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Skechers GOrun Forza 4 Multiple Tester Review


   Matt: The Skecher GOrun Forza is one of the few lightweight light stability trainers (still) on the market. Version 4 has been a long time coming and features a complete redesign. As the last shoe to get the HYPER treatment, I (Matt) have been excited to test this shoe. I have run in every version of this shoe and it has gotten better ever single time. Version 4 keeps this trend, providing a stable, lightweight, slightly firmer and more responsive ride. Although not as soft as other HYPER shoes, the GOrun Forza 4 provides a unique ride in the current market and is well worth looking into if you need a little stability.



Specifications (per Skechers)
Weight: 9.0 oz men's size 9, 7.1 oz women's size 7
Stack Height: not provided
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Light Stability Lightweight Trainer

HIGHLIGHTS


Matt: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 HYPER returns after a complete redesign as still the top lightweight light stability trainer. A duel density midsole with ULTRA FLIGHT and HYPER provide full length medial support with a responsive ride. The new mesh and polyester upper provides a normal to snug fit, providing a secure lock down of the foot. A gently rockered sole combined with a lighter weight and HYPER sole provides plenty of firmer protection and responsiveness for easy, long and uptempo miles.

David: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 HYPER is a lightweight stability trainer designed for medial support and quick and snappy ride. The Forza utilizes a dual midsole design with their HYPER BURST midsole on the lateral portion of the shoe and the ULTRAFLIGHT midsole acting as medial support with increased density foam. The shoe uses GOODYEAR outsole with full contact and decent depth, providing a highly durable trainer for many miles.

Nathan: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 HYPER is a major update to previous versions that includes the use of HYPERBURST and also the use of another high quality foam of ULTRAFLIGHT to create a light weight, dual density support shoe. One of few shoes on the market that sport full length dynamic stability, this is a unique shoe option for those in the market for a lighter weight shoe that has a good amount of stability built in. 



FIT


Matt: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 fits me true to size in my normal size 10 mens. The upper has been redone with a new polyester and mesh upper. The new upper is much more supportive and structured compared to the previous version. The thicker mesh locks in the foot very well and I have not had any sliding issues when turning. There is a heel counter in the rearfoot of the shoe, although it is somewhat flexible and has not caused me any issues. The heel does fit a little wider, however I have not had any slippage issues. The midfoot fits fairly normal, with just a little more snug fit through the forefoot. The forefoot is not narrow, but there is a little taper that is more evident with the sturdy mesh. The upper did take a few runs to break in, but I have not had any issues even up to 15 mile long runs in the shoe.

David: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 fits true to size and has one of the better fits out there. Overall it fits normally with a good hold throughout. There is a light heel counter that hugs the heel nicely without being overwhelming in any way and has held very nicely through turns and varying terrains. The midfoot is held well with the thicker mesh upper and is not overly narrow or wide. The forefoot is of normal width with a light toe guard. I had a little bit of rubbing in lateral forefoot because of this, but overall nothing problematic. The upper is a mesh and polyester hybrid that is a little thicker, more supportive, but ultimately still breathes well and does not hold much moisture or sweat. Overall an impressive fit and upper!

Nathan: The Forza 4 is certainly true to size. For those who have ran in other Skechers shoes, it is most similar to the Ride 8 HYPER, with just a bit less accommodation in the forefoot due to the thicker upper. Speaking of the upper, there are some pros and cons. First, it is very supportive and locks down the heel really well, even when picking up the pace. The lacing and laces is dialed in and I did not have to do any special lacing techniques. However, it is definitely on the thicker end. For me living in Wisconsin, this was great for the colder weather I was running in them with, but even as we hit some mild temperatures here, I noticed warmth building up during my runs. Overall this is a great upper, but the thicker and less accommodating nature may make it less suitable with someone with a high volume foot.

