A few years ago I jumped on the barefoot bandwagon when it came along, and have my 5 fingers sitting in my closet to prove it. I enjoyed running forward on the balls of my feet, but my calf muscles never got adjusted to it. I say this because with running, I am very willing to jump on any bandwagon that comes along because plainly said; I am a slow endurance runner. Recently, I started migrating some Google Research to another bandwagon that is picking up momentum. The oversized running shoe. I was noticing that a bunch of Ultra runners were changing their kicks for Hoka One Ones. What is this new craze? Running on more of a cushion to save knees and other injury proned joints from the jostles of running? That seems logical but a little crazy. I quickly jumped on the bandwagon and then purchased the cheapest pair I could find. The Skechers Go Run Ultra. I now have a solid month of running with these shoes and will give my review accordingly. If over the course of this upcoming season, my opinions change, I will update this post. I will grade this shoe on the following categories: Support, Comfort, Weight, Hype Realization, and Appearance. Once again I will score each category with a scale of 1 to 5. An overall letter grade will be given at the end.
The reason I knock this shoe down in this category is not for the vertical support but rather the lateral support. To specify, I mean the support that you might need when running around a corner or on an extremely sloped road surface. Granted one does not spend a lot of time doing either when road running, but I have noticed that doing anything similar to what I have described results in unsure footing or slippage in the foot box. I would be hesitant to try these shoes on a through the forest cross training run because of this feature, but in all reality I was actually expecting more instability because of the huge cushion and elevated center of mass for the shoe. For vertical up and down support this shoe is awesome and I have yet to feel an improper foot strike was caused due to lack of vertical shoe support.
Of course this is where the shoe is supposed to excel. I have been relatively impressed after my long runs to not have dead legs. I would have expected that after running on the increased cushion that new muscles or different muscles would be sore after a normal easy run and especially after long runs. However, this has not been the case. I am also pleased with how the shoe feels over the top of the foot. Snug and soft is how I would describe it. After the very first run I did have some soreness in a line on my big toe from where it was rubbing against the crease between the insole and the sidewall, but readjustment of the insole has alleviated that. I am really pleased with the comfort of this shoe. I could foresee these shoes as a perfect “all day on your feet” shoe.
Of course the added cushion adds a little weight, but in comparing this shoe to my older pair of Brooks running shoes, I would say they were lighter due to the tops. Also in comparing these shoes with other oversized shoes, they are also considerably light. I knock it down a half a point because oversized shoes will never reach the lightness realms of minimalist shoes. That’s fine too.
Hype Realization (4.5)
I don’t really know how much hype is following this oversized shoe movement at the moment, and maybe it has passed, but for me this shoe has lived up to its hype. A few weeks after I purchased the shoe, I also noticed that it was placed on Triradar.com as the best every day training shoe for 2014, so hey, there really is some hype to it.
Of all the oversized shoes, the Go Run Ultra looks the least like a running shoe on steroids. I also really like the color options they have chosen at Skechers. I am usually a pretty conservative individual when choosing clothing options, but when I look down and see that dragon fire orange it might just make me feel a little faster.
The Letter Grade (22.5/25=0.90, A-)
Yeah, I know, picky picky, but I think the only way that I could give a shoe an A is if it made me run PR’s every time out. I am difficult to please, but overall, if I am willing to spend the time to post about it, it means that I am pleased with the product enough to recommend it. I would do so with this shoe to anyone I knew or didn’t know. It really has been pleasing to lace it up each time and put it through the works. With only about 60 miles of running on these shoes, they still seem brand new, and I will enjoy them for this whole season.