Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Skechers GoTrail Review

I had a brief Go at the Skechers GoTrail two weeks ago in Bukit Kiara trails. It has been some time since I ran the trail as I was focusing on road-run training specifically to build my base fitness higher. But with the (just concluded, wait up for the race report) Hash Challenge in the racing calendar and the Sabah Adventure Challenge in the end of March, running trails or rather, going back to the trail will be the best thing to do.
Trailhead Bukit Kiara - Up slope, by the way
I have previously reviewed Brooks PureGrit in Kiara and it is only natural that I try to run the similiar, if not the same route. That way, I know where to look out for any section that were questionable for PureGrit to see if the same applies to GoTrail (read about the unboxing here). The method of testing the GoTrail will be on both Trail and Pavement, with and without socks.
I do not wear socks when I run in the trail because the feet/shoe WILL get wet anyway. Having a wet socks is uncomfortable to say the least and can lead to blisters forming. As I planned to wear the shoe for the long-haul trail runs, I decided to do it with socks. Bear in mind that the GoTrail has no sockliner. The Ortholite is built into the shoe and it promises to hold/cushion as needed.
As the Malay would say "Still got shop smell". 
Into The Trail With Socks

I went into the trail dry. The weather was perfect and the trail was dry. As with my every other training run, I will push through them. The only real way to review gears like this is to push yourself and the gear to the pace/limit that you will run in them in races. Sudden change in direction in the trail, jumping over ruts and having to face loose gravels/sand can be better gauged. 
Told you it was a steep slope at the trailhead. Sorry about the VUL (visible undies line)
GoTrail felt snug and secured and I set out to run the first section of the trail known as "The Office'. The 1.4km in the trail serves as a good warm-up for more fun in Bukit Kiara. Staying close to how I reviewed a few shoes previously by taking a video and commenting while running, you will see how the trail typically looked like on a dry day. Pardon the less than smooth commentary as I was speaking what came out from my mind while trying to keep an eye on the trail.

The shoe came out within expectation at the first portion of the run. Places where I had a few slips or "not-too-sure-grip" previously has no issue running/jumping over using the GoTrail. Despite the thin cushioning, it felt really well padded. Next up was running up Carnival towards Twin Peak. The long 2km climb from 50m asl to 240m asl provide a different type of stress test to the shoe's grip. There are short scramble up certain portion and quick leg work to scurry over loose (big) rocks. The shoe's grip and support were truly tested here. Any slip with the grip will result with me mis-stepping and potentially injuries.

Yes, I was walking up in the beginning, I was out of breath, but you can see that the shoe were sure on grip over mossy rocks. That to me was a plus because when you are tired, you lose concentration and you can get yourself potentially injured.
ResaGrip In Action
Upon running up to the peak, I made a bit more commentary on the shoe compared to another Brooks model. As most of you know, I been wearing Cascadia like forever. SO, this big change (brand wise) was quite, how should i put it...scary.
Run, if you see me behind you. 
However, almost 4km into the run I come face to face with one of my favourite section of the trail which is T'N'T. A short and fast downhill run that makes you feel like you are piloting the X-wing in the jungle. 
The shoe were responsive to the changing terrains and the demanding hairpin turns. I came down from T'N'T impressed. The grip were more sure and despite the thinner sole, the ResaGrip lived up to it's name. I ran through Snake&Ladder and encountered a landslide that took down three old rubber trees that blocked off the trail. I had to scrambled up loose soil to get over to the other side. I then ran towards my fav trail aka 2K loop and took a quick breather (and shoe-whoring)
Yeah baby!
The run down the first 500m of 2K loop is highly addictive. I often blast down this route at sub 3:30 pace and that day was a really good day as the GoTrail, my new-found fitness and the confidence running down the trail truly pushed the shoe to the limit. The steps were very sure and because it is a minimalist trail shoe, i felt every single bumps, which allowed me to be more wary on what I am stepping, thus allowing a more controlled speedy sprint.
It was good until towards the end when I could had paid too much attention to my movement via the camera and i tripped over a stump by the side of the trail - and went flying almost 8 feet in-front.
The scratches took almost 2 weeks to heal and one of them was at the top fold of the knee where it is constantly in contact with any pants/jeans I wear. It wasn't pleasant. It started to drizzle just as I started running again. Good. Got a chance to get the shoe wet. I continued to run and exited 2K loop. Then it was right into 4K loop. Anyone familiar would know there is a small moving stream in the trail. I soaked the shoe in the moving water and it took quite a while before i felt the socks to be wet.
OK, maybe it wasn't immersed fully
Here is a short video running 4K+Magic Carpet