RIDE


Matt: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 features a 6 mm drop and the most evident use of M-Strike I have felt in a while. For those that don't know, M-Strike is essentially a rockered design with a little more biased toward the posterior midfoot. This involves a decent heel bevel and a more gradual toe spring. Walking in the Forza 4, like many older Skechers models, is a little awkward. However, once you start running that sensation leaves. The combination of ULTRA FLIGHT and HYPER provide a firmer midsole that other Skechers HYPER offerings, which add to a sense of stability. The ULTRA FLIGHT posting is smooth and integrated very well into the sole. The heel bevel makes for comfortable landings in the rear and the wider forefoot makes for a smooth toe off. The Forza 4 is lower drop, but not so low that my Achilles starts talking to me. The toe off is also smooth thanks to some decent flex groves in the forefoot. The heel is smooth thanks to the bevel and M-Strike. Really posterior heel strikes are a bit awkward and the design naturally moves your contact point a farther forward.

David: The Forza 4 utilizes the normal M strike technology that has been seen in Skechers in previous models. Combined with the dual density midsole this becomes very prominent. It may come as a little clunky at first but overall smooths out. The shoe has a heel bevel design with it geared slightly to the lateral heel where most people land to smooth out the landing. Overall the heel mechanics are nice, but the M strike may be positioned a little far back (giving a little push back at slower paces). The posting is very stable and firm, and potentially almost too much so. Thankfully the ULTRAFLIGHT has softened a little with breaking it in. To be fair I usually don't need a lot of stability, but the posting kept my wear pattern and striking very lateral (outside of the foot). At quicker daily paces or light tempo paces the shoe feels much nicer thanks to the toe spring and hyperburst midsole that gives the shoe some pop. I am thinking if they kept the dual midsole design, but had maybe a 1/4 layer of hyper on the medial side with the ULTRAFLIGHT, that may soften that really firm medial side a little and make a much smoother stable landing. The 6mm drop of the shoe feels about right and should for a large variety of runners.

Nathan: The Forza 4 has a very unique ride. Yes, it's a 6mm drop and utilizes the M strike technology, so it has some similarities to other trainers in the Skechers line, but there are many things that make it unique. First, the M strike is really prominent, partially because they beveled the heel laterally for heel strikers (where most heel strikers land). For running, this is a great thing and really smooths out the landing for this shoe...so big plus for a smooth landing here. But when walking, the M strike and lateral bevel make it a bit awkward to walk in. So for those who are looking for a stability shoe to do some walk/runs in, or just to double as a walking shoe, this may not be the best option. Back to running, though. Moving forward, I was really excited about this shoe having HYPERBURST in it. However, as we've learned in the past, the amount of HYPERBURST really changes its ride and responsiveness. In this case, the relatively high stack, full contact outsole, and then the integration of ULTRAFLIGHT, makes for a quite firm ride with a less of the magical bounce I've come to love in HYPERBURST. I'll talk more about ULTRAFLIGHT and the stability mechanisms later, but I appreciated that although it is a full length stability mechanism, it is not overbearing on the foot (very similar case with the Arahi 3 that I tested). Toe off is smooth thanks to the flex grooves. Overall, you'll find a more firm and rigid ride in these.

STABILITY


Matt: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 features a full length medial section of ULTRA FLIGHT to provide a firmer foam compared to the lateral full length HYPER midsole. This creates stability throughout the length of the shoe while still providing a moderately responsive ride. The HYPER foam appears to be firmer in the Forza compared to other HYPER shoes, but that may be the contrast of the ULTRA FLIGHT. Regardless, this is a firmer and very stable shoe. It isn't the kind of shoe where you feel the post jamming into your arch, but light stability dispersed throughout the length of the shoe. Overall the stability from the post is mild, but the design of the shoe is very stable.

David: The Forza 4 HYPER utilizes the ULTRAFLIGHT foam as higher density foam to stabilize the medial side of foot and ankle mechanics. This does create a very stable environment for the shoe without much give to landing forces. I agree with Matt that you won't feel this shoe jamming into your arch, but the really thick density can be felt throughout the entire ride of the shoe. For those that really need that stability it may be nice, but I actually would like to see it softened just a little bit potentially with a thin layer of hyperburst to keep stability but decrease the firmness. I had a little bit of fibular muscle soreness because of this I believe, but the shoe does its job of being stable.

