Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Review : Skechers GoMeb aka GoSpeed by Eugene Teoh

Really A “Go” Like Never Before
By Eugene Teoh

I have just completed the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) last weekend and I feel this is a good time to give my 2 cents with regards to the shoes I have used for the last 2 marathons. I got my hands on the GoSpeed (aka GoMeb) about a month or so before the River Jungle Marathon (RJM) that was held at Hulu Langat on the 1st of Sept. All in, my mileage for this pair of shoes thus far has been approximately 20km in training and 2 x 42km races.

Just a little personal story before we get to the shoes. I was rehabilitating a bad back just before RJM, and was going for sessions with an osteopath who recommended I cut out my running mileage and focus on cross training to give my back a recovery period. Taking that advice, my running sessions dipped and I did more weight training and swimming. Being hunched over my Boardman wasn’t exactly optimal, so I skipped the cycling sessions as well. When I got my hands on the shoes, I was thinking, oh I need to give these babies a review, at least to share my thoughts on a pair of shoes that Meb had a hand in designing and racing in. But with lack of mileage in training (and these being racing shoes, more of that later), I decided to keep my review to at least after a couple of races. Fast forward to now.

The GoSpeed (GoMeb)
 With customized shoe laces
The first thing you realize about the shoe when you see it on the shelves is the built. It’s what you would call fuss-free. Sharp-looking and not built like a tank, it definitely looked like a shoe that was designed to go fast; obviously with the right legs in them (LOL!) Upon lifting them off the shelves, the weight (or lack of it) hits you. This is light! I mean, I’ve got the original GoRun, the Gorun2 and the GoBionic Ride, and they are not exactly heavyweights in the ounces department, but this takes the cake. Specifications and reviews have the shoe at a shade under 7 oz for a men’s size US9, which is not exactly the lightest shoe in the market, but definitely in the lightweight category.

Personal Thoughts
There are many reviews out there by now, with regards to the Skechers GoSpeed. My teammate Ee-Van has previously reviewed the shoes here as well. I’ll skip the technological speak and get to where I feel it matters, a personal feel of the shoes.             
Breathability at its best
The second thing that struck me before I took it out for a run was the mesh upper on the shoes. They looked really breathable with more ventilation mesh than all the previous Go models. Right before getting my hands on the GoSpeed, my LSD shoes were the GoRun2. I felt they were a bit stuffy and warm, especially on a long run in our weather and most times after a long run, my socks would be wet and moist. Everybody knows that moist/wet socks are a predecessor to blisters forming, so that was a pain point in the earlier pair of GoRun2 (for me). After 2 marathons with both races having me at least 2 hours under the scorching sun, I must say the GoSpeed is indeed the most breathable pair of Skechers so far. Not a single blister found after 2 full marathons, which for me was something quite new. My teammate Annie had the same thoughts as well, running in the GoRun Ride and GoRun2 previously and having to face blister issues. She excitedly texted me after SCKLM and said, “Yeeaaayy! No blisters! This is awesome!” By the way, Annie came in 5th in the Malaysian Women category for the Full Marathon, so congratulatory notes are in order!!

The other observation I had, was that this pair of GoSpeed was much stiffer than the other models. I am comparing between similar 4mm drop models (excluding the GoBionic which I did not test) like the original GoRun, GoRun2 and GoBionic Ride. The stiffness is obvious and the structure feels less cushy compared to the rest. I vouched for that as I do certain things like go for a training run, and swap shoes midway through the run. There is a distinct difference in that the GoSpeed does not absorb as much of the impact as the others. You get a better calves workout for the weekend warriors and for the elites, better push-off with lesser energy loss. There is a carbon stability plate inserted at the midsole for that added stiffness to the shoe. 
Minimal construction in the pods at the sole
This shoe was designed with one thing in mind. SPEED. With that objective, the design characteristics have made what I would call it, Skechers first racing shoe. In conventional terms, runners still categorize running shoes for training and racing. Trainers generally have more structure, slightly heavier and more durable in construction to take the hours and hundreds of miles of running. Racers (racing shoes) though are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Minimal construction, in GoSpeed’s case, even the circular footpods at the soles are thinner, lesser bulk around the shoe collar and tongue and larger mesh ventilation on the shoe upper. With the thinner sole and pods, this shoe is not designed to pound the pavement in training as the wear out rate would be faster than other models like the GoRun2 and GoRun. For me, this is currently my shoe of choice for races up to a marathon distance (still unsure of whether to use the GoRun or GoSpeed for this weekend’s 12 hour Back to Endurance – probably both!), so sparing use is the order of the day.

Doubly fast!
In terms of features that are tried and tested with all of Skechers Performance series models, the M-Strike Technology is still present and the individual circular pods provide some degree of cushioning and flexibility. One of the things that I took liberty to note when reading reviews and before getting my hands on the shoes was that some quarters found the toebox and forefoot to be narrow. That had me worrying a little as I have pretty wide feet. Actual wearing of the shoes and running in them, I didn’t feel that the forefoot area was neither constrictive nor tight. However, I must say that the GoBionic Ride has a forefoot room like the size of an Airbus! ;)  

There’s one thing though from my experience to share with others. Due to my vanity, or just my preference for socks that are short (no-show socks), I experienced some chafing from the tip of the tongue of the shoe with the top of my foot near the front of the ankle (above the socks) during both marathons (RJM and SCKLM). It happened after about 30km of running and there were some minor abrasions/friction with my skin. May not happen to others or those with longer socks, but this is just something for me to share so that others can take necessary precautions.

Endorsed by Meb himself
Lightweight, fast (for those who can) and being endorsed by Meb makes this shoe a winner in my opinion. The one shoe in Skechers line-up that I would categorize as a race shoe for now, it is also my choice of wear for runs of up to 42km distance.


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