The review I bring you today is one of mixed opinion. Have you ever bought something that you really, really wanted to love, but it just wasn’t quite right? Where there are many great features of said item, but just one or two flaws that couldn’t be ignored? That’s how I feel about the SKORA Base. A little user error (i.e. my feet), combined with a few design flaws resulted in a shoe that just isn’t quite right…for me. There were numerous factors about the SKORA Base that I truly loved…but at the end of the run, it just didn’t work out for the two of us (you know, the shoe and I). Which again, leaves me completely bummed. But let’s get to the review:
SKORA is a new running company, based out of Portland, Oregan, that stands behind a simple philosophy: Run Real.
“We believe that running shoes should be built to encourage running performance that is as biomechanically correct as possible, with minimal interference. Our footwear lets people run naturally.”
Born in 2007 after CEO and founder David Sypniewski began searching for a more natural running shoe, as he discovered that traditional, built up sneakers were only exacerbating, and perhaps even causing, a chronic running injury. David became a fan of the barefoot/minimalist shoe running movement, and was on a search for the perfect footwear that would cater to his needs. What he wanted: a latex covered sock. What came next: SKORA, premium, lightweight performance running footwear that encourage a more bio-mechanically correct, natural stride.
BASE is the ultimate, multi-purpose running shoe. Equally at home on the road, in the gym or racing a triathlon. BASE offers a stretch-mesh sockfit with an innovative adjustable X-strap system, elastic heel strap, reflective details and stitch-down construction with an Ortholite insole. Lightweight, quick-fit, and unique in design, BASE offers a lightweight cushioned ride with 13mm stack height (9mm without insole).
BASE is built on the R01 platform composed developed to offer a unique anatomical fit that closely matches the foot’s shape. The R01 platform also features a zero-drop outsole/midsole with just enough cushioning and a curved section profile in both the forefoot and heel. This allows for optimal natural movement and performance
– REALFIT™ last
– Full Sockfit
– High tensile stretch upper
– Nylon X-strap system
– Elastic heel strap
– Reflective details
– High abrasion rubber
– Zero-drop construction
– Stitch-down construction
– 9mm Forefoot/heel stack height
– 4mm Antimicrobial insole
– MSRP: $99 (currently reduced to $69 on the SKORA website)
Now, let me preface the rest of the review with the disclaimer that I was the one who chose to try the BASE model. It was the strap system, versus traditional lacing in every other model that SKORA offers, that caught my eye. Unfortunately, it was the strap system that would prove to be the biggest issue I faced with these shoes.
The shoes do, in fact, feel like a sock (or a slipper). Lightweight, incredible ground-feel, as to be expected from a minimal/barefoot shoe. But, the biggest surprise was discovered in the first half mile of running: unlike most barefoot shoes, where you are incredibly aware of your forefoot strike (and then ultimately heel plant), the SKORA base seemed to have *just* enough cushion in exactly the right places. I felt like I was running in a more cushioned shoe, yet this is clearly a zero drop, barefoot design. Long story short: the SKORA sole is a work of art.
|Incredibly flexible sole, despite 9 mm stack height.|
The upper is soft, again, like a sock, and provided no chaffing or discomfort, even when worn without socks.
Aesthetically speaking, these shoes are awesome, and incredibly unique. They almost look like cycling shoes, and I got quite a few glances when I wore them into the gym. I know aesthetics shouldn’t be the driving factor in choosing a shoe, but it certainly helps.
I personally could not get the shoe to be tight enough around the width of my foot, and especially the upper/ankle area, with the strap system. The shoe fit perfectly in length, so I knew in that sense of the fit, it was the right size (and if you are curious, I ordered my normal size, these seemed to fit true to size). Therefore, switching to a smaller size may have fixed the width problem, but would have created a length problem. Admittedly, I have a narrow foot, but I didn’t expect that even on the narrowest setting of the Velcro closure, that the shoe would still be too loose. This was disappointing, as the shoe has a sock design, so I was hoping it would be more snug. I was able to put in enough mileage to test the shoe, but wouldn’t want to wear them for any significant mileage or training, as the loose fit was far too distracting. Now, let me clarify that I was not looking for any type of “support” in the upper. But it was more an issue of my foot slipping in and out of the shoe.
Further, the corners of the Velcro closures created significant “hot spots” on the inside of the shoe, even with socks on:
Now, I’ve had hot spots in other shoes fade with time, and this may very well be the situation with the SKORA Base, but as mentioned earlier, the improper fit really prevented me from putting in significant mileage on these shoes.
BOTTOM LINE: It should be noted that out of the entire SKORA line, the Base is the *only* model that uses this strap system. All of the other models have the traditional lace system, which in retrospect, likely would have worked much better for me. (Further, it appears online that the Base model’s are significantly marked down, leading me to believe that they may be discontinuing this style). In fact, I enjoyed the run/foot strike so much in the SKORA’s that I’m going to give a different model a try in the future, as I have high hopes that the lacing will work out much better for me.
I do like the concept of this shoe. I loved the sole of this shoe. And I would absolutely suggest giving SKORA a try, but I would recommend that you visit a running shop, if at all possible, to try them on before purchasing to ensure a proper fit.
*disclaimer: SKORA provided me with these shoes for review purposes, however, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.