Monday, April 15, 2013

Skechers GObionic Ride: Initial Review

Marathon training can be mentally challenging and oftentimes pretty boring what with having to keep to a training plan day in and day out. But my marathon training took a turn for the better four days ago when I got my hands or rather feet on the all new Skechers GObionic Ride.

I'm a huge fan of the GObionic itself and use it for most of the races I take part in. I've even used it for a full marathon and achieved a personal best in them. So getting a text from Skechers Malaysia telling me that my pair of GObionic Ride was ready to be collected had me dropping everything in the office and rushing over to pick them up ... LOL! I'm excitable in that way.

I don't normally write too much about a new pair of shoes until I log some mileage in them. But heck, after a measly 20K plus in them, I'm ready to wax lyrical about them already. The wife also put on my shoe for a run today and was utterly impressed with them, albeit it being a little too big for her. Those two or three people who follow this blog would know of my fondness for the Skechers brand of running shoes. Some would even say I'm a 'salesman' for them ... LOL ... but seriously I'm already in love with the GObionic Ride.


The Skechers GObionic Ride (which I'm going to shorten as the GBR from this point on) is basically an extension of the original shoe but with increased cushioning in the midsole area and a 4mm heel drop compared to the zero drop of the original. The GBR combines the segmented and responsive sole design of the GObionic for a more cushioned ride.

Taking it out of the box, the shoe still felt light though I could feel a slight increase in the bulk of the shoe, which is to be expected seeing as how it's more cushioned. Constructed with the same ultra lightweight synthetic and mesh fabric upper with a lightly padded collar and proprietary lightweight injection molded Resalyte midsole, the shoe weighs in at 7.5oz for the men's size 9. It has a removable 1.7mm insole and comes with the same round lacing style of the original.

A lot more mesh fabric on the GBR compared to the original
There's a a lot more mesh area in the upper compared to the original which is supposed to offer a precise fit. I was a little worried about the fit though cos upon putting it on, it was at least a half size too big compared to my usual size 8 of the original which prompted me to use thicker socks for my inaugural run with the shoe. My fears were totally unfounded cos with the narrower fit of the shoe, it held my feet in place with hardly any slippage. Being a half size too big, I reckon running sockless with it might pose some issues, not that I intend to find out. I'm totally NOT a sockless runner.

Both are size 8 but the GBR is definitely half a size bigger (and narrower) 
I'm a person who loves flashy coloured shoes and somehow have problems, heat wise when running in black themed shoes (could be a mind thing) but surprisingly the shoe was very breathable even with the thicker socks I had on. It had a wide enough toe box for proper toe splaying and just the right amount of cushioning but still enough road feel even with the insoles on. I'm suspecting that I'll get a lot more road feel without the insoles which I'll be taking off for my next session.

Speaking of the removable insoles, the insoles of the GBR differs considerably from the GObionic. The GBR's insoles have small tiny 'ventilation' like holes while the GObionic is more of a one piece kind. The bottom of the insole is slightly grooved which I suspect will hold the insoles in place snugly unlike the GOrun 2's insole which I heard had some slipping issues. In my runs in them, they didn't move an inch. The wife ran without the insoles and had no issues too though she said that she felt the surface of the roads and pebbles just like the GObionic.


Notice the grooved bottom of the GBR's (top) insole ...
Now comes the part that I loved about the original GObionic which is also found in the GObionic Ride - the 18 articulated bio-responsive Resalyte™ cushioning zones of the outsole. They provide great flexibility, feel and ground conformity for a more natural foot movement. Ever since transitioning to a more minimalist style of running, I love the feel of the ground pounding my soles. Total barefoot running is not for me though and the closest I would get to actually going barefoot was running in the GObionic.

These 18 individual articulated Resalyte™ outsoles gave my feet a very natural feel when running and conformed to every indentation or bump on the road which gave me a much more natural stride. I loved them but they could be hard on the calves if used extensively for training which is why I rotate between the GOrun Ride and the GOrun 2 (and occasionally, the original GOrun) for my training runs. I reserved the GObionic mainly for races.

More rubber plugs on the GBR
Now the GObionic Ride maintains these very same articulated bio-responsive soles but with more cushioning added to it making it the perfect training shoe for someone who loves the GObionic but wants something a little easier on the feet during training runs. It has just the right amount of protection without compromising the responsiveness of the shoe, mimicking that barefoot feel of the GObionic that you can use it daily without it being too hard on the calves.

