Sunday, February 18, 2018

Skechers GOrun 6 Review

This review comes from a combination of Chris Park, a fellow shoe geek and contributor to Doctors of Running and myself, Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT. I had the pleasure of receiving this shoe early from Skechers Performance while Chris came upon it later. We both have unique thoughts on the shoe and are excited to share them.

Chris - Don't judge a shoe by its brand. While hundreds of people have preconceived notions about the Skechers brand, I ask that you keep an open mind with these reviews, for you might be surprised. The Skechers GOrun Ride 7s are my favorite and current daily trainer. Since its release, I have logged hundreds of miles of slow long runs and fast track workouts. Recently, Skechers released another of their new line, the GOrun 6. Toted as a ligthweight, cushioned neutral running shoe, the GR6 are designed for speed and comfort in an "all in one package".

Dr. Klein - I loved the GOrun 5 as a performance shoe that I used for many fartlek and interval sessions. It was the kind of shoe that asked for speed. The problem was that it was very similar in function to the Razor, which was confusing. I was very surprised to see the update with version 6. This shoe reminds me what I wanted during my minimal running days. A lightweight flexible upper and a low drop sole is something that I would have loved at that time. Now my tastes are a bit different, but I appreciate what Skechers has done with this shoe. It has several different personalities, so let's talk about them.


Specs:
Weight: 7.2 oz (size 9)
Drop: 4mm (20mm/16mm)
Classification: Lightweight Trainer

Chris - According to Skechers, the GR6 is the "latest generation in the Skechers GOrun series
of lightweight, cushioned neutral running shoes." Like the Vazee Pace 2s I reviewed
previously (REVIEW), the GR6 is marketed as the "jack of all trades" because of its lightweight,
responsive construction while still having enough cushion to be a daily trainer.


Ride/Sole/Drop:

Chris - As previously mentioned, the GR6 is marketed as a lightweight, daily trainer with
the needed cushioning to run a marathon but enough responsiveness for 200m repeats.
This is largely due to Skechers new FLIGHT GEN midsole which delivers a great responsive,
snappy ride. Skechers has been implementing FLIGHT GEN in many of their recent shoes,
and I can definitely say that I’m a huge fan of it. Despite the incorporation of FLIGHT GEN in numerous models, each model provides a completely different feel. Whereas the Ride 7s provide a softer, plusher ride, I would say that the GR6 offers a firmer, lower to the ground midsole.
It reminded me of a more responsive, comfortable, and lower to the ground Zante.



As I mentioned in my review of the New Balance Vazee Pace v2s, it was hard to fit those
shoes into a particular niche. While they were great shoes, the Pace v2s felt more like a
lightweight trainer than a racer. Unfortunately, this made the entire line quite confusing
because there were other models – from New Balance themselves – that offered more
versatility.  The GR6, however, I believe is the perfect blend between the Ride 7,
which is a cushioned, “long run” trainer and Razor 2, the perfect racing flat for a marathon.
It has the needed responsiveness and better ground feel in a lighter package to distinguish
it from the Ride 7s, but also the needed cushioning and comfort in a slightly heavier
package to separate it from the Razor 2s.  


Although I prefer a 6mm drop in most shoes, I was still a fan of the 4mm drop. The offset
helped the shoes feel more like a racer and distinguish it from the GoRun Ride 7s. A lower
drop encourages greater toe off and midfoot strike, hence why lighter racing flats feature little
to no drop.



Dr. Klein - Having tested the entire range of the new Skechers line, I have begun to appreciate
the many forms of FLIGHT GEN. The GOrun 6 is definitely a more minimal and slightly
firmer demonstration of this midsole. The shoe runs somewhat close to the ground, which
makes sense that it would be a bit firmer. It is not bone crushing firm and the FLIGHT GEN
adds some bounce for sure, but it is firmer than the GOrun 5. The nice thing about
Skechers is that their soles are very consistent. The same material and design is utilized
throughout the midsole, so expect to have similar riding features no matter where you land.
Like the previous version, gone is the M strike. The sole has a smoother ride and has full
ground contact. This contributes to better grip and a slightly more stable sole. The chevron
pattern on the outsole does add some mild grip to the road as well as awesome flexibility
throughout. This shoe is definitely the moderate minimalist's dream.

The sole appears to be slightly wider than the previous version. This makes the shoe
a little more stable and would have set it up to be a great uptempo shoe (which again would
have made the difference between the Razor and GOrun confusing), however the flexibility
of the upper defeats this a bit (read on below).