Nathan: I am a fan of shoes that utilize full length medial stability. This shoe is no exception. It proves stability where it is needed (anywhere from the heel to the forefoot), and leaves the foot alone where it isn't. The ULTRAFLIGHT is the denser foam in this case, and in the heel spans about 50% across the sole and then tapers until it reaches the forefoot. Again, this shoe does a good job of offering stability at any point in the gait cycle without being overbearing.


SPEED


Matt: Lightweight trainers are supposed to be light enough for fast days and lightly cushioned for mileage. The Forza 4 fits the bill on this. While it wouldn't be my top choice for speed workouts, the firmness and stability of the sole make it a great shoe for uptempo long runs, fartleks and other workouts where you still want a little bit underfoot. The close to the ground feel and firm bounce form the sole make it versatile enough for picking up the pace and it is light enough that you can still get your legs turning over. This is not meant as a race day shoe, although some people who are used to more cushioned and stable rides may find this a great choice as a lighter weight but stable option for longer races.

David: For a true stability trainer, this is very lightweight and can get rolling pretty well. It is not fast enough to hit hard tempos in, but can do daily training, long lighter tempo efforts, and long runs. For being a daily trainer with good durability, this is pretty darn fast. I was able to get down to about 5:50 to 6:10 mile pace semi comfortably. Overall I am happy with this shoe and for those that need a lot of stability and a lightweight trainer for recreational racing, they could potentially reach for a pair.

Nathan: In the world of stability shoes, this one is definitely on the quicker end. Not workout ready by any means, but the bit of pop from the HYPERBURST and the lighter overall weight that the HYPERBURST allots give a shoe that can handle some lighter tempos. Best overall at daily mile paces and recovery runs, though it is a bit firm for slower days.

DURABILITY


Matt: Outsole durability has not always been great for me with Skechers, but the addition of Goodyear rubber has dramatically improved the outsole durability. The midsole cushioning, particularly HYPER and ULTRA FLIGHT, tend to last, but my problem was with the outsole. The new Goodyear rubber has lasted far longer than prior outsole materials, and I am only just beginning to see wear on the posteriolateral heel at 75 miles. Although there is a wide area of wear, I have not dug into the midsole yet, which is a positive. The upper has shown zero signs of wear and I do not expect any loose threads or issues up top.  Overall I expect this shoe to last an average number of miles (300-500), but those lighter on their feet (David and Nathan have nicknamed me "the destroyer") may get even more. 

David: The GOODYEAR outsole is awesome and has a decent amount of depth as well. I have no concerns with durability in this shoe and the hyperburst and ULTRAFLIGHT midsoles should hold up very well with time. This actually is my favorite outsole design from Skechers so far and would like to see it implemented in more of the other models. I did nickname Klein "the Destroyer" posterior lateral heel wear... but could see this shoe going to the range he listed above without difficulty.

Nathan: Outsole durability here has been great. No signs of wear for me yet. The HYPERBURST has proven itself to last a long time. However, I am noticing  more "creasing" and deformation of the ULTRAFLIGHT portions already. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the wear of the ULTRAFLIGHT and HYPERBURST do seem to be happening at different rates, which will be something to keep an eye on.
Matt's Pair with 75 miles

THOUGHTS AS A DPT 


Matt: I have discussed this previously with the prior model of the Forza, but I really appreciate the full length medial support. Instabilities or areas in need of support are not limited to the heel or midfoot, which is the most common places to see posting or stability methods. Excessive mobility of the metatarsals, difficulty keeping the first ray down (ie a peroneus longus weakness or coordination deficit), weakness of the many intrinsic foot muscles, and many more may be potential reasons an individual would benefit from some stability in the forefoot. Kudos to Skechers for taking that into account. Although each person will have unique needs (and some will not need support at all), having a light stability shoe that has forefoot posting is a nice option to have on the market.

I find it awesome that Skechers has combined ULTRAFLIGHT and HYPER to create a post in the design of the Forza 4. Although a few other companies have done things like this, it is great to see the combination of two great foams come together to provide support.

RECOMMENDATIONS


Matt: I really like the GOrun Forza 4 as it checks off all the boxes for what I like in footwear. However, the majority of the population doesn't like what I do. For that reason to reach a larger market, my major suggestion to Skechers is to consider softening up the shoe. The Forza 4 is quite firm, which contributes to the stability and responsiveness that I like. However, given the current trend is toward softer shoes and more cushioning, they may want to soften the ride just a little.

