Thursday, May 02, 2013

Skechers GoRun2 Review

It has been a week plus since I've tested the Skechers GoRun2. Most of you would remember the posting i made on the unboxing here. I have clocked 50km over 4 runs since April 15 till April 22. This is my third Skechers Performance Shoe to date and I've retired my GoBionic after close to 490km.
Retired two shoes in one week. Current list.
The GoRun2 (GR2) was extensively reviewed by my teammate Eugene Teoh in our Team 2ndSkin blog. Bearing in mind that he has all three generation of GoRun, i seek his advice on what to look out for. I did not come back dissapointed as he shared things that has seen better changes. My other team mate, Jun Shen too, has a review done on GR2. Read it here.
GoRun2 - Why?
I've been running on minimalist shoes over the past 6 months and has started to love it. More apparently so, I've managed to unlearn and relearn running to land correctly and take off correctly. Having used the GoBionic for that purpose and carried over to the GoTrail, I was curious if the "thicker and meatier" Skechers will provide some "insurance" for longer run - like say use it for a 42km and beyond.
And SCKLM is just around the corner. This shoe come right on time - and i predict that the Marathon will be this shoe's "retirement" run for me. Plus this shoe just shout "Come get me" with it's less than subtle color
Damn fluorescent Almost glow in the dark
Without Socks
My experience with GoBionic and GoTrail tells me I can wear the Skechers without any socks. Running without eliminate the need to worry about socks that will get wet. My experience with socks is unless it is of superb quality (that also, usually good for 4 or 5 times usage) , you will get blisters due to loose material. Choosing to go sockless allow me to feel how the shoes will feel. At 4mm drop, this is close to minimalist and with the sockliner removed, it gets more interesting with ground feel.
The higher mid-section promotes Midfoot strikes and the curved heel 
First feel on the shoe was that the mid-portion was still there, but less pronounced that say GoBionic and GoTrail. This could be because the front portion is thicker compared to the other two shoe and thus, making it "feel" less of a bump. But it's there.
Let's run
The interesting thing about testing and reviewing this shoe is that I believe I've managed to get my midfoot/forefoot striking correct by 80% after unlearning to run and relearning again. It wasn't easy, but i am glad I have teammates that were willing to teach and show.
So, how does the shoe feel? It is supposed to be "more cushioned" than GoBionic, isn't it?
Yes. That is indeed true. If you are someone looking for minimalist shoe, I would say you will not look at this by the sheer "look of the sole". But as they say, Look, is deceiving.
My first short run on this (6km) returned good feedback. I consistently landed midfoot and forefoot depending on the speed of the run and how much i lift and kick back. Look at the two images below consist of 15 frames that I fast forward and combined into a moving GIF file.
First photo showed high kickback (heel to butt) with shorter leg lift (to the front).
Take note of my right foot striking squarely on the midfoot section
I was running at 4:15 pace above I believe. Not entirely sure but I left the camera to record myself as I run past. Yes. I have no life (but to take video of myself running to correct my stride) It's sad. Click here to see the whole video
Then, the second GIF, I laid it on the road and did a few run (camera hidden under a car so no one takes it). This time, with more left lift and less kickback. I noticed I still land on the midfoot. It was about 4:00 pace if i recalled, of faster.
My first right strike landed more forefoot. Perhaps due to me reacting to stepping on the grass.
One thing you will noticed in both video is the bounce I had in the strides. Without looking back at the video, I would not actually know how i ran. Now at least, i can safely say I am "almost" there. For video of the run above, click here.
Verdict Without Socks
Fit - I took a size US11 instead of a US10. I now appreciate the need to even bring my own socks (that i usually wear) to test for shoe size. I then try it without socks and see if I would be happy with the chosen size.  Toe is roomy and the heel cup secured the shoe snugly. Quick draw laces were easy to tighten and loosen and the 4-way mesh works as it claims. You can wiggle your toes in all direction. By the way, my wife wears a GoRun2 (read below) and it helps with her bunion because the mesh is flexible (this applied to her GoTrail as well).
