Skora Running Shoe Review

Skora Running Shoe ReviewA few months ago, I did something I’ve never done before.  I pitched a company, asking to try their product in return for a review on my blog.  One would think, given the subject matter of this blog, that I would pitch a food appliance company or company that sells low carb or gluten-free ingredients.  But no, my first ever pitch was to a running shoe company…because I wanted them.  Badly.  So much so, that I was willing to pay for them myself if the company turned me down.  But I figured it was worth a shot.  I’m no expert on running or running shoes, but I love the sport, and I have a lot of readers who run or who have recently started running programs.  And like many people, I am very intrigued by the minimalist and barefoot shoe movement.  To my delight, they agreed and sent me a pair of the very stylish Skora minimalist running shoes.

But now I am faced with a dilemma.  A big one.  Because I don’t think I can give my readers a very objective review.  The problem is that I unequivocally, hands down love these shoes.  Love them.  I had in my  head that I would test out the shoes in various ways and make note of all pros and cons so that the reader could make an informed decision.  But I don’t really  have any cons to speak of.  I think the shoes are fantastic and I would recommend them enthusiastically to anyone who was interested in minimalist shoes.  After reading Born To Run, I am all about the minimal and barefoot movement, as it jives with everything I learned in my graduate program in human evolution.  I feel strongly that less shoe; less structure, less support and less cushion, is integral to my continuing development as a runner. And to my continuing injury-free.

Skora Base Review

My Skoras after a 5.5 mile run

So I am going to tell you about my experience with these new shoes, and then I am going to direct you to the Skora website for more information.  I will leave it to them to explain all the technical details, because they do so very well on their website.  They also have a great blog that touches on many subjects about running, proper running form, and minimalist running.  They are quite a new company, and as such they face stiff competition from the more established institutions, but I think they are well placed to win over many runners.

Barefoot Running:  So, as you may know, I was experimenting a bit with barefoot running before I got my shoes.  And by that I mean actually barefoot, with no foot-covering whatsoever.  Mostly it was on grass, but the little bit that I did on the track at our local high school tended to chew up the skin of my feet.  And that wasn’t even true pavement or asphalt, but a softer, more cushioned surface.  I know that with time, my feet would build up a toughness, but I wasn’t sure I really wanted them to.  True barefoot runners must have callouses inches thick on their feet!  And personally, I like my pedicure, thank you very much.  As a road racer,  my feet take enough beating as it is, so some measure of protection between me and the hard street was in order.  Enter my Skora Base shoes.

Ground Feel:  If you are used to conventional running shoes, running in a pair of Skoras will at first feel a little like you are running in slippers.  Really, there just isn’t all that much between you and the ground, although there is more than one would get with some barefoot shoes.  But all that cushioning and softness you get with traditional running shoes is gone.  You feel what’s under your feet, you feel the rock, or twig or acorn you just stepped on.  And that’s a good thing, because it gives your body the chance to adjust to the surface under you.  You pay more attention to the ground surface, you place your feet more carefully.  You connect.

That’s all there is between you and the ground

Less Impact:  It may sound counter-intuitive to say that running with less cushion in your shoe means less impact on your body, but it’s true.  The arch of the human foot is designed to absorb impact, but as cushioned shoes take away our ability to feel the ground, we land more heavily as our foot seeks to feel the surface and adjust to it.   You simply can’t come down as hard in a pair of Skora shoes, which actually means LESS impact on your joints than traditional shoes (one of the more interesting points made in Born to Run).  If you turn off your music and listen to the sound of your feet on the ground, you will hear it.  A light tap-tap-tap.  No hard clomping, no heavy footfall.   Like running in slippers.  Ballet slippers.

Footstrike:  A common cause of many running injuries is footstrike, or where one comes down on their foot when they land.  Conventional shoes have stacked heels with many layers of cushioning, and this allows many runners to heel strike, or come down on their heel first.  But that’s not how the human foot is designed to absorb impact, and it can cause many issues.  A mid-foot strike is much safer, more comfortable and sends far less impact through the legs and back of the runner.  In a pair of Skora shoes, you will find heel-striking very uncomfortable.  There is no cushion to help the heel come down and you feel it.  I was always a mid-foot striker anyway, but like most people, when I am tired, my form gets sloppy.  My Skora shoes are a constant reminder to keep my form tight, which means less chance of impact-related injuries.  I’ve gone almost 3 years, my whole running career, injury-free…knock on wood it continues.

