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 Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 4+ Multiple Tester Review


The Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 4+ is Skechers' unique take on a high milage/maximalist road shoe. This shoe is primarily an update to the MaxRoad 4 upper, which was critiqued for being too warm and not supportive enough. The great thing about Skechers Performance is that they truly listen to feedback from the running community (and reviewers like us). Therefore, the MaxRoad 4+ sports a more traditional feeling mono-mesh and polyester upper, which certainly changed the way this shoe felt during runs. Otherwise it keeps much of the same underneath, including a hunk of HYPERBURST with an aggressive rocker shape and a podular outsole. Let's dive in.


Specifications (per Skechers)
Weight: 8oz/227g (men's size 9), 6.3oz/179g (women's size 7)
Stack Height: 37 mm / 31 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: high milage daily trainer


HIGHLIGHTS

Matt: The softest, lightest and most flexible maximal shoe, the Skechers Maxroad 4+ returns with a new very comfortable upper update. Featuring the largest amount of HYPER of any shoe in the Skechers line, the Maxroad 4+ feels best as a lightweight recovery day and long run shoe for those with stable mechanics.

David:
The MaxRoad 4+ comes in with a new upper that is more breathable and secure than the previous version. This really thrives in long slow efforts. The large amount of hyperburst foam makes this shoe one of the softest shoes out there for the maximum cushioning fans out there who run a lot of roads. 

Nathan: The major highlight for this MaxRoad 4+ is the upper. It is secure, very breathable, comfortable, and even shaved some weight off from the previous version. The security of this upper compared to the previous version also improved the stability of this shoe overall (slightly). The hyperburst midsole of this model continues to have a wonderfully bouncy and cushioned feel.


FIT

Matt: The Skechers MaxRoad 4+ features a massive upper upgrade. There is far more security and comfort through the length of the shoe. Gone is the stretch knit and in its place a mono-mesh and polyester upper with additional reinforcements in the midfoot. The Maxroad 4+ fits true to size in my normal men's size 10 and does fit on the roomier side. The toe box in particular has plenty of room while the midfoot and heel fit fairly average. I did have to lace lock the shoe to get a little more secure fit in the heel, but overall the reinforcements provide plenty of security. This upper does a great job of securing the foot on the platform (especially compared to the previous version). The upper has decent breathability and although did feel a tiny bit warm in this +100 degree heat here on Southern California (but does any shoe feel "cool" when it is that warm?). Although the upper is secure, I did get a little blister initially on the ball of my foot within the first few miles, but this has not reoccurred. Overall this is a fantastic upper update and Skechers did a great job listening to feedback!

David:
The upper of the Skechers MaxRoad 4+ is such an upgrade from the previous version. The first thing I notice is that it is reinforced better and feels more secure throughout, while also allowing some room for toe splay in the toe box. The upper is also very breathable. While doing some LSD runs and getting sweaty in the California heat wave the shoe did a good job of breathing and not absorbing too much sweat. The heel and midfoot have normal widths but lock down pretty well with the lacing system. The bevel is pretty sharp in the heel and may feel sometimes like there is a little slippage in the heel but I always forget about it once I start running. 

Nathan: So glad Skechers listens to their followers and reviewers. Moving away from the stretch knit upper from the previous version made this shoe much more enjoyable on long runs given the improved breathability. The mono-mesh and polyester upper has some reinforcement through the midfoot to keep it secure and the toe box has ample room. The one minor area of frustration with the upper was that the tongue, which is thin and has a few grooves cut into the top of it would fold over in the corner when putting the shoe on. Once I got it positioned it would stay put. Overall -- great lockdown, breathability, and fit.


RIDE

Matt: The Skechers Maxroad 4+ continues to have the softest ride of any shoe I have tried. There continues to be a full length HYPER midsole that gives it such a soft ride. It is very unique to also have a shoe with so much flexibility as well. The heel bevel is very pronounced in this shoe, so landings are quite soft and a bit unstable for me. Fortunately there is a slightly more stable forefoot with a smooth toe off thanks to the HYPER and deep flex groves. The pod design is prominent and while they do actually provide some traction on mild trails, they provide some interesting feedback and flexibility. They are not as prominent as the original M-Strike or podular soles of the original GOruns, but you may notice them. The ride overall very soft no matter where you land. This much HYPER provides much more give than it does bounce. There is a 6mm drop, although this may feel lower depending on where you land given the large amount of midsole compression than occurs with each footstrike.

