December 20, 2012

Review : SKORA Base

  • Type : Minimal
  • Use : Road running
  • Price : $110

I became aware of SKORA earlier this year. At a time where many different makers come out with many different proposals, I was intrigued with their design almost as much as with their slogan, “Run Real”. The introduction text on the website sounds much like the book Born to Run and doesn’t include any specifics on how exactly SKORA shoes help you perform or favour what they call “real running”. Fast forward a couple months and a pair of their Base model landed on my desk.

First impression
Right out of the box, the shoe features a couple elements that attract the eye. The overall design is close to what now seems to become a standard in minimal shoes – slightly curved inward, flat interior with a removable insole and wide toe box. It uses an x-shaped Velcro system on the top, but also a heel strap that reminded me of the Vibram FiveFingers or the Saucony Hattori. The fabric around the foot is very soft and feels like a thermal sweater, which made me think this shoe was designed for a barefoot wear. Last but not least, the sole has a bizarre double-rectangle pattern on the front, and a somewhat elevated shape at the heel. The Base is not a super lightweight either, at 7.9oz, which came as a surprise.

The purported use for the shoe, according to the web site, is road, gym and triathlon. How a triathlon differs from road use, I couldn’t say. Also kind of surprising to me is the overall height of the shoe, at 13mm including the insole, which is sensibly higher than, say, an EVO II from Vivo (5mm) or a Road Glove from Merrell (4mm).

Field test
I wore the Base for a couple short runs (5-6km), at first wearing socks. I took the insole out right away to make the shoe as minimal and as low as possible. It felt heavier than the other barefoot-type shoes I use regularly, but performed like any other should. However, I have to say that even on short distances, my proprioception was hindered by the sole design, which feels thick and unresponsive. I could feel the rectangle patterns in the front and the shape at the heel and it bugged me a little bit, mostly because I couldn’t figure out what advantage they bring.

Then I went for a longer run. Past the 10k mark, the weight of the Base became more noticeable and I started to wish I could tighten up the shoe way more. The x-shaped Velcro strap is approximate at best and offers little control, which resulted in a sloppy feel for me and warning lights for blistering past 15K. As for other shoes offering a heel strap, I couldn’t feel any difference whether I adjusted it loosely or at maximal tightness. More bothersome was the sole design, which felt increasingly bulky and uncooperative as I went farther, plus the “rolling” effect I felt probably because of the up-curve around the heel block.

With today’s offering in the minimal segment, I can’t see what SKORA brings to the table with the Base. The overall design is similar to many others, plus the shoe is heavier and higher than its rivals. The control over the tightness is very limited and the x-strap didn’t work well for me. On the upside, the fabric section at the heel, under the strap, is a great idea and adds to the shoe’s flexibility.

At a price point of $110, and with little to offer in terms of innovation, the Base would not be a top choice for me.

High points 
  • Quite unique in terms of looks

Low points
  • At 7.9oz, not a lightweight
  • 13mm sole (9 without the insole) is thick for a minimal shoe
  • X-shaped strap offers little control
  • Sole design is questionable

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


  1. Exactly the qualms, i had with this shoe. Since the Hattori AW was out - my model of choice, i went with the Altra Adam, which I love being reviewed by you.

  2. I am not quite familiar with Altra shoes. I should research them. The Hattori is a great pick!