Monday, May 19, 2014

Skechers GoMeb KRS Review

GoMeb KRS or Kinetic Return System was designed with feedback from Meb himself. It as his "trainer" for those non-racing days since February 2014 and I was handed a pair last week to test it out ahead of the official launching within the next 1-week of this blog's review.
Meb's Tweet on Feb 25, 2014
The new addition to my Skechers family (of running gears) is the GoMeb KRS. It looked futuristic and at the same time, you will wonder where Skechers is heading with this one.
The Shoe With The Hole, In The Sole
This was the "heart" of the Kinetic Return System - essentially an energy return of some sort. What this does is it help with the bounce, and hence, add to the cushioning and the "recovery" as you may be using less energy for that post-race run.
No, this is not a defect
Before we delve deeper into the bouncy sides of things, lets do a quick un-boxing of the shoe. The GoMeb KRS is under the Skechers Performance Division, which made it legitimately a shoe designed with running performance in mind. This is consistent with the other 9 pairs of Skechers I've received since 2013 (thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin). 
US11 - as usual
The GoMeb KRS is an unique shoe by design and appearance. To start with, the whole upper is lightweight breathable printed 3D material with mesh underlay. The smooth synthetic upper reminds me of those super slick football shoes and give "fast and agile" appearance
3D Printed breathable synthetic upper with mesh underlay
Fresh out of the box
Front View
Closer look of the toebox and front area
The "hole" in the middle of the sole is made from Dupont Hytrel for high energy return. This is similar in the GoSpeed2 where the carbon fiber has been replaced with the same material, offering a bouncier stride. The sole is the Skechers Resagrip outsole for durable traction with good forefoot flex. The KRS is 4mm drop and engineered to promote midfoot strike.  
The Resagrip bottom and the visible (dark/black spot) which is the Dupont Hytrel that shift he impact zone and enable more bounce
Closer look
The Dupont Hytrel portion, as viewed from the bottom
Demonstrating the front flex.
Other features include the sewn down tongue, which translate to faster wearing without the tongue bunching up, and also reduce the chances of hotspot on the top of the feet.
The tongue, sewn
Skechers has since adopted this font on the performance series
The shoe came in two laces - black and floro yellow. The laces is flat, which meant more secured tying as the rounded lace sort of dislodge itself rather easily. I replaced the laces from black to yellow. It is only fair as it brings out the shoe's flamboyancy
Meb Approved
The shoe is still light. Coming in at (declared) 8.3oz per shoe for men size 9 or 6.7oz for women size 7. Having been wearing Skechers, I know this is one thing they has been doing well with the use of advance material to keep the weight low and the functional part of the shoe relevant.  One thing i noticed of the KRS is the higher than usual heel cup. I have something for heel cup - too high and i know it will cause me hotspot at the Achilles tendon area.
The sole too, looked higher
The KRS is targeted at recreational runner and provide good cushioning. This is aided by the thicker than normal insole, which is close to 2-shoelace head thick. Thickest I've experience in any of the Skechers I've worn. With or without the insole, the shoe is 4mm drop.
2-lace head thick
From the fitting (US11), it was as expected for me. The toe box is a bit narrow but somehow the upper layer is more flexible, perhaps due to the more forgiving material (3D printed). The mid-bump was there and the shoe doesn't feel "tall" despite the thicker sole (due to the elevated and the "hole"). Toes could wiggle freely and I have more than adequate room in the toebox.
But how will it perform as a trainer for a wannabe advance runner like me? Yes, you guess it right, take it out and run.
Run Like Meb
I took the shoe out and planned for a 10km or an hour run without socks with it. I've been running without socks unless the run will be longer and I need some sort of sweat management.
Go-RUN in GoMeb
From the photo above, it is obvious that the shoe rear heel cup curves upward, helping to lessen the chances of heel striking. Also, the height of the rear covered my Achilles. The Resagrip did conform to the uneven interlocking brick pretty well.
Closer look of the curve and the Resagrip on ground
The plan was to run for an hour or 10km, whichever come first. It is because I am limited by that amount of time after dropping my kids for Sunday School.
First strike felt good
As I picked up the speed, the shoe started to be responsive. The cushioning was a surprise as I wasn't expecting it (though it did say a cushioned trainer) to be cushioned and responsive. My experience with the GoRunRide series pretty much give me the feedback that the "ground time" are usually longer aka the feet will sink in due to the cushioning before bouncing off again.
Faster!
