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Skechers GO RUN MaxRoad 4 Hyper Multiple Tester Review

The evolution of shoes is also an interesting thing to watch.  The Skechers GO RUN Max started as the GOrun Ultra.  A uniquely light maximal shoe, the shoe evolved with a knit upper in version 2 that didn't always breath well, but continued to have that lightweight ride that allowed the shoe to double as a long run and tempo shoe.  Version 3 took that further with subtle changes (REVIEW).  A wider fit, stable ride, breathable knit upper and super smooth ride made it a shoe that could tackle any type of run (even long distance races as many readers reached out to tell me).  Now, the long awaited, full Hyper Burst maximalist Skechers shoe has now arrived.  With what seems like inspiration from the design of the original podded outsoles of the OG GOruns, the GO RUN Max Road 4 has been completely redesigned.  Armed with a fantastic knit upper and a full length Hyper Burst sole, the Skechers GO RUN Max Road 4 is a very unique ride that is well worth checking out and talking about.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 8.4 oz
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Highly Cushioned Trainer

HIGHLIGHTS

Matt: Combining flexibility, a responsive sole and tons of cushioning, the Skechers GO RUN Max Road 4 Hyper has the most Hyper Burst of any Skechers shoe thus far.  A unique maximalist lightweight trainer, this is a great shoe for neutral runners looking for light cushioning.  A full length Hyper Burst midsole featuring tons of the material at an extremely light weight for a maximalist shoe (8.4oz).  This shoe is bouncy, soft and ready to take you on any distance run you want.

David: The Skechers GO RUN MaxRoad 4 Hyper is a lightweight trainer that really shines in the late miles of long runs and during easy efforts.  The shoe is primarily designed for midfoot and forefoot strikers looking for a lot of return from their shoe.  The Hyper Burst foam helps give this max cushion shoe a nice sense of springiness!


Nathan: Skechers is continuing to roll out impressive shoes that are highlighting their Hyper Burst foam. The GO RUN MaxRoad 4 Hyper is a maximal cushioning shoe that weighs in at a remarkable 8.4 oz. One of the few shoes that packs the combination of cushioning and responsiveness, it is an incredibly smooth and floating/bouncy ride for mid to forefoot strikers. The Hyper Burst midsole feels just as good at mile 1 as it does at mile 13. An incredibly comfortable and well-fitting upper tops off a great ride.

FIT
Matt:  The fit of the Max Road 4 Hyper is true to size with a flexible upper that adapts very well to the shape of the foot.  The knit upper is far snugger than the previous version (especially in the heel), but there is still plenty of room throughout the shoe, particularly in the forefoot.  Those with wider feet will enjoy the sock-like fit (one of the few shoes that phrase truly rings true for) while those with narrow feet will need to snug the laces down only a little.  The heel collar does come up higher than most trainers and helps secure the shoe on the foot.  Despite the flexible upper, I have had no slipping issues going around tight corners.  There is a very minimal heel counter that is extremely flexible, but the true security comes from the upper adapting to the foot.  The more the upper is stretched, the more it locks the foot on the platform.   The upper is one of the most comfortable against bare skin that I have experienced.  There are no seams in along the foot and the upper breathes incredibly well.  I did experience some rubbing against the achilles on the posterior heel collar after 14 miles of a 17 mile run, so those taking this shoe longer distances may still want to use socks.



David:
The MaxRoad 4 Hyper is true to size with an upper that hugs the foot very well without excessive rubbing.  The upper is one of the more breathable uppers out there and seems to mold to your foot after a couple runs (the upper feels sock like in nature). With the shoe hugging the foot so well, I did not have any slippage during long runs.  The most room is probably in the forefoot region allowing for some toe splay action during the midstance and terminal stance phases of gait. The upper does seam higher up on the ankle than other trainers, so if one has sensitive skin around their foot and ankle, they may want to wear mid cut socks.