The outsoles still maintain the grid like styling of the original with the difference being the rubber plugs of the GBR has been increased and placed at more strategic parts of the sole, which I thought was a good move. The durability of the outsole in general though seems a little suspect to me cos I scuffed mine quite badly on only my second outing with it.

Looks narrower than the GObionic even from the back
In a nutshell, if you asked me what the difference between the Skechers GObionic and the Skechers GObionic Ride are, I would have to say that while the GObionic is a true zero drop barefoot mimicking running shoe with excellent flexibility and responsiveness, the GObionic Ride on the other hand is a more cushioned 4mm drop running shoe that still offers the same excellent flexibility and responsiveness of the original but with an increased midfoot shock absorbing Resalyte sole.

I'll know more of how the shoes performs in the coming months after I take it out for more mileage and maybe even put it through the test of taking part in a few short distance races, if I can find something that complements my training plans. But from my few initial runs in them, it looks like a positive bet the shoe will work well for me.

A word of advise though. Just like any other minimalist shoe, go easy on them if you've never run in a minimalist shoe before. Don't rush into them and expect them to work miracles for you cos no shoe works that way. No matter how good someone says a shoe is, you've still got to ease into them cos everyone of us have totally different running styles and are built differently. What works for someone might not work for you.

The wife posing with my GObionic Ride before her run in them ...
That said and done, I'm totally smitten with the shoe and will definitely include the Skechers GObionic Ride into my rotation of training shoes with probably more preferential treatment given to it. I'm not exactly sure when the actual release of the shoe will happen over here but judging by the teaser in the Skechers Malaysia Facebook page, it's probably happening soon.

The review shoe above were so kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia and the review written is from my on personal experience with the shoe which is in no way influenced whatsoever by Skechers Malaysia.

Update: 
Ran without the insoles today and true to what I suspected, there was a lot more road feel. Unfortunately I also felt the grids of the outsole which kinda bothered me during the run and actually left indentations of the grid inside the shoe. Looks like I'm going to keep the insoles on during my runs.

18 comments:

  1. Hi Nick, i'm really happy to read a review on those shoes because i'm looking to buy them soon and i don't find any information or review of the shoes. Here in America, they are available since a month or two but i'm not able to find the stack height even on the Skechers web site. I have the Go Bionic and the Go Run Ride and really like both for different purpose and i guess the GBR is in the middle with about 14 or 15 mm of cushionning? Do you have an idea? Personnally, i would have prefer a zero drop and the same width of the original Bionic but it's not a big deal...Do you feel a big difference with the Go Run 2 because it seem to be similar in drop, cushion and width. Last question for you, there's no bump in the midfoot like the Go Run Ride? It's flat like the original Bionic?

    Thanks for the great review and thanks to Skechers with their Go line shoes, they are doing a great job in a short period or time, those Go shoes are awesome! Keep the good work both Nick and the Skechers team of the performance division!

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    1. It hasn't been launched here yet but I suspect it'll be soon. You're generally spot on with your estimate. The stack height of the GBR is 15.5mm at the heel and 11.5mm at the forefoot.

      Personally I find I have more road feel with the GBR than the GR2 and yes, there is no bump to be found in the GBR. It's completely flat.

      Just like you, I use my shoes for different purposes during my sessions but I'm liking the fact that the GBR gives me more road feel than the other GOseries yet offers a more forgivng ride for my calves.

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    2. how do they fit? i wear 15, but Skechers only go to 14 in the GBR. In a review (Running Times) of the Go Bionic Trail it was stated that the reviewers had to go down a size to get a fit so they could do the review. I immediately ordered a pair and they are the best fitting shoes (and running) that i've had! I am hoping the GBR fits is sized similarly. Thanks for any info. BJ (Indiana)

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    3. They fit me just fine. No sizing up or down was required for me, B.J.

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  2. hi Nick, is Sketcher is the best shoe brand out there? How it compare to Assic? In term of durability and comfort..thx...My Nike is spoiled and Im not going be a back-customer for it and Adidas, since both are marketing gimmeck.

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    1. Every shoe has its strengths and weaknesses, fortunately the Skechers GOseries works for me. I can't really say anything about Asics though cos I've never run in one before.

      Based on my personal and non-professional experience, I'd say give the GOrun Ride or the GOrun 2 a try first to see how they work for you.

