Friday, October 07, 2022

Newton Running Motion+ Multi Tester Review

Article by Bryan Lim and Renee Krusemark

Newton Running Motion + ($190)


Bryan: The Motion+ is my first pair of Newton shoes and I’m so excited! 

Quoting Newton’s website:

“Over time, many shoe designs have become thicker, cushier and heavier with greater heel heights. In the spirit of making every stride better, Newton shoes feature lower heel to toe drops to put you in a position to run most naturally.”

Newton is a brand that promotes natural running shoe technology and form. Low stack, low drop and flexible, the Motion+ appears to follow the Newton ethos closely. The Motion+ is a new entry to Newton’s lineup, complementing the neutral variant, the Gravity+ and its base variant, the Motion 11.

In line with other brands, Newton has adopted a sustainable approach. The Motion+ is made with recyclable materials, including a recycled upper and quickly biodegradable midsole and rubber soles. EcoPure is an additive added to those materials that activates through the chemical process in landfills, breaking down the shoe 75% faster. Each shoe also takes out the equivalent of four plastic bottles from the waste stream.


Stable and responsive: Bryan/Renee 

Flexible ride: Bryan/Renee

A rare stability shoe for speed training : Bryan/Renee

Lockdown fit: Bryan/Renee

Breathable upper: Bryan/Renee


Heavy for a low stack shoe: Bryan/Renee

Very firm ride not versatile for non-speed work: Bryan

Available colors not the most attractive: Bryan

Pricey: Renee


  Official: 8.80oz / 249g (men’s US9)   


            men’s  9.10oz  /  258g (Men’s US9) 

            women’s 218g (Women’s US8)

Stack Height: Not provided, 3mm drop

Available now. $190

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Bryan: The Motion+ presents itself as a unique marker proposition, a low stacked, plated and supported shoe. Shoe on foot for the first time, it felt radical! The forefoot lugs (see image below) are very noticeable and bring the fit level to the ground, as if it has a 0 drop. The “Level Platform” is one of Newton’s design philosophies. Quoting their website, “in the spirit of making every stride better, Newton shoes feature lower heel to toe drops to put you in a position to run most naturally.” This promotes forefoot striking.  

Look at the height of the forefoot lugs!

Fit wise, this is one of those pairs which upon first wear I knew there was not going to be an issue. The upper is made from 100% polyester mesh material that is comfortable on the foot throughout. No issues with width with the forefoot width especially appreciated as it comes in slightly wide. The ‘skeletal’ non-gusseted tongue is a nice touch for weight saving, and does the job. No real sliding around at all. 

The heel counter is lightly padded and the reinforced heel cup provides ample stability and lockdown. One of the best uppers and fit for me overall.

Renee: Bryan’s write up is excellent. I’m not as fast as Bryan (I’m happy with a sub 8 minute/mile marathon and a sub 7 minute/mile half marathon, on road), but I had a similar experience with the Motion+. 

My first impression was that the shoe has a unique ride because of the lugs and low drop. The Motion+ is my first Newton shoe and I enjoyed every run in them thanks to the low drop and low stack. The shoe won’t be for everyone, which is why RTR gives readers all the details.

The upper fit is great. Very minimal and secure. The women’s Motion+ has a women’s specific fit. I can’t compare it to the men’s version, but the heel fit is great and the midfoot has great volume and security. 

I wore a women’s size 8, my typical size. I’m between half sizes, and for runners in a similar sizing dilemma, I suggest the half size larger. The toe box shape is a bit angular, and I like to have room for my small toes. Overall, the fit is secure and best for speed and fast paces, although I didn’t mind the fit for a mid-distance 14 miler. 


The Hytrel Foam Strobel insole showing Newton’s commitment to sustainability

Bryan: The bulk of the midsole is made from NRG Foam which is essentially EVA, but is a little more forgiving due to the utilization of a full-length DuPont developed Hytrel Foam Strobel board below the Hytrel insole 

DuPont claims that the supercritical fluid foaming process applied to Hytrel creates a new closed-cell foam with lower environmental impact, expanded performance, and greater design freedom, and it is reported that Hytrel is 15% more resilient and 20% lighter than thermoplastic urethane (TPU, E-TPU), polyurethane (PU), and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foams. 

The forefoot also features a XPS+ plate, made from castor beans, to promote responsiveness. Overall, this generates a firm but responsive and confident ride when you fore-foot strike. 

Notwithstanding the plush Hytrel insole, and with the low stack height, the firmness of the underfoot remains dominant. That said, the NRG EVA foam is reminiscent of Asics’ FlyteFoam midsole, firm and responsive, but not as dynamic as Skecher’s Hyperburst for example.

Support is provided through rigidity created by the XPS+ plate, but especially from the forefoot to midfoot medial post via denser EVA foam. Lots of big words, so I’ll quickly cut to the chase! 

