One of the most exciting things about reviewing products is having your preconception smashed to smithereens. This can be a positive or negative experience, of course. We expect great things from the giants and are little lenient with the upstarts in the industry. The last time I was pleasantly surprised was when Skechers debuted the GORun back in 2012 [review here].
When Under Armour (UA) set up shop in KLCC recently, their first store in the country, I was fortunate enough to be invited for the store opening. Those who follow team sports (for example fans of BPL team Tottenham Hotspurs) will recognize the brand’s simple yet unique logo. If you’ve not heard of UA, you can read it up here.
Recently UA started making stronger surges into the running footwear segment which set quite a number of running geeks’ hearts aflutter. The Speedform has been around for at least a year but this year the Apollo and Gemini are the 2 providing the main thrust in sales numbers for the company. This review will focus on the Gemini but for a good take on the equally eye-catching, more minimalist Speedform RC Vent, head on to Nick’s review.
If there’s one thing that runners are raving about UA running shoes, it’s how they’re put together. The Gemini, like the RC Vent and Apollo, is constructed based on a near-seamless fashion. You can see from the photo below, provided by fellow shoe geek Seth Hasty of Granite City Running [Competitor covered the store opening in this article], that the shoe is basically made up of 3 parts. The mesh upper, the footbed, and the midsole/outsole. There’s an external heel counter that provide some structure at the rear, as you’ll see from the photos below.
UA’s product page will have all the marketing spiel so I’ll just breeze through the key features of the Gemini.
The visually striking Gemini is not what you’d classify a low-profiled shoe. It has a significant heel stack and has the disposition of a protective cushioned trainer as you can see from the series of photos below. The wear experience to me, however, is rather mixed. You will immediately feel the plushness stepping into the shoes. Heel to toe transition is very smooth and you feel as if you can walk the whole day in them.
There’s an airy feel to it which is expected since more than half of the upper are made of mesh so huge they appear like webbing. The 2-layer mesh is stretchy, so the seemingly low toebox height as seen in the profile photo below isn’t a good representation of how they really feel. US10 fits me fine if I wear a thin sock but I’d upsize by half should I go for a thicker one.
The Gemini has a slightly squarish toe box which suits runners with a wider forefoot, and the external toe guards looks like those from the Nike Presto. There are 6 reflective strips on each shoe, making it suitable for early morning/night running. The following 2 photos clearly show the 2-layer mesh adopted for the shoes. No rogue sand particles or pebbles have got in so far.
The tongue is wide which made slippage a non-issue. It’s made of the same mesh as the upper with an added strip of foam (similar to the collar material) at the top.
The heel cup is actually made of foam but there’s the exo-skeletal like heel counter to provide some semblance of structure. Even with the collar slanting into the achilles, I’ve not experienced any chafing, hot-spots, and rubbing in all my sessions in the shoes. They certainly fit more like socks than something stiff. In fact I’d say that they feel neoprene-like.
Peeping into the shoe, you’ll see the neat construction of the footbed. There’s no removable sockliner and that sort of thing here. Everything is integrated and one-piece. The construction method and technologies used allow the Gemini to be machine washable – instructions are clearly printed right there! The white dots around the collar are the silicone grippers that further secure the fit.
In the photo below, both my fingers were pointed to the welded seams, just about the only 2 you’d find on the Gemini.
Being a typical trainer, the Gemini’s weight reflects that too. I was surprised to see the US10 weighing in at 10.45oz because I thought they felt lighter. In my hands, the shoe’s weight felt a little unevenly distributed, with the heel section of the shoe feeling significantly heavier than the forefoot . This is an unusual comment, I know, since the heel stack is greater than the front and therefore would naturally be heavier. However I thought the forefoot to heel weight ratios felt a little lopsided. Mixing the use of the heavier foam in the heel section with more mesh (as seen on the tongue) will reduce the overall weight.