The route I was taking had a mix of uphill and downhill. It allow me to test/try the shoe in different stride and speed. What I was looking out for was how my feet compensate to get use to the new shoe and how the shoe effect my normal speed and stride. Perhaps as the shoe was new, it felt a bit squishy. This could be attributed to bare (feet) skin against the new insole. It slowly went off as my sweat started to drench the inner part of the shoe. 
Midfoot-ed? You bet.
The bounce from the Dupont Hytrel was obvious as the landing and taking off was with minimal lag. It felt like a more forgiving (less stiff) GoMeb with GoRun3 feel. Fast and comfy.
Thumbs up so far
Again, please be reminded that shoe do not change your stride. Skechers MStrike or midfoot strike encourages you to land midfoot, not automatically change your stride. I've had people telling me that when they change to a certain type of shoe that claimed to help them run in a certain way automatically. If it did, you are lucky as you can unlearn and relearn running as fast as the credit card swipe for the purchase. 
The shadow runner reminds me of my stride - and leg lift!
So, did the KRS help with midfoot striking? It does for me as I've pretty much been running consistently this way. However, there are instances, such as running downhill that the heel tend to strike first as a matter of speed control. I guess I am not running as fast (and in a more controlled way) downhill! Time to practice and run more! 
Leg kick. The Shoe was responsive
The much worried hotspot at the heel cup - Achilles was there, unfortunately. It was on my left heel, but the feel was minimal. it did not happen on my right heel. Stopped to check for damages and it does not seems like it will form a blister. With about 3km to go, I wasn't gonna take it easy. 
Home run
The 10km was done in 50mins. Pretty standard at tempo pace. Not pushing and at a very easy pace. Due to the humidity and morning sun, I was drenched and so was the KRS. But that first run, we made friends and I am slowly getting the hang of the responsiveness.
The left heel
Fast forward two days later (Wesak Day), i took the KRS out for a quick HIIT (interval training) after my bike-spinning. Part of the BRICK or Bike-Run exercise and It should be done in less than 23minutes. I am still recovering from my pulled back muscle and I had to take all care not to make the injury worse. However, training has to go on as every day spent not putting in quality mileage is a day of missed opportunity for improvement. Much balance and care (and senses) needed here. So, instead of putting on longer time, i put in higher intensity at shorter exposure time. Sort of help.
For the HIIT, the KRS was pushed through my Lactate Threshold Pace or LTpace of 4:20. At 3.6km (tht is after 1km-1km-800m-800m of slow-fast speed), with the legs feeling a bit jello due to the session on the bike, the responsiveness of the shoe sort of help to push me through the remaining 1.4km (400m-400m-200m-200m-100m-100m of slow-fast-faster) pace pretty comfortably that I was doing a sub 3:40pace the last 400m. 
The HIIT was wrapped up in 23mins as planned. Hotspot at the left heel was felt, perhaps due to the healing (of the first use), otherwise, all is good. This KRS hold much promises that it will serve me as a regular trainer (as in used more often) and I can cycle through the GoMeb for fast races (up to 21km distance). 
Bottomline
Get it if:
- You are looking for a trainer that offers a cushioned ride, but yet responsive
- Your racer is too expensive and you want to keep it for races
- Looking to move towards minimalist or zero-drop shoe, but still want some cushioning
The KRS is made as a neutral running shoe. If you have flatter than usual feet or higher than usual arch, do test it our at the shop (by wearing it and walking around) to see how it feels for you. If in doubt, consult the product specialist for advices.

Note: This pair of Skechers GoMeb KRS is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair is expected to be launched by end of May 2014 in Malaysia. Indicative pricing is RM419 for men and RM399 for women. 

Opinion in this write up is my own and not influenced by Skechers Malaysia or 2ndSkin program.


4 comments:

  1. Hi Bro,what is your take on the sizing, 1 size up or fitted to foot size?
    Just wonder since you also do sock-less run in those Skechers. You only mention you got your usual size 11.

    Thanks,
    Kitt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kitt - 1 size up for me. No socks. I wear 10 usually, and depending on how it fits, I will go one up. In this case, for the KRS, US11.

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    2. Thank you. Well,reason being i just got my wife GRUltra and the shop advisor insist to get it fit as he mention the material tend to stretch accordingly, which i'm not comfortable of hearing that.Next after break-in the shoes,we found out she is more suit to it without the insole. Besides, I understand to correct the running form as well.

      And I myself looking forward to get GoRun3 soon.. so i feel one up is the best option. Thanks again!

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    3. Kitt - thanks! Do drop me an email if you have more questions to the product. I may not know everything, but I can link you up with people that may be more knowledgeable.

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