September 24, 2012

Review : Skechers GoRun

  • Type : Transition shoe
  • Use : Road running
  • Price : About $90

Before I met one of their reps at a race, I didn’t know Skechers had hopped on the minimalist bandwagon. As a matter of fact, I knew little about the company, except for the Shape-Ups models that left me dubious, to say the least. The rep explained that the GoRun was a shoe intended to help runners transition from a heel strike to a more natural, mid-foot strike pattern and suggested I try them for myself. I took a couple steps in them and was unconvinced, but curious. So I decided I would give them a real try.

First impression
This shoe has a unique design with the outsole curving upwards at the heel and 9 “pods” at the mid-foot, which elevate and curve it downwards. The idea here is that if you try to heel strike, the GoRun will correct your posture by “rolling forward” to your mid-foot, thus theoretically helping you adopt a more natural stride.

Road test
I ran two times with the GoRun. The first, a 5k commute, left me feeling very strange because of the elevated arch and the presence of the “pods”, which I felt impeded my forefoot strike. On the second run, the way back home from work, I had to take the shoes off at 3K and finish barefoot, because my arches hurt and my stride was totally off.

After discussing with the Skechers rep again, it became quite clear that this shoe is not made for runners who have a forefoot strike, which means it is not a minimal or barefoot shoe, nor is it fit for anyone running with a barefoot form. That left me with the problem of properly reviewing the GoRun, until I had the idea of asking heel strikers to give it a go at the running track, and see how they felt about it.

Track test
Without telling them my intent, I asked a range of runners to run a 400M lap with their standard shoes, than one barefoot, than one wearing the GoRuns. I wasn’t overly surprised with the results; the shoe only seemed to work well with heel strikers. They reported they could feel the shoe “roll” forward which, in turn, made them shorten their stride. They weren’t bothered with the arch section, probably because they are used to such “supports” in their conventional footwear. They were delighted with the shoe’s feather weight and with the sole material, which is very soft and flexible.

Shod runners with a natural form (mid-foot to forefoot strike patterns), on the other hand, were left dubious and reported they felt the arch section was “weird” at best, “impeding” in the worst cases. Aside from the sole, they liked the GoRun’s design and often compared it to the original Nike Free model.

I didn’t notice a big change in the heel strikers’ postures, aside from the shorter stride. I was shocked, however, to review pictures from my natural runners, whose form was negatively altered in all cases. It seems the thickness of the outsole and its design had a negative impact on the natural runners’ form; it lengthens their stride and brings back a heel strike-like pattern, with the “roll forward” effect happening on the outside of the shoe, causing an under pronation. The example below illustrates the differences in form in a natural runner :

First, running in her usual Saucony Kinvara :

Second, barefoot :

Third, in the GoRun :

It became quite clear, during this test, that the GoRun is not recommendable to natural runners who have already learned to land on their mid-foot or forefoot. The elevated arch section, rounded heel and “sensor pods” will only impede proprioception and change their landing patterns.

Heel strikers, on the other hand, seemed to be “pushed” toward a shorter stride, which makes them land closer to their center of gravity, certainly not a bad thing. However, this made me wonder: shouldn’t runners learn better form themselves, instead of relying on the design of their shoes? Isn’t that exactly the same issue as with orthotics?

When all is said and done, learning good form is not only about where you land; it’s also about understanding biomechanics and making the conscious effort to kick off your shoes, re-learn proprioception and develop an improved muscular structure. But if all it takes to point you in that direction is a pair of GoRun to start your discovery of natural running, Skechers might have succeeded in creating a “transition” shoe.

High points
  • Comfortable “Resalyte” outsole material
  • Lightweight
  • Roomy toe box
  • Might help the transition of heel strikers who don’t want to learn barefoot

Low points
  • A mechanical solution, similar in principle to the use of orthotics
  • Elevated arch and “pods” impede a forefoot strike
  • Definitely not for barefoot / minimal runners

The equipment for this personal review was supplied by Skechers, free of charge, without any conditions.


  1. Your pictures are neat but i find them usles since you can not judge the speed the runner is going.

    It would be interesting to get similar pics or better yet video of this same runner 5 miles into a run and see if she exhibts the same form?

    Any idiot(myself included) can run a lap or two barefoot with good form but as a person fatigues they get lazy.

    My guess is that if you took theses pictures after a runner had ran some distance (say 5 to 10 miles) rather than staging the shot, you would see a midfoot/heelstrike with the bare footer, a heel strike with the Sauconys and a midfoot strike in the skechers.

    I don't theink the skchers are a good shoe to run one lap in a slow speeds

    I totally agree that the shoe gets in the way of a forefoot strike but day in and day out I see people heel striking in Vibram fivefingers I'm not sure if it's bad form or fatigue? But those people would be much better off in a shoe like the go run.

    It's good shoe but so if the nike free, the hoka one, and the Luna sandal. Different strokes for different folks. :)

  2. I agree that a longer distance would have been a better indicator, but since I can't pay my "models", I try not to exhaust them too much :)

    With that said, I agree that the longer you run, the more "deconstruction" your form suffers. The above example is not necessarily to show this model's barefoot form; it shows what happens to it when she puts on the GoRun. She is a shod runner anyway, hence the third picture in which she wears her usual Kinvara.

    If a runner is going to end up heel striking in a FiveFingers, they are definitely much better off running in a shoe like the GoRun.

    But they should work on their running form, too, in my opinion.

    In the end, I think the GoRun is a very specific shoe, with a narrower target than other models.

  3. Hi Flint,

    You made a nice review of the Go Run. The only thing is that this shoe is now obsolete. There is a new version of the shoe and it's called Go Bionic. They just hit the stores and I bought a pair today ($110 in Canada) and went for a test run and really liked it. The beauty of the Go Run is that the elevated arch went out the window.

    Sketcher asked 2 bloggers (one expert in biomechanics and a ultra runner) to help them improving the Go Run and come up with the Go Bionic. You can read their very positive reviews on the following links below. The winner of the US London marathon trials, Meb Keflezighi, ran in Go Bionics.

    It would be interesting to do another test to compare.

  4. Oups, I meant to say: 'The beauty of the Go Bionics is that the elevated arch went out the window.

  5. It is a pity because I have a great design but at least it can be a little be different for novice runner.

  6. I rather had a different experience with Go Run. In fact it made my back pain disappear and I could last in the track longer than I used to before Go Run. More here:

    1. Very interesting! I'm about to publish another story of a runner whose heel and ankle pain went away using that same shoe. Stay tuned!