The Gemini feels like a 10mm offset/drop shoe like the Flyknit Lunar 2 (FL2), Pegasus 31, and Energy Boost whereas the actual drop is 8mm like that of the Ride 7. Nevertheless, such numbers are superfluous because what matters should be how it performs. We’ll get to that shortly.
The Gemini’s Charged midsole foam is touted to provide responsive cushioning. It sits on top of a thicker white layer and runs the full length of the shoe. The darker material is visible from the cutaway at the bottom of the shoe.
The outsole is both a mix of blown (blue sections) and carbon rubber (in the heel) as clearly seen below. There’s no midfoot TPU shank, no medial posting which means overall flexibility is pretty good for the Gemini. There are generous flex grooves in the forefoot and the outsole is decoupled. There are plenty of exposed foam in the outsole but durability remains to be seen as I’ve only logged 43K in them.
Now comes the most important part of the review – the wear experience. Folks are basically curious about a few important things:
So I’ll just cover the points above.
I normally wear a US10. Although the Gemini fits just nice, I’d have preferred a 10.5. Overall fit is excellent. The midfoot fits snugly as with the heel, while the forefoot opens up sufficiently to accommodate medium volume feet. It doesn’t get to the level of roominess of the GORun Ride 4 (GRR4) though.
Step-in feel, as mentioned before, is plush. So is walking around in them. The pronounced feel of the arch support disappears the moment I started running. So did the plush feeling. The immediate responsiveness of the Charged midsole dispels any notion that the Gemini offers a soft ride. It’s certainly not the Kinvara 5, or even the GORun 4. The Charge midsole provides less bounce than the Lunarlon and Boost materials of the FL2 and Energy Boost respectively. The “F” word (F for firmness!) kept popping up in my mind as I put mileage into the shoe. Perhaps with some breaking in, the midsole will soften up a little? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find it uncomfortable, just stating my observation.
As in other training shoes with this level of midsole build up, road feel of the Gemini is muted. Regardless of the runner’s preference for a soft or firm ride, the heel striker will appreciate the smooth heel to toe transition. This plus the substantial use of blown rubber ensure that the shoe runs silent, huge contrast to the FL2.
Expectedly, breathability is excellent, with all the mesh. My feet stayed dry throughout my runs in muggy and hot Penang recently, and there were no hotspots either.
Those are my prelim thoughts and observations on the Gemini and so far, my lean is still towards a softer and lighter ride like the Kinvara 5 (K5), GORun 4 (GR4) and Boston 5 (B5). That’s certainly a matter of personal preference, of course. It doesn’t take away the fact that the Gemini is a solid offering from UA with many areas done right and a pair that I’d grab to log longer and slower miles in.
The Gemini isn’t what you’d call an affordable shoe. At RM538 full retail (I purchased it using a discount voucher), it’s a full RM100, and more, than the K5, GR4, Pegasus 31, and Boston 5, parking itself close to the just launched Flyknit Lunar 3 and Energy Boost 2.
It also goes up against asics’ stability offerings like the GT series and Kayano, or even the cushioned ones like the Cumulus and Nimbus. Ditto Brooks’ Adrenaline and Ravenna. Yet, the Gemini can hold its own, and IMHO, trumps the aforementioned asics and Brooks due to several factors. Firstly, the innovative use of materials and construction (made in a bra factory no less!) make the Gemini one of the best fitting shoe in the market today. Secondly, it’s a stable enough option for runners who wear heavier stability shoes with medial posting to migrate over to.
I was down with a bad bout of flu/cold/fever late January which floored me for 2 solid weeks. 2 solid weeks of inactivity and loss of a back-to-back over an extended holiday weekend! The cause was unclear but I suspect the lack of sleep depleted whatever’s left of my immunal defense system. The lack of sleep was a result of adjusting to the new school year. Instead of relying on the services of a school van this year, we’re now driving C2 to school. With the alarm going off at 5:50am, we’re getting less than 6 hours of sleep (even less if you’re looking at the deep sleep phase) on most nights. Sleeping earlier is impossible since we only reach home around 9:15pm (shakes fist at the KL traffic!) and be done with dinner and all the cleaning up at 10pm. Then there are the emails to clear, reading and some coaching of the kids to attend to. Even with no TV time, midnight comes too soon!