Zero-drop heel means a better foot strike

Take it slow:  When transitioning from conventional running shoes to minimalist or barefoot shoes, it’s important to start slow.  It employs your muscles differently, and you need to take time to build up strength to avoid a different sort of injury.  My Skora Base shoes felt so good right from the beginning, my legs felt lighter (less shoe at the end of them!) and my form felt spot on, so it was tempting to put away my old running shoes and never look back.  But on the advice of my contact at Skora, I was careful to alternate and to use them only once or twice a week, on shorter runs.  Then I built up from there.  I promised myself that when I could do a whole long run in them, I would write my review.

For the long haul:  Last week, I went out for a long run in my Skora shoes.  14 miles, my second longest run ever (I once did 17 miles, but that was because I got lost).  And I felt fantastic every step of the way.  In some places, I felt like I was flying.  It wasn’t my fastest pace ever, but it was quite good and I felt strong and light.  So I have now converted completely to my Skoras and put away my other runners.  I had some muscle soreness the day after my long run, but no more than I would have in any other shoe.  Less, in fact, than I’ve had when amping up mileage previously.  I’d call that a success story.

Skora running shoe review

My Skoras, overlooking the beach

So yes, I love them.  I think they are great shoes and I highly recommend them for anyone thinking of transitioning to a more minimalist running style.  The folks at the company certainly believe in them and wear them on their own runs (my contact happens to be an ultra-runner!).  They were also wonderfully responsive when I had questions, and gave advice freely about how to transition and how to size them properly.  The company tagline is “Run Real”, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Those running shoes look so neat! Not that I’m a big runner or anything, but I think wearing such shoes would make me feel a little less awkward :-)

  2. how cool! i have never heard of these! I will check them out

  3. ok- So would these still be good for us indoor treadmill runners? Winter is coming to my town where it’s -40C even before the windchill… Outside isn’t an option for this princess.

  4. Very cool! I always worry about my flat arches in shoes. They sure to look nice though

    • Kyle from SKORA here. I also have rather low arches, and have done fine with 5,000+ miles in minimal shoes such as ours. Research has yet to show a significant link between arch type of the requirement of any specific category of shoe. However, wearing a light weight shoe will strengthen weak muscles, making your lower limbs much stronger.

  5. Nice shoes! I love the fact that there are no shoelaces to tie! On my last race, I could hear some runners whose feet are clomping loudly. That got me more conscious about proper landing. I guess at some point, when I am running more frequently, I will also try to transition to barefoot runningt. :-)

    • You’ve nailed it. That clomping sound indicates bad form. My husband sounded like a horse running, and I pointed that out to him, then we discussed proper form. Since then, he’s become a much stronger runner, and his runs don’t feel so hard on his body anymore.

      • Thinking back to when I first started running (the only time I wore thick traditional shoes) I can distinctly remember this one time when I was running on an indoor track and how loud my Brooks Adrenalines were!

        Now with a nice midfoot landing under my general center of mass, I always try to land with a slightly bent knee, very soft. The high density rubber of the SKORA shoes will make a bit more noise than a softer outsoled shoe, but you should at least be landing softer :)

  6. 42 years ago we had a young girl of 14 start our Northern Ontario high school with us. She had grown up on a farm outside our small town and we knew nothing about her as she was bused into the school with others. She totally amazed the whole school, our proud track team and every boy when she won the annual harrier race. And she ran it barefoot! Over hill, clay and rocks….she amazed us all. Each year it was the same thing and she will be forever known as Barefoot Nellie. So I can totally see your wanting to research the barefoot running movement.

  7. A couple of questions, do you wear socks with them? And, would they prevent a nail or sharp object from penetrating your foot? I’m assuming not based on the fact you said you can feel everything.

