Road Test: Newton Universal Racers

Monday, 26 July 2010  |  Gear + Gadgets

I got my first pair of Newtons a little over a year ago.  It was the Newton Stability Trainers which I actually liked for its comfort and lightness.  But, after using it for a handful of short runs, I was forced to lock it in a box when I started feeling minor knee pain, which I couldn’t risk aggravating with my training for Singapore Marathon at that time.

– Newton Stability Trainers and Newton Universal Racers –

Last month, Newton learned about my experience with the shoe and they urged me to give Newton Shoes a second chance. They handed me the twin sister of my shoe, Newton Universal Racers in a bright, bold pink (how cool!) for road testing before the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon last June 27.  (Note: Renze gave me the Universal Racers because Runnr does not sell the Stability Racers.  According Newton website, these shoes “will complement the Neutral Performance Trainer or Stability Performance Trainer.”

I was quite apprehensive about using a racing shoe as I had the impression this could be used only for short and fast runs, not a half marathon in KL. But, Renze of Newton was quick to point out that the shoe could actually be used for long runs, even marathons.

I road tested it over a handful of times: once at a 10k hill training at McKinley Hill, two 7k easy runs, and three races, Rock and Run (where it got soaked!), Robinsons Supermarket Fit & Fun Buddy Run, and the farthest I ran on them, Kuala Lumpur Marathon where I ran 21k.


– What a beauty! –


Weighing 7.0 oz., the Newton Universal Racers felt incredibly light and fast.  Much like my experience with the Newton Stability Trainers, I felt that the lugs underneath the midsoles were propelling me to run faster with much less effort.  I’m a midfoot runner so I felt very much at home in these shoes.

Running 5ks and 10ks in these Newtons, particularly in a race, made me feel like I could PR at any race. No wonder they call it “PR in a box.”



The shoes were also comfortable and breathable. (I replaced the insoles with my Spenco insoles, which I really can’t live without.) The mesh on the vamp area allowed for breathability. I found it cool, figuratively and literally, that I could even see my socks from the outside.


Best of all, I love the bright and bold colors of my Newtons. After a while, one gets tired of the usual colors that everyone wears at races. Newtons allow me to stand out and be different.


As a flat-footed overpronating runner, stability is always a key concern for me.  I felt the shoe could have been a little bit more stable. I worried that, because of the lugs, my feet were prone to more movement from side to side.  For runs below 10k, my feet were fine. But, when I ran in KL in these shoes, I felt slight pain on the right side of my foot after the race, which thankfully disappeared by the following day.

Another issue for me is the durability of the shoe. Only after a handful of races, the wear of the shoe underneath was surprising. I had been forewarned by Renze about this: that the racing shoe was meant for races, and not for daily training runs. But, what am I to do if my feet love the racers more than the trainers?!


I like the Newton Stability Racers its lightness, comfort, breathability and design. While I’m concerned about stability and durability, I feel like I can get away with these issues for short runs.  I am definitely going to use it for 5k and 10k runs, especially in races I hope to PR in!

Newton Universal Racers P6,995.  Newton Stability Trainers P8,250.  Newton shoes are available in Runnr, Bonifacio High Street.  Click HERE to visit website.


Friday, 26 March 2010  |  Gear + Gadgets

Chris Sports sent me the Nordictrack Treadmill 2350. For a couple of weeks, my own treadmilll was relegated to a lonely corner of the house while the hubby and I tested the spankin’ new treadmill.


The Nordictrack Treadmill 2350 tracks time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse. It also has a detachable key for emergencies. This treadmill offers several high tech features, such as iFit Interactive Card Technology where you can actually insert a card with a set program in it, iPod docking center, customized fitness and weight loss programs, and even a fitness age center where it can evaluate your fitness age. Cool!

– Cellphone not included –

The size of the Nordictrack is midway between the enormous, industrial-type treadmills at gyms and the smaller, more affordable ones for home use. This was just about right. It was heavy, sturdy, and well-manufactured. When not in use, it folds up to free up space in a room.