Cushioning - Adequate without being overwhelming. Some cushion shoes "slosh" as you land that you feel yourself sinking into the shoe upon impact. Then, it doesn't "push" you up back, resulting in loss energy. That happened with one shoe I used to wear and i never went there again. Like i mentioned before, GoRun2 is insanely comfy. It gives the right feel of cushion without overdoing it while maintaining the lightweight profile.
Build - No complains as my previous two pairs came built really well. I did not expect anything less for this pair. However, about 3km into my run, i felt something on my upper left foot. Something as if rubbing against my feet. I wasn't wearing any socks...and I was thinking the upper part is the culprit. But the right side was alright. I removed the shoe and found a small strand of thread - this is how a small thread can throw your run. 
A small thread - the cause of discomfort
This was no biggie. It was my fault for not checking. So, i suggest that you too, check before you wear. A quick snip and the shoe has not given me any issues since.
Wifey's GoRun2 Review
I bought a GoRun2 for wifey when i went to collect my GoBionicRide (GBR). Her Brooks Glycerin 9 is already due for replacement and what better way to let her try GoRun2 to see if it fits her running style (I say this because I know of people that can't wear Skechers due to the way they run, but that is on the extreme case). I did not dare to let her try GoBionic as it might not be a good transition from a cushioned motion controlled shoe (Brooks Glycerin 9).
From my Instagram Album
Wifey has a bunion problem. This was because of the years she wore heels and did not know better. Those of you with this bunion issues will know how painful it can be when you wear a shoe that is too tight up front. You simply need a bigger toe-box shoe. And for a women runner, sometimes, you have to look at Men's sizing and end up with something less than desired when it comes to fitting. To be honest, I was not sure if she will like the shoe (apart from the bright color) as she has been only on control and cushioning shoes. But Skechers has been working well with me (and not just because I am receiving sponsored shoes from them), i thought "why not?". 
What made the transitioning easier was that wifey wore GoTrail for our Sabah Adventure Challenge and came out impressed with it, despite not clocking a single KM of mileage prior to the race. It was make or break for the brand for her.
GoTrail in Fushia Pink
So, the next day we headed to the park (as usual) and wifey started breaking in the shoe. 
Midfoot strike!
Needless to say, she came out happy with the shoe.  You see, we had bad experiences with shoes that were more expensive before - the same old tale of promising performances and also yada-yada. We tend to take marketing talk with a lot of salt. I have the privilege to try and review these shoe for free, but I can only take the sizes suitable for me. So, if something is good in my opinion, i should, technically, accord the same for her. After all, she is one person I will run with for a long time - and it sort of nice to be wearing the same gears too ;-). Having said that, this was her own words when asked about the shoe.
I LOVE the shoe.. It's light and the bounce is amazing compared to my last pair (Gylcerin 9) which I thought was already good enough..
That was the best RM369 spent on a pair of running shoe.
Her Verdict
Fit - Bunion friendly. She kept showing me how her bunion has a "second chance" as it was not restricted by the 4-way mesh. In fact, the material conform around the bunion. Wifey took US8. Based on experience that US7 (just nice) is tight on the front.
Cushioning - "The bounce is amazing". Enough said.
Build - The shoe is still new and her pair has no loose thread hanging like mine. Made a wiser decision to check this time. I've also shared this with the store manager in 1 Utama so they can be alert when selling the shoe and to take proactive action if found any pair with loose thread.
I've ran the shoe with and without socks, with and without sockliner and in combination of either two of it. The verdict for it is consistent with the shoes without socks. Which is good, as it meant I can have the luxury of "customizing" my fit according to the feel of the feet that day. You be surprised how your feet can swell, contract and even misbehave (ache) with changes in temperature and also time-on-feet. The inner is smooth and allow for a sockless operation. I would had, by the time of this review being published, clocked no less than 100km on this shoe, and I dare say it will be as comfy as the day 1 i wore it, and as consistent as the first 50km I've clocked in it. Biggest challenge now is to see how long the sole can last. With GoBionic touching 490km, GoRun2 has a benchmark to break. Stay tuned.
Own the road
Note: This pair of Skechers GoRun2 is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair of GoBionic retail for RM369 and is available at all Skechers store.