    • Actually, they would provide as much protection against sharp objects as any other running shoe. The sole is very sturdy, but built to flex with your foot. Being able to feel all the things under you is simply a matter of removing the unnecessary cushioning of traditional shoes. I do wear socks with them. I tried them without, but found it rubbed on my bunion too much (a fault of my foot, not the shoe!). But the shoe is designed with wicking technology, so socks are optional. So is the insole that comes with them. I tried with and without. I ended up liking with a little better because my foot is very narrow.

  8. I’ve never heard of these, but I’m fascinated! I’ve been meaning to try a version of barefoot shoes, but waiting until I’m no longer pregnant to experiment :)

  9. Hi, I am with Sarah, do you wear socks with them while running?

    • Here’s how I answered Sarah…hope it helps! Actually, they would provide as much protection against sharp objects as any other running shoe. The sole is very sturdy, but built to flex with your foot. Being able to feel all the things under you is simply a matter of removing the unnecessary cushioning of traditional shoes. I do wear socks with them. I tried them without, but found it rubbed on my bunion too much (a fault of my foot, not the shoe!). But the shoe is designed with wicking technology, so socks are optional. So is the insole that comes with them. I tried with and without. I ended up liking with a little better because my foot is very narrow.

  10. I’m definitely going to check these out…I’ve been running in Vibram Five Fingers for a couple of years but I HATE the way they look, I’ve recently switched to the New Balance Minimus Trail 10′s and I absolutely love them and the way they look too!

    • I hate the way the vibrams look too…those little fingers wig me out! In other reviews I’ve read, the Skoras definitely give me more protection from the ground than vibrams, which means they will be a tiny bit stiffer too. But definitely consider them!

    • I ran 3400 miles in Vibrams before being able to wear test the preproduction Skoras in 2011, and have never looked back. I am glad I spent so much time in VFF, they helped with my form. Yet I feel they held me back with distance and speed.

      Plus, I can’t get over how ugly they are ;p

  11. Perfect timing! I just started running and am going to need new shoes before too long. I will check these out for sure!

  12. My daughter has some serious achilles problems. We’re actually heading back to the specialist tomorrow morning. She had about 2 years where she could barely function, had cortisone shots and rehab and the whole nine yards. It went away for a couple of years and is now back with a vengeance. I wonder if a pair of shoes like this would help her. Hard to watch her have so much pain. She wants to run and horseback ride again.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily rely on shoes like these to fix the issues if they don’t know what’s causing them. But there is some evidence to suggest that a lot of runners with chronic pain find that it goes away when they run barefoot or with minimalist shoes. Just start slooooooowwwwww! A little at a time at first. It’s worth a try, certainly!

  13. I have bad luck with stepping on fire ants, splinters, and miscellaneous sharp things when I attempt to go outside barefoot, so these seem like the perfect compromise to me. I can protect my feet but still get the benefits of barefoot running (which I first heard of from the last post you did about it!). Great review!

  14. I’m curious – as a low-carber, what do you eat the 24 hours before a run that long? The longest I’ve gone without carb-loading is about 8 miles; in races I usually take a gel around mile 10.

    • This is only my opinion, based on my own experience, but: once your body is adjusted, carbo-loading not really necessary and can actually make you feel unwell (at least, it does for me). For my last long race, a half marathon, I ate a steak the night before and a cheese omelet the next morning. I ate one of the mini-luna bars about 20 minutes before the race. I ate nothing while I was running, I never felt the need to, although I had some sports beans with me. And I PR’d the race by a good 5 minutes! I felt strong and awesome the whole time. Afterwards, I refueled with more eggs and more steak…and some guacamole and fruit.

    • Hey Mila. Honestly, as a low carb athlete, as long as you are consuming adequate calories and not doing a huge amount of endurance training, CHO loading or a lot of CHO in general is rather unnecessary.

      Athletes who are training twice a day need more CHO to replenish glycogen as quickly as possible.

  15. Am not a runner. Can you train in those shoes?

  16. jo hogarth says:

    wanted to find out how the fit was of these running shoes. want to buy a pair and I’m a 7 or 7.5 do they run big or small or right on size?
    thanks so much

    • I’m usually an 8.5 or a 9 and they were clear to go with the smaller size. So you should probably go with the 7. They are meant to fit snugly (although they shouldn’t cramp your toes). They will allow to exchange if they don’t fit properly.

Speak Your Mind

*