Here's a real quick review of a new trail shoe I was able to test out.
A Nice Ride
Skechers GObionic Trail Shoes
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical upon receiving the Skechers GObionic Trail Shoes from my friend Christian Griffith. As most trail runners are, I am sort of a shoe snob and generally stick to my favorite brand and style. My favorite brand isn’t Skechers and I don’t usually run minimalist, so this shoe was starting with its back up against the wall.
Upon my initial inspection, I found a pretty sharp looking shoe. The upper is fully synthetic material. I received a pair in a Charcoal/Blue color scheme, which I liked. I believe there are 3 or 4 more different color schemes available. I immediately noticed how light they were, which I expected as they are billed as a minimalist shoe. I also saw a fairly aggressive looking sole. I immediately couldn’t wait to get them out on some technical trails, although I also had the memory of some painful runs in other minimalist shoes once I put them to work on technical rocky trails.
For my first run I chose a short (5mile) rolling trail that had numerous roots and rock gardens strewn throughout. It was hot and humid. Upon putting the shoes on I noticed that they were very comfortable. Skechers touted a ‘Second Skin’ feel to the upper, and they were right. I kicked the ground a few times, and then off I went. I hit the trailhead and some golf ball sized gravel and instantly winced. I had remembered feeling everything underfoot in other minimalist shoes. I instantly noticed that these felt like some of my more padded and substantial trail shoes that I normally wear. That made me smile and then I took off.
Thud! I caught a root. Crunch, caught a rock. I stayed upright, but began to look down at the shoe. It was then that I noticed the enormous toe box on these shoes. I am not used to running in a shoe like this, and I was catching things on the trail that I normally wouldn’t. I forged ahead keeping in mind that I had to pick up my feet a little more, thankfully these shoes are so light that it wasn’t a problem, but I slowed my pace. Upon completion of the run I loved everything about these except for the larger toe box. I wondered if I could get used to it. Otherwise, they seemed light as air with a bunch of cushion for a minimalist shoe. I also noticed less lower leg fatigue than other comparable shoes.
I waited 10 days before I used these again, as I had a race the following weekend and didn’t have the guts to try something totally different race day or in recovery. The next couple of times I wore these I went on longer, but less technical trails. After the first three miles I got the confidence to really ‘open up’ these shoes, and I flew! I had no issues with the toe box and I continued to notice the nice cushion. I also found the sole very aggressive, which I liked. The material on the upper portion of the shoe acts as a moisture wicking fabric and pulls the sweat away from your foot. It’s clearly evident as I could actually see the outer getting wet.
My final run to date in these shoes came yesterday. The shoes were broken in by now (about 30 miles), and I chose Jeep roads with a baby jogger. I never noticed that the shoes I had on weren’t my normal trail shoes. I literally flew across the trails with no issues. I REALLY loved these shoes on the fast and flat trails.
All in all, I like these shoes. It is a minimalist shoe for the non-minimalist runner. Everything I want in the minimalist style; lightweight and aggressive with enough cushion to have a comfortable ride. I give these shoes my seal of approval, which might not go that far, but at least I am a seasoned ultra-runner. I don’t know how long it will take me to wear these shoes out, after close to 40 miles they show no signs of wear, but when I do I just might buy another pair. The shoes appear to be retailing at about $80 bucks, so the price tag isn’t bad either. Good job Skechers!