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Newton Running POP 3 Platform: Aha and EnergyNR II Review

Meaghan: If you’re familiar with Newton Running you know they’ve segmented their shoes into three “POP” categories. The Energy II and Aha incorporate the new POP-3 platform (basically the gateway drug into Newton running shoes). They give you the distinctive Newton “pop” in a really subtle package.

EnergyNR II

The Good

Meaghan: I loved the original Newton Energy and wore them for the Lehigh Marathon last year. If you liked the original, you’ll like the updates. Newton kept most of the great qualities from the original shoe. The mid and forefoot are nice and wide, featuring an extended medial plate for extra stability (they’re 4mm wider than the Aha). I wouldn’t necessarily put these shoes in a category of stability; they have a much softer, cushioned ride than other stability shoes I’ve worn. The upper consists of one piece of mesh, making them super light (7.25 oz size 7.5) and nice and breathable. The bright orange colorway and 360 degrees of reflectivity makes this shoe really hard to miss.

Thomas: Slipping the Newton Energy 2 on you can’t avoid noticing the woven upper. It is soft, flexible, and feels good on the feet. The update to the first Energy makes this version look more like a running shoe than the original shoe. The weight of the shoe stayed the same at 9.75 oz. (size 10.5) The shoe looks good and has a fair amount of reflective details for visibility. I really like the way Newton does stability. Instead of a big block of posting materials, Newton makes the midsection of the shoe wider and adds a little blown rubber under the arch. Newton’s stability shoes provide that extra structure you need without having a shoe that feels bulky or rigid.

The Bad

Meaghan: I have two issues with the Newton EnergyNR. First, the shoe doesn’t feel like a Newton Running shoe. It feels like an everyday trainer (for many, this may be a win). If I wasn’t looking down at the aggressively bright orange colorway, complete with the Newton logo; I’d probably guess I had a pair of Sauconys or Skechers on my feet. Secondly, (and this is probably more of a personal issue) I had to re-adjust the tongue every time I put these shoes on. Somehow the tongue would get caught and form an opening at the top of the shoe [picture below]. It was easily fixed, but something I noticed.

Newton EnergyNR II

Thomas: This shoe is a little soft for my tastes and on longer runs, the support in the cushioning seemed to get sloppy. The EnergyNR II lacks personality, I hold Newton to a high standard, I love a lot of their shoes. I would go with their other stability offerings the Kismet or Motion III over these.

Newton “Aha”

The Good

Meaghan: The Aha is super similar to the Energy NR II, but it comes with a little less shoe. They’re lighter (6.75oz for a 7.5) and, although they both fall into the POP-3 category, I felt the lugs were slightly more prominent on the Aha. The shoes are noticeably slimmer through the midfoot, but have plenty of room in the forefoot for your toes to hang out. They’re similarly structured with a 6mm drop, but don’t come with the extended medial plate. I loved the colorway – baby blue, with black and white accents and a bright yellow logo.

Thomas: The Aha is so similar to the EnergyNR II, the “goods” are the same for me. Sweet looking shoe, feels good out of the box on the feet too. The outsole and upper held up well in both the EnergyNR II and the AHA.

The Bad

Meaghan: On its own, there isn’t much to complain about the Aha. However, having run in several Newton’s this year; I’d consider the Aha the Red-headed stepchild of the Newton Fate.

Thomas: Agian, the cushioning is nice and soft but the lack of structure or variance from the toe to the heel made this shoe sloppy as the miles ticked off. With even less stability material than the EnergyNR II, the shoe feels unfinished. I could not feel any Newton “POP” in the AHA, however at a P.O.P. 3, that might be what Newton is going for.

POP-3 Platform: Conclusion

Meaghan: Newton makes great running shoes. While I tend to gravitate towards the POP-1, POP-2 shoe offerings, I think the POP-3 line is great for runners who are looking for a transition into the Newton running world. Not only are the lugs easier on the feet, but the price point is super reasonable in today’s world of running shoes ($110). If you haven’t tried Newton, or you’d like a less aggressive lug for easy days, give these a try.

Thomas: These are Newtons for people that don’t like Newtons. Newtons on training wheels. The shoes look great, but don’t deliver the personality I expect from Newton. If you are new to Newton, maybe give these a try, they feel like a good generic running shoe with above average style. If you love Newtons go with the Kismet, Fate, Motion III, Gravity, and the Distance. Go with POP 1 or 2.

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To learn more about these shoes and to purchase a pair yourself, click on the images below:


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. jose maria says:

    que zapatilla newton es buena para correr maraton.peso 67 kl. ritmo 4.30.gracias

    1. I think you are asking if the shoe can go the 26.2 or beyond. Depending on your preference I think it has more than enough cushioning to go the distance.

  2. JPerry2828 says:

    Tom, as always I really appreciate your teams reviews as a shoe nerd and ever seeker of that “perfect shoe.” I tried on a pair of Newton Fate’s tonight a pond went for a brief test run on the treadmill at RunWell. The Newtons are not a shoe I would have normally tried but the sales associate recommended a go based on my description of compressing the forefoot on tradional shoes by the 300 miles…I had always seen the lugs on the Newtons as awkward and “weird” but boy was I surprised in a good way. For a true forefoot sticker they are damn comfortable and felt really good. They may just be my next shoe in the rotation. I just picked up a pair of Brooks pure flow to continue to a lower drop and more forefoot friendly shoe, but I certainly needs second shoe in the rotation and the Newton is cipurrwntlymtop o the list. Being new to the beprand I may go with the Aha… But they Fate do feel great, especially the upper! Roomy toebox and the feel was similar to my beloved NB1400’s reserved for races.

  3. Steve says:

    I really like Newtons except for those lugs which means I really don’t like Newtons. I tried on the Kismets in the store recently and they looked fantastic and fit beautifully. Then I stood up and walked and all I felt were the lugs. Then a short run on the treadmill and my left arch was sore the next day. For an activity that already taxes the feet, why stick to a design that further taxes the feet? I suggest that Newton get over itself and make a shoe without lugs because apart from the lugs I love their shoes. Maybe the EnergyNR II would work for me but the lugs definitely scare me away and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

    1. The POP 3 barely have lugs, but if you are against them there are plenty of shoes to go with that don’t have lugs.

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