I have to admit it was very difficult for me to even go in the store to buy these shoes. I don’t like Skechers style, marketing, or target demographic, and that attitude wasn’t helped by some marketing materials I saw that said something about spending “Daddy’$ money.” However, I always felt the Nike Free was a good idea gone wrong and from what I’d read about the GoBionic shoes it appeared they might have gotten it right. So far I’d say they have.
Since I’d been using the Inov-8 F-Lite 195 for a couple of years (review here), I wasn’t expecting to need any time to transition to the zero drop GoBionic, but I definitely did. In my case at least the extreme flexibility of the GoBionic required quite a bit more foot strength than the Inov-8. On uneven ground the difference is particularly noticeable. Where the Inov-8 195 tries to twist my ankle, the GoBionic instead allows my foot to flex more to deal with it. My depth perception isn’t what it used to be so the increased feeling of stability is a welcome relief.
One thing I noticed immediately is they are more comfortable running than walking. They have no drop from heel to toe (11.5mm thick), but the heel is rounded and therefore has very little padding. Though it’s obvious walking around, the first time I tried them I naturally started running with no heel strike so I’ve never felt it when running. Of course that change in mechanics is probably also part of the adaptation period I experienced.
- Sole is a good rock grabber, as you can see in the photo.
- Godawful style. Stylish running shoes tend to either look flashy and fast or conservatively stealthy and these manage to do neither. The gray shown is the least objectionable I could find.
- Cheap laces
- They’re Skechers for god sake.
- Very light. 5.815 oz for size 8.5 US (they run large).
- Extremely flexible and comfortable sole. Unlike the Nike Free, if rocks don’t self eject they’re easy to twist out.
- Upper sheds dirt well
- Roomy toe box
- Durability seems good for the weight
- Reasonably priced given the competition, and the fact that running is like light bike parts – the less [weight] you get the more you pay.
- One of the few totally flat, cushioned minimalist shoes
I liked them from the start and now that I’m [mostly] adapted they are easily my favorite shoe to date. Hard core minimalists can complain about reduced proprioceptive feedback all they want but I don’t think humans have had nearly enough time to evolve for running on pavement, and the cushioning of the GoBionic makes them a great minimalist shoe for running on pavement.
Skechers site has the rest of the details here.