I know this is a barefoot site and yes I love and extol the awesomeness of being sans shoe but I also really love shoes.  I’ll clarify by saying I love running shoes.  I could care less about other types of shoes out there but running shoes just have a hold on me.  The majority of my life has been spent making sacrifices on comfort because most shoes are too narrow for my feet and they are too built up in the arch.  Even shoes made in wide sizes don’t really fit my feet because of the toe box shape.  I just told you all of that so that I can try and ease you into the idea of a running shoe made by Skechers called the GOrun.

Ok yes Skechers gave us the monstrosity called the Shape Up which was really just a copy of another monstrosity called MBT (who had the nerve to say their big thick soled shoes were like running barefoot on sand).  With those and other Skechers transgressions in mind I didn’t really take them serious when I heard that they were wanting to get into the running shoe market.  I honestly thought they would just  put something average together and sell it at lower than average price.  Then they signed Meb Keflezighi.  I have been lucky enough to meet Meb and talk with him a few times now and I respect him both as a man and as an amazing runner.  I know that Meb wouldn’t sign with a company just for the money.  They were going to have to put together something worth putting his name on and I liked that sign.  I also looked into some of the development process and Skechers went as far as to bring some big design and shoe development guns in on the project.  They could have easily just told their current people to put something together but they didn’t.  They developed an entire division and brought people in for it.

I wasn’t sold yet but I was sold enough to put down some of my own money and give the GOrun a try.

I usually start off with the technical info on a shoe and I will but first I wanted to address the sales process.  None of the running specialty stores in my area (north Dallas, TX) are carrying Skechers.  This meant I had to go to the Skechers store.  I know shoes.  I have and still do work with shoe companies.  I know the ins and outs of a shoe so I am confident in my ability to make sure a shoe is right for me.  Most people don’t have this background so they rely on specialists to help them.  While everyone I met at the Skeckers store was very friendly and enjoyable they are not specialists in running shoes.  They were great at helping me and offered their own personal experiences with the shoes but that was all they could offer.  I asked technical questions regarding things like sole thickness and materials and they weren’t sure on any of it.  At the time I got the shoes they were still fairly new so I give a little lenience but not much given that they are still selling the shoe whether they know or not.  I also got a lot of “oh it’s great and you’re gonna love it” talk which is fine but it’s obvious I’m dealing with people just trying to move product.  My advice is to know the info on the shoe before you go to a store whether it’s a specialty store or not so you can make an educated decision.  Also always go with how the shoes feel when you try them on.  Never bank on things like the shoe stretching or molding to fit you better.  Odds are it might but it could also cause some damage in the meantime.

THE TECHNICAL

The first glance at this shoe will tell you the technical info is different than most.  The sole has a big rockered appearance to it and that’s because it is like a rocking chair down there.  This is not to make it smoother when heel striking but to help promote the ever elusive mid-foot strike (yes I hate using that term but it’s what they say so I gotta go with it and this is the last time I’ll mention my stance on it).  The sole is 10mm at the forefoot, 19mm at the mid-foot, and 14mm at the heel.  That gives this shoe a technical 4mm heel to toe drop but I don’t really count it because of the mid-foot thickness.  The sole is made of their Resalyte composite that is very soft and helps make the shoe very light.  It comes in at 6.9 ounces for a men’s nine.  Mine are 8.5 and they weighed 6.8 on my scale so I’m going to say they are accurately presenting the weight of the shoe.  The Resalyte is fairly durable even though it looks like it would just shred away so you’ll get your standard miles in on this sole.  It has a mostly seamless upper to allow you to go sockless if you like that sort of thing and it breathes fairly well.

THE LOOK

Odd looking rocker sole aside the shoe looks pretty good.  It’s got simple lines and has minimal over lays.  I think the look works and I like it.  It’s kind of a classic look and there’s really not a lot to say about it because of that.  They have lots of color options to choose from online.  The store had a decent selection but not nearly as many as the website.

