FORM Review

IMG_8400Some time ago – back in October – I got a pair of SKORA Form. Yes, October was a long time ago; it was over three months ago. So why has it taken this long to write up a review? Partly sheer laziness, and part of it was me trying to put some miles on these guys. Ideally, I like to get atleast 200 miles on a shoe before I make any ground shattering pronouncements, and with my buggered up achilles and off-season, I didn’t get 200 on these guys until mid-December. (I know it’s mid-January, but shh…).

Anyway, if you’ve followed along on this blog, or read my SKORA reviews (PHASE, CORE, FIT), you know that each shoe appears to outdo the last. Well, the FORM has without a doubt, outdone them all. I kid you not, this is the best shoe I have ever worn; running or other.

There’s so much good about these shoes, I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start from the top. Like the CORE, the FORM are made from Pittards Goat Leather. I’m not sure if the FORM undergo different treatment than the CORE, but the uppers seem a little different; slightly more supple while being a little bit thicker. There is also a patch of Pittars sheepskin in the heel of the shoe to keep your foot from sliding around on some silky smooth goat leather.

Like all SKORA to date, there is essentially no tongue, but instead a sort of wrap

Velcro

Velcro

that goes underneath the asymmetrical lacing system. The lack of a standard tongue and the asymmetrical lacing eliminates hot spots. There are no pressure points when you tie these shoes on meaning if you want, you can go barefoot with next to no ‘break-in’ period. SKORA has also included a velcro strap across the back of the heel that allows you to tighten the shoe down from the back. To be honest, I’ve never really tried to play around with this much. I tightened it a couple of times and really didn’t like it. I much prefer the heel to have some movement.

They also have a reflective stripe down the center of the faux-tongue and the heel. The reflection only occurs when light hits the stripe, so while these shoes are typically all black, there is a built in saftey feature for night runners.

The FORM, like all SKORA models is a zero-drop shoe, but has a stack height of 13mm. (2 more than the PHASE and CORE, but 3 less than the FIT.) I removed my insole for a stack height of 10mm. The heel is rounded to provide a more anatomically correct fit and the sole is made from two different materials. There is the black, molded EVA, and then the blue high abrasion rubber. The high abrasion rubber allows you to run on some pretty gnarly surfaces and still put many miles on these shoes.

The ground feel on these is quite nice, but not quite as good as the CORE or the PHASE with the insoles removed. This is due in part to the extra 2mm of stack on the FORM and also the high abrasion rubber. Despite this though, the FORM provides a great ride in ultimate comfort.

woodsI can’t say that I’ve beat on these shoes to the max, but I have given them a pretty good run through. They’ve been on trails, roads, tracks, snow, ice, water, pretty much everything. With their low profile, they also double up as everday shoes when the weather is too crummy for flip flops (which it is quite frequently this time of year…).

Another huge plus that I love about the leather FORM, is the ability to retain heat, but breath. Typically with synthetic shoes, I would have to double up on socks when temps dip to single digits and below (Farenheit), but with the FORM, a cheap pair of cotton socks is all I need.

One of the big drawbacks to the FORM is it’s price, but this can be looked at a couple of ways. They cost $180. That’s a lot of money. At the same time, these shoes will not break down. You won’t poke holes in them with your toes, or trip over a stick and rip them down the middle. And you’re going to have to work quite hard to wear the sole down. That said, these shoes can easily go twice the distance a mid-range running shoe will normally get you, and when (if) the sole wears down, you can still use them as casual shoes without any problems.

form and cordAnother trick is to pay attention for sales and discount codes. Right now SKORA is running a massive 30% off sale, and if you use the code ‘warmup10’ at checkout, they’ll give you an additional $10. That’s a pair of FORM for $115. Seriously, one of the best bargains out there. And while you check out the sale, make sure to sign up for the newsletter, that’s how ou find out about these sales, and you get entered into a raffle for a free pair of FIT. It’s almsot like stealing…

Other SKORA Reviews
PHASE
CORE
FIT

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Black Friday Blog

As much as I hate the whole Black Friday shopping thing – I’ve never actually done it… – I’m going to post this here. Links to reviews of some quality products from Orange Mud and SKORA Running. Both companies are having some sweet Black Friday deals and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your desk chair. Check it out:

Orange Mud is giving away free LED lights and 25% off with the code BKFRIDAY14

HydraQuiver Review
Vest Pack Review
Handheld Review
While I haven’t reviewed their wraps, I have had one for a while, and I’ll tell you it’s more handy than you’d think.

SKORA Running is also offering 25% off sitewide. No code needed. I haven’t written a review for the FORM, but I tell you, it’s better than all the others. True story.

PHASE
CORE
FIT

And finally, over at Dead Skunk Racing, we’re having a sale on coaching! We’ll cut all our prices in half if you sign up with us by December 1st. Great deal for two coaches.