Nathan: This shoe has a great fit and was true to size for me (size 9). The upper is very accommodating, which can be helpful for people with various foot volumes. The upper is very accommodating over the top of the foot and becomes more firm as it spans medially and laterally (zoned areas of stiffness), which kept the midfoot secure during straight running. Even though there aren't any extra eyelets for lacing options, the shoe holds the foot well and I did not have any slipping of my heel. The collar around the heel did rub a bit if I didn't wear 1/4 length socks, but was fine if I had those socks on.

RIDE

Matt: The amount of Hyper Burst in the sole creates a very unique ride.  Bouncy and soft are the first two words that come to mind.  In fact, this may be one of the softest shoes I have ever tried.  There is a ton of Hyper Burst midsole in the Max Road 4 Hyper that creates a VERY soft, bouncy and protective ride.  The sole is plenty responsive and smooth thanks to the midsole, M-Strike in the midfoot, the forefoot flexibility and heel bevel.  The flexibility and soft ride create a floating sensation along hard surfaces.  This is the most flexible maximalist shoe I have ever tried.  The flex grooves in the forefoot and remainder of the sole are very deep and provide a very smooth and natural ride despite all the cushioning.  The sole overall is very flexible in almost all directions thanks to the podular outsole.  This creates a very smooth ride from the midfoot forward.  At the heel, the bevel is almost too steep, causing a bit of a jarring ride when landing farther back.  With the M-Strike tech continuing on, combined with the steep heel bevel, the ride continues to emphasize more of a forward landing.

David:
This is a shoe that lives for easier long efforts on the road or relatively flat surfaces.  The Hyper Burst midsole gives some responsiveness to the shoe for being so highly cushioned, but does not translate all that well to faster paces.  When taken to the track I was able to get them up to 5 minute pace but it didn't feel like a shoe I would want to be pushing the pace in too hard.  However, warm ups, cool downs, and long runs feel great in this shoe!  The M Strike technology does help with the ankle and forefoot rocker portions of gait which feels nice when one begins to get fatigued and the shoe helps you out a little.  I can see this shoe being less than ideal for those who are heel strikers, just because the springiness of the Hyper Burst foam may push backwards or upwards a little instead of forward. Despite this, midfoot/forefoot striking patterns flow like butter at comfortable paces in this shoe and 8 miles into running I forget they are on my feet.



Nathan: This was my first experience in the Hyper Burst foam, and I loved it. A max cushioned shoe that only weighs 8.4oz? That's awesome. It feels as light as the specs are and has a great combination of cushion and responsiveness. When landing on my mid/forefoot, it has a beautiful ride that give a floating sensation (thanks to the max cushioning) as well as gliding smoothly onto the forefoot given the rocker sole design. However, when landing back on the heel (which is my typical running gait), the position of the apex of the rocker sole makes landing a bit harsh and then becomes a clunky transition to the forefoot. I'm going to give a bit more information about this in the "Thoughts as DPT" section.

STABILITY

Matt: The GO RUN Max Road 4 is not as stable as previous thanks to the drastic increase in cushioning and softeness.  The outsole last is now narrower and better suited to runners with very neutral strides.  The extra softeness does come at a price of stability but is wonderful on beat up legs.  The forefoot is the most stable part of the shoe thanks to the maintenance of the wider design.  However this is one of the most flexible maximalist shoes I have experienced to date and that includes laterally as well.  The flex grooves are multi planar, so will allow motion where ever you want it.  So for those with stability needs, you may want to wait for the Skechers Forza to be updated with Hyper Burst.

David: Any time there is a shoe with this much cushioning you are bound to lose some stability from the shoe.  As a neutral shoe, there are no stability features on this model formally, but the upper hugging the foot really well does provide some stability in that the runner has proprioceptive awareness of where the shoe is since it feels like a continuation of their foot.  With the high walls and very plush landing, this shoe does have a hard time with turns.  If one is running and turning on roads, they should be fine... however sharp turns and trails may be a no go.  I have felt my foot translate laterally and/or medially on harder turns at normal running paces. This shoe is true to its name as a MaxRoad trainer. The outsole has a little wider of a landing space than some of the other neutral shoes which adds a little stability to the shoe as well.



