Anyone who has read this blog knows that I have been a fan of the Skechers GOrun from their initial availability. In the few years since their introduction, the GOrun has gone through a couple revisions. So it is time to update my opinion and review of the Skechers GOrun. It is also illustrative to take a look at how shoe manufactures change features of their products for the better and for the worse.
A Tale of Three GOruns
I’m not sure of the exact dates, but to the best of my recollection, the Original Skechers GOrun (lets call it GOrun 1) became available in late 2011. The succeeding version 2 hit the market about a year later. Following the GOrun 2, version 3 became available another year later and is still the current version. Extrapolating into the future, expect version 4 late 2014 or early 2015.
Assigning a model year to each version
- GOrun 1 (original) 2012
- GOrun 2 2013
- GOrun 3 2014
I picked up my first pair of the GOrun 1 in late 2011. It was not till late winter spring of 2012 when suffering some foot and ankle troubles that I discovered that the GOrun was, at least for me, the shoe that minimized my feet troubles. My review of the original GOrun written spring of 2012 is available here. It may be worth a quick look at the review for background information.
Skechers Magic Midfoot Strike Sole Profile or Hump in the Middle
Skechers really stumbled upon something revolutionary with their midfoot strike sole profile in the original GOrun. I’ve thought a lot about why this worked so well. Here is an idea, when you walk or run barefoot on a soft surface like sand, your foot makes an impression where the heel and fore foot is deeper and the sand mounds up under the midfoot. The original GOrun’s sole thickness mimicked this mounding up under the midfoot. This rocker like sole creates a gentle rolling midfoot strike. It is nearly impossible to heel pound and foot slap in the original GOrun.
The original GOrun feels a bit weird just standing or walking in. It is like standing bearfoot across a log or standing in soft sand. A lot of weight is in the middle of the foot, instead of the heel. The sole profile actually makes it difficult to put weight on the heel when standing. Most people complained about this feeling of a hump in the middle. It made the original GOrun unsuitable for anything other than running such as just walking or standing around. But once you started running, the magic of the hump made running a delight.
Thanks Skechers for Breathing New Life into my Running
I owe a lot of my running resurgence the last few years to the original Skechers GOrun. They allowed me to run again at a period in my life where chronic foot injuries were preventing me from enjoying running. The GOruns coached me into developing a lower impact running style and at the same time strengthened my feet. The Skechers GOrun was instrumental in allowing an aging (mid-fifties) runner like me to start setting PRs and feeling joy again while running.
Comparisons between the Versions
Version 2 Compared to Version 1
The GOrun 2 is significantly different than the GOrun 1. The most noticeable change is the removal of the thick midsole (the hump) under the midfoot. Skechers thickened the sole under the heel and thinned the sole in the midfoot. The GOrun 2 has a much more conventional feel to it.
The GOrun 2’s sole is also stiffer under the midfoot and heel area. The GOrun 2 fits a tiny bit looser and bigger than the original.
The GOrun 2 is also lighter. It looses weight by removing the liner that makes the GOrun 1 so comfy when not wearing socks. The sole is also lighter as it has less dense rubber material on the outsole. The 2’s sole does not wear as well as the 1’s, but the lack of deep lugs make the 2 less prone to the annoying problem of picking up rocks as the 1 suffered from. Unlike the original, the GOrun 2 comes with some very thin removable insoles.
Version 3 Compared to Version 2
At first glance, the GOrun 3 appears similar to the GOrun 2. But there are a some significant differences between them. The first is the upper. Version 3 has a totally different system of overlays and upper stiffeners. The 3 is wider and sloppier in the heel and narrower in the fore foot than the 2. The 3 also has more curvature (sickle like) to the last. This makes it feel narrower as the little toe area of the foot feels crowded. Running in the GOrun 3 rubs the outside of my little toe creating a hot spot.
The outsole is pretty much the same. The 3’s removable insole is wider and thicker than the 2’s. The 3’s insole adds 4mm to the heel height. The GOrun 3 fits tight in the forefoot and loose in the heel. You may want to downsize a half size or so, or definitely try them on before you go buying and assuming they fit the same as the previous versions.
Summary of Version 1 2 and 3 Characteristics
Weight (All Men’s Size 9.5):
- GOrun 1 (7.2 Ounces)
- GOrun 2 (6.3 Ounces, 6.8 with Removable Insole)
- GOrun 3 (6.5 Ounces, 7.2 with Removable Insole)
- GOrun 1 Fits True to Size
- GOrun 2 Fits True to Size, Stretchy Upper, Slightly Narrower in Forefoot than 1
- GOrun 3 Fits a Bit Large, Sloppy in Heel, Narrow in Forefoot than 2
- GOrun 1 Straight, Foot Shaped, Narrow Heel, Wide at Ball of Foot
- GOrun 2 Slightly Curved, Less Foot Shaped than 1
- GOrun 3 Curved More than 2
- GOrun 1 Very Soft and Flexible Sole from Heel to Toe
- GOrun 2 Soft and Flexible but Stiffer Under Midfoot and Heel than Original
- GOrun 3 Similar to 2 but even a Little Stiffer in Heel
- GOrun 1 Soft Compliant, Lined Interior, Comfy Without Socks
- GOrun 2 Stretchy Fore Foot, No Liner, Need to Wear Socks to Avoid Irritation
- GOrun 3 Breathable Power-Prene Mesh, Less Supportive Overlays, No Liner, Need to Wear Socks
- GOrun 1 Deep Lugs Pickup Rocks, Durable Rubber Pads
- GOrun 2 Shallow Tapered Lugs Shed Rocks & Mud, Not as Durable as Original
- GOrun 3 Same as 2
Heel to Toe Drop and Sole Stack Height:
- GOrun 1: 3mm Drop, Stack: 13mm Heel, 16mm Midfoot, 10mm Toe
- GOrun 2: 4mm Drop, ?