The dual density foam implementation feels very natural, and the shoe delivers a smooth transition. This is also aided by the relatively wide forefoot. As it is intended, the support provided remains faithful as long as you fore- to mid-foot strike, as the medial post does not extend to the rear of the shoe. If you are a runner whose form wavers when fatigued and start to heel strike, the Motion+ loses its charm. This is also due to the forefoot lugs, which then will act almost as a hump to cross over in your gait cycle. More on this later.

Renee: Bryan has all the details! I agree the midsole is firm and responsive, but in my opinion is not harsh.. I wouldn’t run a mid or long distance with the Motion+ on pavement, but I thought it had enough comfort for my 2 to 3 hour run on dirt and gravel. Whatever stability features are present do not affect the nimble and flexible ride (if you forefoot strike). 


Bryan: This is perhaps the most unique part of the Motion+, and Newton Running shoes generally. The forefoot lugs. 

This is part of Newton’s other philosophy, its Action/Reaction Technology, which I assume is based on Newton’s (Isaac Newton, not Newton Running) Third Law of Motion, which I then quote Newton Running’s website, where the lugs “create a responsive, trampoline-like cushioning system that provides quick[er] bounce-back”.

The lugs in my opinion promote a forefoot strike, and as mentioned, bring the shoe down from a low 3mm drop to feeling like a 0mm drop shoe. Whether or not this is effective in promoting a forefoot strike amongst heel strikers, I am not sure. 

As a mid-foot striker, I certainly felt them working on a speed session, where I felt that my calf muscles were engaged as I actively thought to myself that the shoe would only be effective if I fore-foot strike. They certainly gave my calf muscles a good workout, or should I say, I have myself a good calf workout?

These lugs act almost as pseudo spikes on a track, and they work fantastically well on that surface. Perhaps the main penalty here as compared to a spike would be its weight. Acceleration and holding pace felt easy. However, and on the other end of the spectrum, the lugs felt out of place on easy runs on bitumen / pavement surfaces where I personally tend to mid-foot strike. They felt clunky and unnecessary.

What I really appreciate is the deep decoupling groove in front of the lugs. 

This is really noticeable in providing flex in the shoe, especially given the combined rigidity of the XPS+ plate and lugs.

There is some give in the NRG EVA foam and the membrane above them under load as the lugs act as pseudo spikes. 

The decoupling groove is put to good use and offers good flexibility upon toe off. 

There is ample traction provided by the outsole despite less coverage in the rear-foot. My main concern would be the longevity of the forefoot lugs which would take the brunt of the impact. But as there is plenty of material in them, it may well take a fair while to eat through them.

Renee: The forefoot lugs definitely affect the ride, making a forefoot stride smooth and natural. Similar to Bryan, I think the forefoot lugs will be uncomfortable for heel strikers. The flex under the forefoot is great, so although the Motion+ is a stability shoe, it offers great flex and speed. I ran entirely on dirt, gravel, and grass while testing the Motion+. The ride (in part because of the outsole) is great for horse trails or uneven grass. While gravel and debris will wedge in the lugs, it’s not annoying and it did not bother me. 


Bryan: The ride is firm and responsive. On slower recovery runs, I would consider it as a bit dull relative to the cushioned and bouncy options the marketplace has to offer. 

I think fans of racing flats will love the Motion+, and fans of racing flats who need a stability trainer will love it even more. As we know it, Newton has deviated from the mainstream market, and has stayed true to its forefoot centric running ethos. I’d say fans of racing flats will be able to take this shoe to long distances including ultra distances. 

Under the right load, when fore-foot striking, the ride of the Motion+ comes alive where the lugs, plate and midsole foam come together to provide a propulsive and stable toe-off. Further to that, transitions remain stable and smooth throughout the gait cycle.

As mentioned before, the Motion+’s ride is probably less suited for heel strikers. On slower, recovery runs, the ride came across as a little dull and flat, especially when the shoe has already given me a calf workout from a prior speed session. 

Renee: Totally agree with Bryan: the ride is firm and responsive. I never thought the ride was harsh or too firm, but I can’t imagine running too far in them if I was heel striking. The shoe promotes a natural mid to forefoot landing, so even when running slow, I was able to maintain a high cadence with a healthy running form (not a strong suit of mine, admittedly). 

I ran an easy to slow 14 miler on gravel and dirt and found the cushion and ride to be great, but on concrete or tar I likely wouldn’t have the same opinion. They feel best at steady paces and work great for intervals, speed sessions, and strides. As someone who runs almost entirely on gravel and dirt, the Motion+ makes a great daily trainer and speed shoe. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Bryan: The Motion+ is not for everyone. I personally like it a lot, but only for selected uses, i.e. speed sessions where I am after a propulsive ride. For $190 (or AUD280), it’s quite hefty for what seems to be a basic shoe. But it's not. There’s quite a bit of tech implementation in the shoe that makes it a great speed trainer for Newton Running or racing flat fans. 