When marathon training is added into the mix, I was walking a tightrope. The rest, as the say, is history. I realized then that I’ve to pay more attention to my sleep patterns and make little adjustments here and there to my lifestyle. I no longer check my emails on a daily basis. I’ve also reduced my rice intake during dinner, only taking in mostly vegetables, some meat and soup, so that less food sit in the stomach that late into the day.
Sidebar: You only need to listen to this fascinating podcast by Coach Jay Johnson with Dr. Mike Dedekian to convince you on the importance of getting enough sleep, in the context of a growing kid or if you’re a runner in training. The impact of sleep on the endocrine system was also discussed. Look for Podcast 026 here.
Next, I downloaded some sleep tracking apps for the iPhone. Sleep Time logs the usual metrics such as duration of light and deep sleep, REM. You can even choose to fall asleep to music. There is, of course, an alarm function. Smart Alarm does the same thing but includes a sound recorder feature. You’ll find out the next day if you’ve mumbled or revealed any secrets at any point of the night. Somniloquy may have negative effects on the sleep quality. I found it spooky listening to the voice recording the next day. What if you recorded something which really isn’t from this dimension? Right, I may have a hyperactive imagination.
Which led me to research some wristworn wearables from Jawbone, Fitbit, Garmin, and Samsung. Pretty soon, the Apple Watch will be thrown into the ring as well. Typically these wearables offer silent vibrating alarms, tracks activities and sleep while the more expensive ones have preset reminders to get you off your chair to keep you active. Some even link to your smartphone in providing you with alerts and some rudimentary messaging features. The problem is I found that not only are these devices expensive (RM499 and above), they’re rather buggy in many areas from user experience to syncing with the phone. RM499 is RM400 more than my tolerance for a nice-to-have item.
A note on the silent alarm: I can’t help but be enthused by this feature. No more waking up the spouse when my weekend alarm goes off at 4:15am!
It was through digging around for information that I discovered the Mi Band. Everyone, in this region at least, knows the company Xiaomi. They’ve sold millions of their very affordable and highly spec’ed Android phones and tablets, and powerbanks, modelling much of their design and marketing after Apple’s. Which tech company doesn’t, right?
The price of the Mi Band was what first caught my eye. The “princely” price tag of RM59 had me refreshing my browser just to be sure I wasn’t seeing it wrong. The specs were impressive as you can see from the screen grabs below. You can head to the product page to read up more.
Other than the price, here are the other features:
Being the cheapo, I ordered 2 units to take advantage of the free shipping above RM100, with the other unit going to my colleague. Delivery was quick and I received the package in 4 business days. The first thing you’ve to ensure is that the unit is fully charged. To do that, just pop the sensor out from the hypoallergenic silicone band and pop the suppository-shaped (!) sensor into the proprietory USB charging housing. The 3 LED indicators will tell you the status of the charging level. A full charge took me around 2 hours.
Next was to download the free Mi Fit app from the iTunes App Store before pairing the phone and band. This was easily and quickly done by hard tapping the band to wake it up. Finally, I did some customization such as personal info, alarm options, LED color preference. I didn’t change the defaulted 8,000-step goal just so that I can get a feel of the metrics. Again, the updates were easily and seamlessly synced to the band – no manual intervention needed. Naturally you need to ensure that you’ve enabled Bluetooth on your phone prior to the sync.
Firmware updates are also accomplished via Bluetooth. You will be prompted by the Mi Fit app whenever that is required. With all that done (within 5 minutes, really), you’re good to go. Nothing else needs to be done. When it’s time for bed, there’s no need to enable the sleep tracking mode simply because it somehow knows.