- GOrun 3: 4mm Drop without Insole, 8mm Drop with Insole, Stack 15mm Heel, 11mm Toe
Why did Skechers Change the GOrun?
Simple answer: Skechers changed the GOrun, not so much to make a better running shoe, but to appeal to the masses and sell more shoes. It reminds me of Adidas and their “Feet You Wear” shoe design of the 1990’s. It was a running shoe with a convex rocker sole. It was designed from scientific principles, not fashion or feel. Like the GOrun, it felt different or awkward while standing around, walking or when trying them on in the store. But they worked great when running. I set my Ridge Run PR in a pair of Adidas “Feet You Wear” style shoe. Adidas scrapped the “Feet You Wear” concept and went back to making clunky stiff flat soled bricks that felt plush in the shoe store.
Skechers has done the same thing as Adidas did; take a great running shoe suitable only for running and make it into a mediocre running shoe that feels more normal when walking or standing. They took a revolutionary shoe designed by out of the box thinking, tamed it and put it back in the box of convention. I am the first to admit that I may be in the minority opinion thinking that Skechers ruined the original GOrun. There are many that think the GOrun 2 and 3 are vast improvements over the original, I am just not one of them.
If you are looking for a single person to thank for the “improvements” to the GOrun, start with Peter Larsen the run blogger. He claims to have had a lot of input in the design process of the GOrun. But the thanks (or blame) also falls on the consumers that complained about the feeling of the hump. And of course you can credit Skechers for seeking a product that appeals to a wider audience; not just serious runners.
How to GOrunerize any Shoe
Now that the GOrun no longer has the magic midfoot strike sole profile, is there anything I or anyone can do other than to scour eBay for old shoes? Knowing the magic comes from a rockered sole profile that is thicker in the midfoot than the heel or toe, you can try to modify your shoes.
One thing I have tried that works pretty well is to mimic the GOrun midfoot strike sole profile using a padded insole. I have cut up some old insoles and made a built up insole that is thick under the midfoot and thin under the heel and toes. Putting this modified insole in a conventional shoe makes them feel more GOrunish. This built up insole is not like an orthotic or arch support. It is thick across the width of the foot, not just the arch.
If you really want to modify your shoe to give it more of a rolling midfoot strike promoting sole profile, you can also grind or cut down the heel area. This has higher risk and requires more skill than just playing with padding an insole. Anton Krupicka made cutting the heels off your shoes famous.
The Sound of Sole Silence
A telltale sign of foot strike gentleness or impact is the sound made by your shoes when running. A great testimony to the efficacy of the original GOrun is that it is nearly silent when running as compared to more conventional shoes. The new GOrun 2 and 3 are quieter than most running shoes, but not as silent as the original. Next time you are at a road race, pay attention to the foot fall sounds you and everyone around you are making.
A Good Feel Skechers Story
I find the story of Meb Keflezighi, his life and running career rather inspiring. Especially his recent crowning achievement of winning the 2014 Boston Marathon in a PR at the ripe old age of 38 (nearly 39) and in Skechers shoes.
Meb has claimed that Skechers have improved his running and helped him to avoid injuries. He is paid to say that, but there may be an element of truth to it. I find it interesting that another aging American elite marathoner has also just signed up to run in Skechers. As an aging athelete, Meb has had seemingly miraculous success since becoming a Skechers sponsored athlete. It would be doubly miraculous if Kara Goucher experienced a similar resurrection of her career while running in Skechers that Meb has.
Over the years, I have purchased 4 pairs of the original GOrun, 1 pair of the GOrun 2 and 1 pair of the GOrun 3. My favorite of the GOrun trio is the original GOrun. The GOrun 2 and 3 are nice light trainers suitable for the road or track, but they lack the revolutionary midfoot strike sole profile that the original had. I doubt, I will seek out buying the 2 or the 3 and instead will scour eBay for the old original model.
Locally the only place to buy Skechers is Famous Footwear. This looks to be changing as Schnee’s plans to carry them. Although, I have soured on the newer versions of the GOrun, I have been enjoying trail running in the Skechers GObionic Trail.
In my opinion the GOrun 2 was the beginning of the devolution of the original GOrun. The devolution continues as Skechers really screwed things up with the GOrun 3 as they unsuccessfully messed with the fit. The 3 has a curved last, a wide heel and narrow forefoot. What the hell were they thinking?
Although I prefer the GOrun 1 over the 2, I have had some success training and racing in the GOrun 2. With added insoles with the mid foot padded, the GOrun 2 is a decent shoe and is a better trail shoe then the GOrun 1. I actually set a PR on the NS direction in the Wulfman Continental Divide Race using the GOrun 2.
Here are some more pictures that verify the measured weights. I stuck them down here in this post to keep them from cluttering up the data above.