(The following is an update to the Newton Running profile published in 2013. Read the CompanyWeek profile here.)
With a new president firmly in place and a new design Newton Running is dashing into 2014.
Newton Running’s +ONE technology is a big step for the running shoe company. “We’ve gone from four lugs, which is what the product line was initiated with in 2007 and evolved into five lugs,” says Newton Running President Craig Heisner, who joined the company a little more than a year ago.
The lugs in the ball of the foot set Newton’s shoes apart from its competitors. “With the additional lug you get a broader platform and additional pop, you get additional cushioning. It just makes for a considerably stronger and broader-reaching product to many different types of runners,” he contends.
The five lugs, Heisner explains, are designed to line up with the metatarsal bones. “It wasn’t just a design evolution. It was a true manufacturing and technology evolution for us,” he says. The first new-soled shoes launched in March. “Everything going forward will be five lugs and its really being well received,” he adds.
The company is also expanding its reach with new, lower-priced models starting at $110. “We now have for the first time a true delineation with three different platforms,” Heisner says. “It’s a more intuitive merchandising story that is justified by three different pop platforms or rides offered by our action reaction technology.”
Heisner has a rich history in the running industry, including working with New Balance, Reebok and Brooks Running Shoes. “I was responsible for the strategic turn around of their business in the late 90s to 2001,” he says.
“The attraction to me for Newton is…where the runner is evolving to,” Heisner says. He also notes the foundation Newton’s established in the running community. “I’ve never been more excited to be a part of a brand. I think we have a tremendous upside and we’re starting to see that both in the investment in new products that are hitting the marketplace now as well as how we evolve our message.”
The company is the official shoe of Ironman in North America, Heisner explains. It’s also participating in running events, like Rock ’n’ Roll Marathons and half marathons. “We actually are the official shoe and presenting sponsor for Destination Races. Which is a series of half marathons which are done in conjunction with just beautiful locations around the U.S.,” he says. Areas like wine country and more. “We just signed that deal. That will be a big opportunity for us to be able to reach the growth on the women’s market,” he asserts.
Challenges: The biggest for us is to continue to evolve and grow the tribal following we have. We do a wonderful job selling to consumers who already love us. But we have to extend the reach.
Opportunities: Growth on the women’s side of the market. The new models and price points are attractive to just about every runner, Heisner says.
Needs: Perspective and ideas to keep the business evolving.