I’ve had the Mi Band for less than a week and there’s little to complain. With the exception of 2 days, I’ve been meeting my daily activity goals of 8,000 steps (I noted that that approximates to around a 6K run) whenever I run. All 3 LEDs will flash and the band will vibrate when the said goal is met. I’ll need to jack the goal upwards when the meat of marathon training starts in March. Though I’m seeing some improvement, I can still do better in the sleep department. There are some negatives of course (see end of review), one of which is the claimed LED status display where it’s suppose to show you a lit LED for every 1/3 of daily goal achieved. Doesn’t work. However at the cost of 6 Starbucks latte, I’m not complaining much.
Will gear like the Mi Band and smartphone apps help you sleep better? I don’t think so. But with numbers attached to your nightly downtime, you’ll be able to tell how well you’re resting further allowing you to adjust your routine and lifestyle accordingly. For a sleep deprived person like me, that’s very helpful.
I’ve sat on this review for the longest time. Somehow just didn’t get to it. Now that I’ve logged over 123km in these, I’d better get this dusted!
The uninitiated will often mistake the Boston 5 (B5) for the Adios Boost 2 (AB2), and they can be forgiven for that. The Adios, along with Nike Zoom Streak, was of course the racing flat of choice amongst world-class elites. Both the B5 and AB2 share similar colorway – red and black. Additionally, both shoes’ upper have strips of Tirrenina Suede for overlays. The material feels luxurious to the touch. Look closer, however, and you’ll see that the AB2 is a lower profiled shoe. Flip them over and you’ll also see the vast difference in outsole design.
So what of the B5 then?
Other than the fiery colorway, the B5 is quite an unassuming shoe, design-wise. Simple in construction, not overly engineered, and doesn’t have overlay overkill. It’s also extremely breathable – you can see through the open mesh. Water gets into the shoe as quickly as it drains out. No pebbles have found their way into the shoes thus far . There’s not a single reflective element either. You can say that the B5 is purpose-built to get the non-elite runner (elites would probably have opted for the Adios) from point A to B as quickly as possible, nothing fancy, no blings.
Where necessary, such as around the collar and tongue (non-gusseted), there’s sufficient padding to be had. Although it doesn’t slip, I’d have preferred a slightly longer tongue. If you peek under the tongue on the left shoe, you’ll notice the “Boston Runs As One” print, a nod to the Boston One Fund. Interestingly, the shoe comes with a little note warning of potential color transfer. I’ve yet to experience any of that sort. And since I don’t run without socks, the exposed seams are non-issues to me.
Typical of adidas shoes, the B5 has a tapered forefoot. While I fit OK in a US10, upsizing by half would’ve given my toes a more relaxed fit. A snug midfoot gives the shoe a decidedly performance feel. Per the Running Warehouse site, the B5 has a stack height of 26mm/16mm for a 10mm drop. The 10mm certainly doesn’t feel as pronounced as that of the Flyknit Lunar 2’s.
The B5 weighs in at 8.85oz for my US10 which hits the sweet spot for a performance trainer/racer. Lacing up a pair will make you want to take off. Ride characteristics is without a doubt on the firm end of the scale, especially in the forefoot. Not as firm as the Adios’ tiny Quickstrike bits but it’s still a snappy ride that you’ll get. Heel cushioning is more than enough in my opinion. I found myself landing in the midfoot a lot in these babies, so much so the heel cushioning is rather wasted. The midfoot Torsion shank adds some measure of structure and stiffness in that region. Much has been written on the Boost midsole – something which adidas is gradually converting their legacy shoes to. My personal experience with Boost has been positive. While not the lightest midsole material (it’s actually quite dense), I’ve found it to be very stable insofar as the retention of cushioning properties in various weather conditions down to low 10s Celcius. It’s also durable. Other than the Takumi Sen, Takumi Ren, Adios and the Boston 5, the other “Boosted” models aren’t that lightweight.
