On September 18th my buddy Peter Larson posted a review of the Skechers Go Run on his blog, runblogger.com. 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.
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|
|Without the sockliner|
|Wide Toe Box|
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.|
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 www.runblogger.com.