Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Skechers GoRunUltra Unboxing

Skechers Malaysia has been ahead in Asia to launch new models after new models. What was shown to me about 2-months ago, the Skechers GoRunUltra (GRU),  has finally arrived in Malaysia and I was lucky to be among the first few to receive these newly launched running gears as it lands. Sometimes, these items are still in the 40-footer container. Talk about being delivered immediately upon arrival. Previously, I've worn the more cushioned GoRunRide2 Nite Owl and find it very nicely padded. 
Cushioned and as fast
So when I received a call from Eugene, the Team 2ndSkin Principal, to go to the Skechers Malaysia HQ and get the GRU, I was naturally excited. I was also told that a unknown date-to-release GoRunRide3 will be passed to me. More of that later!
Go Like Never Before
GoUltra - US10. Red/White
I first saw the GRU when it was a "sample" (with holes at the bottom to prevent it from being sold as a legit shoe). It was chunky by Skechers GO-series standard and it promises to "ride like a full cushioned shoe while allowing contact with ground". I've work cushioned shoes before and I am still wearing one for training (Brooks Ghost5). They are typically high on the "drop" and nothing else than 13 to 15mm. The elevated ride sort of throw you off-balance once a while on uneven surface. That is how injury to the ankle (twisted or torn ligament due to accidental fall) happens. Hence, the popularity of minimalist or zero-drop shoes. It put your feet on "neutral", so to say. So when the GRU was presented to me, I was naturally skeptical.
"Why would Skechers, after all these while working on minimalist shoes, going maximalist?"
"Isn't going thicker counter of what mid-foot strike is about?"
I had many questions in my mind over what this edition will do...So, until I take it out for a run, perhaps we unbox first?
The Unboxing
I really like unboxing new shoes. Something about it always make me felt guilty to wear them out for a run. The (volatile organic compound VOC) smell, the feel of a clean virgin shoe and the nicely packed and wrapped up box. First look on the shoe is the fiery color. Red on white sole. It sort of remind you of the Salomon Sense, which is the top of the range trail lightweight shoe.
Chinese New Year Red
To start with, the GRU is the most cushioned shoe I ever run in the past 18months. GoRunRide2 was very cushioned and the GoRun3 continues the trend of cushioned-minimalist, if there is a term for that. When placed amongst the other Skechers, this is the "big boy". Thick. Soft. And It look fast just standing.
4-way mesh on the top for flexibility. GoBionicTrail material on side for lightweight and structure
For a shoe this bulky, I was impressed by how light it was. The US9 comes in at 8.7oz or 250grams and the pair of US10 I got was just pipping the 9oz mark. How is this impressive? The lightest Go-series is the GoBionic, which runs in at 175grams or 6.2oz. For almost 80% (estimated) more cushioning, that is just additional 75grams - or 5-spoon of sugar (to sweeten the deal). 
About 250grams or 9oz
The official press release for GRU says it is 65% more cushioned that GoRunRide model (260grams). If you put the maths together, you will realised, despite the additional material used to raise the amount of cushioning, the GRU comes in lighter than the most plush Go-series (before GRU debut). This exhibit material and technology being used really well with each new model that Skechers releases.
Door-To-Trail
I was confused when i flip the shoe over and saw that the sole are not the typical GoImpulse-sensor layout (but known as Rigid Resagrip), but rather aggressive lugs which reminds you of Brooks Cascadia 7. I was naturally skeptical as my best experience with Brooks Cascadia were ver 5, and wifey uses the 7 previously (before going over to Skechers). In other words, Skechers has produced a "hyrid", which I was then told the correct term for this is Door-To-Trail. 
Aggressive Sole
The ribbing in between the lugs are too soft to offer any grip. It could be there for cosmetic purposes only. The lugs, however, felt pretty sure on first touch. I did try to compress it and it does to an extent. My only worries is how fast it may last if used as an out-and-out trail shoe. I will need to remind myself that this is a NOT a trail shoe. Door-To-Trail!
Closer look of the lugs
The GRU is a 8mm drop that can be converted to a 4mm drop by just removing the insole. Yes, the insole itself lend a full 4mm to the ride. Made possible by the thicker heel crash pad and thinner front. The same insole is used in the GoRun3, which I've customised the GR3 with my GR2 insole for more "road feel".

