Monday, 7 March 2016

Skechers GoRun Ride 5 Review

Skechers GoRun Ride 5 Review by Team Principal Eugene Teoh.


I must admit that I am a very big fan of the Skechers GoRun4. It is practically my go-to shoe for every distance, from the 5k to the Marathon. Of course, with the association with Skechers Malaysia, I've had the opportunity to try out practically their entire range of performance offerings, from the stiff and fast GoSpeed (GoMeb) to the FitKnit Bolt and bouncy GoRun Ultra. Some of these models have a permanent place in my (overflowing!) shoe cabinet, like the GoSpeed (that I use for fast workouts and up to 10k's) and GoRun4's. The Ultra though is a tad too high in profile and soft for my liking, so I was wondering how the Ride5 would suit me.

To be honest, I had no inclination of how the Ride5 would feel like, as although the Ride series is already into the 5th iteration, I have not tried any of the preceding Ride series of shoes. High level understanding tells me that the Ride5 should be more cushy, heavier and more structured than the GoRun4. Do these initial assumptions prove true? We'll find out.

I will skip all the technical mumbo-jumbo of the Ride5 and give you a personal real feel impression of the shoes, as I'm pretty sure if you google "Skechers Ride5 review" you will be inundated with a load of sites/blogs giving you the lowdown on the weight of the shoe, the overlays of the mesh, the repositioned pods on the outsole, etc.

I've put about 50-odd kms in the Ride5 to date, and done run sessions in different conditions; tired legs, fresh legs, midday heat, road, concrete pavements, gravel bits, grass and the below are my thoughts.

The Ride5 definitely feels heavier on the run, compared to the GR4, but not by much. If compared to the GR-Ultra, the Ride5 would feel like a nimble Mercedes C250 to the GR-Ultra's Landrover Discovery-like tank. I've been so used to the GR4, that if I put on a heavier pair of shoes, I notice the weight gain immediately. A quick weigh-in confirms my notion, the Ride5 is 10% heavier than the GR4.

One good thing about Skechers Performance shoes is the relatively wide toebox which suits me very well. There are major shoe brands where the shoes have a narrower toebox and I'd have to upsize to fit the front of the shoes, but then the gap front and back becomes too loose for me. The Ride5 fit at the toebox is pretty similar to the GR4, which is great for me and a tad wider than the GoSpeed (GoMeb) series. The one thing that bugs me a little though is the inner foot arch support of the Ride5 feels a lot more prominent than the GR4. Whilst wearing the GR4, my midfoot is allowed to flex (flatten out) when I land, which is more in tune with my natural biomechanics, however, the Ride5 has a stiffer arch support, which limits the flex of my arch. Do note that I remove the insoles from ALL my Skechers shoes as I prefer more ground feel and (on a more personal note) the fit feels more comfortable to me without the insoles. I've got a whole stack of brand new never worn size US 10 insoles if anyone needs any!!

One major difference between the Ride5 and GR4 though, is the construction of the tongue. The GR4 and GoSpeed3 have thin construction with visible net stitching around the edges. The Ride5 is more of a traditional spongy tongue, which feels softer but adds to the weight of the shoe. I can't say which is better as they both have pros and cons in my experience. I had one pair of GR4's where the stitching of the tongue was a bit rough and it would brush against the front of my ankle area as I ran, if I wore no-show socks. I'd then have a red patch of skin blister due to the rubbing if my run was a long one. Best option would be if they could have the tongue as thin as possible without the exposed stitching, that I think would be the best of both worlds.

In terms of breathability of the shoe, I don't feel much difference between the GR4 and Ride5. The upper mesh is a one piece construction with additional reinforcement at the foot flex areas and front toebox, where the likelihood of wear and tear is higher. I've had the opportunity to run in the shoes on a bright sunny 33-34 degree dry summer afternoon and I didn't come out of that run feeling like i needed internal cooling systems in the shoe. Of course, the mesh is nowhere near the breathability of the GR-Ultra which will drain water as soon as you flush the shoe.

So, all in all, what's my personal verdict on the Ride5? Does it have a permanent place in my shoe cabinet? Would I get another pair of Ride5 once I wear out the current one?
Well, the answer is not as straightforward as I would like to make it to be. The GR4 still sits at the top of my list, undisputed and firmly anchored as the firm favorite. The GoSpeed2 & 3 remains my pick for speed work and fast 10k's due to the weight and stiffness of the shoe. So what then, of the Ride5? Would I take them out for my long runs? Yes, I would; to save the mileage and life I have in the GR4 for races and tempo runs. Would I use the Ride5 for my recovery days? Yes, I would. Would I bring them to a 21k or 42k race? No, I'd still fallback on my GR4 for races.

But that's not to say the Ride5 doesn't make the cut. If I wasn't as obsessed with the GR4 (as I am!), I'd say the Ride5 was the all-rounder, you know; the high-school jock who would be amongst the top 3 in grades, played football competitively, could sing at the school choir, write poetry and be the pick of the ladies for prom.
If your requirements are a pair of shoes that can do all distances, structured and cushy enough that you don't kill your legs, but stiff enough that you give your calves a good workout, lightweight enough that you don't feel like tying bricks to your feet, and a toebox wide enough that each of your toes get some time away from each other; then the Ride5 should be heavily considered.

Go on, head over to the nearest Skechers store and slip a pair on. You might just be sold.

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