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Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish Multiple Tester Review

In an era of high tech racing flats geared toward stack height and plates, there are very few racing flats dedicated to simplicity and incredibly low weight. The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish is geared towards just this. A simple, no nonsense road racing flat for 5k/10k has arrived!


Specifications (per Skechers Performance)
Weight: 5.2 oz (size 9)
Stack Height: 19mm heel, 15mm forefoot
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Road Racing Flat

HIGHLIGHTS

David: The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish shines in several ways. The shoe is incredibly light for a road racing flat, and features the light ULTRAFLIGHT midsole that is also used in the Skechers Speed XCR. The shoe has no plate and has a very uniform weight distribution with a very smooth ride. This is a shoe that goes back to the basics and makes a light, affordable, and legitimate racing flat.

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Horizon Vanish brings the simplicity in fast back to the market. Combining cushioning with super light weight and a breathable and comfortable upper, this is the lightest road shoe we have tested for a long time. The Horizon Vanish is perfect for your next 5k or 10k race and beyond if you are used to this kind of footwear.


FIT

David: The overall fit of the Horizon-Vanish is snug like many racing shoes. The shoe features an incredibly light mono mesh upper that breathes well and holds a little structure. The heel is constructed without a counter, though reinforced with some padding built into the upper. This keeps the heel in one piece without locking your heel in or irritating it. The heel also has a little bit of a retrocurve design that takes pressure off the achilles very nicely. The midfoot is snug, but not overly tight with a little reinforcement built in, holding the midfoot very nicely. The forefoot is the most snug portion of the shoe. Though the length of the shoe is fine, the forefoot may be narrow for some. I am true to size, though it is just shy of being irritating on the great toe. The shoe has a small toe guard that may help with preventing irritation in this region.

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish fits snug and very true to size if not a little short in my normal men's size 10. There is little structure to the upper, which uses a super thin and light mono mesh. However, the laces work very well with the upper and provide good security along with the snug fit. There is no heel counter and instead the rear portion is reinforced with additional padding which is very comfortable against bare skin. The midfoot has a little structure, which again works well with the laces and locks the foot down well. The toebox does taper, particularly on the medial side secondary to a toe bumper to reinforce the front. The upper of the Horizon-Vanish is very comfortable against bare skin. During short runs in them I have had no blisters except for some mild rubbing on the big toe. Using socks and going longer has not caused any issues for me. So those with experience running sockless will likely love this upper.


RIDE

David: The ride of the Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish is very light and quick. The ULTRAFLIGHT midsole is a little more firm than the hyperburst midsole that many have come to love, but the shoe has plenty of it on there to keep some cushioning built in. The 4mm drop coupled with a heel bevel and toe spring similar to the GOrun 7+ makes the ride smooth from nearly every foot strike. The ride is smooth enough for both racing paces and warm up paces. The shoe has surprisingly good grip on road or dirt thanks to the pod design on the outsole. Since this shoe does not have an added plate in it, the weight distribution is more uniform and doesn't influence the landing mechanics as much. The shoe may feel a little less springy/responsive than say the Skechers Speed 6 Hyper, but the light weight and firm midsole make a delightful light shoe to throw down in.

Matt: I have missed running in shoes this light. The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish uses a full length ULTRAFLIGHT midsole with deep flex grooves for flexibility in the right places. The foam is cushioned for its weight and sits in the middle of soft and firm. The 4mm drop is evident, but the forefoot flexibility makes for a very smooth and easy toe off. The heel is beveled, which offsets the slightly posterior flare. Landing at either the forefoot or heel is supper smooth, although there is a mild M-Strike, so landing a little farther forward is more comfortable. Overall, the ride is very smooth and fast, particularly when the pace picks up. 



STABILITY

David: The Horizon-Vanish is surprisingly stable thanks to the firm ULTRAFLIGHT midsole.  The pod design (though unstable in some of the higher stack height hyper models) contributes to the stability in this racing flat by providing some traction and points to pivot from if turning. The upper has reinforcement built into it and holds the foot well. I had no problems with foot translation during turns (one near U turn on the course at 5:00 pace).

Matt: I am very surprised how secure the upper is given how thin it is. The foot is locked down very well and I was not nervous when corning at high speeds. The sole, although a little narrow throughout, is surprisingly stable, which I attribute to the podded design. This is a neutral racing flat, so there are no extra support elements.

SPEED

David: This shoe is a true racing flat in every aspect that really shines over 5k/10k distances. More efficient and experienced runners may be able to take them to half marathon and beyond. The midsole is designed to be light and quick over shorter distances, but there is a good amount of it to cushion the way. This will definitely be one of my go to workout shoes for quicker paces going forward. This could also make a great tempo and fartlek shoe with how smooth it is even at slower paces.