Traction accorded by the Continental rubber outsole was excellent. Not once did I slip during the course of a drizzly morning spent on hill repeats. I’ve logged over 123km in the B5 with minimal signs of wear and tear. It’s an excellent shoe for faster paced workouts such as tempo and long intervals. I’ve raced several good Half Marathons in them and could probably take them up to 30K distances with no issues. For the Marathon, my preference still leans towards something that offers a more forgiving ride like the Kinvara 5 (K5).
With all the rave reviews reported by nearly every wearer out there, there are still a few areas I wish of the shoe:
There are certainly no shortages of excellent marathon shoes out there in the local market today. For one who desires a lightweight sub 9oz ride with a blend of responsive cushioning, the choices are mind-boggling. Other than the B5, K5, Lunaracer 3, and DS Racer 10, you now have the GR4. In a couple of months’ time, there’s the Saucony Breakthru. It all comes down to fitting requirements and personal preference.
The adidas adizero Boston 5 Boost retails for RM420 and can be found at selected adidas boutiques in the country.
While the GORun Ultra (GRU) may seem to have been around for a number of years, it’s hard to imagine that the thickest shoe in the Skechers Performance range only made its debut a year ago. In fact, I got my hands on v1 in time for the 2014 Titi 50. 2014 saw 2 releases of the GRU, the v1 (reviewed here) and the Nite Owl version (reviewed here). Both the v1 and Nite Owl brought me to the finish lines of Titi, P50 and many long slow training runs with no injuries.
A year on, it was time for an update on the GRU and that came out of the blue a couple of weeks back. I knew an update was forthcoming and have even read the early reviews of some shoe geeks in the States but didn’t expect to find the GRU2 on our shores that soon after the Stateside release. I opted for the black-yellow colorway because I thought they looked pretty badass. Nick’s blue/lime green shods look pretty sweet too.
The GRU2 is essentially the same shoe as the v1. Sure you get the flashy upper (which I’ll dig in shortly) but everything else is the same. From the Resalyte midsole down to the outsole and position of the plugs. As with all the company’s performance models, the GRU2 comes with extra laces and removable Agion infused sockliners.
Because the GRU2 sees no changes other than the cosmetics, the wearer will still enjoy the typical smooth and plush ride of the GRU. The toebox is generous in width and height, easily accommodating the runner’s swollen feet as they toiled under the hot sun and hard tarmac (painful memories of P50 are flooding back now!).
The GRU2’s flashy upper has been updated with the large Skechers S occupying most of the lateral and medial sides. Other motifs such as little triangular bits keep to the current theme of the performance series. What were previously basic strips of overlays and mesh are now complemented with larger pieces of synthetics. The heel counter now even sports a faux-kevlar piece. It appears that the mesh layer is more covered up in the GRU2 than earlier versions. I’ve not ran in the shoes yet, so the question about breathability remains to be seen.
The outsole configuration sees no change as you can see from the photo below. No addition of rubber plugs for added durability either.
The GRU2’s weight has been bumped up to over 10oz for my US10. It was 9.25oz on the GRU and 9.75oz on the GRU Nite Owl. The only explanation for this would be the use of the triangular design elements over the mesh underlay and the faux-kevlar heel counter. All these bits add up and the scale doesn’t lie.
I was a little disappointed with the update, honestly. The enhancements to the outsole that I thought should be introduced didn’t happen yet the upper was updated to the point where the weight was compromised. I’d have pretty much preferred the old upper and add a few thin rubber plugs to high-wear areas. As it stands I find the Nite Owl to be the most practical between the 3 iterations. However, if weight isn’t that much of a concern and a smooth and plush ride are what you seek, then the GRU2 warrants a tryout. For something lighter yet still providing a cushy ride, do also consider the GOrun Ride 4.
Disclosure: The Skechers GOrun Ultra is a media sample provided by Skechers Malaysia. The GRU2 is already available in Skechers stores in the country and retails for RM419 and RM399 for the men and women models respectively.