I exit the trail and re-entered it via reverse Carnival and ran back down to the park. By then, I was soaked in rain; and so was the GoTrail. First feel of the shoe wet was alright actually. It did not feel heavy. I highly doubt the "waterproofing" will last long as it could just be a spray on treatment.
Wet? Still new, hard to get it wet
And so, I changed to dry clothing, drove home and waited for wifey and daughter to get ready. There is a short 6km run to do with wifey - using GoTrail.
Wet, but not drenched
Verdict Trail With Socks
The name of the sole should be named SureGrip instead of ResaGrip. There was no instances of "slip and miss" as I powered through the trail. I was skeptical with the less than attractive sole - i mean, who make rounded/cylindrical traction pad anyway?
I made the right decision getting a size bigger and not "just nice with a bit of free play". I wear US10 and decided on the US11 because there is no US10.5. That extra US1 size sort of helped to allow the feet to expand and/or move to the front on steep descent.
I have no expectation on this as this is a minimalist. My experience with GoBionic (minimalist also) prepared me for GoTrail and I conclude that the cushioning was sufficiently good. The integrated Ortholite insert likely has improved the feel more.
Midfoot strike (M-strike) was irrelevant when it comes to running down steep declines. You need as much surface as possible for grip and landing "just" Midfoot doesn't give you the traction. In the trail, this wasn't the most important features.
On The Road Without Socks
The decision to go without socks was because my socks were wet and I was lazy to take another pair out and then having to wash two pair of socks. Really.
4mm drop but doesn't look it isn't it?
With wet tarmac and semi-wet shoe, my aim for this testing was to see if It will induce any blisters. I know some of you love the sockless feel and often wonder if the next pair of shoe will allow for that sockless experience. Yes, we are lazy runners. We rather save the time washing socks by running and clocking more mileage.
With pretty legs, who need socks?
I must commend the speed lacing on the shoe. Truly, despite it being wet, i can un-lace and re-lace it with a few quick tug and pull. I decided not to put in my DIY Shoelace as i ran out of nice colored garters.
Doncha wish it comes in brighter floro orange or yellow?
The shoe behaved well as a road shoe and you will then feel the midfoot strike (M-Strike) coming back. Disclaimer on this is that you have to make sure you are capable to run with midfoot strike to benefit most. So, if you are transitioning, keep it coming. If you are not sure why, read this article here.
Midfoot Strike and take off!
The 6km run came to an end with good results of using this shoe for road. I have been receiving questions about using trail shoes as road shoes or vice-versa. So far, I have good experience using (generally) trail shoe for road, but not the other way around. So, if you are pressed for budget, getting a trail shoe and use it for road can be an option.
Verdict On Road Without Socks
Not excessive or retarding. Some trail shoe has contra grip aka part of the sole is at the opposing direction of movement, which can retard your movement a bit. Retard in this sense as in braking.
Expected and the familiar GoBionic feel. ON.
The US11 did not bother my US10 feet. Maybe my feet has finally grown bigger. And you know what they always say about guys with big feet. Yeah, they need bigger shoes.
I have no complains on this pair of shoe after trying it on 8km+6km of trail and road within the same evening. The material is unique that it reminds you of neoprene. But of course, the acid test would be putting it through extended trail condition - and the just concluded Hash Challenge (report in progress at point of publishing this review) was the perfect testing ground. So, stay tuned to that race report 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. Skechers takde sales ke? Nak jgk try sepasang.

    1. Hari tu ada 40% off for second pair. I can't get any discount also Kam.

      I wore this during Hash Challenge with my feet wet for 41km and the only blisters i had was because of wet socks and not the shoe!

  2. Hmm I love running trails but not familiar with Kiara's route. I dont think my Nike Air will be ideal fr such routes huh?

    1. Can. Shouldn't be an issue. Just need to make sure it doesn't rain the day before so the trail is dry and grip is not a problem.

      Also, careful of sharp rock edges and jutting out roots, as the normal sneaker might not be able to protect your feet if you step/roll over them. :)

  3. Skechers GoTrail vs Merrell Trail Glove.... ARGGGGHHH!!!! Bro, lemme ask you. Would you advise more cushioning or less cushioning for trail? The Merrell Trail Glove is similar to the GoBionic, but with even less cushioning. I forgot to try the GoTrail when I went to buy my GoRun2. :(

    1. Elvin - I think it is a matter of preference. I am now used to minimalist and with or without cushioning is of no differences to me anymore. Most important is the GRIP of the shoe. I thought Cascadia was superb until i tried GoTrail.

      My other teammate, Robin, wore Merrell - but then again, he is the barefoot runner type of hasher. :) I believe the cushioning on both Merrell and GoTrail is the same, if not just an ounce different - which translate to nothing if the terrain is super rough.

    2. Hahaha. Ok. Even with the huge price difference, I guess I may go for the GoTrail coz I'm facing Grip issue with the Merrell Road Glove on wet road.

    3. Wet road as in Tarmac? you see in the review...i did run 6km with it on wet/drizzling tarmac. :)

      Good luck bro!

  4. Nice review.. but now I dilemma laaaa... which 1 to choose either GoTrail or GoBionic Trail... which 1 you suggest? wanna try for Salomon Trail run next week! :)

    1. Safrul - no dilemma as GoTrail is being phased out with the GoBionicTrail. Go for GBT.

    2. Oh Snap!!! I just bought GoTrail last week... haisshhh... :(