I've been a fan of Skechers running shoes since I got my first pair of the first generation GOrun in December 2011. I liked that the GOrun fit my feet well, was lighweight and flexible and had a low heel-toe drop. One issue with the GOrun was that the sole wasn't well suited to running on trails because it picks up too many rocks. Sometime last year, I heard a rumor that Skechers was working on a trail shoe. I was excited because I was struggling to find trail shoes that I really liked. During 2012, in my search for a trail shoe, I first tried the Saucony Peregrine 2, which fit my foot well, but feels a little clunky and heavy and had some major durability issues. Then, I tried the Saucony Kinvara TR. The Kinvara TR is responsive and feels fast, is reasonably light weight and low to the ground. I like the Kinvara TR, but they're a bit too narrow for my feet and on longer runs as my feet swell, they get pretty uncomfortable. I wore them for the first 50 miles of the Bear 100, and they were OK for most of those miles, but I could not have worn them any further and my feet paid for wearing narrow-ish shoes during the second half of the race. The upper on the Kinvara TR also has some of the durability problems I found in the Kinvara 3. The last shoe I tried was the Merrell Mix Master 2. The Mix Master 2 is supposedly a good shoe, but it just didn't fit my feet. I think that it's too wide and my foot definitely moved around too much inside. Descending in these shoes particularly killed my feet.
Now, back to the purpose of this shoe review...
As I mentioned above, I liked the feel of the GOtrail from the moment I put them on. And, now with nearly 100 miles on them, I like them at least as much as I hoped I would.
My favorite thing about the GOtrail is how well they fit my feet. That was what first attracted me to GOrun and it's the same with the GOtrail. They fit around my Morton's toe and lock in around the heel without having to tie them too tightly. The toe box is wide enough to allow my feet to flex a little but not so wide that I feel like my feet are swimming around in them.
I've run in them on all kinds of terrain and conditions - dirt fire roads, rocky, technical single track, hard sun-baked dirt and slick mud. I ran in them once in pouring rain, including a rocky, slippery descent. The shoes performed great under all of those conditions. On rocky trails, I can feel the rocks enough to navigate where to put my feet, but never feel like the rocks are poking through to my feet. I have never particularly been worried about traction - even on the wet, slick rocks. The material of the upper kept my feet from getting too soaked in the rain but also breathes well enough that my feet don't get hot or steamy.
My longest run in the GOtrail was yesterday's 23 miles/5 hours on the Backbone Trail and Sycamore Canyon. And they felt great on my feet even at the end of that long run. I don't have any reason to doubt that the GOtrail would be fine for much longer runs than that.
Other things I really like about the GOtrail:
- They're lightweight (8.4 ounces for size 9)
- They're super flexible
- 4mm heel drop
- After 100 miles the sole isn't really showing much wear. The raised "GOimpulse sensors" still look great.
- Only $80, and Skechers offers some good discounts
I only have two complaints about the GOtrail, and neither of them have been a big deal yet. First, the sole still picks up rocks. Not nearly as bad as the GOrun, but after most of my runs, I'm picking a rock or two out of the spaces between the "GOimpulse sensors" in the midfoot or heel area. The nice thing is that it's nothing I've noticed while running. (I guess I was heel striking a bit during the final descent yesterday...)
Second, I have some concerns about the long-term durability of the upper. They're not showing any real wear yet, but there are a few spots that look like they could be issues in the future. In the below photo, you can see that the black "stripe" has split a little (1) and there are some stains in the blue (2). While it looks like the sole is starting to separate from the upper a bit (3), that's not actually the case (yet). I'll update on this at some point.
I'll admit it that I'm sorta crushing on Skechers right now. There's a bit of a psychological hurdle that has to be overcome when wearing Skechers, and I take my share of shit from my running friends. On the other hand, there's a bit of smugness in knowing that they don't realize what they're missing out on!
Just this morning, I went on my first run in my new pair of Skechers GOrun 2:
Initial impressions: flashy, sexy, comfortable, fast and light. Also, they mostly got rid of the sort of annoying little bump under the midfoot. I have no doubt that this is gonna be a fun shoe to run in!