Nathan: This is a neutral shoe that does not carry any special stability mechanism.  Additionally, I found the higher stack height of the max cushioning, the accommodating uper, and the flexible pod outsole to be quite unstable when turning or when on uneven surfaces. There is a slightly wider forefoot platform which is beneficial for stability during takeoff, but even during turns on roads at moderate paces I felt the need for my peroneal muscles (lateral stabilizers) to kick in to prevent rolling of the ankle. The high cushioning also prevented me from feeling changes in the ground surface when on mild trails. Best to keep these guys on the road (which is what they are made for).


SPEED


Matt: The Skechers GO RUN Max Road 4 Hyper works best for easy runs, long runs and uptempo runs.  The incredibly amount of cushioning is fantastic for beat up legs or keeping yourself going as the miles pile on.  The decrease in stability and extra plushness does take away from the speed of the shoe, despite the lighter weight.  For those with neutral mechanics and smooth strides, this will definitely be a shoe you could use for uptempo runs.  Many will find that this makes a great ultramarthon or marathon racer if you need extra cushioning.  Going long and steady are the key features of this shoe, and I would not try anything faster in them. 

David: Despite having the Hyper Burst midsole to help with responsiveness, this shoe is at its best at easier efforts during long runs, warm ups, cool downs, and easy days.  The high cushioning with a touch of responsiveness feels nice going for a "stroll" type of run.  I was able to get the shoe up to some faster paces when forcing it, but this is not a shoe I would want to do workouts in (unless they are long marathon/ultra type of road efforts).

Nathan: This shoe did so well at casual speeds both at mile 1 and mile 12. The Hyper Burst foam did not lose any responsiveness over those distances. This shoe could easily carry someone through a marathon or even more at casual to moderate paces. The beauty of this shoe is that the weight allows you to pick up the pace for some tempo workouts and fartlek runs without a problem as well. Given the instability with turns as I talked about earlier, I'd keep these away from track workouts.


DURABILITY

Matt: Hyper Burst is a very durable material when it comes to maintaining ride quality.  When being subject to outsole wear and tear, that is a different story.  As usual, I am wearing through the posterior lateral section of the shoe and thankfully there is a decent amount of rubber on the pods.  However, the exposed sections of Hyper Burst are already taking a beating.  That may be due to the fact that I have been using this shoe on rocky trails, which will definitely do a number on this sole.  This is primarily a road shoe that can do well on soft dirt trails.  The outsole is not meant for aggressive trails and that will affect durability.  The upper as always has continued to remain durable and snug.  There are no signs of wear up top.  Down below I might suggest a little more outsole coverage to protect that exposed Hyper Burst.  For those that stick to the road and are light are your feet, the GO RUN Max Road 4 should last you far beyond the typical 300-500 miles.  If you are hard on shoes, know you might start tearing into the sole at 200-300 miles.  Regardless of how hard you land, you will have the same ride, softness and bounce throughout the life of the shoe.
David's Outsole
David: My main concern with durability is the outsole.  The outsole does show some wear after 50 miles of running since the durable rubber pieces are on the smaller side and over specific contact points.  The max cushioning does give some contact to the Hyper Burst in between these durable rubber pods, which may lead to breakdown further down the road.  If this shoe is used as a supplement for easy days and long runs it will work just fine, it just may have some difficulty with living up to daily trainer requirements for high mileage. For being knit, the upper is very durable and should not have any problems.  The Hyper Burst foam has held up well over mileage and will continue giving you the spring like sensation.