I particularly liked the easy push buttons for speed and incline located just by the handle bars. The ride was smooth and easy. Even at the speed of 9.5 and above, the Nordictrack remained steady.


The only negative I had with the Nordictrack Treadmill 2350 was the initial start. My warm up (speeds below 4) were jerky during the first couple of minutes. I also didn’t get the opportunity to try the iFit as it  required purchase of the iFit Workout cards.

THE VERDICT: This is more than your basic home treadmill. I highly recommend it for those who are willing to part with a little bit more cash in exchange for all the unique features of this treadmill.

SRP: Php  112,495
Now Only: Php 78,995

Available at Chris Sports.

17 Things You Must Know About Your Running Shoe

Wednesday, 17 March 2010  |  Gear + Gadgets


Remember I was at Hong Kong, not just for the Hong Kong Marathon, but also for the New Balance Tech Summit? During the talks, I jotted down notes as I learned more about the wonderful world of running shoes. Methinks New Balance unleashed the monster running shoe addict in me!

Here are running shoe tips I picked up from New Balance:

  1. Check the INSOLE and look at the imprint to find out if you have the right fit.
  2. Don’t just measure the length of your foot.  Measure the width and where the joint bends (ball to heel) too.
  3. When checking the shoe fit. Feel the WIDTH. You don’t want too much pressure on the side or too much material.
  4. You should be able to play the piano with your toes to ensure the TOE BOX is wide enough. But you don’t want too much excess material in this area either.
  5. Get the shoe size for the bigger foot.
  6. There should be 1 to 1.5 thumbs width from the tip of the longest toe to the end of the shoe. Why? Your foot expands. Your foot moves such as when you run down the hill.
  7. The MIDSOLE is like the engine of the car, materials that hold the shoe together.
  8. Check the TONGUE. How much of the tongue is showing?
  9. Women have about 4x as many foot problems as men.
  10. Women are more difficult to fit.  We often worry that the shoe is too wide when we’re probably just not used to a spacious toe box since we wear narrow shoes (e.g., high heels).
  11. Shoes should last 300-600 miles, which is roughly 3 to 6 months.
  12. Best way is to rotate between two pairs. Pair A and B. Introduce second pair after roughly 200 miles on the first pair of shoes.
  13. Foot size changes as you get older because ligaments stretch. Your feet may not get longer, but they may get WIDER especially for women who have given birth.
  14. Never wash your entire shoe. Do not put them in the washing machine. Do not throw them into the dryer.
  15. Test a running shoe by flexing the shoe. If it flexes in half that’s not a good shoe.
  16. When you run, you run on an S-shaped angle. Land on the lateral side of the heel and exit on the big toe.
  17. Running generates 2-3x your body weight.

TBR-Garmin Promo: 10% Off Garmin 305, 405, and 310XT

Monday, 15 March 2010  |  Gear + Gadgets


Garmin is offering an exclusive discount promo for 30 lucky readers of The Bull Runner. Get 10% off the following Garmin watches:

Garmin Forerunner 305 w/ Heart Rate Monitor
Regular price: P16,500
Discounted price: P14,850
Savings: P1,650

Garmin Forerunner 405 w/ Heart Rate Monitor
Regular price: P20,500
Discounted price: P18,450
Savings: P2,050

Garmin Forerunner 310XT w/ Heart Rate Monitor
Regular price: P24,500
Discounted price: P22,050
Savings: P2,450

* All units come with 12 months warranty


  • Only the first 30 runners to email sales(at), cc thebullrunner(at) Subject: TBR-GARMIN PROMO will obtain the 10% discount.  Include your delivery address.
  • You will receive a confirmation email from Navco with directions.
  • Print the confirmation email.
  • Bring the printout and ID to purchase the Garmin at Garmin Sales office.
  • Note: Please do not send TBR any queries regarding the watches.  Direct all your inquiries to sales(at)

GARMIN SHOWROOM: 2nd Floor, JG Building, C. Raymundo Ave. Rosario Pasig City.