David:
I tend to gravitate more towards a midfoot to light rearfoot strike when I am running at easy paces. I say this because this shoe will have very pronounced feels for different foot strikes. The bevel in the heel is very prominent and the foam is very soft. Couple this with the pod outsole and those with more pronounced heel strikes might find this shoe really unstable. For me it actually runs pretty smooth at easy paces. For those who are already pretty light on their feet and efficient they may enjoy ride of the shoe. On road, bike path, and dirt road I felt the MaxRoad 4+ has a pretty smooth transition throughout, though plan for more ground contact time than normal. This shoe is soft. Perhaps the most soft road shoe I have worn. With that said, you aren't going to be running very fast in this shoe anyways. The shoe is very flexible throughout with the pod design for the outsole and really will let someone know if they are not running at a cadence or strike that works for the shoe. The shoe is not very snappy but isn't designed to be. Very flexible in the forefoot and has a tall platform that can be unstable for some. Though I did enjoy the ride for my easy days, I know this will be a difficult one for some. As Nathan noted, you can feel the pods but that did not bug me as much. I think I would just like more of a full contact outsole just to make the shoe a tad more snappy and versatile. 

Nathan: Skechers has been utilizing their "M-strike" technology design for a while, and it is no more pronounced in any other shoe than the MaxRoad 4 and 4+. There is an aggressive rocker sole that is located more toward the heel and has a steep bevel to the heel. I wrote about this in my review of the MaxRoad 4, but for heel strikers like myself this creates quite the jarring heel strike and transition to the midfoot. Thankfully the HYPERBURST is very soft in this model and accommodates a bit, but I sadly cannot describe the transition from heel to midfoot as smooth. If I changed my strike pattern to slightly more midfoot, the ride significantly improves and smooths out. At that point you get a cushioned and bouncy landing. The flexible design of the podular outsole made for a unique toe-off experience as well. During toe off, I could feel each pod leaving the ground. This did lessen as I got miles on the shoe and was much more smooth after 15-20 miles, but was still present throughout my testing. To sum it up, if you land slightly forward on the foot, you will get a very cushioned, soft, and bouncy ride out of this shoe. The flexibility of this shoe provides a surprisingly "natural" feel for such a high stack.




STABILITY

Matt: The Maxroad 4+ is a neutral shoe meant for those with stable mechanics. The full HYPER sole is very soft and has no traditional methods of stability. The softness, high flexibility, high midsole stack height and relatively narrow midfoot and heel make for an unstable shoe for me from heel to toe. The forefoot is a little better thanks to the wider last, but the podular outsole still provides little ground contact and high flexibility. I tend to prefer a firmer ride, but found the Maxroad 4+ best for me during shorter recovery runs. However, the upper security is far improved, so stability up top is great. This shoe however is meant for efficient runners with stable mechanics. For those with less stability in their lower extremity, ease into this shoe.

David:
This shoe is not that stable as stated above. It is improved from the previous version thanks to a better and more secure upper. The midsole and outsole combination just make for an unstable ride and platform for those who aren't ready for it. Main points to not be overly redundant: high stack, super soft foam, pod outsole (more give and flexibility) all make the shoe less stable. The bevel can be sharp and clunky for some. As someone who is more midfoot it does not bug me quite as much. Not stable but I did enjoy the ride. 

Nathan: As mentioned above, stability is quite improved thanks to the security of the upper so you aren't sliding off the platform on turns. However, the stability is still overall low and requires intrinsic stability from the runner. The flexible podular outsole, high stack, and soft HYPERBURST all contribute to this lessened stability. For those who are efficient neutral runners, you will be fine.