THE FIT

This is where the shoe is very different.  They have widened the toe box quite a bit compared to other brands but this is not a foot shaped shoe.  You’re gonna have lots of room in this shoe compared to something from Nike but I still got a black toe nail in them while running a half marathon.  Before that race I had run a ten miler in them with no issues.  The difference is the training run was flat and the race had a lot of hills which put my toes into the end of the shoe and thus the bruising of my big toe.  The average person will find these very roomy.  The heel cup is shallower than most and I like it.  I’ve talked to some people who don’t think it’s deep enough but those people were trying to use orthotics and inserts in them which won’t work really well.  The heel holds just fine and is comfortable which I really like.  I am not a fan of really tall heel tabs that over hug my Achilles.  The upper is pretty smooth inside and I can wear them without socks.  My first run gave me a couple of spots that were rubbed a bit raw but I attribute that to the materials being new.  It’s kinda like wearing a new shirt before you’ve washed it.  It works fine but just isn’t as comfortable.  The sole is soft and feels good against your foot.  Overall a good fitting shoe.

THE PERFORMANCE

This is the area where I was the most curious about this shoe and it has a lot of pros with a few cons.  The first thing you’ll notice is the rocker sole.  The mid-foot bump is hugely noticeable as soon as you put your foot down.  Standing in the shoe it feels weird and I found it uncomfortable because the thick mid-sole pressed into my arch in an awkward way.  In walking the bump feels weird and at first I felt like it was throwing my walking motion way off.  The shoe also has an undercut heel so when you land on the heel you get a bottoming out feeling.  After a few strides I noticed that I adjusted and walked smoothly.  The shoe shifted my walk from a heel strike to a forefoot landing all on its own.  I went into my first run thinking the bump would be really noticeable and take a lot of getting used to.  It was noticeable but took no getting used to.  I have a flat footed landing when I run and this shoe took my motion and almost did it for me.  The M-Strike Technology, as they call it, really does have a feeling of doing the work for you.  The rocker works in that it rocks your foot forward and keeps you off your heels.  The feel is smooth and I like it a lot.  My only complaint is that I like my flat footed landing and after a while the mid-foot bump irritates my arch.  For shorter runs, anything under 10 miles, I don’t really notice it but when I get into 13 mile territory I can feel it.  It causes a little post run soreness but nothing that has lingered into the next day.  The shoe feels light on your foot and has a snug fit.  It doesn’t move around a lot on your foot and sockless or not it feels good.  You won’t notice the 4mm drop because the bump really kind of negates it.  If you’re going to try and heel strike in this shoe you can but it won’t feel right.  I purposely set out to heel strike on a couple of runs and it feels like you bottom out and there’s a bit of a jerking of the leg as your weight comes down.  It doesn’t cause any issues and I don’t think it will cause injuries but it just doesn’t feel comfortable.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I gotta say that Skechers has done something very good with the GOrun.  The shoe feels good and is fairly durable.  I like that they give the forefoot a little more room but think they could easily let it out even more for a more natural feel.  The rocker takes a little getting used to and I don’t think it’s something for the longer runs but maybe it’ll be fine for other people.  This isn’t a minimal shoe but it’s also not a full cushion shoe either.  I am calling it a transition/training shoe.  It’s flexible enough to get the feet working more than in a typical shoe and the M-Strike Technology helps you learn how to get off the heels or just refine your mid to forefoot landing.

 

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One response »

  1. Algis M says:

    Interesting review and article as always Jimmy, thanks! I’m always curious about the newest running shoes that are coming out, not because I’m going to buy them (since I don’t think I’ll go back to running shod), but to see what’s coming out. I’m always amused at the companies that jump on the barefoot shoe bandwagon but who just hash something out in a hurry to get a piece of the pie, without putting any serious research into it.
    How are your feet doing? Are you planning to have another get together to go running?

    All the best,
    Algis

    PS Just ran the SF Marathon again this past July. Loved it! Met 5 other barefoot runners there too! One of them was Alberto Perusset, who is the owner and director of the Malibu International Marathon coming up November 11th. Sommer is running her very first marathon ever there and she’s excited about it. She’s still running in her “El Cheapo” Walmart aquasocks. $5. They work like a charm!
    Would you ever consider doing a review on aquasocks like these?

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