[dropcase]I[/dropcasef shoe development can be described as a footrace, Skechers Performance have been engaging in a sprint, building iterations upon iterations at a furious pace over the past 2 years. The exercise was understandable for the then-fledgling company. They need to change the serious runners’ perceptions of the brand. Having continuously enhanced the core models such as the GORun (GR), GORun Ride (GRR) and GOMeb Speed (GS), the latest versions are their best yet. I reviewed the first version of the GR back in April 2012 and how much have the shoes evolved since then. I’ve taken the latest GR4 and GS3 for a handful of very short runs and my favorite choice is already becoming clear, even at this stage.
Note: I wear a 10, so the weight shown below are that of my size.
The original GORun was Skechers Performance first model back in 2012. Until recently, the GR3 was the best version produced in the series. Now, the GR4 looks set to continue that upward progression. Revamped entirely, the shoe looks unrecognizable. The stretchy upper, which features little chevron motifs, is now made of a single piece construction. Unlike the older versions, there are very prominent reflective strips at the heel section. There are no detectable wayward seams inside the shoe. Thin overlays crisscross the upper, some fulfilling their cosmetic obligations while some reinforce stress areas. Typical of the performance models, 2 sets of elasticated laces are provided and they run through a somewhat tight tab on the moderately padded tongue. The tongue isn’t gusseted. The heel counter is now a touch stiffer towards the back but perhaps the most obvious update is the “Quick-Fit” pull tab at the collar. Replace the stock laces with bungee cords and you have your self a tri shoe.
The Resalye midsole is more sculpted than ever. Deeper grooves sweep diagonally up and backwards lending a fast look to the shoe. The GR4 has a forefoot and heel stack height of 14mm and 18mm respectively for an overall of 4mm drop without the supplied (but optional) sockliner. In terms of softness, it has a 50 durometer midsole which leans more towards the GRR4’s 47 than the GS3’s 57. The higher the number, the firmer the shoe.
On the outsole, the changes are quite obvious too. The pods (now called Power Pillars, instead of Impulse Sensors) are now more prominent and deeper. They should be more durable but we’ll see if they’re pebble magnets. The GR4 weighs in at 7.65oz without the sockliner and 8.25oz with.
I’ve since put on a some miles in them, outdoors and on the treadmill and here’s my preliminary take. The GR4 now feels (and looks) more like a traditional shoe. There’s less sock-like feel of the GR3 and depending on your preference, that may be a good or bad thing. I’ve no particular preference as long as the shoe remains light, flexible yet provides good support and cushioning for the marathon. And the GR4 certainly has those on tap. There’s more structure in the midfoot but amount of flexibility is thankfully retained. The midfoot bump is now almost non-existent and the shoe wears like a traditional performance trainer/racer in the veins of the Lunaracer 3, but without the restrictive toebox of the Nike.
The tongue secures very well and I’ve yet to encounter any slipping and sliding. There’s a little more padding here and there but there’s been no rubbing and hot spots so far. The initial apprehension on the Quick-Fit tab rubbing on the Achilles proved unfounded since I don’t run sockless. Compared to the GR3, the 4 feels a little snug in the midfoot with a tapered front. I’m not sure if it’s just the upper re-tweak or there’s been a change in the platform. I’d strongly suggest trying a half size larger before purchasing just to make sure the tapered front poses no issues.
I’ve been experimenting the shoes with thinner and thicker sockliners and found the thinner ones to work best in providing a nice blend of cushioning and responsiveness. I’ve no complains thus far and the GR4 is following me back to Penang where I’m getting some longer runs in.
The GORun 4 will be available at all local Skechers boutiques in December.
GORun Ride 4
Other than the upper, the GRR4 remains pretty much unchanged in terms of its midsole and outsole. The upper, which has been given more whizz, no longer possess a sterile look with the color gradation providing a decidedly modern feel. As you can see, it’s also given the “Quick-Fit” pull tab at the collar. There are 2 large reflective strips on either side of the tab.
