Sunday, March 25, 2012

Skechers Go Bionic Review

On September 18th my buddy Peter Larson posted a review of the Skechers Go Run on his blog,  At the time I was preparing to run 108 miles of pavement across NH and was keeping my eyes out for a minimal type shoe that offered enough cushion and protection for all that pavement.  His review of the Go Run really caught my interest.  After several emails back and forth he put me in touch with the team at Skechers.

After giving them feedback on the first pair of Go Run shoes (loved the feel of the upper, loved the flexibility of the shoe, felt that the "bump" under the arch was a little weird when walking, but awesome when running, etc.) they sent me another pair with the changes I suggested.  How cool!!  Then another pair, and another, etc.  What started out as simple feedback has now blossomed into me being a wear tester for Skechers.  (Disclaimer:  all of the shoes I have received from Skechers have been at no charge in exchange for my feedback).

Before I get into the actual review of the Go Bionic it must be said that I am incredibly impressed with the team at Skechers.  They are one of the biggest producers of shoes and they have dedicated an incredible amount of resources to building real running shoes.  The complete lack of arrogance and genuine interest in my feedback has been incredible.  I have made suggestions for shoes and had a custom pair show up in two weeks.  The quality of their prototypes is so high that the first time they sent me a custom shoe I called them and said they must have made a mistake, I thought it was a production shoe. 

Go Bionic!
The shoe that I have been wearing the most is the Go Bionic.  Peter and I have been working collaboratively with them on this shoe.  Pete likes to run sockless and does shorter faster runs than me.  I always wear socks and generally run longer distances. Therefore our feedback comes from different perspectives and covers a wide type of runners needs.

Let me say one thing.  Although I like minimal shoes, I don't consider myself a "Barefoot" runner.  The only requirement that I have for running shoes is that there has to be a 4mm or less heel/midfoot drop.  I love how minimal shoes feel.  I love how they sort of disappear on my feet.  I love how they are not hot and breath well.  But I do not love how much the bottom of my feet hurt when I try to run long distances in them.  I like having some cushioning, or" bounce", when I land on pavement.

For me the perfect shoe would simply be rubber that would extend out of the bottom of my foot.  It would allow my feet to move and feel exactly as they do when I'm barefoot, but it would give me enough cushioning and protection to allow me to run all day (and night).  

Most minimal shoes cater to the barefoot crowd.  And most barefooters like to feel the ground.  Some of them write on their blogs how shoes with a tiny bit of hard rubber have no "ground feel" and aren't minimal enough.  Well, not this guy.  I have been trying to find a minimal shoe that would let me run for hours without making it feel like somebody beat the bottoms of my feet with a ball-peen hammer.  I have finally found that shoe.  And it is the Go Bionic.

6.4 Oz with sockliner, 6.0 without (size 10 mens)

The Go Bionic is a zero drop lightweight shoe.  Unlike most zero drop minimal shoes, the sole is made with a lateral midsole thickness of 11.5mm and has substantial cushioning.  For me, the Resalyte material has a perfect amount of ground feel with enough "squish" or "bounce".


 The horizontal and vertical slits in the soles allows the shoe to move with your feet in all directions.  A size 10 mens shoe weighs only 6.4 oz on my digital scale and exactly 6 oz without the removable sockliner.

Nice flat removable sockliner
Originally the shoe was designed without a sockliner and was meant to be able to wear sockless.  The first pair I received had no sockliner.  There was a noticeable feel to the blocks of rubber directly under my feet that was a bit strange when standing, but was undetectable when running.  Peter and I both suggested that they design the shoe with a very minimal removable sockliner.  It turned a really good shoe into a great shoe for me.

Without the sockliner
 Another thing that I love about this shoe is that there is zero arch support.  Zero.  I really don't understand why shoe companies design "minimal" shoes and then ruin them with arch support.  I want my minimal shoes to feel like my feet.  Not like traditional shoes that don't allow my arch to flex and stretch.  Skechers got this right.
Wide Toe Box

Breathability is excellent and the upper has a wide toe box that allows your toes to splay freely.  Running roads in this shoe feels like running barefoot on the grass.  That's the best way I can describe the ride.  Two weeks ago I decided to meet the family for breakfast...31 miles away.  I wasn't sure how my feet would feel after running that many miles in a zero drop shoe, but I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived later after 4 1/2 hours of roads.

The slits in the sole do open the question about how waterproof they are.  Skechers has given the shoes a 3M Scotchguard Protective coating.  Not only does this improve water resistance at the bottom of the shoe, but it keeps the uppers looking better longer.  I have tested a pair of Go Runs with this coating by taking them off road through mud, sand, water, and general muck and was amazed at how everything just kind of slid off the shoes.  They tell me that it is very heavy duty and should last the life of the shoes.  The shoe also has a primer and cement layer between the midsole slits and the upper to increase protection.  I have not tested the shoes in the rain, but I have run in them when there was heavy snowmelt on the roads and did not have any water come through the bottom of the shoes.

Flexible in every direction.
Besides being a great road shoe, this shoe is a fantastic every day shoe for the person who doesn't want to have an elevated heel.  I love how minimal shoes feel for casual use, but I don't walk midfoot first.  Frankly I've never been able to figure out how to do it without looking like I am very "light in the loafers", so to speak.   Therefore, whenever I do wear a zero drop shoe for work,  my feet end up hurting by the end of the day.  With the Go Bionics extra cushioning I find that I have the best of both worlds.  Zero drop, zero pain.

Ok, so I'm gushing.  I love these shoes.  I have waited two years for somebody to come out with a shoe like this.  If you want a pair you will have to wait just a little bit longer.  The release date is scheduled for July of this year with an estimated MSRP of under $90.

If you want a more technical review of the shoe, check out Petes's post at

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Time to get Motivated!!

On Thursday, March 8th at 7PM I will be speaking as part of the "March Forth 2012" Motivation-a-thon.  Once a year Jigsaw Consulting holds a unique event here in NH.  To help combat the winter blues, they have a uplifting, informational, or motivational speaker every hour starting at 8am and going until 9pm.

Last year I was invited to speak, even though I am not a professional speaker.  I spoke about how there are many people who influence your life, but only one person who can change it, you.  I had a great time and it was well received.  It was an honor to be invited back this year.

This year the name of my talk is "Chasing the Almighty Buck is Keeping You Poor (How Finding My Primary Aim Changed My Life)".  I will be expanding on my last blog post "For Love or Money" and talking specifically about how waiting until you have enough money to do what you want with your life is preventing you from living the life that you want.  If you are a business owner or thinking about opening a business it will particularly relevant, but hopefully anybody there should be able to find something interesting.

It's a day filled with positive messages, featuring twelve presentations (a new one at the top of each hour). 
This event is FREE! All speakers are donating their time to raise awareness and donations for Chamberlin House (home of Woman's Club of Concord).