Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Skechers GoRun Ultra

I have to admit, before trying the Ultra. I had zero experience with maximum cushioned shoes. Sure I have checked out Hokas but could never see myself wearing them, So I was a bit skeptic when I first heard that Skechers Performance Division had a new maximum cushioned shoe in the loop. I am not an Ultra runner and as Im building up for Boston Marathon I have not done much trail latley. So how did the Ultras fit in, in my rotation? With Polar Vortex weather forecasts, snowy roads and stiff temperature here in New Jersey, I had found a perfect shoe for my winter running and recovery runs!

The GoRun Ultra was inspired by Ultra runner Robert Youngren, here you can read his blog and how Ultra was designed: http://youngrenepics.blogspot.com/2013/11/skechers-gorun-ultra-from-drawing-board.html

To break it down

Midsole/Out sole unit:
Ultra use a combination of a soft Resalyte midsole and more rigid Resagrip outsole to provide cushioning and support. Information from Robert Youngren blog:

Stack Heights 

  Forefoot =  23.0 mm
  Midfoot = 29.0 mm
  Heel = 27.0 mm 
  Net Drop = 4.0mm
  Sockliner = 3-7 mm (tapers from 7mm at heel to 3mm at forefoot)
Outsole offers a pattern of medium sized lugs, shaped as triangles almost. Although I have not tried the Ultras on the trails, I have tried them on pretty rough, slushy winter condition roads. And the runs have been safe and secured. Truly I feel this works as well as a road shoes as it does on the trails. The cushioning is very well present, although I enjoy a road feel shoe, I have actully found the cushioning  being pleasant the day after a hard work out when your legs are beat up.  
The running feeling is very "poppy" and the midsole flexes well. I have no problems picking up paces with the poppy feeling.

The upper is very roomy. I have no problems getting a extra thick sock in them on a very cold day. In the front, the mesh is a bit stretchy, for toe display and a tighter mesh in the arch area to secure the fit. A couple of overlays add to the structure of the upper. Nothing to fancy, just simple functional design. The roomy upper is probably very useful if you're are planning to go the Ultra distance where your feet gets pretty swollen and beat up.

 As with all maximum cushioned shoes, you get a good stack height. You would think that the shoe therefor have sacrifice the energy return and the "pop" feeling. Ultra does not. I was pleasantly surprised how "fast" they actually felt and how flexible they are. They offer you ton of protection at the same time. I have heard from other runners who had used Ultra and rolled their ankles. This has not been an issue for me.

Sum up :
Im not a trail runner and Im not an Ultra runner, still I found a great place in my running shoe rotation for the Ultras! With a simple roomy upper, and a well cushioned ride the Ultras has given me great protection from Mother Winter nature. The stack height has given me good protection from the slushy wintery roads and the roomy upper has allowed me to add a thicker socks
Out sole lug pattern has protected me from sliding around and I have been able to focus on the running. I really like how I can pick up paces whenever I want without feeling the shoe is in the way.
Even if you're not an Ultra runner, you can find a place for Ultra in your rotation. Its a great versatile shoe that works for many purposes, you just have to explore the shoe and find your way!

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I receive Running shoes from Skechers Performance Division as part of their Skecher Performance Division brand ambassador program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Sounds like a promising shoe. I was actually hoping for this to arrive over here so I could put it to good use for an ultra race I have this mid February but looks like it won't see the light of day here until after my race. Can't wait to test it out though.

  2. Are you using the sockliner for an 8mm drop or are you going without the sockliner for a 4mm drop? Just curious.

    I started running in it without the sockliner and later decided to try putting the sockliner in. I definitely like it better without the sockliner. Just my $.02.

  3. [looks like skechers deleted this comment from their fbook page, too critical I guess]
    Gorun Ultra: This shoe has a major design flaw in the tongue construction, with folds and stitching creating hotspots across the top of the foot, so days after a 29M trail race I still feel irritation. Sad to say, and respectfully, this is a deal-breaker for me, and must be addressed in a refresh before I'd consider this shoe again. Just putting flat laces on is not enough to fix this problem.

    A couple other notes: The soft midsole insert needs tweaking; while it provides some arch support -- which is appreciated -- it is very mushy, increasing instability, and the transition as you move from midfoot to forefoot is very abrupt, increasing squirm and foot movement inside the shoe.

    The toebox, while tall enough, is slightly narrow across the balls of the feet, and, as I can't crank down on the lacing due to tongue irritation, there is toebump during descents. A slightly wider and more natural footshape is called for.

    Why isn't the sole bed finished with a fabric layer? It is in the Gobionic Trail, why not here? I can feel the seams when wearing thin socks.

    There is much I like about this shoe, but the Gorun Ultra needs an update ASAP. The manufacturing date on my pair is 11-1-2013, F 26-1, if that matters. Thanks for listening!

  4. A update on my pair of Ultras! To address hotspots under the lacing area, the twins had to go into surgery: I cut away all the tongue, stitching, and side panel material from just inside where the tongue is sewn onto the side panel to just above where the leather overlay (which carries the laces) is stitched onto the side panel, from the top of the tongue down to about the 3rd lace hole from the bottom, as well as a couple noticeable lumps of stitching on the corners of the upper tongue. Additionally, I cut away the ankle collar padding material around the top lacing points, figuring it applied unwanted pressure on the tongue when laced.

    To address the toe bump issue on descents -- and to check if the tongue surgery actually accomplished anything -- I wore thin drymax trail socks (previously I'd only used the Max Protection socks) and *very* snugly and carefully laced up the shoes, with heel lock lacing, to ensure the foot was locked down, and went out for a 12mile run on my favorite foothills trail, which has uneven ground, rocks, and rolling terrain.

    It short, it worked! I felt no irritation along the top of the foot, even with the very tight lacing, and bigtoe hitting the front of the shoe was manageable albeit annoying -- Skechers still must reshape the toebox -- and my cutting hasn't affected the integrity of the shoe or the tongue function in any noticeable way. The conclusion to me is clear: There is no good reason for Skechers to sew the tongue onto the side panel, just make it a floating tongue. Right now I'm planning to wear this pair for a trail 50k in March; not giving up the Hokas, but the Skechers are 4+ ounces lighter, with enough cushioning and support for this distance.