David: The Skechers GOrun Forza 4 HYPER does a great job in some categories and falls a little short in some others. First the good. GREAT durability, upper, and overall fit. I think the ride has the potential to be really great, but right now is pretty dang firm on the medial foot. If they could soften it with a skosh of hyper and maintain that dual midsole, I think that would greatly improve the ride. I think the rocker is fine, but the M strike could be shifted forward slightly to help with momentum and continue a responsive transition.

Nathan: My biggest recommendation comes with softening the shoe a bit and making the forefoot slightly more flexible. This should make the ride more accommodating for different runners. Maybe this includes decreasing some of the stack from this shoe so you can feel more bounce from the HYPERBURST....not sure. Also, thinning out the upper would be a small tweak that could make the upper great.

CONCLUSION


Matt: For those looking for a firmer/closer to the ground, lightweight trainer with light stability, the Skechers GOrun Forza 4 is one of the best. Versatile enough for uptempo miles and workouts yet still able to handle longer runs. The GOrun Forza 4 is one of the rare stability shoes with full length medial support, providing resistance to medial deviation from the heel all the way into the forefoot. The new mesh provides plenty of room while still being secure for picking up the paces when necessary. The addition of HYPER provides a little cushion, but overall this is a firmer shoe that rides smoother thanks to a strong return of M-Strike. This shoe checks off all the boxes of things I like. Firmer, forefoot stability, lighter weight but still protective and versatile at speed. Since my likes are very unique, know this shoe is a little different, especially in regards to current market trends.

David: For those looking for a highly stable lightweight trainer that can pick up the pace when you need it to, this is a shoe to potentially look at. The ride is on the firm side with the large amount of ULTRAFLIGHT present. The hyperburst adds some responsiveness and cushion but overall the shoe is still a very firm ride. At only 9.0 ounces, the shoe can also get it rolling for long runs. This is a shoe that will grab the attention of those who like stability but don't want to give up weight.

Nathan: There aren't many shoes on the market that provide full length stability in a light weight package, so for those in the stability world who want something a bit lighter with dynamic stability built in, this is a great shoe to check out. This shoe will handle high milage easily, and for anyone looking for a running exclusive shoe (not run walks) this is a good one to check out.

GRADING


Matt

Fit/Upper       9.5 /10 (Very secure, stable upper.  -.5 for being a little too thick). 
Ride/Midsole  9 /10 (Smooth Ride despite firmness with M-Strike)
Stability           10 /10 (Firm, full length stability).
Speed              9 /10 (Firm and can pick up the pace. -1 for less responsive than expected from HYPER)
Durability       8.5 /10 (Improved outsole durability, but still a decent amount of wear at heel at 75 miles).

David


Fit/Upper       9.5 /10 (Great fitting upper, minor lateral forefoot rubbing, thick upper)
Ride/Midsole 7.5 /10 (ULTRAFLIGHT pushes foot laterally, FIRM ride, M strike too far back)
Stability         9.5 /10 (Agree with Matt, very very stable but pushes foot laterally, fibular muscles sore)
Speed              9 /10 (Lightweight and fast for stability shoe, can't quite get fast workout paces)
Durability       9.25 /10 (Great GOODYEAR outsole, ULTRAFLIGHT pushes landing lateral, more wear there)

Nathan

Fit/Upper       9 /10 (-1 for thick upper, otherwise great!)
Ride/Midsole 7 /10 (-3 for the combination of firm/rigid and prominent M strike)
Stability         10 /10 (extremely stable through full length stability and firm nature)
Speed              8 /10 (A bit firm for slower paces, but good for daily miles and some tempo)
Durability       9 /10 (Outsole and HYPERBURST are great, some deformation of ULTRAFLIGHT)


TOTAL (%): M 92% D 89% N 86%


TESTER PROFILES


Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k 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 shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. 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. Nathan Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 19:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 8-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon (CHECK) and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

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
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 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 75 (Matt) and 36 (David) miles 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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