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish is a really fun shoe to run fast in. For most people, this is a great shoe for short intervals, faster and shorter tempo runs and 5k/10k races.  Some people used to super light shoes may find the cushioning enough to take this up to the marathon distance, but I personally would not. The ULTRAFLIGHT has plenty of rebound for a traditional EVA foam and feels great at high speed and easy paces. The Horizon-Vanish is surprisingly versatile as it is fun to run fast in, but has enough cushioning for shorter easy runs. For those looking for minimal shoes to train in, this is a fantastic one that I wish I had back when I was head over heels in the whole barefoot/minimalism running thing.  


DURABILITY

David: At one time I lightly criticized the GOrun 7+ for durability in the outsole, but I praise the Skechers Pod Outsole in the Horizon-Vanish. It is seemingly the same outsole and should last just as much as the performance trainer (200 to 250 miles by my estimate). The ULTRAFLIGHT midsole does not show any signs of wear or changes in the ride yet, and should maintain well as the miles pile on.

Matt:  For a racing flat below $100, the Horizon-Vanish is pretty durable. I am seeing no wear on the upper and barely any wear on the outsole after 27 miles on my pair. Normally I chew through outsoles very quickly on shoes like this, but I expect to get more miles out of these than similar shoes in this weight class.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

David: I appreciate many of the theoretical principles applied to this shoe. The pod design and flex grooves are implemented for promoting forefoot flexibility through toe off phases of gait. The shoe does a good job of implementing this, though does have some difficulty fully captivating this principle. The shoe has a tighter toe box near the metatarsal heads with a toe guard lining the great toe. This adds some rigidity to the shoe in this region when it is supposed to be flexible. If one does not have 60 degrees of great toe extension, this shoe could give a little bit of a pinching feeling when pushing off through toe off portions of gait (I barely have 60... so I notice it a little). Because there are no plates or shanks in this shoe to help smoothen the ride out if someone is hypomobile in this region, great toe extension is important to have to ensure smooth toe off.

RECOMMENDATIONS 

David: I really like the Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish, though I do have some recommendations. The shoe is incredibly light, but if it truly is geared toward high performance 5k/10k, I think the midsole height could be lowered a little bit. There really isn't any wasted space anywhere in this shoe and a slight weight drop further would further establish the shoes category and separate it from the Speed 6 hyper as another shorter distance racer from Skechers. I would also like to see the toe box widened slightly to take pressure of the medial and lateral sides of the toes.

Matt: I am very impressed they got this shoe so light with this much ULTRAFLIGHT. This reminds me of the GOrun 5, but more stable and far lighter. The only thing I would recommend would be to see if that toe box could be widened, particularly on the medial side. If there is a different way to reinforce that toebox, that might get rid of some of the pressure and light rubbing up front!


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

David: The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish is for the road racer that doesn't care for bells or whistles in their shoes and just wants a light and snappy racing flat to throw down in. The shoe is built with a very similar 4mm drop and heel bevel as the GOrun7+ and also features a nice balanced ride no matter where one lands. This makes the shoe smooth at all paces and could be a great workout/race companion for a very long time.

Matt:  The Skechers GOrun Horizon-Vanish is a super light and affordable 5k/10k road racer for those who want a simple, effective and fast shoe. Featuring a versatile sole that should fit those looking to run fast and those looking for a minimal trainer and a very comfortable and snug fitting upper (minus the mild toe box taper). This shoe is definitely worth a try for a reminder of how effective simple can be.

GRADING

David

Fit                     8.5/10 (-1.5 for narrow toe box that could be irritating)
Ride                  9.25/10 (very smooth at all paces, -.75 for some pinching in great toe region)
Stability            9.5/10 (stable for racing flat, stack height could be lowered for more ground feel)
Speed                9.5/10 (very fast, though could be made even lighter with removing some midsole)
Durability         10/10 (durability of a performance or daily trainer)

Matt

Fit                     8.5/10 (Very comfortable snug upper. -1.5 for toebox taper and toe guard)
Ride                  9/10 (Smooth ride at a variety of paces)
Stability            8.5/10 (Decent stability for a racing flat)
Speed                9.5/10 (Super fast for amount of cushioning)
Durability         10/10 (High durability for such a light racing flat)

Total Score: (%) D: 93.5% M: 91%

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 5k, 31L36 10k, 1:11:11 half marathon and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt


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
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics
***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 12 miles (David) and 27 miles (Matt) 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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