Earlier tonight I headed over to the Mind, Body & Sole store in the Wellington Green Mall for a Skechers GOrun Test Run. It was hosted by one of the runners in the South Florida Runs group – Bryan Fedor – and was advertised as an opportunity give us runners a chance to try out Skechers’ new running shoes – Skechers GOrun – designed to assist with the “longed for” or “envied” mid-foot and front-foot strike. With Bryan’s request that we help make a contribution to sports science, I figured why not head over and try the shoes out!
According to Skechers, “Skechers GOrun shoes are designed to give you a more natural running experience and to allow you to interact with and respond to practically any surface, while at the same time offering the additional benefit of Resalyte™ cushioning. Skechers GOrun promotes a mid-foot strike. The Skechers GOrun brings you closer to a barefoot experience AND provides impact protection.”
In other words, wearing supportive running shoes combined with the practice of jogging have both basically changed our running form. Most of us now run by striking heel then toe, heel-toe. This may be natural and ideal for a slow, easy jog, but while racing? A truly efficient runner moves forward with each step. They eat up ground with every stride. They do not stand still. Most runners according to studies (especially the elite runners) will strike front or mid-foot first. (This becomes very evident when you watch the high schoolers race around the track – especially in a relay race.) Over the past few years a number of brands have tried to fix this by introducing barefoot running shoes and minimalist shoes. Each has its advantage, but I have to admit that I’m impressed with the Skechers GOrun Shoes. Especially from a company that in the past – you wouldn’t necessarily correlate with real running or racing.
The Skechers GOrun shoes essentially force you to move forward. They almost propel you forward. They weigh hardly anything (6.9 oz for men; 4.9 oz for women) and they have built-in high-abrasion rubber “knobs” as I’d describe them that literally make it awkward for you as a runner to run and land on your heel first. They force you to land on your mid- to front foot. I personally felt like I was running on my toes…as if I was in a pair of spikes sprinting around the track. However, I had more padding and support. The running on your toes experience definitely uses more calf muscle – so you will feel that quicker than usual – and all-in-all it does feel a little awkward at first. But it’s primarily a weird feeling because we are so used to running flat footed or heel-toe as I mentioned before.
I wondered to myself how long I could run like this and if my feet would tire out sooner than usual. The GOruns in my opinion are a great way to train ourselves to run on our toes, run forward and run more efficiently. However, as the Skechers rep mentioned, you should probably only start off with wearing them 10% of the time (during your runs) and then adding a little bit each week from there. Starting off with the GOruns on a four or six miler or even longer run could result in soreness or even injury – specifically an Achilles injury (as is the case with any shoe or running practice that forces you to run on your toes constantly).
But if you, like me, are wondering if you should be racing in the GOruns, and if so, how long of a race is appropriate…then you’ll be comforted to hear this. Meb Keflezighi wears the Skechers GOruns and he just won the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials held in mid-January. Yes, he ran in them for 26.2 miles. Now I’m sure there were a few tweaks made to the shoe to add a little bit of extra padding and support for the long 26.2 mile race (that’s common for any athlete wearing their sponsor’s shoe/product)…but all-in-all the shoe is pretty much the same thing. And for me, hearing that Meb wore the Skechers shoes in the race and will wear them again (the special red, white and blue Olympic version) in the London Olympics – was all I needed to hear. So look for me on some upcoming runs and races trying my Goruns out with a better, more efficient, forwarding moving stride! And I’ll let you know if any PRs result!
As I side note, while doing some research for this post, I read this article about the difficulty athletes go through getting sponsors and then getting an adequate salary. Skechers really got behind Meb – as it sounds from this article – and that’s pretty cool. Read the Wall Street Journal article here.
Skechers GOrun website.