Sunday, June 14, 2015

Skechers GoRun Strada Unboxing Review

I first came across Strada about a year back at Skechers HQ in Malaysia and it was a hush hush inclusion at the in-house showroom. We (Team 2ndskin) were told that the shoe was choice of Meb as trainer. Fast forward 12months later we received a message from Skechers HQ to "collect early Christmas present" in June. Three colors were shown and I was torn between Blue and Red (with third choice to be Grey). On same afternoon, my teammate Deo went to collect his and shown it off. 
Deo with his Baby Blue Strada
Unboxing First Impression
Two days later, while taking advantage of a late start at work, I headed to Skechers and got my US11 Strada. I now officially need an US11 shoe. I believe this is due to me being on Skechers past 3-years and my feet expanded due to the more natural feet splay. 
GoRun Strada - Red-Lime US11
Revealed
In the box was new marketing catalogue which has all the new shoes. I flipped to the Strada page and it showed all the color available for both men and women. I am however, unsure if all the color will be available locally.
Striking
On the opposite page was a man, wearing the same Red-Lime version I have - sockless
Glad I won't need a windbreaker to run
When I first wore it for size, I noticed the insole is fixed to the bottom like GoMeb. Not too surprising as this shoe were designed and made for Meb as a trainer. Perhaps the stucked insole were to reduce slippage when (and if) you run faster than usual. Removing the insole will not reduce the drop (details below)
Insole is non-removable
Details
Second thing I realised was the shoe is significantly padded compared to the other GoRun I have, this also meant the weight of the shoe would be increased as well. Not very typical of Skechers that I know.

300grams per side, close to 10oz
Flipping the shoe over to see the sole, it's obvious that Strada lacks the pods synonym with GoRun series where each pod provide feedback to your run and landing. This has been replaced with a dual-density (read : hardness) foam material which is propriety to Skechers - the Resalyte and Resagrip. 
Resagrip were harder and does not compress as much when I pressed it
Resalyte were easier to compress as seen in the photo
The array of the foam material runs from big toe to the outer heel (for the left side as shown below). This meant those that over-pronate may find themselves with this layout to favour their landing and potentially reduces the wear and tear. While this is my own theory, it will be interesting to see how the Strada sole hold up over the course of me running with it.
Smaller pods (white) with Resalyte and larger blocks with Resagrip (black)
What this may meant is the higher wear and tear area received the Resagrip (black) foam and the Resalyte with mini pods (white) continue to be present and provide as a base to the shoe. What you should feel and get is a firmer ride minus the "bump" feel and the pods pressing on your sole (if you are first timer user of Skechers Performance series) of your feet.
Newer pod design with chevron - aiding with traction
The shoe is a 8mm drop with the heel at 25mm and front to be 17mm. Removing the insole will not reduce the drop. I must admit that I felt taller in the shoe and the thickness overall did reduced the "road feel". It is the tallest Skechers I've worn since Ultra.
25mm heel pad/counter. Again, White is the Resalyte material offering superb cushioning while the black (sole) is Resagrip, giving a potentially longer wear and tear
From the photo above, you can see the heel cup is very structured and harder than the other GoRun series. The collar however is soft and smooth microfiber material. Not expecting any issue with blisters on the Achilles.
Strada tongue not sewn down
The tongue and collar of the shoe were well padded. The tongue wasn't sewn down and it has the lace loop to keep it in place. The lace that came with the shoe were flat laces and the additional/spare lace were not as attractive (white).
Photo showing how much padding the heel collar and the tongue were
I checked the inner part of the Strada and the edges where the stitching meet are smooth as well. Not expecting this to be an issue as I was doing this more for QC check and to look out for loose stitching/thread.
Smooth
Moving to the outer upper part of the shoe, one can see that it consist of the multi-mesh typical of the GoRun series (3 and above).
Multi-layered Overlay. Note the MStrike and how the heel counter curves up to help with midfoot and forefoot landing
Additional to this are the overlay that gave the upper a lot of structure. You can see from the series of pics below how they were stacked. One thing to note is that these overlay does not effect the flexibility of the upper of the shoe.
The Mesh and overlay providing support
Closer look on how the overlay goes over the mesh for more structured built
The front of the toe is wide and provide a lot of space for the toes without feeling overly roomy. It is reinforced by an overlay to protect the toes in case you kick into something while running.
Does looked like GoRunUltra - if not because of the Lime piping and extensive overlay
Usage impression
I took the shoe for a short run on my usual route. The fit was good as mentioned and the upper were snug and provide more than the usual support for the arch without me feeling it's biting into my arch. You know how some shoes gives you the uncomfy feel that you will get a blister there.
Inner side view of the left side. Note the higher arch than the usual GoRun
For this review, I wore a pair of socks to see how hot it can be due to lesser surface mesh and thicker paddings. Also, to ensure I do not have any blisters as I need my feet to be blister free with the amount of walking and running I will be doing the next two weeks.
My first km with the Strada was a mix feeling. I wasn't sure if I want to compare it against the Ultra or the RunRide FitKnit : mainly because of the cushioning. It also felt stiffer - and it reminded me of my previous pair of Brooks Ghost5 and Nike Triax10+. However, it is definitely not as heavy as the more traditional trainer but heavy when compared with the lightweight GoMeb3 and GoRun4. At closest comparison, its a structured GoRunRide(4). However, it lacked the feedback on landing and taking off. Significantly different when you are used to the pods giving you the feedback at run and toe off.
Taken with my JVC Adixxion XA2
The stability of the shoe may not be a favourite with those used to the minimalist approach of the other GoRun and it will favour those looking for a replacement and wanting to try a Skechers Performance shoe.
The shoe was responsive and it bounces well thanks to the Resalyte and Resagrip combo (without taking the shoe lack of feedback). It did not feel hot despite the socks and tarmac radiated heat at 12noon (Garmin recorded 30degC that felt like 35degC). I will provide a recap of running it without socks in next two weeks.
Toe off were good despite thicker foam
Non issues with midfoot and forefoot landing as the Strada keep with the proven design (upcurved heel counter) that minimises landing on heel. For severe heel strikers, the only way to fix it is to reset your running techniques. It is not something impossible as I have managed to do that. I have also shared with many how I managed that via this blog.
Good traction but lack the "feel"
As much as I am perceived to be biased to Skechers mainly because they have been very supportive and tuned to runners need with a lot of different models to suit different runners' need. I am not afraid to say that this Strada will need some getting used to and I have in my agenda to clock in the mileage exclusively with this Strada. I hope I would be able to provide better feedback to the Skechers Malaysia team and give my perspective to you dearest readers on this pair. If you are looking for a pair of mileage trainer, this could be an option.

Pros
- trainer suitable for longer mileage/durability
- padded tongue and collar provide good comfort
- good arch support and general structure similar to traditional trainer


Cons
- lack of feedbacks while running. Felt like you have a piece of rubber on your feet (but they are foams!)
- heavier than other variant of GoRun (except Ultra)

Earlier comments in Instagram
Note: This pair of Skechers GoRun Strada is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair of GoRun Strada retail (Peninsular) for RM399 (Women) and RM419 (Men), and (Sabah/Sarawak) for RM409(Women) and 429(Men) and is available at all Skechers store starting June 17, 2015. Price is inclusive of GST.

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