Nathan's Outsole
Nathan: So far so good. Some slight wear on the outsole, but I took it on a lot of roads as well as some mild trails and crushed gravel. Given that there is a smaller surface area of the outsole with the pod design, it's possible the outsole might break down quicker, but that is yet to be seen. The foam is holding up extremely well and continues to be responsive. No signs of deadening or mushiness here. I expect the ride to maintain a strong feel for a long time with the Hyper Burst.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

I am impressed with the amount of flexibility that this maximalist shoe has.  From heel to forefoot the sole will move where ever you want it to.  While I appreciate that and believe many others will, a ton of flexibility in the rearfoot is not optimal for stability.  There are only a few joints in the rearfoot, with the subtalar joint being the primary one in the foot and the talocrural joint in the ankle.  The talonavicular, calcaneal cuboid and other joints farther forward are midfoot joints.  The talocrural joint is primarily responsible for ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion.  The subtalar joint is primarily involved with rearfoot inversion and eversion.  The subtalar joint is what many may consider the primary articulation of the rearfoot (as the talocrural joint is an ankle joint) and the primary motion is not in the sagittal (front to back) plane.  So instead of having flex grooves in the sagittal plane and since this is usually an area that needs to be a little stability, I might suggest that Skechers fill in the rearfoot of the Max Road 4, use some extra outsole rubber for durability and even extend the heel bevel a little farther forward (so it is not as aggressive, more from Nathan on that).  I must admit that the articulations do a fantastic job of creating a smooth natural ride, something that is often missed with maximalist shoes.  This is due to the fact that with a thicker midsole, flexibility is generally lost.  This can be compensated to a point with a rocker sole to maintain forward motion, but will may feel artificial to some people (and can be a lifesaver for others who do not have or lost mobility in certain parts of the foot).  So I applaud the flexibility, but a little moderation may go a long way to create a little more stable ride.

-Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT


I wanted to dig into how the rocker sole and heel bevel played into the rough landing for heel strikers like myself. When we contact our running surface, there are going to be a number of forces that begin to act upon our body from the ground. Cumulatively this is called the ground reaction force (GRF). This force is typically directed up towards our head and slightly backwards (more backwards for those of us for heel strike). Given that the GRF is a diagonal, that means that there is a vertical and horizontal component. The vertical component is the effect of our mass as well as the acceleration of our body back towards the ground. The horizontal component is related to the friction force that prevents our foot from slipping (which points backwards towards our heel). Because of the rocker sole and heel bevel that spans closer to the midsole, there is not only a friction force acting posteriorly, but the bevel acts as a buttress that adds additional horizontal force posteriorly. A higher  posterior horizontal force leads to slightly higher deceleration of the runner than typical. If you land back on the heel, you might feel this. However, if you land far enough forward, the rocker sole actually helps mitigate the posterior horizontal force and makes it a very smooth transition to toe off.

-Nathan Brown PT, DPT, MS


As a Doctor of Physical Therapy I believe this is a shoe for those who have good ankle stability and are looking for a shoe to supplement with for long and easy efforts.  As stated earlier, higher amounts of cushioning will cause the shoe to lose some of its stability.  This places higher demands on the fibular musculature and on the tibialis posterior muscle to provide lateral and medial stability throughout all stance phases of the gait cycle.  These muscles act as a stirrup for keeping your ankle ankle stable when performing dynamic activities.  For runners who possess good ankle stability and are forefoot/midfoot strikers, this is an excellent option for long runs and easy efforts on roads.  One can accomplish daily training in it, though long term durability may be of concern for this shoe if someone is doing higher mileage.

