Friday, February 01, 2013

Skechers GoTrail First Impression

As part of the sponsorship under the Team 2ndSkin collaboration with Skechers Malaysia, I am allowed three pairs of shoes for 2013. With the first GoBionic reviewed (and very used), I decided to take the GoTrail in preparation for a few offroad races I will be taking part in 2013. Immediate on the list is the Hash Challenge and followed by Sabah Adventure Challenge two weeks later. As most of you know, I am wearing a Brooks Cascadia 5 for the longest time. I retired the first pair after close to 500km and now using my second pair (in Green). I will save Cascadia review for another day - but it will be the older Cascadia5, which is still sold in some shops.
Lets Get "Go"ing
Ever wished someone just leave a box (with shoes) at your home?
I collected my Skechers GoTrail from the branch in 1Utama. The sales representatives were helpful and knowledgeable in the products. In fact, I would not expect any less from anyone dealing with sports equipment. I told her I was there to collect the GoTrail and she pointed to me the "Men" color.
Blue. Brown. Grey. Black.
It was a no-brainer for me to choose the color. I somehow wished there were shocking Pink (unfortunately, there is but for women) as we runners and trailrunners are exhibitionist in disguise. So, yes, i got the Blue. 
Can I have another pair, for my wife?
Minimalist Trail Shoes
My closest experience on a minimalist trail-specific shoe is the Brooks PureGrit. I am threading on dangerous ground here if I go and compare the both of them for the sake of review like how i did between the PureDrift and the GoBionic. So, before I actually "go there", let's understand GoTrail a bit more. When we talk about "minimalist", we talk about the shoe being as close to barefoot as possible. At 4mm drop, the shoe can be considered a minimalist, though it would be better if it is a ZERO drop. With a minimalist setup, my advice is to make sure we as runners are conditioned to run in them. Minimalist shoes promote midfoot and forefoot strike as that is the most natural way of running. It takes practice and muscular strengthening to achieve that. So, if you decided on a pair of minimalist, try hard not to "heel strike", as they are not designed for that.
As how it came to me in the box
Technology and Features
I noticed that Skechers take effort to educate and provide adequate information with their products. I especially like how the shoe's techs and features are laid out on a simple brochure. See if this is easy enough for you to understand.
All features laid out. Their proprietary "Resa" sole, the "feedback" grip, the "Rock Diffusion Plate" and the impressive light weight
More. The Mid-foot strike engineering, the Ortholite, the GoDri, lacing system, heel stabiliser and the 4mm drop
If you do not understand any of them above. It is completely ok. Just stay calm and read on. :P Essentially, because these are mostly marketing materials that aims to appeal to whoever that bought it (or rather, to convince them of their choice) and also as an awareness on the technology that goes into the shoe. Just like how i did unboxing the GoBionic
M-Strike that state the shoe to be engineered to promote midfoot strike
GoImpulse Sensors - It refers to the circular shaped sole (photo below)
What it really meant was it offers flexibility and feedback for better response. Similar to how GoBionic is fitted with 18-independent sole for flexibility
Resagrip. Ultra durable compound that is also lightweight and flexible. Resalyte was in GoBionic.
The Ortholite foam insole that is integrated into the shoe. It is breathable and also inhibit odor
Agion treated. Basically it's Ag+ ion or silver ion treated to inhibit smell.
What was missing that was in my opinion a good selling point is the awareness for the GoDri feature. It is basically a hydrophobic (repel water) mesh and synthetic upper helps shield your feet from harsh elements. Also missing was the Stretch Fit, Heel Stabiliser and the Quick Lacing system. 
Real Feel
I got a size US11 sized shoe as the US10 (my usual size) was a bit too tight on the front/toebox. The decision to go one up is essential as my feet will swell after being exposed to the elements in the trails. We are talking about continuous pounding on different terrains including wet, muddy condition and rocky, loose gravels. So, if you are considering this shoe, go in the evening, wear a socks and try the shoe. 
Smooth surface with rubberised front over synthetic (looked and feel  like Neoprene) top
The bottom of the shoe reveal the Resagrip with GoImpulse feature. I must say it looked rather convincing. The aggressive sole with big spacing looked promising for both grip and self-cleaning ability. This is yet to be tested of course (and you won't expect anything less from me soon)
The yellow Ortholite sockliner is integrated. The GoImpulse looked nasty
One look one would had thought the bottom was a modified "Adidas kampung", just more aggressive looking. Not helping with the mono-color (men's version unfortunately suffers from this). The shoe has the Rock Diffusion Plate inserted between the sole and the insole. This is actually a thin plate to protect against jagged surfaces (not nails ya) and to disperse the pressure.
Quick lacing system
I see no reason for me to perform a DIY shoe-lace on both the GoBionic and GoTrail as the lacing system were more than sufficient to address any "hotspot". Certain shoes' lacing system constrict and restrict too much without allowing for a good fit and I did not find this an issue in both the Skechers I own. A good tug and the laces snug up nicely. Always remember to doubleback your laces (how to do it? rabbit ear the laces twice!)
The light grey's there for a reason
One of the notable feature is the heel stabilizer that is built into the back of the shoe. It is flexible enough and yet provide snug fit on the feet. Add that with the synthetic upper (which by the way, very neoprene like), provides a very nice positive fit. When i flick the tongue of the shoe, i noticed it was sewn down on the inner side. A nice touch as it prevents two things - the tongue from riding down when you place your feet into the shoe and prevent sands and gravels from getting in via the top of the shoe.
Sewn-on tongue
The shoe was flexible. To say the least, it was as flexible as the GoBionic and the PureDrift. I did not take that photo unfortunately. Next posting ok? 
One of the feature that got me interested was the GoDri. I meant, this is not Goretex. It did not claim to be. It is simply GoDri, and I can't resist dipping the front of the shoe into a bucket of water and see what happened. 
Things I do for you readers. This is a new shoe for goodness sake (lucky it's free)
The front dip represent a quick splash in a puddle of water that would not last longer than 2 seconds. I kept the shoe there for 5 for good luck. As you can see, the water did not fully penetrate the upper synthetic top. So, perhaps, there are some merit with this GoDri. Yes. I WILL immerse the shoe in some river soon just to see how it hold up.
Can we go for a run now?
I believe I have covered most of the features out of the box. Last one, which is what interest many will be the weight. 
Lightweight Trail Shoes - Possible?
PureGrit came in at 8.9oz for the US9. That itself was impressive. GoTrail claimed a light 8.4oz for US9, that is unbelievable. 
Lets hope shoe will not be sold by weight.
However, as the shoe i took was US11, I am not getting the 8.4oz version. Putting the shoe on a mechanical scale (anyone to sponsor a digital scale in the near future?), it returned 260grams or 9.2oz.
Be reminded, this shoe is two size larger than the recommended weight-size. I say this is superb considering the US10 PureGrit came in at about the same as GoTrail. The only reason why I am starting to get anal about these weight is simply because on longer runs (beyond 40km) in the trails, as the shoe get wet, it gets heavier. So, anything light to start with will be good. Wait up for the full blown review soon.

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


  1. Does your wife know you're using her kitchen scale to weight your shoes?

  2. hey yah! Checking out your blog. Did my two marathons in GoRun. Very happy with it. This looks like an interesting product.

    1. Danielle - :D Did not know you are on GoRun. :) THat would be my next review soon, i hope!