Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Skechers GoMeb Review

If you missed the unboxing of the GoMeb, you can read it in this blog entry. Much of the technicalities and also the marketing items were covered there, including the Carbon Fiber midplate that added more rigidity and provide some sort of energy return/bounce upon contact. This is due to the material properties that not only helped to shave off the weight of the shoe, but lend to some energy conservation for typical racing flats.
Fancy some tech in your shoe?
Racing Flats
Do you need one? Some of you may ask. I would say it very much depends on your running style. If you push constantly during the race, this could be it. Else, you might be better with shoes like GoBionic or GoRun2. Perhaps, this shoe can be used as a "speed weapon" - your arsenal of speed tools to be used when  you do your "A" Race.
Before I go on, here is the promised photo of the shoes' weight. Yes, despite this not being/marketed as superlight shoe when compared to GoBionic, 220grams or thereabout for a size US11 shoe is impressively light.
Need to get a digital scale ;-)
First Touch - With Socks
Much has been said with some spoiler in the original unboxing posting. We all now know that the internal is lined with microfiber and allow for a sockless experience. As I tried the shoe on with socks the first time, I thought it would be good to try it out to confirm the fit. A short 5km run ensued under the hot sun. As I am used to (read: spoilt) by the larger toebox of the other Skechers, the GoMeb felt restricted. I am glad i took a size larger as that allowed some "breathing space". For the record, i wear EE width leather/working shoes. 
The GoMeb was missing the "middle bump". It is less pronounced in GoMeb when compared against the other Go-series. It also felt stiffer and firmer. 
I started the run at a slower pace to feel the shoe. The bounce was apparent and different from the other Go-series. Right into my first KM, i started to pick up the pace...the shoe followed through and supported the stride as I push to my sub-threshold heart rate.
4:19 average on GoMeb Level 4 effort - Sub threshold
At KM4, i felt a blister forming on my right toe. Took it a bit slow and realised that the feet swelled a bit making the shoe tighter. Not helping that the socks was loose at that hotspot as I can feel additional material between my feet and the shoe. My own mistake as I failed to wear the socks correctly. Made some quick adjustment on the move and picked up the pace to finish the run in good timing. 
Verdict With Socks
Fit - Snug. I did two things wrong here. First, i did not pull the socks up and it bunched near the toe, causing the hotspot. Second, I tied the laces a bit too tight. This was corrected in the subsequent run with socks.
Cushion - Despite the racing flat profile, this shoe was adequately cushioned. Are you surprised it was adequately cushioned? I was. I've worn racing flats before and it is hard and bare. It makes you want to just run barefoot. GoMeb sort of made me smile when I wore it as it felt "hey, it's...soft but firm at the same time". 
Based on my Skecher's experience, on scale of 1 to 10 , 1 being barefoot and 10 being most cushioned, GoBionic at a 2, GoBionicRide at 3, GoMeb rings in at 4, GoTrail at 8, GoRun2 comes in at 10. So, if you own any of these shoe I mentioned, you can actually more or less gauge where my "feel" is coming from.

Follow Up - Sockless
Naturally, those of you that know me will also expect me to run without socks to see if the shoe is safe to use without socks. After the initial hiccup of over tying the laces and not pulling my socks that cause some hotspot to build up and a small blister forming, i ensured that the laces were made looser at the front portion. Despite having a painful sore spot from the day before, I decided to just keep to the plan.
Pain, as they say, is temporary.
The shoe without socks was comfortable as I initially tested. To compare to the comfort of GoRun2 would actually be silly. It could just be me spoilt by the other models. Lucky for me, I am adaptive to these changes. The run sockless on the GoMeb provided more feel to the feet. At times, it confuses me if I am actually wearing a racing flat as the cushioning is better than GoBionic Ride, which is supposed to be a cushion-minimalist!
Verdit Without Socks
Fit - Loosen up the front of the shoe. I now see the reason for the conventional shoe-tongue. It is for this purpose. A sewn down tongue would not allow this degree of expansion to accommodate broader feet.
Cushion - The landing is softer compared to GoBionicRide and because the shoe is stiffer, there is a bit more noise on landing and make Ninja-like landing tougher. Haha. Ninja-like as in quieter landing. The carbon fibre insert at the midfoot provides bounce and the familiar bump at the mid-foot is less pronounced even when compared to GoBionic.

Extended Test
Due to weather extremities and the need to clock in some mileage after dark, I brought the shoe into the gym and ran it on the treadmill. A quick 5km was completed in 22minutes which is technically "assisted" due to the motorised treadmill. Because less effort were required, I had the chance to be "aware" of the landing and how the shoe reacted to my leg lifts and take off.
For this test, I decided to go with Socks AND loosen the front of the laces. Take note of the photo below on how "wide" i loosened the front. I loosened it enough to be snug on my forefoot if you wondered.
Fat legs with uncle-knee length shorts. 
Happy to report that the socks+shoe combo were good and has no issues with hotspot. It responded similarly to running on tarmac and the feedback from the GoImpulse sole and the bounce from the carbon plate was good. 
To date, I've clocked close to 70km on the shoe over 8 outings. The mileage on this shoe is considered low as I am actively testing out GoBionicRide and GoRun2 concurrently. I must say the first thing many noticed of this shoe is the Red-Yellow combo.
Racing flats - they called it. Surprisingly light for the amount of cushioning and reflexes this shoe provide. Adequate support due to stiffer sole and narrower fit to minimise feet splay. Fast shoe for faster runners. Save this for speedwork and A-rated races - or get this if you are above average runners to complete your arsenal of speed weaponry. 
I had fun reviewing this shoe as the technology looked so basic (as a racing flat) yet advanced (with carbon insert and superlight material). A beautiful racer that will set heads to turn.
Avoid this if you have large feet. If you wear US10 and beyond, the snug fit will force you to go one full size up. Not sure how it will fit smaller feet, but I am expecting the same. Fit the shoe with how you will run in it (with or without socks) and always in late afternoon or evening. I will update in my blog as I clock in more mileage and report it here. 

This post unlike others has limited photos of the GoMeb in the usage review. I apologise for that. Reason was that I recently changed job and the laptop assigned to me has much restriction. I need to get my own laptop if I want to continue to "do more" with my photos or even start uploading videos again.

Note: This pair of Skechers GoRunSpeed or GoMeb is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair of GoBRunSpeed or GoMeb retail (Peninsular)for RM399 (Women) and RM419 (Men), and (Sabah/Sarawak) for RM409(Women) and 429(Men) and is available at all Skechers store. 

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