Not Vermont

Get'em while you can!

Get’em while you can!

But it might suit your fancy. While I’m still working on my VT Part II post, I figured I’d fill in the time by mentiong that SKORA is having a massive sale. By massive I mean 40-70% off almost everything. It’s a clearance sale, so sizes might be limited, but there’s a lot of shoes there with a good number of sizes. Also, I bet you didn’t know this, because SKORA uses the same platform for their shoes, they’re essentially unisex. The fit is the same from men’s to women’s, the only difference is the size which is offset by 1.5 sizes. So if you’re a dude in a 9, you could also wear a women’s 10.5. Or if you’re a lady with a size 12 you could jump down to men’s 10.5. There are some gender neutral colorways, so give it a shot.

Reviews:

SKORA Fit

SKORA Core
SKORA Phase

The FITs

FitA couple days before the Fourth of July, I got a nice little package in the mail, sent by the kind folks over at SKORA Running. I knew they were sending me a new pair of kicks, but I didn’t have a tracking number and it came rather quickly, so it was a bit of a surprise to say the least. I also had no idea of the colour.

What I did know was that it was a pair of their newest offering the FIT. I have to admit, the FIT scared me a little bit at first. All the talk around the internet and their website tout it’s padding and cushy ride, a sort of “Introduction to Zero Drop” type shoe. Being used to running barefoot or in the CORE or PHASE with an 8mm stack, the double 16mm stack of the FIT also gave me some fright. To top off my fears the FIT is also a tad bit narrower than the CORE or PHASE and I wasn’t sure how that would fit my flipper like feet.

Padded heel.

Padded heel.

As soon as I get shoes out of the box, I do a full inspection. Sure pictures online are nice, but once you get a shoe in your hand you notice things you’d otherwise miss. The first thing I noticed is the cushion. Not the cushion of the sole, but the cushion in the heel. I wouldn’t really describe it as cushion so much as padding. The padding is what you would find in something of a traditional shoe and it seems to envelop your heel. Your heel is still free to move about, but the padding keeps things sort of loose feeling but tight at the same time. Almost like it doesn’t exist, if that makes any sense. I actually prefer this to the heel of the PHASE and the CORE, a fact that totally caught me off guard. (I was planning on disliking this shoe…).

The next thing I noticed upon inspection was the insole. The insole is huge, a full 6mm, bigger than anything I’ve run in in sometime. To be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference between it and my other shoes, so it gets a pass.

FIT insole on the top, CORE on the bottom.

FIT insole on the top, CORE on the bottom.

As with all my shoes, I took them out of the box, put them on, and wore them around the house for the first couple of days. I do this so I can send shoes back if they don’t fit, but it also allows me to tweak lacing systems to better fit my feet. I always start with the laces super loose and then tighten them down; surprisingly with the FIT, I ended up tightening the laces back to their ‘factory preset’. I’m fairly sure it has to do with the 3d-dot printing being super stretchy and flexible. While the forefoot of the shoe does fit somewhat tight, it stretches and doesn’t cause any problems like a traditional canvas/mesh shoe that doesn’t stretch.

I don't think I really run like that...

I don’t think I really run like that…

At first, I started out planning on just using them for low mileage days pushing the stroller, or just taking it easy. However, that plan has quickly changed and the FIT has become my new go to shoe. Depending on the day I will take the 6mm insole out which leaves the shoe with a 10mm stack, but more often than not, I’m running with the full 16mm. I have yet to notice any significant difference in ground feel or handling when running on roads, track or trails.

When I got my CORE, I fell in love and thought nothing would replace it. Sadly, it’s been pushed to the back of my closet and the FIT is now my go to shoe. I was planning on running the VT100 in the CORE, but  now I’m planning on wearing the FIT. We’ll see if any problems arise, but I kind of doubt it. I doubt the 3d dot will last as long as the leather of the CORE, but that just means I might have to give the FORM a try…

As an addendum, I should mention that while I normally wear a size 10, I wear a 10.5 in the FIT. I could probably get away with a 10, but it would be tight.

You can connect with SKORA on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or on their website. They have a plethora of running related information, and a crackpot customer service team that is beyond helpful.

More Reviews:
SKORA Core
SKORA Phase

Checking In With My CORE

Peek-a-Boo

Peek-a-Boo

So, a few weeks ago I got a pair of SKORA Core in the mail and was super excited. Running in the PHASE for a while, I was a little apprehensive to try a new shoe, after all, the PHASE worked, so why change it up? My feet are rather wide – and I think I like wider shoes anyway – so I’m always leery trying a new shoe, that said, the PHASE and the CORE are built on the same platform, and being made of leather the CORE is supposedly ends up being about a half size wider.