SPEED

Matt: The MaxRoad 4 + is a great lightweight shoe, but the softness of the HYPER provides far more give than bounce. This shoe is best for long runs and recovery runs where the runner wants a cushioned shoe for easy or long miles. Picking up the pace is difficult due to the softness and instability. The MaxRoad 4+ is a like a chill beach person. Hangout and take it easy. For those with very stable mechanics, the MaxRoad 4+ may actually be ideal for a road ultra marathon, although personally I have not run one.

David:
Oh man. Yeah this shoe isn't fast. I want it to be but it just isn't there yet. This is where the soft foam and pod design really make it hard to run fast in any capacity. At easy paces it is smooth but every time I try to pick up the pace I find myself digging into the ground and really trying to push the shoe into the floor. I feel like I'm sinking when I'm trying to push. Again, I enjoyed it at easy paces. Almost exclusively an LSD road shoe. 

Nathan: Despite coming in at only 8oz, this shoe still does best at daily paces and for longer runs. The amount of HYPERBURST, although bouncy, is not necessarily feeling responsive when the pace picks up. The she feels best for me at daily paces, long runs, and recovery runs.




DURABILITY

Matt: As I got more miles on the last version, I started to chew through the outsole. The GOODYEAR pods on this version have held up far better than previous even after 42 miles. Although there is a little wear on the exposed HYPER outsole, I am not seeing that much on even the heel. The HYPER tends to last for some time and especially with this much, I have not had any midsole compression occur (although I would like some for a firmer ride). The upper has also held up super well and I do not see any seams loose or wear. I expect to get an average number of miles out of these for a training shoe (300-400). So a great upgrade in this area!

David:
The durability seems to be slightly better than the previous version. The GOODYEAR pods have some wear but nothing overly crazy. The exposed foam is definitely scraped up some. I could see this lasting the duration of a lightweight performance trainer and a little less than a daily trainer. I don't see the foam or ride of the shoe breaking down anytime soon, just the pods and exposed midsole a little quicker.  

Nathan: I have absolutely no concerns when it comes to the durability of the HYPERBURST midsole and the upper. The upper is very comfortable, secure, and is not stretching out at all. However, as I saw with the previous model over time, the podular outsole is wearing a bit faster than normal (for me) both in where I am striking as well as at toe off. Given the reality that the pod outsole design decreases overall surface area, I'd expect a bit earlier wear. Thankfully it is not extreme and should last a good 300 miles (though the rubber may not look pretty at that point).


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

     The Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 4+ is a very unique offering in the maximalist shoe world. Traditionally, shoes with this much stack height (37mm / 31 mm) have a very broad last to offset the instability of such a high stack height and require extreme rockers to offset the thick stiff sole. The MaxRoad 4+ provides a high stack height combined with a very flexible sole (due to deep multidirectional flex grooves) and a more narrow last (the forefoot is still wider). This design will work very well for those wanting a soft, maximalist shoe without the bulky shoe box/tank feeling most max cushion shoes have. The flex grooves, lighter weight and shape allow for a far more nimble maximalist shoe. However, the trade off is that this is not a stable shoe. The HYPERBURST is very soft in this model and with a narrow last at the heel and midfoot combined with a podded outsole (less ground contact), there is much less stability compared to other maximal shoes. Shoes are tools, so this model will work very well for those who have very stable ankles and lower extremities or those who are sensitive to any traditional or non-traditional methods of stability. This is truly a unique shoe that combines maximalist and minimalist shoe components. Like any tool though, you will have to decide if it is right for you. Personally this set up does not work well for my mechanics except of short recovery runs, but I typically like stability. If you don't, take a look at this shoe.

-Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT




RECOMMENDATIONS 

Matt: The lack of stability is my primary concern in the MaxRoad 4+. For those with really stable mechanics, this will be fine, but the population that can use these for their purpose is limited by that. I highly suggest widening the last in the heel and midfoot to offset the instability from the tall stack height. The pods may need to be bigger as the more surface area you have in contact with the ground, the further stability will improve. Additionally, firming up the HYPER foam may help make the shoe more responsive and continue to improve stability.

