Check out the shoe that Meb Keflezighi wore to win the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.
I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical when I learned that Skechers–best known for casual-athletic and dress-style footwear–was getting into the business of making running shoes.
At the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market held in Salt Lake City this past August, the Manhattan Beach, California-based company showcased a new shoe called the GOrun, a minimalist model meant for midfoot striking. It caught my eye right away not for its flashy array of colors (of which there are seven), but rather for the fact that it actually resembled a real running shoe. This was a radically different product than the overbuilt rocker bottom resistance trainer I’d been seeded with less than a year prior.
If nothing else, I was intrigued. I stepped into the booth, started asking questions and slipped the shoes on my feet. Before I knew it, I was on my way home with an early sample and excited to put a few miles on the bright yellow slippers in my backpack.
Since going home with a pair of the GOrun in early August I’ve put 112 miles on the shoes, and so far they’ve held up really well. I’ve run with them on the roads, a rubberized track and groomed trail. I’ve run as little as 15 minutes in them and as long as an hour. I’ve gone as slow as 8:30 per mile in and faster than 5:00 pace on occasion.
Here’s a more in-depth Fit Feel & Ride breakdown of the GOrun, using feedback from my experience running in the shoe to provide you with a virtual try-on of this new minimalist model. There’s also a photo gallery at the bottom of the page highlighting some of the features of the shoe. Check it out!
The GOrun fit true to size (I wear a 9 and I had almost a full thumb’s width from the end of my big toe to the front of the shoe) and the sock-like upper wrapped securely around my midfoot. The soft heel counter didn’t slip at all and the thin tongue didn’t cause any unwelcome irritation. There was also plenty of breathing room in the forefoot for my fat feet.
Walking around the expo floor, the GOrun felt light on my feet, which you would expect from a sub-7 ounce shoe. What surprised me, however, was how soft the midsole felt underneath my foot, providing what felt like an ample amount of protection. Given the minimal nature of the midsole, the shoe was extremely flexible front to back and was devoid of any rigid structure. An odd observation: even though there’s a 4mm drop from heel to toe, there was a noticeable bump under the arch area toward the front of the heel. A closer examination of the shoe confirmed this sensation. Essentially your heel sits low in the rear of the shoe, the midsole rises a few millimeters to form a prominent “arch” at the front of the heel, then it drops off (at a steeper pitch) toward the forefoot.
The true test of any running shoe is how well it rides when you you get it up to speed. As a natural midfoot striker, a shoe like the GOrun has my name written all over it. The “bump” I felt while standing in the shoe became less noticeable the longer I ran, and the shoe allowed me to run naturally without forcing my foot to do anything it didn’t want to do. The shoe transitioned smoothly at a variety of speeds and performed well regardless of the surface I was running on, although I would refrain from taking it on a technical trail. There was plenty of cushioning and protection when running on the roads, but I found the shoe too soft and unstable to use for speed work or long racing.
To wrap things up, I think Skechers is onto something with the GOrun (Meb Keflezighi recently won the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon in 62:17 wearing the shoe), but they still have a long way to go before they’re taken seriously as a running shoe brand. This shoe represents a step in the right direction, and will fall into favor with faster, more efficient runners who are willing to give it a shot. Most runners, however, will benefit from using the shoe as a supplementary shoe to strengthen the feet and encourage midfoot striking. It will be interesting to see how the GOrun is received when it’s released nationwide in later this month, as well as what direction Skechers decides to go after this initial launch into the always evolving running-shoe market.