The mailman delivered them a day early which was a wonderful surprise – he neglected to come Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day so my cards were late, again. As I opened the box I was slapped with that wonderful leather smell of a high end boutique. That, too, was quite pleasant. I put them on and walked around the house as any runner with a new pair of shoes who can’t get a run in right away will do. They were comfy. Comfy and roomy.

Typically the first thing I do with a pair of shoes is to unlace the bottom one or two eyelets to let my forefoot expand, with the CORE, I didn’t need to. It held my foot nicely and there wasn’t a lot of tension in the forefoot area.

Not quite animal print, but still sexy.

Not quite animal print, but still sexy.

Usually, I also like to wear a shoe for 200 miles or so before I decided to make any decisions, and while I haven’t hit 200 just yet, I have worn them in the rain, on the track, trails, and asphalt, as well as raced in them, so I feel fairly confident I’ve put in enough diverse miles to make a judgement call.

One of the big things with this shoe is that it is made of leather, which means that it is more durable than the mesh upper of the PHASE, but it also means it retains water a bit better, which is not a good thing. Before I got any chance to run in a real rain storm, I took them across some fields just after it rained. There weren’t big puddles, but there was definitely a fair bit of residual water still in the grass. My feet did get wet, and the remained moist a bit longer than they would in the PHASE, but not nearly as long as I expected. It also didn’t seem to add as much weight as I expected. The leather did stay damp through the evening and into the morning while the PHASE would have dried, the moisture didn’t seem to wet the feet at all. Though, the first time, the dye ran and turned my toes a mottled blue color.

The next big thing was getting these guys out on the trail. I’m not a big trail guy – I prefer dirt roads – but I do venture into the woods occasionally. Being that these two shoes are built essentially on the same platform – there is a slightly stiffer piece of rubber under the metatarsals on the CORE – I wasn’t expecting much of a difference on the trails. And, as it would turn out, there wasn’t much of a difference. The leather of the CORE feels (and probably is) a bit more durable than the PHASE and feels a little more protective on the trails, but I assume this is just perceived.

To this point I had fallen in love with my CORE. They are an awesome everyday running shoe, and I’m even contemplating getting a pair for non-running (I never wear shoes…). Then came the real test – a race (or some speed work on the track). On the track they felt good, but maybe a little loose. I worked on tightening them down and it seemed to help some. I then wore them for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon. Again, they felt awesome, but they felt a bit loose. It wasn’t an uncomfortable, unwearable loose, but for quicker events I think I like my shoes to fit a bit snugger – i.e. the PHASE.

Super comfort.

Super comfort.

At first, I thought the PHASE and the CORE wouldn’t have much difference. They’re built on the same platform. I was wrong, the leather upper of the CORE makes for a very comfy and somewhat roomy feel. The CORE also has a stiffer piece of rubber on the sole – I assume this adds some durability as well as protection. Some people mention that the ankle collar on the PHASE can be less than comfortable when new, this is not the case for the CORE. The CORE has a comfy piece of sheep skin around the heel that works well with socks, I can only imagine how comfy it feels sockless.

These shoes have quickly become a favorite for me, and I’m looking forward to getting more in the future. The only problem I’ve found is the tightening aspect. I think because they are made of leather, the last will stretch a little and in the beginning, the stretching is more, meaning you need to tighten the laces from time to time. I’m not sure I would wear them for races shorter than a marathon as the PHASE has those distances covered.

If you have further questions, or want to know more, connect with Skora on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or on their website. They have a plethora of running related information, and a crackpot customer service team that is beyond helpful.

More Reviews:
SKORA Fit
SKORA Phase

I’m An Ambassador

It seems that life is picking up. The slow pace of winter is gone, and it’s time to rush around and enjoy the warmth that summer brings. Or I’ve just put too much on my plate.  Either way, it goes something like this:

Over the last three or four months, I’ve been going through the process to become a SKORA Ambassador. I didn’t have a lot of hopes, but figured what the hell. Lo and behold, I’ve found out that I was accepted. Pretty sweet. Granted it doesn’t mean much for you all. Maybe some free shoe giveaways in the future, but nowt for now.

Tomorrow also marks the first time since November that I will be running a real race, and the last couple of weeks have been sub-par to say the least. I took some easy time, and felt better, but this past week we redid our bathroom and I managed to retweak my Achilles while carrying a bathtub up a ladder into a second story window – not cool. So for two weeks in a row now, my mileage has suffered. I know what you do the week or two before a race doesn’t make or break you, but it definitely plays with confidence. Couple that with tomorrow being my first race for TeamSKORA, and I’m feeling anything but sure about this.

Of course, here is the obligatory race kit picture. The maroon and orange Dead Skunk Racing singlet, and my SKORA Core – which while not as light as my Phase feel like they’ll be a pretty nice shoe to race in – and my bandanas. Typically I’ve gone with the brown, but my brother got the camo for Christmas, and it’s a tough decision…CBHM Kit