David:
I agree with Nathan, mostly so the shoe is more accessible to a larger variety of runners (bevel consideration). For me the bevel isn't too much of a problem but I know I land a little more forward than a lot of other runners. I understand the pod outsole concept, but I think I would like to see the outsole to be made more full contact and rigid up the shoe slightly to make it more responsive. The upper is pretty good in my opinion, but the tongue did retain some moisture from sweat, so maybe redoing that to make it more breathable. 

Nathan: My biggest recommendation is to alter the position of the rocker sole and change the bevel. I know that this recommendation would basically induce a full overhaul of the shoe geometry, but it would really smooth out heel strike if the bevel was significantly more gradual or even placed further posterior with the bevel extending posterior to the shoe. If they do that, you can have a posterior flare without the negative effects of a posterior heel flare because the "apex" of the bevel would be located directly under the calcaleus, not posterior to it (see Reebok Symmetros). As it is, it is just too jarring for me. I encourage Skechers to continue their work to maintain some level of flexibility in a maximalist shoe, which I think is the most unique and advantageous thing about this shoe (even if it sacrifices some stability).

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Maxroad 4+ is an interesting blend of a lightweight trainer with a max cushion road trainer. For those with stable mechanics who are efficient, this shoe will provide a very soft ride for long miles, recovery runs and potentially some ultra distances. The upper update is fantastic and provides a very comfortable top with improved stability and a roomier fit. Those with not the most stable mechanics should ease into this shoe, while others will find this a great tool to eat up long pavement miles.

David:
The Skechers MaxRoad 4+ is a maximum cushioning road trainer (supplemental for some and daily for some) for a runner who is relatively light on their feet and efficient wanting a shoe with a soft midsole. Especially for some who live in concrete jungles they are looking for a soft easy day shoe. The shoe does not have much stability or speed to it, so this would be for those looking for an easy LSD shoe for mileage. 

Nathan: The Skechers MaxRoad 4+ is a high mileage daily trainer for a mechanically sound runner who wants to feel a soft, bouncy, and light shoe under their foot. This shoe provides plenty of protection underneath for long miles, but still lacks some overall stability for those who need a bit of it. It has wonderful flexibility that leads to a more natural ride for a maximalist shoe. I'd also say this shoe is best for those who land a bit more forward, in which case you'll enjoy a soft and smooth ride. 

GRADING
 
Matt
Fit                    9.5 /10 (Very comfortable roomier fit. -0.5 slightly loose heel and weird initial rubbing on toe)
Ride                 8.5 /10 (Soft HYPER sole with good heel bevel and flexible toe off. Unstable though)
Stability           6 /10 (very unstable due to narrow last and tall stack. Slightly better at forefoot)
Speed               7 /10 (Light, but best for recovery days. Hard to push the pace)
Durability        9 /10 (dramatically improved durability)

David
Fit                     9.75/10 (Honestly really great update. Breathable and fits well. Tongue iffy)
Ride                  8.5/10 (Easy days only. Highly plush, flexible, longer ground time. can be clunky for some at heel. If you are more forward flexible forefoot). 
Stability            7.5/10 (Ok on road or bike path. Really soft, pod design, super flexible. Upper helps)
Speed                7/10 (I'm sorry. Not the fastest shoe on the planet despite weight. Really soft hard to get going due to flexibility). 
Durability         8.5/10 (Average durability for design. Wear noted but should last to lightweight trainer)

Nathan
Fit                     9.75/10 (really nice upper and overall fit, tongue a little finicky -0.25)
Ride                  7.75/10 (-2.25 for clunky heel and being able to feel the pods during toe off)
Stability            7.5/10 (thanks to the upper, much improved stability from previous, but still lacking)
Speed                8/10 (feels light on foot, too soft for faster miles, great for longer miles)
Durability         8.5/10 (-1.5 for outsole wear)

Total Score: % (M: 8/10  D: 8.3/10 N: 8.3/10 )

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:
 
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 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 and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 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. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 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 and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

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 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 42 miles (Matt), 35 miles (Nathan) and 37 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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