officially launched the Gravity+. That catapulted the Gravity+ to the forefront and generated a lot of interest in Newton running shoes."
Want to know more about Newton running shoes?
👉Check out the interview with did with Newton Running Company Product Manager Laura Tingle.
Laura Tingle grew up in Nebraska where 5,429 feet above sea level marks the high-point in the Cornhusker state (compared to Colorado's high point of 14,440 feet on Mount Elbert).
And then something happened...
"During my senior year of college, I had heart surgery," says Laura. "I wasn't able to swim or run, but I started riding a bike as part of my rehab."
She thought about law school. But after working really hard post-surgery, she stepped into the circuit as a professional triathlete sponsored by Timex.
"I raced every triathlon distance from Olympic up to the Ironman," says Laura. "I actually competed in my first Ironman triathlon when I was 21."
While she was rising through the ranks as a triathlete and traveling to races around the world, her training partner introduced her to a new brand of running shoes by...
"About 12 years ago, I was riding my bike," says Laura.
"I was hit from behind by a car that didn't see me. I broke my pelvis, scapula, and a few other body parts. It took a long time to work through those injuries. And that kind of ended my career as a professional triathlete."
About a year after the accident, Laura started working at Newton. That was 11 years ago.
"They were very patient with me when I started," says Laura. "This is such a great place to work. The founder and CEO Jerry Lee is one of the best human's I've ever met."
"So much of footwear can focus on superficial things. But he's made Newton into a brand that's so much more than just a running shoe company."
"Newton shoes are designed for performance and natural running. But they're also 100 percent biodegradable. A big part of our mission is based on sustainability and protecting the environment. And that's important to me. Things just have a way of working out the way they're supposed to."
Laura: We've been putting plates in shoes since the inception of Newton in 2007. It's part of our core technology to create high-performance running shoes.
We also create gender-specific shoes for men and women because their feet and body type are different.
Laura: All of our shoes are carbon neutral. They're fully biodegradable. For every pair of shoes we sell, we plant a tree through One Tree Planted. Carbon neutrality has been a goal for us for a long time, and we've finally been able to achieve this.
Laura: They retract into a hollow chamber above the lug, which is followed by a plate. Our higher performance models have larger lugs and firmer plates.
There's a foam material inside each lug, that gives a kind of trampoline effect. It took over five years of testing to develop this technology, and every year we make it a little better.
Laura: It's takes about 18 months to launch a new shoe.
Laura: It really kind of depends on what we're testing.
Laura: We're working on a new trail shoe that's expected to launch next year. Harvey Lewis is sort of leading the design team by giving them feedback on what exactly he wants to see in a trail shoe. We've been calling it the The Aggressive Trail Shoe, but that's probably not what it will be named when we release it.
We're also working on a cushioned shoe. It has all the features Newton fans love. But it's also intended to encourage people to transition into the Newton brand.
Laura: We put our shoes through a lot of testing. But until we get a lot of wear-testing results back from runners, you never really know what to expect. Sometimes wear spots appear where we didn't expect them to.
Or the material used to build a shoe responds differently based on temperature. Wear-tester feedback in July could be completely different in January for the very same shoe.
We've been very careful to make sure we're using temperature-sensitive material. We're also experimenting with different foams, densities, and where we put them on the shoe.
Laura: Everyone in the office has a full rotation of their favorite Newtons and test shoes. It's nice that everyone at the table can talk about running. And being based in Boulder, Colorado, there's really no excuse...everyone should be running.
Laura: No. We hate that. It's something we've always agreed on. There's nothing worse that finding a should you love. Then the brand tinkers with the design, because they feel like the need to change something.
Here's our approach: Don't change anything about a shoe unless it's actually an improvement.
In fact, we have two models the Distance Elite and the Issac S that have never changed. We're still using the original design and construction with updated environmentally-friendly materials. People loved the original version so much, we're never going to change these shoes.
Laura: When the brand first launched in 2007, most running shoes were white, grey and black colors. We thought making bright-neon-colored shoes would help people notice our brand. And it worked.
Now we do different color designs by season, with brighter colors in the spring. And we're coming out with a more conservative colorway in the fall. But we've kept pretty true to radical colorways from the beginning.
When you wear a pair of Newton's, there's a 99% chance someone will say, "Nice shoes."
And if you're a Newton fan, there's kind of like a secret handshake when you see another runner wearing Newtons.
Favorite Newton shoe
The Fate 8. I've been running in it over the last few weeks. It's cute. It's gender specific. It's one of our more cushioned running shoes. And like all of our shoes, it's made with sustainability in mind.
Longest distance I've ran
78 miles training for the Leadville 100, even though I didn't end up running the race.
The Philadelphia Marathon. I ran it with my brother a few year ago. It was a really run experience.
I love working for Newton. And I'm really excited about the projects we're currently working on, which includes our version of a super shoe for running that we'll launch next year.