- David Salas PT, DPT, CSCS

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Matt: The use of Hyper Burst cushioning in this shoe is fantastic.  The amount of flexibility is incredible, but I would suggest keeping the wider sole design of the previous versions as this version is drastically less stable with the narrower sole.  I might also increasing the size of the pods to improve ground contact for stability, but on a side note those pods dig into soft dirt really well.  I since extra flexibility in the heel may not be necessary, I would consider connecting the pods into a full ground contact outsole in the rear portion to increase stability as mentioned previously.  This is one of the first times I have suggested this, but the heel bevel might be too aggressive.  As Nathan discussed above (and below), this may help smooth out the ride for heel strikers as there can be too much of a good thing.

David: I believe Skechers did a great job with creating a neutral shoe that checks off both max cushioning and responsiveness into one shoe (that is a very hard thing to do).  My recommendations for this shoe are fairly minimal.  I would like to see an outsole with more of a full contact platform or at least a more durable hard rubber outsole if the pod design is continued. One change I would be really interested in seeing (though this is more experimental) would be shifting the M strike technology a hair more posterior.  In doing so I wonder if this would still give spring for mid and forefoot runners, and assist with the heel rocker moment for heel strikers. Otherwise it is a great shoe for easy efforts!

Nathan: The rocker sole is the one area I would love to see adjusted slightly to accommodate more gait patterns. It may be a hallmark of this shoe, but seeing the heel bevel become slightly less aggressive would make it more versatile and smoother of a ride for heel strikers without changing the ride for mid and forefoot strikers.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)


Matt: The Skechers GO RUN Max Road 4 Hyper is a lightweight maximalist shoe best for those with very neutral gait or high ankle stability looking for a great long run, recovery run or ultra marathon shoe primarily on the road.  The smooth ride, lightweight and high level of cushioning are great for longer miles.  The upper will fit a variety of foot types, but those that need a little more room will be happy with the lock down and flexibility of the upper.

David: The Skechers GO RUN MaxRoad 4 Hyper is a lightweight neutral trainer for those who possess good ankle stability and run with a midfoot/forefoot striking gait pattern. It is excellent for easy efforts and long runs! I have some concerns with long term durability as a daily trainer, but this can be an awesome supplement shoe if it is in a rotation.

Nathan: The GO RUN Max Road 4 Hyper is a beautifully lightweight neutral trainer for mid and forefoot strikers who want a smooth and floating ride. It will carry you through short and long runs with the ability to pick up the pace given how crazy light it is for a maximally cushioned shoe.

GRADING
Matt
Fit                     9.5/10 (-0.5 for mild rubbing on achilles)
Ride                  9/10 (-1 for steep heel bevel, but high marks for great forefoot flexibility)
Stability            6/10 (-4 for instability, high stack height, narrow sole, excessive flexibility in heel)
Speed                8/10 (-2 for loss of speed due to instability and softness)
Durability         8.5/10 (-1.5 for outsole wear, but high marks for maintenance of ride)

David
Fit                     9.5/10 (great fit, upper does fit high on ankle and may rub on achilles)
Ride                  9.5/10 (-.5 for inability for people outside of mid/forefoot strike to run enjoyably)
Stability            8/10 (- 2 for inability to manage turns at high speeds and sharp turns at normal speed)
Speed                8/10 ( -2 max cushion takes away from the ability to produce speed, weight is good)
Durability        8/10 ( -2 for outsole durability. Hyper Burst is durable and won't degrade)

Nathan
Fit                     9.5/10 (-0.5 for rubbing of sock collar)
Ride                  8/10 (-2 for clunkiness for heel strike, high marks for responsiveness/cushion)
Stability            6.75/10 (-3.25 for combination of high stack height with mobile upper on turns)
Speed                8/10 (high marks for light weight for daily trainer that feels light on foot)
Durability         9/10 (-1 for minimal wear on rubber outsole, high marks for durable foam)

Total Score: 83.5% (M: 8.2/10  D: 8.6/10 N: 8.25/10 )

Thanks for reading!

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.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
PhD Candidate APU: Rehabilitation and Movement Science
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Skechers Performance for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 62 miles (Matt), 35 miles (Nathan) and 58 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. 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.

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