Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

Ask the Test Team: Can You Recommend a Shoe For Me Based on One I Like?

This RW+ member wants to add a more cushioned trainer to their weekly shoe rotation.

newton distance 9
Lakota Gambill

“I’ve been running in Newtons (the lightweight Distance model) for years. Which cushioned running shoe would you recommend?”

—RW+ Member Chillyhily on the Community Page


Hey Chillyhily! I’ve got a few shoes in mind that I think you’d like. Here are my top three picks.

Option 1: Newton Fate 7

If you want to stay within the Newton brand, check out the Fate 7. Personally, this is my favorite Newton shoe, but that’s not why I’m recommending it. The Distance model is actually tuned to be slightly firmer than the Fate for a really fast feeling. So while the Fate doesn’t add a significant amount of cushioning underfoot, it does feel a bit softer and more forgiving. The seventh version also has a more cushioned insole, which is just comfier overall, in my experience.

newton fate 7
The Newton Fate 7 weighs 9.6 oz for a men’s size 9 and 7.1 oz for a women’s size 7.
Newton Running

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s


Option 2: New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v2

Another option is New Balance’s Fresh Foam Beacon line. I’d recommend either the v3 or the older v2 model. This one gets my vote because it has a spacious toebox (the v2 especially) that fits similar to Newton. As you likely know, Newtons have an anatomically shaped upper so you have wiggle room, but they’re not quite as wide up front as say, an Altra shoe. The Beacon is also super lightweight, which you’re probably used to from wearing Newtons.

new balance fresh foam beacon v2
The New Balance Beacon v2 weighs 7.7 oz for a men’s size 9 and 6.6 oz for a women’s size 7.
New Balance

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Also Consider: New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3

The biggest difference is that the Beacon has a good amount more cushioning underfoot and a higher drop at 6mm. I think this shoe will still feel familiar enough to you, though, because the Fresh Foam midsole is responsive but on the firmer side. The Distance doesn’t have a pillowy-plush or too squishy sensation underfoot, and neither does the Beacon. And 6mm is still a touch lower than most running shoes out there today; some trainers go as high as 13mm. You may notice a difference going from the Distance’s 2mm drop to the Beacon’s 6mm, but I don’t think it will be a jarring shift for you—especially since both shoes have a good amount of flexibility.

new balance fresh foam x beacon v3
The New Balance Beacon v3 weighs 8.0 oz for a men’s size 9 and 6.8 oz for a women’s size 7.
New Balance

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s


Option 3: Topo Athletic Phantom 2

Last but not least, I’ll give a shout-out to Topo Athletic. Topo is another brand that also focuses on natural foot movement and running efficiently, so I think its shoes will be right up your alley. Like Newtons, they have generous toeboxes, bouncy rides, and very light weights. Right now, the overwhelming favorite Topo of our wear-test team is the Phantom 2. Though it’s a bit heavier than what you’re getting with the Distance, the Phantom has a lot more cushioning. According to one of our testers, the midsole is “fairly soft, but responsive and springy.” That same tester (who heel strikes and has a neutral gait) added that, “The heel really absorbs the shock from the road. At the same time, the forefoot isn’t overly plush, so it returns a lot of energy back into my stride and doesn’t feel sluggish when pushing off.”

topo athletic phantom 2
Topo Athletic Phantom 2 weighs 10.3 oz for a men’s size 9 and 8.5 oz for a women’s size 7.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Also Consider: Topo Athletic Cyclone

If you’re searching for a daily trainer that can also handle long runs, the Phantom is your shoe. Coming from the Distance, it is going to feel noticeably more cushioned. If you want something a little closer to the feeling you are already getting in a Newton, but with more firm cushioning underfoot, I’d point you instead to Topo’s Cyclone model. This shoe is quite a bit lighter as well, and costs $20 less than the Phantom 2.

topo athletic cyclone
The Topo Athletic Cyclone weighs 7.9 oz for a men’s size 9 and 6.4 oz for a women’s size 7.
Topo Athletic

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s


Got another gear question for us, or want us to recommend a shoe we think you’ll love? Drop us a note on the RW+ Community Page!

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below