The GRR4 has a forefoot and heel stack heights of 13.5mm and 17.5mm respectively for an overall of 4mm drop without the optional sockliner. While the stack heights are very close to the GR4’s, the GRR4 possesses a softer 47 durometer Resalyte midsole which is felt largely in the heel. In terms of overlays, there really isn’t much going on topside, which is kept very simple – a strip and there, that’s about it.
The GRR4 weighs in at 8.0oz without the sockliner and 8.65oz with. I’ve not run in the GRR4 but they feel roomier than the GRR3 [review here] just walking around in them. That had me wondering a bit until I did a comparison of the 3 and 4. If you look closely, the 4 no longer sports another layer of synthetics in the front lateral and medial areas (where the pinkies are). The reduced structure no longer restricts the further splaying of the foot. I hope that won’t result in the foot sliding around too much, though.
It remains to be seen if the GRR4 has a more involving feel than its predecessor. It will, however, make for a good recovery shoe or one to pull on for a relaxing 10K.
The GORun Ride 4 will be available at all local Skechers boutiques in December.
GOMeb Speed 3
The most responsive shoe among the 3 has to be the GS3. It was the shoe which Meb wore to his 2014 Boston victory. His was obviously customized to his narrower last but in the mass release version, I’m really glad that the latest Performance Fit sports a slightly wider feel than previous versions. The GS3 definitely feels less restrictive as well with a reportedly smaller DuPont Delrin stability plate in the midsole.
Like the GR4, the GS3 also has a seamless interior. I put my hand in and couldn’t feel any rough seams or stitching. As with the other models in the same release, the GS3 has a snazzy upper with added trims and highlights which look outstanding.
The GS3 has the same stack heights as GR4 with a forefoot and heel of 14mm and 18mm respectively for an overall of 4mm. However, at 57 durometer, it’s the firmest of the lot. The GS3 with its non-removable sockliner weighs in at 7.95oz which is means the GR4 sans the sockliner is 0.3oz lighter! Interestingly the GS has grown progressively heavier with each versions: GS1 was 6.75oz and the GS2 was at 6.95oz. The GS3 is a full ounce heavier than version 2! You can read the earlier review here.
Being a racing flat, the GS3 has a narrower fit throughout yet opens up just enough for the toes. There’s even some room for the toes to wiggle around. The heel is securely locked down and the minimally padded tongue doesn’t slide around nor bunch up. In my opinion, it’s the best fitting GOMeb Speed yet.
Compared to the GS2, the GS3 has a palpable softer feel, yet it retains the snappy take off of the older shoe. I suspect the softer foam has something to do with that, a really nice tuning job. Another minor tweak is the positioning of the rubber plugs, where 2 have been moved further back towards the heel. See a trend there?
Unfortunately I’ve yet to take the GS3 on an extended run around. The couple of very short runs I’ve done in them wasn’t that enjoyable due to my current fitness level. The body took a battering from the grueling 56K under the hot sun and has yet to recover. Just couldn’t shake the fatigued feeling off. Regardless, I’ll bide my recovery time and focus on strength work in the gym. Can’t wait to be back on the fast lane!
The GOMeb Speed 3 will be available at all local Skechers boutiques in January 2015, in time for your new racing season!
Disclaimer: The Skechers GORun 4, GORun Ride 4 and GOMeb Speed 3 are media samples kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia. Opinions stated are my own.
Like a bolt (ooops!) out of the sky, the soon-to-be-in-stores Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Bolt (GRR3 Bolt/Bolt) landed on my laps quite suddenly last Friday. Because it was so totally unexpected, I braved the Friday+Downpour+5pm-KL-Traffic phenomenon to fight my way to the Skechers office after work.
Let’s get on with some of the nuts and bolts (ooops again!) of, ummm, the Bolt.
