Monday, March 24, 2014

Newton BoCo AT Trail Shoe Review

Introduction
Newtonrunning.com 
Given our review of both the Newton Energy NR, one of my favorite ground-and-pound shoes, and the MV3, an amazing racing flat, it probably shouldn't surprise the reader of this blog that I was super stoked when I first heard that Newton was releasing their first trail shoe, the Newton BoCo AT!

I've reviewed a few trail shoes on this blog previously, and given my trail running background (not competitively, but having lived in the mountains for four years running trails), I have a good idea about what constitutes a good trail shoe. 

If you’ve read our review of the Newton Energy NR, it goes without saying that the Energy NR is one of my favorite road shoes. The ride is smooth; I can run fast in them; I can run long in them; they crush hills, both up and down; and my legs do not feel that fatigued after runs. Given the wear on my Energy NR, the shoe definitely promotes a forefoot strike, which is more or less how I run.

So… the thought of a trail version of this shoe was almost too much to handle.

What does Newton say about the BoCo AT?

Born in Boulder, Colorado, the BOCO AT brings you a piece of the Colorado Mountains wherever your run takes you. The light and level 3mm drop, and multi-directional lugs, will keep you rocking out on even the rockiest of trails. While the landscape may change, the familiar Newton feeling remains the same. Rain, snow, hail and spilled coffee are no match for the durable all-weather upper. It is time to take your Newtons over the river and through the woods. -

Weight: 9.6oz
Heel-to-toe drop: 3mm

Upper

Note the water resistant, closed-meshed upper (Newtonrunning.com)
  • Upper materials have been treated with a durable water repellent coating
  • Closed-mesh upper blocks out dirt and debris
  • Upper features a lazer-perforated synthetic suade saddle for a midfoot-conforming fit
  • Durable rubber toe bumper protects toes from impact on rocks, roots and other trail hazards
  • Reflective logo and heel tab

Outersole

4 lugs, multi-directional lugs, FTW! (Newtonrunning.com)
  • Outsole features a four-lug cushioning technology in the forefoot for superior impact-zone protection
  • Outsole employs multi-directional lugs to provide optimal grip on uneven terrain

Midsole

  • Tuned Action/ReactionTM technology in the midfoot
  • Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
  • Soft, single-density EVA midsole provides optimal cushioning and comfort
  • ETC anti-friction, anti-bacterial sockliner
  • Accommodates most orthotics

I’ll just go over some of the basics of which I think are the important about this shoe, which be “the good” section of this review.

THE GOOD

Water repellent

As mentioned above about the upper, it really is water repellent. We’ve had 60+ inches of snow (and probably some more to add to that this coming week) so far this winter, and I’ve done ALL of my snow running in the BoCo AT…. in anywhere from 1in to 10in of snow. No kidding. My feet never got wet, except from some normal sweat that builds up when running hard in any condition. I love this- my toes did not freeze this winter in the snow, even jumping in melting ice-puddles as the snow began to thaw!


9mi run with snow deeper than that pictured. Dry feet the entire time.


Closed Mesh Upper

Not much to say here except that it does a great job blocking out dirt and debris. I was fortunate to spend time with family in New Mexico over winter break for about a week, and I got to run on muddy and sandy trails. I was perhaps most shocked when I took off my shoes after a double digit sandy run to find that I had no sand in my shoe! 
Sand is deeper than it looks- kept debris out.


Durable Rubber Toe Bumper

Here’s the deal: when I start to get tired on the trail, I seem to stub my toes. Like. A lot. And I hate it. I stubbed my toes a few times in the BoCo AT, and didn’t feel the pain as much as if I had been running in one of my road shoes. I also need to stop stubbing my toes. Pick up those legs when you run!
Solid toe bumper (newtonrunning.com)

4 Lug System

I was kind of hoping the BoCo AT would have the 5 lugs like Energy NR, but the ride really isn’t noticeably different between the Energy NR on the road and the BoCo AT in snow, mud, dirt, gravel, rocks, and sand. It’s also important to note that the lugs do not extend out as prominently on the BoCo AT like they do in the road lineup for Newton, which makes the BoCo AT a good option for fast hiking and walking during those long runs or trail/mountain races. The Energy NR felt odd to walk in, but not so for the BoCo AT. Something to think about, no?


