(This is a 3-way review by the 3 members of TPB that currently own and run in the Skechers GoRun shoes; Joey having the original version and Mark & Kat running in version 2. Although the shoe has changed between versions, many characteristics stayed consistent and also hopefully this gives an idea of how the shoe has evolved.)
[ Mark ]
2011 was the year I came across the GoRun, the first iteration of “stylish recreational” brand Skechers’ foray into the world of running shoes. Well, actually it wasn’t really the very first. Before this there was the infamous SRR (Skechers Resistance Runner) an entirely flawed, gimmicky and frankly hideously ugly attempt at a “running” shoe. It was inspired by their Shape-Ups line of round-bottomed shoes, which are supposed to enhance the workout to the legs in some pseudo-scientific way. (Hey it was endorsed by Kim Kardashian herself so it must be good, right?) So they took this idea with them when developing the SRR, and not only did it look bad, it performed badly. Very badly. So badly in fact that a class-action lawsuit was filed against Skechers because of injuries sustained by these (including bone stress fractures!!).
So, their name was forever tarnished as a running/athletic brand, and they should just stick to casual from now, right?
So when I first heard of the existence of the original GoRun, I was understandably puzzled. Have they not learned their lesson? Even more puzzled I was when I heard that TPB teammate (at the time) Mitch Estuar was being sponsored by Skechers. She asked me for my opinion and I pointed her to the story of the SRR lawsuit, in other words “bad idea”. But my puzzlement turned to flabbergast when I heard that one of the world’s greatest marathoners Meb Keflezighi is also sponsored by the brand, and using GoRun shoes in competition. WTF. I had to check these shoes out!
I tried the GoRun out for the first time in SM Department store Ayala, back in December 2011. The first thing I noticed about them was…..a rounded bottom! Oh no. But in actuality it was more reminiscent of the bottoms of a pair of Newton running shoes, which are specifically engineered to promote midfoot striking. Since I became a midfoot runner (and one of the biggest evangelist of its benefits) that year, this interested me. Skechers was branding it as M-Strike technology. Walking around in these felt a bit odd, as the Newtons also did, but once you’re at a moderate jogging pace, it felt more natural…and it became almost impossible to heel-strike in them. My interest was piqued, but I was not yet convinced. Not until I read some reviews.
Fast forward to 2013, and by then I’ve read many good things about the original GoRun line so I became very excited when I heard about the launch of the second version. This time around, they listened to their runners as well as Meb and applied their feedback and opinions to improving on it (do you hear that Adidas?? Listen to your runners, not your marketing team!!). The bump in the mid-foot was reduced and the upper was made even more comfortable and form-fitting than before. I didn’t have a chance to try the new version out anywhere since I didn’t come across any store in Berlin that carried them, so I just ordered them online via Zalando.de and hoped for the best. There is a plethora of colours to choose from, and I decided to go for LOUD NEON YELLOW (part of the reason was some of the other colours were sold out in my size).
Two days later they arrived, and the moment I slid them snugly on my feet, I was in love. Since my feet are ridiculously narrow for a man, I’m a big fan of soft uppers, ones that basically mould into your foot’s contours, since – unlike other brands like Brooks – they don’t let my feet shift laterally while running a good pace, causing blisters. Well, small blisters is actually what I did end up getting the first 2 runs on them, that was due to the inside edge of the insole rubbing against the arch of my foot. Wearing thicker socks alleviated that problem, and after 60 or so kilometers, the insole softened & flattened out enough so that that edge doesn’t bother me at all anymore.
In fact, right now I’d call these the most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever owned. Not even running 21 kilometers at race pace gave me any form of blistering or discomfort. The M-Strike really does promote mid-foot striking, in fact I’d say these are the perfect shoes for any heel-striker wishing to transition. It’s not impossible to heel-strike in these, but you’d have to consciously try. They are also very very light, on the level of race flats. Being essentially a minimalist shoe, none of the bulk of hard rubber & plastic materials used in many stability & control running shoes is present, making this one even lighter than a pair of Vibram Fivefingers.
Since acquiring these shoes in April, I’ve run 2 road races (21K & 10K) and smashed 4 PRs with them (10K, 1 hour, 10-mile, 21K). Needless to say, I’m crazy about these shoes. As it stands, I think they would be perfectly suitable also for the Big 42, and will be using them when I run the Frankfurt Marathon in October.
Aside from the light blisters during the “wearing in” phase (which is perfectly acceptable), I don’t have any downsides to report so far. We’ll see if the durability is also well…only time will tell. Either way, I think I will stock up on another pair of these if I see them on sale, so I will have a fresh pair for by the time the Marathon happens in October. Although even at the full price (€ 80) they are a very good value for money.
[ Kat ]
The very first running shoes I bought when I started seriously running back in 2012 was the first release of the Skechers Go Run. It had a pronounced hump in the middle but it didn’t matter coz I have a high arch and I have a mid foot strike. My size is 7.5. With running shoes, I am supposed to buy 8.5. Unfortunately the sales person told me that the Go Run has an allowance already so I bought the 7.5. It gave me a blisters and my toenails kept on dying. Except that it was light I didn’t really have a good experience with it.
This 2013 I needed to buy another pair for my second marathon. I decided on the new Skechers Go Run 2 primarily because I think it’s cute and I like the color!!!
To my surprise, it’s the best I’ve ran in. I have the Nike Lunar Racer, K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light, Brooks Pure Connect, K-Swiss KONA but this is the best I’ve ran in so far. They have minimized the ‘hump’, the upper material is thin. It’s very light and I was able to run 20 miles in it without killing any toenail. I had a few blisters but it’s something I can live with. Bonus, the neon one glows in the dark! I will definitely run the 37th Milo Marathon in these. Wish me luck!!
[ Joey, using GoRun version 1 ]
I have a general mid foot strike so the first time I put them on, I had this see-saw rocking experience because of the high mid-foot design of the shoe. It took a while to walk leave alone run with my natural gait. Nevertheless I first tried them in the treadmill and after a while got used to them as they gave more cushioning.
Next stop for them was in my 5K race. Normally I go forefoot when I run short distances where I do more of sprinting. Surprisingly with its high mid foot curve, the adjustment to forefoot was easy and helped me maintain a sprint posture til the end setting a new PR! Excited I was!
The last test was in the 50K ultra where my strategy was to run the first 40km in cushioning and finish with the lighter Skechers for the last 10K. This was for two reasons. The first was to lighten the load on my feet and the next was to help with the final sprint. This strategy worked brilliantly as the lighetr more breatjable skechers gave me the final push I needed to complete.
All in all for a mid-foot striker like me, Go Run 1 would be more suited for short runs where sprinting is more prounounced than cruising.