Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Skechers GORun Ride 4

In a little less than two years, Skechers has introduced no less than three versions of its GORun Ride shoe, moving from the original to the latest mk4 model. While the move from the mk1 to mk2 was largely cosmetic, the changes from mk2 to mk3 were pretty significant (see my earlier review for more information).

The mk4 shoe represents another major change for the shoe. In terms of where it fits in the Skechers performance range, it’s still the high-mileage shoe with more cushioning than the racier GOrun model, but how the shoe is built – and thus how it feels – has changed significantly.

GORun Ride 4I’ll review the new GORun and GOMebs (previously also known as the GORun Speeds) separately, but having now worn all three shoes my impression is that the raciest of the options (the GOMebs) has actually gotten a little ‘softer’ while both the GORun and GORun Rides have both gotten a bit firmer.

Feel

Running in the GORun Ride4 for the first time, I immediately remarked that they felt ‘racier’ than the previous model, noticeably firmer underfoot. On reflection, I think part of this racier feeling is a by-product in the changes to the upper (to offer more support), the heel cup redesign (again quite a departure from the previous model, curving up around the ankle to give a higher lip at the heel ) and how the shoe laces.

In a way, I do miss the slipper-like comfort of the old model, but I also appreciate how the GORun Ride 4 gives a better feel for the surface underfoot and if anything does a little more to promote a mid-foot strike (something Skechers shoes have always done, it’s just that bit more noticeable in the new model).

As with previous models, the shoe remains ‘neutral’ (Skechers have now introduced a new stability shoe called the Strada) with a 4mm heel drop.

Strangely, I would have sworn that the new GORun Ride4 was lighter than the mk3. The scales proved otherwise (a fairly insignificant 20g per shoe). Perhaps the firmer ride is deceptive, but in a good way.

As with other Skechers performance shoes, you can adjust the fit and feel by choosing whether to fit the included insole or not (for the record, I fitted mine as the mk4 shoes feel ever-so-slightly bigger than the mk3).

Looks

The blue/grey/black colour scheme of the pair I received for testing it a little sombre for my liking, but the good news is that Skechers seems to have listened to its fans and is bringing back some of its brighter colourways.

Although not bulky, it’s obvious that the GORun Ride4 is no racing flat either (they do look positively chunky next to a pair of GOMebs).

One design feature you’ll find on both the new versions of the GORun 4 and GORun Ride 4 is a ‘Quick-Fit’ hole in the heel cup designed for triathletes searching for a fast transition. In all honesty, it looked like a bit of a gimmick to me. And I couldn’t understand why it was a hole in the heel cup when most triathlon-specific shoes have a hole in the tongue and a loop on the heel for fast transitions.

But I was wrong. It actually works really well and I now find myself cussing other shoes that don’t have the hole. How times change…!

When to choose the GORun Ride 4

I’ve now had a chance to do everything from long slow runs to 1km reps at 5km pace in the GORun Ride 4s and the good news is that this shoe honestly can do it all. I think some might find it a little firm for long distance work (but then Skechers now offers the Ultra 2 for that…) but for most other runs it’s a very capable shoe. Although I suspect I will choose either the GORun or GOMeb for racing this year (as yet undecided which!), I think many will find the GORun Ride4 just as good for racing anything over 5 or 10km. As I said earlier, it just feels racier than the old model!

Conclusion

The GORun Ride4 is, in my view, quite a departure on previous models. And I think it will divide opinion. Some will really miss the soft feel of previous models, while others will savour the improved feel for what’s underfoot. I have to admit I was worried that the firmer feel would lead to more fatigue and possible joint soreness after long runs. So far, that hasn’t been the case. At the other end of the scale, while the old model was perfectly usable for speed reps, the mk4 shoe is arguably even better.

I think it’s going to take me a little while longer to get used to the feel of the new shoe – and if anything it’s the unfamiliarity that I find most disconcerting – but objectively I’d have to say the new shoe is a significant improvement - better fit, better quality materials and more 'thinking' in the design.  That the GORun 4 and the GORun Ride 4 now feel 'closer' to each other in terms of feel will be attractive to those that intend to race in the GORun 4 but do the bulk of their training in the Ride. 

For more information, visit www.skechers.co.uk