Multidirectional Lugs

This is one of the most innovated aspect of the BoCo AT, and something trail and mountain runners will really like. The sole of this shoe and lugs throughout are pointed in multiple directions yet provide an even, stable ride. Think about it- you want lugs pointing one way if you’re running on downhill and you want them another way if you’re running uphill. Newton has you covered with this, and I noticed that I had equal traction running downhill and uphill in cruddy snowstorms and muddy trails. It also helped me when running on ice. 
Managed to sneak in a few sub-7 min miles during a snow storm. Multi-directional lugs help!

Soft, Single Density EVA

Not much to say here except that this is a very comfortable, cushioned ride, and seems to be holding up well with some tough miles in cruddy conditions. Think of it like a slipper on your feet- it feels good, it’s comfy, but you still have ground feel.

  • ETC anti-friction, anti-bacterial sockliner

  • Again, not much to say here except that I have had ZERO hot spots or blisters while running in the BoCo AT, and shoes don’t smell despite some sweaty miles. Great stuff!

Random Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by how versatile this shoe is as a trail/mountain running shoe in so many different types of terrain (mentioned above). Also, even though 9.6oz is near the max weight I am willing, the weight doesn’t seem to be a problem, or at least I have not been able to notice the weight.

Oh, yeah, I also ran sub-7 minute miles in a snowstorm in the BoCo AT. 
Felt solid running up and down dicy terrain!

THE BAD

Potential Hot Upper

I have not had a chance to run in these during HOT conditions (only up to 60 degrees while in NM for a week), but I wonder if the aspects that make this such a great shoe for running in snow and puddles, and the ability to keep out dirt and debris, might make this shoe “run warm” in warm summer months. I’ll have to update this review when the weather becomes warmer. 

Road Running

Listen, this is a trail and mountain shoe and NOT a road shoe. Running on the road feels a bit awkward, but if you have a race where you’ll have only a few miles on road, you’ll be fine. I would definitely not try to use this as a road shoe as the ride will feel a bit awkward and you’ll wear away the tread on a dedicated road shoe. 

Price Point

At $129, it’s honestly competitively priced compared to Salomon, Inov-8 and some other brands, but it would be nice to see a trail shoe closer to $110 or $100, but I’m afraid that the general running shoe market won’t be allowing these types of prices across the spectrum. So, a great price given the market, but the market is the market. 

Conclusion

I’ll say it again, the Newton BoCo AT is one of the best trail and mountain running shoes on the market right now. Whenever I race my next trail race, I’ll probably have the BoCo AT on my feet, especially if the conditions are terrible. Given that I was able to log some great miles in snowstorms, sand, and mud, I really have no complaints about the BoCo AT overall. This shoe, for me at least, does what a good shoe should do: it disappears on my feet while I’m running. At $129, it’s not badly priced given how versatile it is. If you like Newton shoes, or if you really want to try Newton, you will not be disappointed with the BoCo AT.


Disclaimer: Newton gave me these shoes to review for my blog, but the opinions expressed here are how I feel about the product.

2 comments:

  1. I made a trail of 60 km and 3000 m of made uneven and the BOCO died. In fact I really made out a will to them in condition TRAIL (no walk on the lawn):

    - Any stability entered the front and the back of the foot.
    - The sole under the heel comes loose.
    - The reinforcement before comes loose.
    - Shoes drilled(spun).

    Results(Profits): I threw(cast) shoes because unusable.

    My template(size): 1M80, 73 KG.

    To you to see but I find that it is a little bit light for shoes of TRAIL - except for running(roaming) just 10 KM on the lawn once a month.


    I have got photos if you want.

    ReplyDelete
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