I have a bit of confession. I have never owned the same pair of running shoes twice. I started with some Adidas Adizeros given to me at the start of my running adventures, then used Nike Free Run 2s, went to Saucony Kinvara 4s, did training runs in New Balance Minimus, and most recently used Altra Instinct 1.5s. Each of them has certain features I felt important at the time but, when time came to replace, I’ve always ended up choosing a different pair with other features I felt were important.
Well, my Altra Instinct 1.5s have gone out to pasture. They ran about 700 miles and my marathon was their last hurrah. I am notorious (at least to my wife) about not making up my mind about things at times. True to form, when I was looking at what to buy for replacement shoes, I went a little crazy. I looked at everything and quickly became overwhelmed. So, I decided to create some parameters for myself. I wanted something that was a neutral shoe, but wasn’t necessarily minimalist. I wanted shoes that had a large toe box (something the Altras excelled at) and were flexible (like the Nikes and Sauconys). I also wanted good ground feel (like the Minimus) but had some cushioning (like the Adidas and Sauconys). Needless to say, it’s a tall order. And I think I’ve found a fairly good amalgam of these features in an unlikely package.
Enter the Skechers GoRun Sprints!
Yes. I was skeptical of them upon hearing that Skechers was entering the running market. Some of my friends asked me if I was going to run in Shape Ups! Still, I thought they deserved a chance, seeing as the specs worked out and, well, there was a Skechers Outlet in the outlet mall near Madison, right by the Nike Outlet, which was my 2nd stop if I couldn’t find anything. So, without further ado, my thoughts so far:
There’s nothing incredible about the upper part of this shoe. It’s pretty basic and came in navy blue, gray, and black with blue trim. The mesh around the toe and sides lets the foot breathe a bit but doesn’t let all the wind through, either. I haven’t run in really hot weather with them, but I could see how that might be an issue in hot, humid weather. The heel and Achilles tendon is well-supported through a foam piece that hugs the back of my foot pretty well. I can get these shoes pretty tight and a quick adjusting of the laces kept my foot from moving around too much inside. Still, it has a pretty wide toe box. After some pretty good blisters and a few missing toenails from my Sauconys, I’ve learned the importance of a good toe fit. Overall, they didn’t put a huge effort into making these shoes flashy, but they are pretty functional. It should be noted that I believe these shoes are an older model and many of their newer models look a lot more distinctive than the plain navy blue you see pictured here.
This is what won me over. Putting them on, it felt as though I was back in my Nike Free Runs. The foam is really flexible and gives great ground feel. When you’re running in these, prepare to feel the cracks in the pavement, slight inclines on the sidewalk, and, yes, the rocks that get thrown onto the road by cars and bikes. The soles really look and function more like the Saucony Kinvaras, though. You won’t pick up gravel as you go, like I had a habit of doing in my Nikes. The huge patches of no rubber concerned me, but I realized that the Sauconys had a very similar layout and I ran two marathons in them and still use them for my short rainy day runs without any real issue. And I would say that the foam used by Skechers feels to be more rubberized and has more grip than the Kinvaras, which may mean they’ll hold up pretty good in the long term.One thing that sets the Skechers GoRun line apart from some other brands is their “M Strike” sole. Basically, there’s a bump in the middle of the shoe, under the arch of your foot, which is intended to encourage midfoot striking and forefoot pushing. In some models, it’s more pronounced, like the GoRun Rides that I tried on in the outlet store, but in these they aren’t as drastic. And once I’m running, I don’t notice it at all, although I do notice the results. I actually find it hard to heel strike in these shoes. I’d like to chalk it up to mindful running, but I know that’s probably not entirely true. The bump saves a bit of strain on the foot and also adds a bit of support if you happen to overpronate a bit. If you’re a numbers person, it has a 6mm drop from heel to toe, but the bump changes the dynamic of that drop quite a bit. I’m used to running in 4mm drop or less and this doesn’t bother me at all. Also, it is pretty light, weighing in at 8.05 oz for a men’s size 9.
Why did I buy them?
The answer to this question is partially practical. These shoes are not very expensive, especially at an outlet location. These retail for $70 when you can find them. I found them for $30, plus a buy one, get one 50% off sale. So, I did, indeed, buy 2. I figured that if they really didn’t work for me, I could either sell the one pair or just have 2 pair of knock-around shoes for the same price (or less) than another option. Now, after having put on about 25 miles (including a 10-miler), I find them to be a very easy shoe to run in. I ran my marathon a week ago and I’ve done three runs this week, getting ready for my race in October. Unless something changes, I’ll be running in these until they, like all the shoes that have come before them, are ready for retirement and replacement.
If you want a video from Skechers about their GoRun line, here you go!
This post is not sponsored by Skechers, but is my honest thoughts on the shoe. If you have any questions, please let me know!
Have you ever taken a chance on a new shoe? What was it and how did it work out for you?