What makes a shoe “fast”? Bring down the weight by reducing overlays, discarding hard and heavy plastics. Then lower the heel to toe drop, and tweak the adopt bright colorways (yellow seems to be “in” these days). If that’s not enough, get a world class marathoner involved in developing the final product. It would be perfect if the said marathoner was an Olympic silver medallist in Athens, had run a 2:09:08 PR in NYC Marathon before finishing 4th in a typically determined performance in the London Olympics.
Skechers retained the GOmeb moniker print on the shoe but markets it as GOrun Speed so that it ties in with the incresingly popular GOrun series. If I’d a chance, I’d brand it as GOrace! In keeping with the spirit of “fast”, I shall keep this review short, limiting it to the shoe’s unique features and wear experience.
The GOrun Speed (I’ll call it GRS here as it rolls off the tongue quicker) doesn’t find itself in the super lightweight realm of 5oz shoes but at 6.9oz means many recreational racers will be able to consider it as their racing flat of choice. The 4mm drop GRS is but just one of the many lightweight offerings from the company. For example, the GOrun 2 (reviewed here) presents a viable option if you like a bit more cushion in your ride on race day. If you prefer even more cushioning, you would prefer the GOrun Ride (7.9oz, reviewed here). On the minimalist end of the scale, there’s always the GObionic Ride (reviewed here). Options aplenty.
In a move that I really like, Skechers went with the open mesh design of the upper. Bottomline: excellent breathability. The toecap is a glued on piece of transparent plastic. The move to go with a wide tongue is an excellent one, and is a testament that runners are involved in the design. Next to having the laces coming undone and pebbles getting into a pair of running shoes, nothing is more irritating that having the tongue bunch up to one side. I’m glad to report that the GRS has no such issues. While I like the width fit of US9.5, I settled for US9 as I felt that the space between my toes to the front was just about nice. The GRS is not as wide in the toebox as the GOrun Ride.
The major change would be to the midsole where there’s a small cutaway to reveal a plastic piece inserted in the midfoot section. When you have a plate inserted in the midsole, you’re going to add to the stiffness of the shoe but on the flipside, stiffness in a racing flat is often appreciated since it lends to a more responsive ride. Other than the typical foam pods on the outsole, there are 12 which are reinforced with solid rubber. No rubber plugs are placed in the extreme heel section.
The GRS is a little less flexible that the usual shoes to come out of Skechers’ assembly line but still good and you’re still able to bend it at the appropriate flex points.
The ride is firm (firmer than let’s say the Nike Lunaracer+ 3) and very responsive and every step seems to be that much snappier. My first run in the GRS was a short one at tempo pace, the same day I received the shoe. As usual, I ran on the bricked sections as well as the synthetic track around the KLCC track. I very much preferred the ride on the track as I thought the blend of cushioning and responsiveness were just about perfect. On the harder surface, the firmness of the midsole was instantly felt. And those who didn’t like the midfoot bump will rejoice to know that it’s no longer felt. Even so, there’s a slight arch support courtesy of the non-removable sockliner. This also means the sockliner slippage experienced in the GR2 will not surface in the GRS.
The very next day I took the GRS out again, on a 20K run. Because it was a group run, we started off together at an easy pace. I found that it was difficult to run slow in the shoes. I don’t know why – it could’ve been the firm ride but I’m not sure. After the climb up to Plaza Damas, I’ve had it playing safe and took off down the Damas descend and then up around the Petronas loop at 10K pace. Only then did things became exciting. The hold of the shoe around the heel and ankle was exceptional. Once your foot is in the shoe, it remains locked in – no slippage in any direction. Once the group had rehydrated, the return trip began in earnest in a more uptempo pace. After 15K, my outer shins felt a little sore but I had got into a breathing rhythm and was able to use that to push past the discomfort for a quick finish. There appeared to be a bit of wear and tear on the heel and the lateral side of the shoe, which may be due to me compensating for the shin soreness.
25K covered in the GRS within 2 days gave me some ideas on what the shoes can do and I think they need to be taken out on speedwork days and races. Running slow in them are definitely not as comfortable. It’s a little too firm for a marathon shoe for me but definitely will feature in half marathons.
If a fast, firm and responsive race shoe is what you’re looking for, the GOrun Speed warrants a serious consideration. The question is whether you can keep up with it ?
Other reviews you might be interested in:
The Skechers GOrun Speed is now in-stores in Malaysia, just ahead of other markets in the region. The review unit was provided by Skechers Malaysia.