November 21, 2012

Review : Skechers GoBionic

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

I was left sceptical of Skechers’ ability to produce good running shoes after a first review of their GoRun model, which featured an outward-rounded midfoot section aiming to correct the landing position of heel strikers. However, I had been impressed with the Resalyte material of the sole, with the upper fabric and the overall quality of construction. So when they told me they had created a new, minimalist model using these same features, I was curious to see the result.

First impression
The GoBionic looks like a lowered version of the GoRun, but that’s pretty much where the comparison ends. At just under 6oz, it feels extremely light and features a removable insole for those wanting “as little shoe” as possible. The partly-hollowed outsole is not unlike the original Nike Free and flexes in every conceivable way. The “pod” idea is still present in the form of what Skechers calls “M-Strike Pads”, which are 8 zones strategically placed underfoot where the landing and toe-off occur. I was surprised to see that the heel area is still rounded upwards in what now seems to be Skechers’ signature profile, but the shoe is presented as “Zero-Drop”.

Road Test
I decided to take out the insole to lower the shoe as much as possible. With over 11 mm of padding, the GoBionic has plenty of material between you and the asphalt, even over very long distances. The first thing I noticed however, after taking only a couple of steps, is that the Resalyte sole material really delivers its promise; without being too soft, it offers a smooth, very comfortable ride. The grooves in the sole behaved exactly as expected and let the shoe flex and move in synch with my feet. And even though the GoBionic had that scary profile with the heel rounding upwards, it feels as good and natural as any other “Zero-Drop” shoe out there. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Skechers GoBionic Shoe Review FlintLand
M-Strike pads and
grooved outsole

The more I ran in the GoBionic, the more I liked it. Until it rained. The shoe revealed its only major flaw, which spawns from the fact that the grooves in the outsole go all the way to the bottom of the midsole. Even plain damp asphalt will make your feet wet in a couple minutes, as the flexing parts in the outsole seem to literally suck the water in. Less than a dozen steps on wet grass will soak your feet instantly, making the shoe a no-no for any trail running, no matter how light. Bummer.

I have run more than 200 km in the GoBionic so far and I will keep running in them for my office commute and road running in fair weather. I love how they ride and their featherweight feel, and I have to add that I like how the shoe “falls” on the ground (is it the pads?) without feeling like there’s a ton of mushy material between me and the action.

High points
  • Resalyte sole material really delivers
  • Adapted to barefoot (no socks) wear
  • Super light, flexible shoe

Low points
  • Will soak your feet in seconds on wet pavement
  • Not for narrow feet

UPDATE. Skechers now offers a waterproof version of the GoBionic.

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


  1. Nice to see you liked the GoBionic too. Been running for 2 months now and they are the best shoes I ever had. I read that there is a trail version being tested right now by bloggers. I'm concerned about the coming snow and cold and the fact the sole will be very slippery in these conditions. Curious to know what shoes are your wearing for running in snowy Montreal streets?


    1. For winter conditions I love the Vivobarefoot NeoTrail because it's warm, weatherproof, grippy and low to the ground. I wear a pair of thick DryMax socks to keep warm, too.

    2. Thanks for the advice Flint! I'm now ready for winter!

  2. Personally I think the GObionic is awesome. I've never had the opportunity to try it in the rain but I've used it in just about most other conditions even taking it through a full marathon race (though I wouldn't recommend it for a full unless one has tough and seasoned legs) and it came through just fine. My shoe of choice for most of my races these days.

  3. hey flint (and others) - thanks for your comments on the GObionic! i'm excited by all that i've read, and hope to give these a go soon.

    just a question on sizing - did you find that they fit 'true to size', and did you size up or down depending on whether or not you left the insole in or not? thanks!

    1. Hey Patrick, mine are exactly my "standard" size, which is men's 7.5. But do keep in mind I remove the insole so that makes the shoe a *little* roomier. I'd say my GoBionic's are pretty much on the money, sizing wise :)