Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Skechers GoBionic Shoe Review

It has been almost a month since I recieved the Skechers GoBionic minimalist shoe. First tested during Putrajaya International Triathlon and it has been put through the pace throughout December until I was down with chicken pox. In fact, the last run I did on the day the Chicken pox showed itself (December 23,2012).
The Chicken Run.
Over the past 3-half weeks of running using the GoBionic, I have clocked no less than 120km (as of January 2, 2013). The number is increasing on the daily basis. I average about 50km every week with mixture of barefoot, trail and running in GoBionic.
Skechers GoBionic 74.723miles or 120.255km as of December 2, 2012
The closest "rival" I could put the GoBionic to compare is the Brooks Pure Drift, that has just been launched on January 1, 2013. At 205km, the PureDrift is close to retirement. This review will serve as a good comparison and review of the GoBionic.
The One With Socks
I seems to be "experimenting" with new gears in some races. Putrajaya Triathlon was one of the most recent one. I am a believer if the shoe is good, it should (technically) allow for a good experience. Usually, all it takes is a short run at race pace and you will get an idea how the shoe is like on regular use basis. For the first test aka during the Putrajaya Triathlon, I wore socks, as not to repeat the mistake i did during Powerman by going sockless and had one or two blisters forming.
Flying in GoBionic
The first impression upon wearing the GoBionic during the race was the flexibility. It could be attributed by the 18-parts of the shoe sole being independent of each other. 
Wanna count?
The lightness of the shoe and how it actually DID promote midfoot strike was (at that time of the race) scary. Until GoBionic, I've not ran that much of midfoot unless I am running barefoot. There was no effort to land midfoot - it just happen. I assumed my legs were still fresh and hence the bio-mechanics were working well.
What I wrote on the first impression using it for the Putrajaya Triathlon
I must admit I've not perfected the correct running and landing. Because about two weeks after, during the Malakoff 12km run, I was "captured" landing heel first - but perhaps that was because I was sprinting downhill towards the finish line. 
Otherwise, I landed the way it should with the aid of the shoe.
Slow and steady
If you noticed, I ran with socks in both the races above. Happy to report that i actually scored many personal best on both the races wearing GoBionic. Perhaps with better fitness and improved techniques (but still much room for improvement of course), all these were possible. 
Verdict Running With Socks
Perfect fit. If you did noticed, I wore the same socks just to know how it will "fit" on two very different terrain (flat vs hilly) and the shoe's fit did not disappoint. The larger toebox allowed the front of my feet to "spread" out more readily upon landing and the socks sort of ensured no blisters will form. But of course, the real test is to run the shoes without any socks.
Taking (the socks) All Off
Baring it all
To complete the test, i decided to run in the GoBionic without any socks. My experience with a minimalist shoe (PureDrift) told me that the potential to get blisters is high. Cautiously and consciously, i told myself that I will run sockless and STOP the moment i feel any blisters forming. I do not want to risk down time not running. Some injuries are not worth it and blisters is one of them, though minor and usually more of a nuisance than problem. So, how did GoBionic felt, naked? The 6.5km (aka the Chicken Pox run) was sufficient to check if blisters will be formed. Happy to report that the GoBionic did not come close in giving me any blisters. I wanted to remove the sockliner, but there is no reason for that as the shoe will remain to be a Zero Drop with or without the liner.
Verdict Sockless
Without the socks, the shoe was slightly loose on the toebox. I fitted (tried) the shoe in the store (at 1Utama) with socks. Half expecting that blisters will form due to the freeplay and friction points, it did not happen. In comparison, I have blisters forming when running on PureDrift. 
I've extensively discussed about the shoe's physical attribute in this post here. Below is my opinion after using the shoes for almost a month.
Fit - true to size. If you wear a (example) size 10 shoe, you will need a size 10 GoBionic. Unlike the other minimalist I tried, I would need to go half size smaller and the freeplay at the toebox amplifies when I run sockless.
Cushioning - Lets be utterly honest here. This is a minimalist shoe. Cushioning is not the main priority. So, you should try the shoe with your feet wide open (as opposed to eyes wide open) and do not expect a super plush ride. However, the Resalyte compound with memory retention allowed for a more (than usual) minimalist plushness. But please do not equate this to plush-plush. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being barefoot harsh and 10 being cushioned plush), this GoBionic comes in at 3 (and PureDrift comes in at 2).
And you thought memory foam retention only happens with some sleeping mattresses
Build - This is my first pair of Skechers and I must say that the stitching and such were on the mark. Glue used were sufficient and did not show any messy spill like some more prominent brands. The inner part of the shoe has proven (by me) not to create any blisters. Standing true to the minimalist approach and will allow you to run sockless, and perhaps sockliner-less. Maybe I should take a chance doing that and feedback here?
Other thoughts - I am sorry to say this, but this shoe comes in one of the most unexciting color in recent times. Maybe I am just spoilt by loud bright color. However, after almost a month of owning this GoBionic, i figured out that functional shoes don't need to be exciting, because the shoe itself should provide you with what you actually needed - comfort, performance and an an almost feather weight running shoes. It will be interesting to see if the GoBionic will outlast 250km mileage. I am "half way there" after a month, Wait up for the follow up report for more updates.

Note: This pair of Skechers GoBionic is sponsored by Skechers Malaysiavia collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair of GoBionic retail for RM399 and is available at all Skechers store.


  1. Hi, TriStupe. You mentioned "At 205km, the PureDrift is close to retirement.", can you explain how 'close' is close? Can you snap the photo of the wear pattern vs other running shoes? It is one of the most exciting shoes in 2013, but if it cannot last more than 300km, it is not so 'value for money'.

    Good write up. I shall write my own experience with Pure Connect Gen 1 too, which is going to obsolete soon.

    1. Hey ChoonShih - Close as in perhaps another 50-70km or if i use it fully, a week or two more. Reason for this was the tear on the side where the little toes are which I totally did not expected it. The sole still looked good. Also, I am starting to get more blisters without socks when I run in them.

      I am seeing if this GoBionic will last 300km. :) Wait up for the follow up.

  2. hi tri, between the two which would you recommend for wide foot and flat footed

    1. Selvenz - if you are flatfoot, i would suggest you go for true minimalist aka zero drop. You can then run as if you are barefooted, but with protection (of the sole). both are wide, with Drift being wider if you compare the same shoe size.

  3. You placed the GoBionic as 3 in the cushioning scale. Where would you place the GoRun 2 ?

    1. Thanks. I currently run in the GoRun 2, and I indeed find them cushioned in a positive way, so I'm hesitant to move to the GoBionics. How about the GoBionic Ride? Where would you place them in the scale?

    2. GoBionicRide comes in at 3.

      I must apologise that I mis-noted GR2 to be 8. I forgot I was comparing it among the Skechers shoes. GR2 is a good 10/10 on CUshioning.