You wouldn’t be wrong if you dismiss the Bolt, just by looking at the photos, that this is another example of a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. After all everything other than the eye-catching upper’s the same as the GRR3 [my review of the GRR3 here].
But then, there’s the knitted fabric upper. As it is, the upper found on the GRR3 is already well made, as with most of the Performance series’. FitKnit isn’t unlike other knitted upper that’s marketed by other sports companies and I’ve worn several of those (and liked them a lot too). It’s basically iterations of stitching technology that see a tighter weave around the stress-zones, for example, the toebox, heel counter and flex areas. The result is a single piece seamless upper that has good breathability.
In terms of weight, the GRR3 (with sockliner) sits between the Bolt with and without the sockliner. Even at its heaviest 8.9oz for US10, the Bolt is featherweight compared to Zoom Elite 7, Pegasus 31 and even lighter than the Boston Boost 5 (review coming up).
If you’ve not worn any shoes with a knitted upper before, you’d be interested to know that there are subtle differences to the wear experience. Due to the absence of overlays, you’ll discover a little bit more real estate in the toebox. Indeed, my US10 felt roomier than usual. My first run in the Bolt was a hilly 12.5K. I didn’t lace up as tightly as I normally do when I race. While my feet didn’t slide to and fro even when I hit the downhills, there was a slight sideway movement in the forefoot region. There wasn’t any blisters though, and there was room to lock down the lacing further. No real issues but I just thought it’s something worth mentioning to guide you when trying the Bolt out.
Interestingly, as opposed to other brands’ knitted uppers, Skechers FitKnit retains the stretch properties used in the mesh models like the GRR3. There’s not a stitch on the Bolt that adds to a stiff wear experience, even where the knit are most dense.
Coming into the scene late in the adoption of knitted uppers, Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Bolt expands the brand’s tradition of great uppers with FitKnit. The result is an all-round improved package for the runner in the tradition of the GRR3. Those looking for a lightweight cushioned trainer suitable for up to the marathon distance should check them out. They’ve the looks to go with jeans and will make an excellent and versatile shoe. Wherever I travel to, I’ve always packed an extra pair of running shoes for my exploratory runs. With the Bolt, it will serve as a 2-in-1, suitable for sightseeing and putting in the mileage while traveling.
The Bolt will hit the local stores from this weekend and will retail for RM419 (men) and RM399 (women).
Disclosure: The Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Bolt is a media sample provided by Skechers Malaysia. I’ve only put in approximately 20K in them but the ride is similar to the GRR3.
This is the final part of my take on the Samsung duo of Galaxy S5 and Gear Fit. If you’re interested to find out more about my usage of the devices, follow the links below:
First impressions| HRM, Distance Tracking and Coaching Functions
So after more than 2 weeks, what’s my take on the S5+GF combo? As mentioned in my earlier posts, I don’t bring along my phone when I go out running, so my time was mostly spent with the GF. Since I’m not an Android user, I stay away from delving too much into the interface. Where menus and UI are covered, it was done from the angle of usability rather than technical aspect. With that out of the way, let’s get things going.
What I like:
Could be better:
There you have it, a runner’s take on the GF. It’s Samsung’s first real dip into the lifestyle tracking segment and a decent entry at that. It’s the glaring misses, no doubt, include the lack of integration with online communities or for that matter with other exercise apps on the phone such as Endomondo, Runkeeper or MapMyRun. Having said that, there are a many fitness enthusiasts out there who run with their smartphones and who aren’t anal about tracking their exact mileage nor need perfection in their measurements. These group may find the GF a logical accessory to their Samsung smartphones. The competition in this segment is stiff, both in pricing and features. The S5 is currently going for RM1,999 (16GB LTE model) and Gear Fit RM599. Unfortunately there are no bundled pricing.
Disclaimer: The Galaxy S5 and Gear Fit were media review units courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn. Bhd. No payments nor complimentary devices were given in exchange for this series of postings.
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