For several months, I have been involved with some product testing for Skechers. While I'll get to some of the shoes that have been developed with input from other runners and me down the road, I want to first review a shoe that is already available for purchase. Skechers sent me a pair of the GOrun Speed, and I have decided that I will be running the Boston Marathon in these shoes a couple of weeks after writing up this post, so it's safe to say that I think Skechers has done a good job in developing a distance racing flat that is best suited for the marathon. You may have also heard these shoes referred to as the GOMeb or GOrace.
I'm willing to admit that I spend my fair share of time worrying if my marathon racing flats look the part. Bold colors make me feel confident. As of now, the GOrun Speed comes in a single color scheme, but it's bright and bold. The shoe also looks the part of a proper racing flat, with a low and narrow profile that fits snug to the foot. The upper is very familiar for those that are using the GOrun or GOrun 2 for daily running: It's very flexible mesh with a slightly soft feeling. The bottom half of the shoe is very different from other Skechers shoes, with a focus on more traditional distance flat technology that provides a firm feel and responsive ride. The shoes weight 6.9 ounces, according to my scale, at a men's size 9.
Fit and Upper Materials
Skechers has maintained a design element that is common throughout their performance line, in that the toe box is roomier than those of comparable flats from other shoe companies. The rest of the shoe fits snug, which is a little different from other Skechers models. I personally have a narrow foot, and look for a snug fit in a racing flat, so these are right in my wheelhouse. The mesh upper and nylon laces give you a fit that is similar to some other well-known marathon shoes that have been very popular, such as the Asics Hyperspeed and the Nike Zoom Marathoner. The heel area of the upper is firm, but not to the point to where it digs into my Achilles area (something that commonly happens to me). So, these shoes tend to have the right level of snugness in the right areas for my neutral foot.
Midsole and Outsole
While most Skechers feature a hyper-flexible midsole, the GOrun Speed feature a plastic plate that is centered around the midfoot and leads to a much firmer ride. I debated between choosing the GObionic or GOrun Speed for my marathon flat, and I ultimately chose the GOrun Speed due to the firmness in the midsole, which leaves me feeling less tired in the arch after several miles of pacing work. The heel of the GOrun Speed is also firmer than the other shoes offered by Skechers. One other major difference in the GOrun Speed is the lack of a midfoot "bump" that was very pronounced in the original GOrun and still an element of the GOrun 2. The GOrun Speed is has a traditional shape, in terms of midsole thickness from toe to heel. While a slight rocker exists (the midfoot is 1.5 mm more thick than the heel), it is imperceptible to the eye or while running. The heel-toe offset is 4 mm (18 mm/14 mm). The outsole of the GOrun Speed features a pattern of rubber lugs (the GO Impulse sensors that are found on all GOrun models) that is distributed throughout the shoe, which has led to no visible wear after about 50 miles in the shoes.
On the Run
In terms of performance, the GOrun Speed does what it should do while running: Once they were on my feet I didn't have to think about them. My first run in the shoes was 19 miles of various pacing, through which I had no blisters or hot spots, never felt like my feet were fatiguing, and felt the same in terms of shoe performance at easy pace, marathon pace, and 10k pace. The mark of a good marathon shoe is that they become a non-issue; I never had to think twice about what was on my feet with these. Again, these are on the firm end of the shoe spectrum, but that firmness provides the exact same ride for mile after mile. The firmness and perceived responsiveness that it brings make me confident that I won't be thinking about my shoes in the late miles of the Boston marathon.
The Skechers GOrun Speed is an excellent choice for those looking for a traditional marathon flat with a firm and responsive ride. Not only would I recommend them, but I will also be wearing them in my next big race, and see myself running many races in the future with them on my feet.
See more about the GOrun Speed on the Skechers website (the only known place for purchase at this time).
See another review of the GOrun Speed by Pete Larson at runblogger.com