There’s nothing more exciting for a runner than a new pair of running shoes, fresh out of the box. I was so excited to receive my Skechers GOrunII shoes in the mail that when they arrived I tore through the box to reveal a pair of bright pink and green running shoes. To say they are bright puts it mildly. I think they compete with my reflective gear as they stand out more than neighbourhood Christmas lights I’ve seen. I picked up a shoe and was shocked that a shoe that appears to be pretty conventional in its appearance can be as light as a feather. The women’s Skechers GOrun shoes are about 4.9oz-incredibly lightweight.
The Skechers GOrunII shoes are designed to provide a minimalist/natural running experience while also offering Resalyte™ cushioning and M-Strike™ (mid-foot strike) technology that encourages a mid to forefoot landing. When I stopped admiring the shoes I tried them around the house for a few minutes. First off, I had to slide my foot into the shoe from the heel, trying to dip them into the shoe toes first was a comical struggle. Once on, the shoes hugged my foot-but not too tightly and were soft as a slipper. I immediately noticed something was missing though-the heel! It’s as if someone came along and cut the heel right out of the shoe. There is a bit of cushion just past the arch but after that the heel appears to be closer to zero drop than 4mm. This has the result of ensuring a forefoot landing.
After walking around for a while I decided to hop on my treadmill for a quick test drive. I quickly found these are not a walker’s shoe. Rolling through a non-existent heel just feels odd, so I switched to a run after only a minute of warming up. I dialled into my pace easily-which was very nice and I credit the shoes’ lightweight yet ample cushion for taking away any of the usual stiff and soreness that usually accompanies the first kilometre of my morning runs. I noticed that I had to adjust my biomechanics a bit as the cushioning is significantly more built up in these shoes than the NB minimus shoes I have been training in. Once I shifted my strike so I rolled through my big toes my feet were pretty happy campers for a few kilometres. Then things got hot-and not in a sexy way. Two hot spots, one on each foot, cropped up and after another kilometre I decided to pack it in and take off the shoes. There I found two dime-sized blisters, one on a third toe and the other at the base of my big toe. I was not impressed these shoes chewed my feet. They are promoted as having an anti-micro bacterial liner so barefoot runners can throw them on without socks, but clearly, socks are needed. From what I can tell the stitching on the interior is what led to the blisters.
The next day I did what any good runner does, I got up, taped my feet where the blisters are, put on a pair of thin socks and tried the shoes again, this time outside. This run went much better, although I did notice the spots where the blisters had appeared were rubbing against the shoes again, but with socks this wasn’t causing any further blisters to appear (thankfully). By the mid point of the run I decided the Skechers GOrunII shoes are an excellent short-distance (half marathon and less) road racing shoe, and I will definitely be wearing them in my next road race. A trail running shoe though, they are not. The sole has very little traction and I would fear slipping on a rock if I tried them on one of the more rugged trails in my area. A rails-to-trail type trail (flat with little gravel) would likely be fine, the only issue I could possibly see there is a rock or two being caught in one of the round nods on the sole, not a big deal.
Overall I give these shoes 4 out of 5 stars as a road racing running shoe. They are lightweight, highly flexible, gently encourage a forefoot landing, provide excellent ground to foot feedback using the GO impulse sensors in the sole and plain look really cool. Those blisters are the only reason I wouldn’t give them a 5 out of 5. I think Skechers is onto something with their economically priced GOrun line of running shoes, and look forward to their next version of the GOrun line.