iron snorks wrote:
Maybe I've missed a thread but what has happened at Newton Running?
I understand Danny Abshire has left the company and the Running Lab in Boulder has closed its doors.
Wonder if anyone knew the inside story?
A real shame as the company really pushed natural running into the mainstream.
Newton really didn't push natural running into the mainstream. Born to Run
pushed natural running into the mainstream. And really, it was Tony Post over at Vibram that truly capitalized on it, turning the positioning of the KSO into a running model, and then launching the Bikele.
Newton caught alongside that wave as the "shod" version of things, although it was deemed inferior for not having the whole separated toe thing. But, I'm digressing.
Really, Newton truly "caught fire" after Saucony put out the Kinvara. Having a mainstream manufacturer come along with the low offset, light weight story, validated a lot of the work that Newton had put into the Gravity, Motion, and Distance line-up.
Newton's downfall is two fold, really - #1 Hoka completely disrupting the marketplace after they were acquired by Deckers, and #2 way overextending the line-up beyond the core competencies.
I say this in every thread about Newton: they were always going five lug. Always, always, always. The original shoes were supposed to be five lug, but the factory they were in couldn't build them to that tolerance. So they swapped 'em out. Would Newton have ever been that popular if the original design worked its way into the marketplace in 2007? Who knows.
They just tried to go too mainstream too quickly without having enough funding to really make it work. I still think there's a place in the market for a line-up of:
That line-up doesn't have significant overlap in it, and because most of those shoes are built off of two lasts, reduces cost expenditures. That would help keep them around...for whoever decides to sink some money into it.
Interestingly, Newton first tried to sell their IP to Saucony before launching their own line-up. It might make more sense for a different brand to acquire the IP and bring some of it into their product line. Or, alternatively, I could also see one of the larger store chains deciding to acquire them as a house brand (similar to the exclusive distribution agreement that Karhu just signed with Fleet Feet).
TL:DR - Newton got lucky to ride a wave in 2007-2010, but made significant missteps in 2011-2013 that have led them to where they are now.
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