New Balance Asia Pacific Tech Summit

Monday, 8 March 2010  |  Bullish Insights, Gear + Gadgets


I felt like I was back in school again when I attended the New Balance Asia Pacific Tech Summit in Hong Kong, last March 1 & 2, 2010.  But, this time, we spent two full days on my favorite topic: RUNNING GEAR.  New Balance apparel and shoes, to be exact.


New Balance is the No. 2 overall athletic footwear in the US. It is No. 3 running brand in the US. It’s actually the only athletic company still making shoes in the US.


Shane Downey from New Balance U.S. gave us a background on the apparel of New Balance. Apparently, the New Balance apparel system varies from fabrication, construction and technology. Finally, I understood the meaning behind the various hangtags attached to NB apparel, such as X-static, Cocona, Icefil, and Lightning Dry, to name a few.

I used to think that one should just make sure that apparel was moisture-wicking, but it’s good to check if your tops and bottoms are also: thermodynamic (keeps you cool when it’s hot and keeps you warm when it’s cold), hydrophobic (moisture-managing), anti-wind, anti-odor, UV-protection, and more. (Told you I learned a lot!)


Kellie Pidgeon, the regional tech representative from New Balance Australia, who is also a podiatrist, discussed the Total Fit concept of New Balance. She taught us how to measure our feet using the Brannock device and determine the perfect shoe fit for a runner. (Coming soon: a post on all my learnings about shoes)

Using me as an example, she also demonstrated how to do gait analysis using their software and also elaborated on the five common injuries for runners (a topic I was very familiar with!)

This session was an eye-opener.  It educated me not just on the importance of choosing the right model, but also how to ensure that it’s the perfect fit.  A half size too loose or too tight can spell blisters, dead toe nails, or worse injury during a long run.  In running, where we take hundreds or thousands of steps per session, the role of the shoe in our performance is key!


New Balance’s Compression +, NB’s new compression gear which can be comparable to the technology behind Skins and other leading brands for compression tights was also introduced. This will be available in Manila. Price TBA.

As a believer in compression tights, I am very familiar with other popular brands. I noticed that NB compression tights is thinner and lighter than CW-X; material is as stretchable as 2XU. Colors so far are black with red lining and beige.  We were told that based on NB scientific research, the effectiveness of NB compression+ is similar, if not better, than Skins, considered to be the market leader.

Here’s John, a cyclist and runner (a Comrades Marathon finisher), from NB South Africa who tested the NB Compression+ during the HK Marathon the day before. Beside him is Kelly…


Shane, an obvious NB shoe and apparel expert, got all technical and discussed NB running shoes in more detail.

Despite the variety of models, he emphasized one thing: NB offers runners “Total Fit”, which means:

Proper size (NB like all other brands offers different shoe lengths)
Proper width (NB provides various widths: 2A, B, D, 2E, 4E, 6E etc)
Appropriate last (the foundation of the shoe which gives it volume and shape)



  • New Balance 760 – Go To Stability (moderate stability). Thinner, softer materials. Welding instead of seams. Better heel to toe transition. New toe cap which has been rounded off.
  • New Balance 1064 – High End Neutral cushioning shoe. Modernized upper and improved fit.
  • New Balance 1012 – The Master of Control. Very stable, maximum support.
  • New Balance 740 – Good priced stability shoe. Little brother of the NB 760.

FALL 2010

  • New Balance 759 – Go to Neutral shoe. New toe cap. Softer materials, softer rubber bottom.
  • New Balance 1226 – Premium Stability. More stable than 1225. Excellent heel cushioning.
  • New Balance 870 (Q4 2010) – Lightweight Stability. Small medial post provides a little bit of guidance. Low to the ground.

* Thank you to Anton Gonzales and Bing Buenaventura of New Balance/ Planet Sports for sponsoring the HK trip.