Newton Running Shoes: The Secret to Winning Badwater 135?

"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."

  • No pressure. 
  • No expectations. 
  • Just run some miles in the Newton running shoe and share some honest feedback.

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.

Based in Boulder, Colo., Laura Tingle is the Product Manager for Newton Running Company.

Meet Newton Running 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).

  • She started chasing speed records in swimming and track at a young age. 
  • She racked up more wins and records at Colorado State University

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."

Laura Tingle competed in swimming and track at Colorado State University. After heart surgery her senior year, Tingle started cycling as part of the rehab process. She got better. She got faster. And she became a sponsored Timex athlete competing in triathlons.

Everything happens for a reason...

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...

  • Newton Running Company founded in 2007.
Laura Tingle started working for Newton Running Company 11 years ago. Newton Running was founded in 2007.

The accident

"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.

  • She started in accounting. 
  • Then went to retail sales. 
  • She moved up lead Newton's marketing department. 
  • And five years ago, she became the product manager for Newton running shoes.

"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."

The original Newton shoes were made in bright-neon colors. And that's still part of Newton's brand,.

Q: What are some of the design features that make Newton running shoes different from others?

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.

Q: What are Newton running shoes made out of?

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.

  • The mesh upper on all Newton Running shoes is made out of four recycled water bottles. 
  • The midsole is made out of material that will biodegrade in a landfill environment. No. Newton shoes won't disintegrate on you. They need to be in an anaerobic environment for that to happen.
  • We recently launched a new foam in our performance models called NRG Foam. It's similar to nitrogen-infused foams, but based on our our proprietary method for manufacturing it.

Q: What's unique about the lugs on Newton running shoes?

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.

Newton Running Company has been designing shoes with plates to improve performance and response since it launched in 2007. All Newton running shoes are also made with lugs that retract into a hollow chamber, giving the shoe a kind of trampoline effect.

Q: What's the design process and timeline look like for launching a new shoe?

Laura: It's takes about 18 months to launch a new shoe.

  • That starts with getting a brief written that describes the idea and concept and identifies the target audience.
  • We collaborate with our design team, development team, and a team at our global headquarters.
  • Once we get to the prototype stage, we do a majority of the wear testing in Boulder, Colo.
  • We've partnered with Iowa State University to help use with biomechanical testing to help determine the durability of the shoe and different materials.
  • Part of the process also includes putting runners on a treadmill in the shoe for force plate testing and measuring things like VO2 Max, pace, and heart rate to determine the efficiency of the shoe.

Q: What do your wear testers do?

Laura: It really kind of depends on what we're testing. 

  • Harvey Lewis: We sponsor Harvey Lewis. He won Badwater last year. He's actually done a lot of winning lately. We use him quite a lot for testing the durability of shoes. I can give him a trail shoe and ask him to put 500 miles on it. And he'll give it back to me 10 days later.
  • Becca Pizzi: Becca Pizzi is another one of our sponsored athletes and wear testers. She's the first woman to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. And she did it wearing Newtons.

Q: What are some of the current Newton projects in the works?

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.

Newton's best-selling running shoes include the Fate 8 and Kismet 8.

Q: What's something a lot of people don't know about the shoe testing process?

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.

Q: What's the office culture like at Newton headquarters?

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.

Q: Do you ever update or redesign a shoe just because?

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. 

Some Newton shoes are available in gender-specific models for men and women because their feet and body type are different.

Q: Why are Newton running shoes always made in bright colors?

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.

Fun facts about Newton Running Company Product Manager Laura Tingle

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.

Favorite race

The Philadelphia Marathon. I ran it with my brother a few year ago. It was a really run experience.

Anything else? 
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.

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Evan Jensen
Ambassador
SANDY, Oregon

I help RUNNERS reduce injuries, fix running form, run longer & faster by strength training without running ragged. I'm a NASM-certified personal trainer, and hold the record for the most finishes at the Mountain Lakes 100-Mile Ultra in Oregon.

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