Monday, 6 January 2014

Skechers GoBionicTrail Review : Chan Jun Shen

Being part of Team 2ndSkin for more than a year, I’ve got the opportunity to see our proud sponsors growing each passing days. Skechers being a new kid on the block competing with other giant shoes manufacturers is progressing pretty good in producing high quality elite level running shoes with a competitive price. As my loyal trail buddy the Skechers GoTrail is wearing out after more than 300km of mileage in all sorts of trail, it has shown very obvious wear pattern especially on the fore part of my shoes’ outsole and the cushion in the heel collar had sort of collapsed. Nevertheless, it was my only pair of trail shoes for racing and training. Skechers GoTrail has to be retired from active duty after being my choice of gear winning Tioman Island Challenge, Langkawi International Ironbound and Mount Jerai Challenge. All the podium finishes, wouldn’t be possible without GoTrail. 
Skechers Malaysia has been a great partner for our team, last month when I came back to KL meeting Mr Ivan telling him about my GoTrail, he offered me to try out the newly launched GoBionic Trail. Normally a newly launched Skechers shoes will somehow reflects the previous model, for example, GoRun2 looks a lot like GoRun3, GoBionic looks similar to GoBionic Ride. However, I personally do not see any identical features of GoTrail on the younger brother. It’s time to abuse it, test it in the harshest trail and write a review for all to read.
The weight for men size 9 is 8.4 Oz for GoTrail and 8.0 Oz for GoBionic Trail. I’m wearing a US Men size 7, so for sure the weight will be lesser than 8.0 Oz. Comparatively, GoBionic Trail feels a little bigger than GoTrail. What I want most in my trail shoes is my heels are snugged and fit, water draining ability, minimal cushion for a more responsive run, good grip and lastly doesn’t trap mud.  My first impression on GoBionic Trail was that the toe box was wide, my toes could spread freely, not too loose until it causes blisters though. The upper mesh is made of hydrophobic “diamond shaped” mesh and synthetic upper that repels water. Once I tighten up my laces, it hugs my midfoot comfortably (the laces are identical to GoBionicRide). Similar to the other Skechers shoes, the shoes’ tongues are sewn high up to the third lace loop from the top, multisport athletes love this. For those aiming to do XTerra, do check this out in Skechers Stores.
BionicTrail came with an insole for a 4mm heel to toe drop, under the insole has grooves to retain it in position so that it doesn’t slide while we run. I ran with it for my first trail run after my long sailing to Sydney. The cushion was too good, too soft, combined with a wet muddy trail, I felt very slow. To make it more responsive, I have it removed for my next trail run. The outsole’s cushion is more than enough for me, if I were to name this pair of shoes, I would have named it Skechers GoBionicRideTrail =p I feel that the GoTrail is more “bionic” or responsive or more ground feel. That’s how I feel it, subject to personal preference, some runners might disagree. That 4mm insole will be kept in the box unless I run with girl. I’m short, I need that 4mm to be taller =p    
The lugged outsole is made of Resagrip, the same material used to make the outsole of the elder brother. Although the material is the same, the tread design is totally different, offering a much better grip on muddy trails. The outsole is divided into 15 segments; the depression is clearly seen dividing all the lugs (similar to GoBionicRide). Not only this feature improves the flexibility, it also contributes to better traction getting the mud removed before the next stride. The separations between lugs are wider and have multidirectional grooves on it, so it is not easy for a chunk of mud to stick underneath. I ran the Teluk Batik Trail in Lumut, I descended much faster than before without worrying mud stuck under my shoes. GoBionic Trail drains water VERY well. In terms of “wet” weight and ability to drain water, GoBionic Trail beats GoTrail. When it gets wet, it dries really fast since the shoes was built without much cushion in it. The more cushion in the interior part retaining water, the heavier the shoes become. Nobody likes heavy shoes.  
Skechers has shown some serious effort in improving their shoes, this newly designed GoBionic Trail ticks almost all my requirement for my racing choice of gear. My only unfulfilled wish is, I want it to be more responsive, I prefer the Resagrip to be made of harder material for faster speed and longer lasting in the harshest condition. As a military man, I want all my gears to be extremely robust and ever ready to be abused. Haha. Other than trails, I went on road run with it. It feels very comfortable, although the heel and the fore part of the outsole is slightly elevated, I do not feel the “rocking”. Interior parts of the shoes are pretty soft, since I have yet to try run with it sockless, I can’t comment on it. Overall, I love the performance and the design, my next aim is to go on podium with it. With all our team2ndSkin partners providing us with the best gears, our next job is to train harder to get some podium finish. 

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