about 10grams
The inner part of the GRU with sole removed is smooth and velvet like. Save for the stitching on the side, I foresee this to be able to be neutral if worn sockless (and no blisters, hopefully). Removing the insole sort of free up the space inside as well. Hence this contributed to some tricky fitting if you are buying and testing. Many I know that received the GRU went 1-size up (Nick and Jamie, not sure about Deo). I stick to the same US10 I take for the other GoRun series with wide toe-box (except Speed where i went 1 size up due to tight front).
Should be alright for sockless. But will confirm later.
Unlike the other cushioned, structured and controlled (motion) shoe, the sole were surprisingly flexible. With the insole in place, it is normal not to be able to fold it up like when the insole removed.
No camera trick. 
With the insole, I can still bend it up to 75degrees (the above shows a 90degree fold). The above is really t show that despite the heavier cushioning, it is still surprisingly flexible. This will allow the feet inside to move and splay as it lands. From experience using Skechers shoes, this allow for more "grounded" feel, as any uneven surface will see the sole "wrapping" around it, ensuring better shoe-surface contact, lessen the chances of slip and fall over uneven terrain. Skechers call this Progressive Flex Zone. Skechers score big on this.
Red-Lime color with White sole
The GRU has a dual-density layer built which provides both support and cushioning. The Rigid Resagrip™ outsole engineered to provide the right amount of support while the softer Resalyte midsole (memory foam!) provides cushioning. With the customisable 8mm to 4mm drop, you essentially get a maximal cushioned shoe that provides minimalist feel. However, please be aware you WILL be standing taller. Stack height is 23mm forefoot and 27mm heel, which gives the 4mm drop. Add in the insole, it goes to 8mm. Traditional running shoes, esp the cushioned shoes are riding higher and has larger drop by minimum of 13mm to 15mm drop (so your heel is on the higher side by that amount of height).
GoRunUltra vs Brooks Ghost 5
You can see from the photo above, the Brooks Ghost 5, which was my main shoe (and still in service for those training days) before I switch to Skechers is noticeably taller and thicker. The visual above would provide the reader a better comparison of the ride height. 
Heel and Front profile
The GRU continues to promote the M(idfoot)-Strike and the heel cup is curved upwards and the bump in the midsole will encourage landing and taking off correctly. However, the bio-mechanic of good running (strides, landing, taking off, injury prevention) differ from person to person. One must remember that wearing a shoe that encourages/promote front foot strike or midfoot strike will not work if we do not unlearn and relearn how to run. Be informed there is no miracle shoes that will change your running strides. Key point is "encourage".
Material Updates
Mix of materials
The GRU utilises a mix of Synthetic and mesh fabric upper that will provide both breathable and stability with strategically placed overlay. The toe front has been fitted with synthetic material that will protect the front if you use it for trails. Reflective strips are seen on the front and the back (S logo is reflective). 
Inner side view of the right-side of shoe
The side stitches pattern will remind you of the GoRun3. From my usage of the GR3, the show is supportive enough as claimed and I do not see how the GRU will be any less with similar use of materials.
The tongue is intergrated/sewn on
Like most of the Skechers shoes, the tongue has been integrated or sewn on. I begin to appreciate it more as it help to stop small stones or sands from getting into the shoe from the top in the trails or on dusty roads. The tongue has been made wider as well, so it "wraps" the top of you feet, providing more comfy feel. Of course, one may argue it will reduce breathability - I am monitoring it as I ran with it already (in the review next).
Flat shoelace
Lastly, this may be missed by many, the shoelace provided with the GRU is flat. There is merit to this as the flat shoelace actually secures better that rounded laces. Love the details to the laces that has the same red-lime color as the shoe (than boring monotonous color).

Here are the official specs to the GoRunUltra from Skechers site.

Men's Skechers GOrun Ultra Running Shoes

Discover the ultimate in cushioned running with the SKECHERS GOrun Ultra LT shoe. Designed for Ultra Marathon running with more Resalyte shock absorption than ever before.

Details:

  • Cushioning Ultra Marathon running shoe design
  • 65% more Resalyte cushioning than Skechers GOrun ride shoes
  • Provides runners with the enhanced cushioning and support to help protect joints and limit fatigue in longer distance runs
  • Dual density layers offer the stability and support the advanced runner needs
  • Cushion and comfort that all runners will appreciate
  • Rigid Resagrip™ outsole engineered to provide the right amount of support
  • Soft midsole layer provides cushion effect
  • Progressive Flex Zone provides flexibility and firm support
  • Aggressive traction control GOimpulse sensors on outsole allow for superior control on any terrain
  • 6mm heel drop height
  • Promotes a midfoot strike
  • Weight: 8.7 oz. in a men's size 9

Construction:

  • Synthetic and mesh fabric upper
  • Synthetic overlays for stability
  • 4 way stretch mesh for added comfort
  • Side S logo
  • Lace up front
  • Soft fabric shoe lining for barefoot wear

Note: This pair of Skechers GoRunUltra is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair is retails for RM419 (men) and RM399 (women) in Peninsular Malaysia and has been made available in all stores since February 16, 2014. Opinion in this write up is my own and not influenced by Skechers Malaysia or 2ndSkin program.

Next : Wait up for the full review from Door-To-Trail, literally!
more to come

5 comments:

  1. I encountered no breathabilty issues. In fact, during TITI, I actually felt cool breeze flowing through the shoe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aiyoo... mahalnya! Tunggu sales la nanti.

    ReplyDelete
  3. kalau menarik, boleh mencuba skechers lepas nie

    ReplyDelete
  4. haiz,,,, im gonna go broke again this month end......

    ReplyDelete

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