      But I give the GObionic Ride 5 stars though :D

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  3. Nick, i'd like to know if you have try the Skechers On the Go Rookie walking shoes or the Go Walk because i'm also looking for a good walking shoe for my job...i walk all day long at work, i'm a letter carrier here in Québec and i need an other shoe to replace my Altra Instinct who where great. In the Go Bionic, my feet get tired after 2 or 3 hours and the Go Run Ride are not the best shoes for walking 5 or 6 hours...

    So, i have to decide which one of the Go Bionic Ride or the On the Go Rookie i will buy for now. The Rookie is cheap, light and looks well cushionned but i can't find any review of this model?

    Thanks again!

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    1. Hi Ugo, I've only tried the GOseries of running shoes so far and can't really comment on the GO Rookie walking shoe though I have tried the GOwalk. You can check out my review for it here: http://happiefeet.blogspot.com/2012/04/skechers-gowalk.html

      But I can't really verify if it'll be easy on the feet the entire day though. My job, while it has me on my feet quite a bit, it does also entail a fair bit of sitting down unlike what you do which has you on your feet a lot.

      I actually used the GOrun Ride for a 12 hour Walk race event sometime last year and thought it was easy on the feet for walking. But I guess your work has you walking everyday :D

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  4. Hi Nick. I'm looking for a pair of running shoe for my half marathon. Currently I'm wearing GORun for road runs 7km-13km. I'm eyeing on GORun2. Between GRun2 or GORun Ride, which is better for longer distance run? Thanks.

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    1. I would say both shoes are equally capable of sustaining a half marathon but I would recommend the GOrun Ride, feels a little more comfortable for longer runs. The GOrun 2 while an excellent shoe is a little narrow, for me anyway, but would also be capable of running the half. My recommendation wold be the GOrun Ride. Hope that helps with your decision.

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  5. Hi Nick.You write that the gobionic ride has a 4 mm drop, but in the Skechers' site, in the discussions of men's gobionic, their representative writes, that the gobionic ride has zero drop. What's your take?

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    1. That's very strange cos the GObionic Ride is a 4mm drop shoe. I would say it's a more cushioned version of the GObionic. Could be a mistake by the rep.

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    2. That's very strange cos the GObionic Ride is a 4mm drop shoe. I would say it's a more cushioned version of the GObionic. Could be a mistake by the rep.

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    3. I was also surprised by his answer, but here is a link to it:

      http://www.skechers.com/style/53519/skechers-gobionic-prana/ccor

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    4. Not sure if I understood correctly but he mentioned ... ' It features the same great zero drop design' ...which I think he was referring to the overall deign style.

      But all that aside, The GObionic ride is definitely a 4mm drop shoe.

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  6. Hi Nick
    Great Review!
    I am a big fan of Skechers myself. I run my miles in Go Run 2 and Go Run Ride + use Go Run Speed for racing.
    However I am looking for a replacement of the Go Run Rides - they are starting to look quite worn...
    The Go Run Ride 2 (I have heard) is softer than the Ride 1 - so I am not sure this is the best shoe for me. How does the Go Run Ride and Go Bionic Ride compare? Are the Go Bionic Ride wider? Could you maybe compare the sizing? Does the Go Bionic ride run larger in size? I have tried the Go Bionic - and definitely need to go down ½ a size for this. The Go Bionic also seemed to wide for me.
    Thanks :-)

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    1. Hi Lars, I've just got the GOrun Ride 2 for a review from Skechers only two days back so I can't say much just yet but initial take after a 10k run in them is very positive. It's definitely more plush than the original.

      The stack height of the GObionic Ride and the GOrun Ride are different so even though they're both 4mm drop shoes, the GObionic Ride runs closer to the ground but still provides ample cushioning. I love the GObionic itself so the Ride works well for me as a training shoe.

      I wear a US8 for both the GOrun Ride and GObionic Ride so they're pretty much the same in terms of size. The GObionic Ride definitely has a much wider toebox which I love. In fact all my Skechers shoes are US8's save for the GOrun Speed which is half sized up.

      If you're looking to replace your worn GOrun Ride, then the GOrun Ride 2 is my recommendation. Hope that helps.

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  7. Thanks Nick. This is very helpfull! I guess I will go for the Go Run Ride 2 then - but I am still a bit sorry that the Go Run Ride 2 is softer than the original :-/

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