So this has been a really long time coming, but it’s kind of tough for me. I’ve been in the Phase for a while, so I have nothing much new to say. With that in mind, I’ve kind of been waiting until after my first 50 miler to give my thoughts. Now with my 50 out of the way, I’m here to say these shoes rock. (If you want to know more about Skora – check them out online.)
To start they are a zero drop shoe, and I traditionally run with the insole removed which gives them an 8mm stack height. For Sunday’s race I decided to put the insoles in for an 11mm stack. Some of the veteran runners I conferred with ahead of time mentioned that a little more cushion might be nice. Not sure if I needed the insoles in the end, but insole in or out, the shoes rode the same and felt just as comfortable. For me it’s always a plus when I can remove the insole and not tell the difference. That’s one of the things I love about my Phases – and I think it probably holds true for all Skoras – the ability to be comfortable. They’re designed to have a seamless interior and to be worn socked or sockless. For 50 miles I wore these guys and developed not one hot spot, let alone blister. (I did get a little “warm” spot on the ball of my foot, but that was due to crappy sock choice.) At first, their asymmetrical, wrap-around tongue, may seem a little hokey, maybe even a bit gimmicky, I assure you, it’s not. The wrap-around tongue essentially hugs your foot without creating any seams. or pressure points and as they say eliminates hot spots. I’m surprised this hasn’t caught on with some of the big retailers yet…
Another thing I love about these shoes is their flexibility. Not just the super thin, flexible, lightweight upper, but the flexibility of the sole. I like to feel the ground when I run – proprioception – and if I’m in big clunky shoes, that doesn’t happen. Even if I’m in ‘minimal’ shoes with a firm sole, ground feel starts to disappear and I start to get cranky. Just because the sole is super flexible, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in durability. This is my third pair, and I’ve been able to put near 1000 miles on each pair. The sole is durable and I’d challenge anyone to kill them in 500 or less (unless you have absolute garbage form and are running on hot hot asphalt all the time, or a treadmill). Along with the flexibility comes a nice roomy toe box so your toes can spread out and enjoy the space nature intended them to have. For me this is huge. I have wide feet, and there are a number of minimal-type shoes that just aren’t wide enough. They all claim to have wide toe boxes, but when I put them on, my paddle-like feet immediately strain the upper and spill out over the sole to the point where my whole pinky toe is essentially riding in air.
The last thing I’ll mention is their utility. You can use these shoes for anything. I used them as racers in short 5ks, or on the track for 400 workouts. I ran through a harsh Vermont winter through ice and snow and -10F temps. Before the ice came they would accompany me on the local trails and up mountains. All this, of course, was twenty miles or below. The leap to 50 miles was one of faith, and I was not let down (I plan on using these guys at VT100 – though maybe a different pair by July.) I understand these shoes might not be for everyone, but the next time you go to the store looking for a light weight racer for next weekends 5k, or when you decide to go the zero-drop route, or you’re just looking for a nice roomy shoe take a look at the Skora line-up.
One note of caution, or insight, or whatever. The first time I ever put them on, I felt a little strange. The heel almost seemed higher, or uneven. I’m not sure if this is because it was the first time I was in a shoe with anatomically shaped, rounded heel, or if it was something with the shoe, either way, after the first run, I never noticed it again. I’ve heard this from others as well, but as I haven’t picked up any injuries, and it went away after the first run, I’ve taken no heed of it.
If you have questions, connect with Skora on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or on their website. They have a plethora of running related information, and a crackpot customer service team that is beyond helpful.\