Fit/Feel:

Chris - The GR6 features a compression knit upper and molded heel counter.
While I am a huge fan of the sole/ride, the GR6 is not without faults. Don’t get me
wrong, initially I was a huge fan of the Compression Knit Upper. Right out of the box,
it felt extremely soft and almost supple to the touch. Unfortunately, this was the source of
my problems. Most uppers feature some sort of mechanism for lock down and support.
With the GR6s, however, I found that the upper had no sort of heel, midfoot, or forefoot
lockdown. Despite tying the laces as tight as I could, my foot was not stable (I believe this
is partly due to the upper and lace hole construction).

The Compression Knit Upper reminded me of the Adidas Energy Boost 3. It was extremely
stretchy. Almost too stretchy. While comfortable, I found that the stretch compromised some
mid/forefoot support. Again. This is all subjective. There were many people who were
absolutely thrilled with this breathable, knit upper. I, however, did not find it to pair well
with the responsive, snappy midsole. I found that my heel slipped out with the slightest tug
on the back. *I have fairly narrow feet and prefer a tight fit around my foot when running.
If you prefer or do not mind a looser fit, the fit may not bother you.



Despite the presence of a molded heel counter, I did not notice much of a difference in
comparison to similar knitted shoes (Nike Flyknit) with a knit heel counter. I want to
emphasize that these shoes were not uncomfortable by any means. I just found
them to be a little too loose around the heel and midfoot for a tempo/faster shoe. As I
mentioned, during some faster tempos, I was worried that my heels would slip out of the
shoe. **I am a huge fan of the upper on the Ride 7. While it is also knit, I found the upper to
provide far better lock down and heel support.

Dr. Klein - While the upper is incredibly comfortable and fits like a sock against the skin, it
is too flexible for faster running. I actually like the GOrun 6 better as a casual shoe than as
a running shoe to be honest for this reason. I used the GOrun 6 as a minimal trainer for foot
strengthening, but did not do much faster running other than one workouts and many strides.
There is not enough hold on the foot to handle changes in speed or quick turns. Turning in this
shoe would have my foot sliding off the platform. There are no additional mechanisms for
lockdown in the upper. It is stretchy throughout even with a very mild heel counter, which is
mostly just increased density of the knit upper.



I do understand what Skechers Performance was trying to do with the upper. The
"Compression Knit Upper" is designed to fit closely to the skin and try to hold the foot.
While this works great with low speed activities, it does not suffice for high speed or turning
movements. That being said, the upper is incredibly comfortable against bare skin and I have
been able to wear these sockless both for short easy runs as well as casually (they have some
cool colorways out there). There are points of increased density in the upper in an attempt
to hold the foot in certain places, but I do not feel like it is enough to provide a really
secure fit.

This shoe does fit very trued to size and I would stick with your normal size. The GOrun 6
runs a bit snug due to the stretchy upper If you find them a bit too snug, you can easily take
out the sockliner and that should give you more room. I actuallyprefer running without the
sockliner as I get a little better proprioceptive feedback (since I mostly use this shoe as a
short run shoe for foot strengthening).


Notice the laces integrated into the upper. This does a great job of snugging the upper
down but does not add additional lock down or security for the foot.


Thoughts as a DPT

Dr. Klein - Again I appreciate the more anatomic shape of the upper and the flexibility for
toe splay. However, balance is key here. The upper of a shoe needs to help secure the foot
to the platform (sole) while not being too restrictive. The amount of flexibility in the correct
areas is key to helping the foot move the way it is supposed to without having it fly out of
the shoe. In the case of the GOrun 6, the entire upper is flexible. Some people will love this.
Personally, I have found this makes faster running very difficult as there is little to no
foot lock down or security.  A key area the foot needs to be able to move at are the
toes, especially medial and laterally for toe splay.  Most of the rest of the foot, particularly
the midfoot, can be locked down decently.  Of course if one has sensitive calcani (where the
achilles inserts) then flexibility is great back there too.  However, having a locked in heel is
great to prevent heel slippage, something I felt was going to happen every time I tried to pick
up the pace in the GOrun 6 (although it never actually happened to be fair).

Skechers did attempt to change the densities of the upper to match where they wanted flexibility.  However I do not think it was enough to provide a secure fit. Somehow though you have to keep that foot locked down.  I highly suggest Skechers simply further increase the density of weave in the midfoot and heel to hold the foot down better.  Decreased security of the upper may lead to other methods of the body trying to keep the shoe on, with toe clenching (flexion) being the most common one I see.  This is very common in people who wear flip flops a great deal.  The toes curl and you over utilize the long flexors of the foot to try to keep those on.  Then people wonder why their feet hurt after walking all day doing that. Regardless, improved foot lock down in this shoe could help decrease some of those compensations (although people toe clench for many other reasons, but that is a post for another day).


