Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Skechers GoRun3 Review : Azrul Deo

When I first heard that Skechers got themselves seriously into running and performance sports, I was a little skeptical on how would their shoes get on par against the big names in the likes of Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, etc. They have always been the casual wear shoe maker, to my mind. Not taking too long of time, they got more serious, rolling out new models of running shoes one after another, and they are gaining more attention from running community, even in Malaysia, with the embedded technology and the attractive combination of colors they offer. Backed by USA’s top marathoner, Meb Keflezighi, fourth place in the recent Olympics’ marathon, they got my head turned too but, I am a loyal/’one-brand’ type of person and it takes a very strong reason for me to switch to another brand. Furthermore, the shoes from the brand I had been using did not give me any problem so, what is the need to switch?

Few days after I was confirmed to be part of 2ndSkin team, I was informed by the team Principal to collect two pairs of Skechers shoes - one for road and another one for trail running. So, I made my way to Skechers outlet in Suria KLCC, knowing that I would finally be able to see how good Skechers’ shoes are as claimed. Eugene suggested for me to go for GOrun 3 for road shoes as it provides the most cushioning as compared to other models. As I was accustomed to cushioned shoes before this, I took up the suggestion. I got myself the blue-lime with striking yellow lace GOrun 3 in size 7. The moment I put on the shoes, I could feel how light and comfortable the shoes is and I could feel how cushioned and bouncy the shoes is. I could relate the bouncy feels to adidas Energy Boost I tested for few months ago. But the most notable difference between the shoes is how the shoes snug your foot especially at the front part of your foot. While adidas Energy Boost snug the foot in the shoes, it gives little room for the foot (especially the front part) to move around. Whereas, with Skechers GOrun 3, the foot has the freedom to move around freely inside the shoes. The collar of the shoes also comes in a soft material that it provides a comfort around the ankle. 
Unboxing the shoes seems to be one of the nervous moments :p
Furthermore, the upper part of the shoes and the inside part of the toe box are soft so, you don't feel like your foot is being 'choked'. The softness, especially on the inside part of the toe box, makes running downhill on hard tarmac or cement less hurting for the forefoot and the toes, which I had experimented during my long run in along the hilly route of Kokol Hill in Kota Kinabalu where there is a downhill 15-degree gradient of cement/concrete stretch. The shoes also come with extra pair of detachable in-soles. Without the additional in-soles, you could feel that your foot is very close to the ground. But once you put in the additional in-soles, you could right away feels that the shoes gives you a little height from the ground and you could also feel the extra cushioning feeling that comes with higher foot arch support. 
The softer and roomier forefoot area
I walked out from the store eagerly wanted to hit the road as soon as possible and it did not take long for the shoes to clock 200km at the time of writing this. I have been using the shoes for my short runs, long runs, marathon LSD as well as the recent marathon event in Hong Kong. So far, the shoes has been performing remarkably well over various distance. For short run, GOrun 3 is just perfect as it makes it effortless for the legs to move, due to the lightweight of the shoes (the shoes is said to be 6.9oz or 195grams in weight for men’s size 9, so my shoes should weigh less than that). 
The now most famous S-brand other than Superman ;-)
Running short runs in this shoes on rubber track is more fun as the rubber-ish grip of the outsole coupled with the GoImpulse pods design gives better traction and control. As for long runs, I had ran in this shoes for six and a half hours in one run, the shoes was not drenched in sweat, and my feet were still breathing comfortably and they did not feel hot inside. I guess the shoes somehow has quick-drying technology or material as well as some air circulation technology embedded that makes it comfortable for a long run as well. 
Taking the shoes for a spin around KLCC rubber jogging track
In the recent marathon that I took part in, the shoes was able to run the whole distance and taking the hard pounding against the tarmac without any problem or aches to my feet. Just one problem, although minimal, I noticed from the shoes that it could not handle long runs on trails (which obviously you need to run in trail shoes, but sometimes road runs are mixed with short trail sections).  This was evident during my run around the Kokol Hill where there was a stretch where we had to run on a short gravel trail path and I could feel some pain to my feet from stepping on the gravel and few sharp stones. This must be due to the softness of the sole of the shoes. And after putting 200km to the shoes, the soles looks to be worn out faster than my previous brand of shoes and I reckon the shoes could last for around 600-700km life, which is a recommended life of a running shoes (click here) but shorter than my normal 1000km life with previous brand.
The GoImpulse pods design of the shoes
On any other days than running, the GOrun 3 is also a great walking shoes. I have tried wearing it to office on my ‘casual attire’ day as well as walking around in Hong Kong and Macao prior to my marathon, and it is just perfectly comfortable with the level of cushioning and the lightweight of the shoes. The legs will not feel tired to carry the shoes around. Even the lightweight profile of the shoes at times makes me confuse whether I have them in my gym bag or not. Furthermore, the ability for the shoes to be flexed and twisted in 360-degree makes the shoes easily fitted into the slightest space of your luggage. This works really well for budget traveller like me who try as much not to pay additional fees to check-in luggage by minimizing the weight and size of my carry-on luggage. Another great thing I found about the shoes is that it allows wearing it without socks due to its anti-microbial insoles that prevent odor and that they are somehow placed in tact inside the shoes. As mentioned earlier, the soft material used for the interior of the shoes makes it comfortable wearing it without socks without worrying to get chaffing here and there. Although I had never tried wearing the shoes sockless in any of my runs, I had done that while walking around as well as going to the gym and this saves me from washing more socks which helps the environment!

No doubt, Skechers now stand tall, at par with other established brands
Overall, it has been a great partnership for me and Skechers GOrun 3. It has given me almost zero problem and has well-exceeded my expectations for a new ‘kid on the block’. Next test would be to run this shoes in my ultra marathon.

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