If you are an everyday runner looking for a one-shoe rotation, then the Motion+ is definitely not a choice selection. Perhaps my main gripe with the shoe is its weight for the stack height, as if it were lighter, the Motion+ would then become a rarer unicorn - a stability racer! However, for a stability shoe, it's somewhat reasonable.

I’ve found a liking towards the Motion+,  even as my first pair of Newtons. The stability it provides, its unique ride and superb upper all but make a unique product that should be worth considering.

Bryan’s Score: 8.65/10 

Ride (50%)  8.5, Fit (30%) 10, Value (15%) 7, Style (15%) 7

Smiles Score: 😊😊😊😊

Renee: As a brand, Newton might not be on every runner’s radar. The price is hefty, as Bryan wrote. That said, I really liked this shoe. 

For runners who do not need or favor a lot of cushion, I think the Motion+ is a good daily trainer, and it worked well for me at speed and easy paces as someone who runs on gravel and dirt. The forefoot lugs and firmer ride won’t be ideal for pavement long runs or for runners who need extra cushion. While it’s a stability shoe, that feature is not overbearing. As a neutral runner, I enjoyed the healthy, flexible forefoot landing. As a faster shoe, the weight is a bit heavy although it runs lighter than its weight.

Renee’s score: 9.0/10 (-.75 price, .25 weight for use)



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Asics Magic Speed v1 (RTR Review)

Bryan: This is the first shoe that comes to mind, in terms of similarity to the Motion+ (in some respects). Both are speed focused, and are to a degree racing flat inspired.. Both are firm riding, although I think the Motion+ is a little more forgiving in that respect due to the give provided by the forefoot lugs. Both are to an extent incapable of slower miles, although I’d say the Motion+ is more capable here. The upper in the Motion+ is much better in my opinion too.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 (RTR Review) & Rebel 3 (RTR Review)

Bryan: The Rebel v2 has a more forgiving 6mm drop, but also certainty feels as “natural” as the Motion+. Touted as RoadTrailRun’s shoe of 2021, the Rebel 2 is similarly low stacked at 26mm. 

The  supercritical processed EVA/TPU blended FuelCell midsole is where the shoes start to differ, as it is soft and ultra-bouncy. The Motion+ promotes a rolling, smooth gait, whilst the Rebel 2 a bouncy, explosive ride. Each to their own, but I would pick the Rebel v2 as it's more fun and versatile.

Renee: Both the Rebel 2 and Rebel 3 have a natural, flexible ride. The drop is low, but at 6mm versus 3mm, the Rebel 2 and 3 might be more user friendly as compared to the Motion+. 

The midsole of the Rebel is softer and probably better suited for mid to long runs, especially on pavement. On uneven surfaces, the Motion+ is more stable and it allows for a more healthy forefoot strike. The Rebel 2 or 3 is a better choice for versatility and price. 

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 (RTR Review)

Bryan: I’m including this comparison for two reasons, the first is that the Takumi Sen 8 is a speed training capable shoe, being foremost a racer, and the second that it retails for only AUD10 more than the Motion+, and can be found discounted to half price or more (in Australia). 

I particularly disliked the fit of the Takumi Sen 8, and found it extremely hard to achieve a good lockdown fit. The Motion+ wins hands down here. In terms of ride, there are similarities as both are snappy and firm, but I personally prefer the dynamic-ness of the PEBAX based Lightstrike Pro over the EVA based NRG foam in the Motion+. 

The Takumi Sen 8 weighs significantly less than the Motion+ being a racing shoe. The Motion+ however  should be more durable with its ample outsole coverage. Each to their own again, but I thought it would be worth a comparison due to their similar product propositions.

Skechers Razor Excess 2 (RTR Review)

Bryan: Since I mentioned Hyperburst in the midsole section of the review, I thought the Razor Excess 2 would be a worthy comparison as it too has a low drop (4mm). With a H shaped plate, the RE2 is also a speed trainer that too has quite a natural ride to it. As mentioned, the Hyperburst midsole in the RE2 is more dynamic, and has a different sort of pop-to it, as compared to the pop generated by the forefoot lugs in the Motion+. I’d give the edge to the RE2 as it is generally more versatile, and is a little more fun to run in.

Renee: Hyberburst is a great midsole foam and it offers more cushion without compromising responsiveness. The Excess 2 has a rocker ride while the Motion+ is a more traditional flex ride. For minimalist runners who need some stability (especially if running off pavement), the Motion+ is my choice, but otherwise (especially when comparing cost), I’d choose the Excess 2. 

The Newton Motion+ is available now at Newton Running

Tester Profiles

Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He has a PB of 1:22 in the half marathon and is presently chasing a sub 3-hour marathon. He is 176cm tall and weighs about 68kg / 150lbs.

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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