Weight/Durability:

Chris - On Runningwarehouse.com, the GR6 is listed at 7.2 ounces in a size 9 US. This is the
perfect weight range for a shoe in this category. Not too light, but also not too heavy. It helps
distinguish the shoe from other models and fits into a larger niche: lightweight, daily trainer.
The outsole features Skechers’ Parametric Web Outsole which provides great traction on trails,
tartan, and asphalt. These are definitely durable shoes. While I’m not too sure how the upper
will hold up, if the GR6 midsole is anything like the Ride 7s, I expect the FLIGHT FOAM to
last well over 300 miles.



Dr. Klein - The GOrun 6 is light. As Chris mentioned, it is listed at 7.2 oz. Definitely
one of those very lightweight/minimal trainers. I'm sure some people could get away with
racing in this shoe as it is light enough. I personally would want something far more secure for
racing.
Durability is fairly average, especially for a ligthtweight trainer. I would not expect more
than 250-300 miles out of these but my pair have handled both running and casual wear
quite well. The midsole does last due to the FLIGHT FOAM but the outsole is wearing at a
fairly average rate.




Conclusion and Room for Improvement:

Chris - This shoe has a ton of potential. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the upper
lockdown, I love the responsive FLIGHT FOAM midsole. In future models, I’d like to see
a change in the upper design. I think I understand where Skechers was going, but I didn’t
really work for me. The soft upper made it felt more like a casual, walking shoe more than
a performance running shoe. I would recommend these for anything up to the marathon
distance and for anyone looking for a lightweight, versatile trainer. They will definitely
handle any workout or long run without beating up your legs. I appreciate what Skechers
did with their incorporation of the GR6 in their full lineup. It is now a very different and
unique shoe from the Razor 2.

Dr. Klein - I love this shoe as a casual shoe. The upper is so comfortable against bare
skin and actually looks decent. As a running shoe, the upper is not secure enough for
uptempo work (the Razor 2 definitely shines there) and there is not enough sole for me to
use as a daily trainer. Thus the GOrun 6 fits perfectly as a very lightweight or minimal
running shoe. Those that like minimal running shoes (and are still holding on to barefoot
running extremes) will love this shoe as a balance between cushioning and minimal feel.
This shoe is now VERY different from the Razor, so there should not be major confusion
between the two anymore. I do hope that Skechers does lock down the foot a little better
in the GOrun 7. The GOrun Ride 7 has a great example of this where the mesh is stretchy
but there are aspects of the upper that still hold the foot well. So it can be done.

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.


Currently Chris has 25 miles on his pair of GOrun 6s and I have 143 on mine. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Chris Park 

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Kaiser LAMC Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased by Chris Park for their full US retail price.  Skechers Performance provided my pair to me free of charge in exchange for a review.  This did not change the honesty of these reviews.  

References

Neumann, D. (2012).  Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation - Second Edition.  St. Louis, MI: Mosby Elsevier
Noakes, T. (2003). Lore of Running - Fourth Edition. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics
Perry, J. (1992). Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function. Thorafare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated.

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5 comments:

  1. Why do you prefer 6mm drop to 4mm. Isn't it the lower th3 drop the better is for preventing heel strikes injuries etc?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello.

      I prefer the higher drop personally to not overload the calves. This is HIGHLY individual. Just like your comment. There is ABSOLUTELY NO consensus on the best footstrike. That has been established for many years. Heel striking has its own set of issues (knee loading) and forefoot striking has its own problems (excessive loading of the achilles tendon, metatarsal bones, etc).

      The drop that people can handle will depend on their ankle mobility and calve flexibility. Since I don't have the greatest flexibility of my left calf, I prefer a little bit more drop. HOWEVER the GOrun 6 has a soft enough sole that it will compress and create anywhere from a 0mm to 6mm drop depending on where you land (if you land on the posterior section, the midsole will compress creating a lower drop).

      Drop is dynamic. Not static.

      Dr. Matthew Klein PT DPT
      Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

      Delete
  2. I see thanks for your reply

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great review, as always.
    The GORun 4 (sans insole) is most probably my favourite daily workhorse, I ran through 3 pairs, about 600k each. The combination of lowish drop (4mm w/o insole), wide toebox (I have wide fore feet), and comfortable upper was pretty unique. Now I'm in the market to getting another daily trainer, and as always, looked what Matt is riding these days ;)

    Long story short: Which of the new Skechers do you recommend for daily running? My workouts are done in Streak 6, and Elite 9, and I rotate Altra Escalante (once a week because 0mm, and unfortunately quite an unstable ride because too plush) with GORun 4 for my daily miles. I run about 60-70k a week. I'm a bit reluctant because of the upper, but as I said, I won't be using them for workouts, only easy miles.
    Looking forward to hearing from you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey phl0w.

      I think you would really like the GOmeb Razor 2. Based on the lighter shoes you like. The upper is FAR more secure than the GOrun 6. Faster sole too.

      Hope that helps!

      Dr. Matthew Klein PT DPT

      Delete