Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Running Shoe of the Year

So far this past week, I've listed my best race and training run of the year. As a runner, I cannot ignore shoes! If you run with me (or follow this blog), it won't be much of a surprise to find out I have fallen in love with a new shoe brand: the Skechers Performance series. I'm loving my new "brand loyalty" to the Skechers Go Run performance shoes. After opening Christmas gifts, I'm now the proud owner of the GoRun Ultra shoe. I already had the GoRun Bionic (road and trail versions), GoRun 2, and GoRun Ride 2. Yes indeed, one of these fine shoes is my "best shoe of the year" winner. But which one?

First, here are two candidates that almost toppled my beloved Skechers: the Hoka Stinson Evo and the Altra Torin. Both of these are "maximal" cushioned shoes. They are less flexible and heavier than I prefer. Still, they do deliver on cushioning and protection for really long runs. When I ran the Umstead 100, I used these two shoes and had my Skechers GoRun Ride as a back-up. The Skechers never saw trail time. My whole body was hurting and my feet needed extra protection and isolation from the trail...the Hokas delivered. To a lesser degree, so did the Altra Torins. For the niche market of extra long runs (or extra technical trails) these two shoes dominate. Unfortunately, that's not enough to win the "shoe of the year" designation. When thinking about the shoe of the year, I reflect on which model was my go-to choice for a variety of distances, terrain, and races. What shoe did I grab for most training runs? What shoe performed well at races? Speed sessions? Long trail runs? Treadmill? It wasn't the Stinson Evos or Torins. It was a Skechers model.

From most minimal to most cushioned, here are my Skechers running shoe candidates:

  • Go Bionic (road)
  • Go Run 2
  • Go Bionic trail
  • Go Run Ride 2
  • Go Run Ultra

The Go Run Ride 2 is the best all around shoe available and now named my shoe of the year! Here is a quick bullet summary of why I like this particular model:

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Cushioned
  • Reasonable traction
  • Wide forefoot
  • Low heel-to-toe drop
  • Attractive design/colors
  • Inexpensive
I can't say it's the best at any one thing, but it is pretty darn good at a ton of things. I use it for trail races up to 50K. Somewhere between 31 miles and 50 miles I tend to prefer a bit more cushioning. Maybe the new Skechers GoRun Ultra will fill that niche? I also use it for road and treadmill running. Fast or slow, the GoRun Ride performs. I also like that it's quiet--no hard slapping of rubber on the road--the softer outsole feels good and sounds good. If I could only grab one shoe for any race or run, this would be the model. It's the MacGyver of gets things done!


Jake said...

Nice post, Chris. I just found your blog via your comment on No Meat Athlete. I've been in the Go Run 2s for a year and love them. Had my first run in the 3s today. I just signed up for my first marathon, after 4 halfs this year, and I'm thinking that I may need to upgrade to the Rides for the cushion over the longer distance. Thanks for the review.

Chris said...

Glad you like the post. Once you hit marathons, you may indeed prefer the Go Run Rides. I'm still amazed at how much I like ALL of the Skechers models!

Jake said...

Right? After I get over the feeling of cheating on my beloved local running store by buying my shoes at the mall, I love Skechers. I'm working up to a pair of trail shoes for the winter here in Minnesota.

Chris said...

More running stores should carry Skechers. Oh well.

Daniele Garau said...

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