Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctors of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance, bring you cutting edge articles, reviews, and research reports.

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Skechers GOrun Speed Freak Review

By Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein and Contributor Nathan Brown

The introduction of the Skechers GOrun Speed Elite was a big deal when it came out. Most of the plated options had higher stack heights, leaving the Speed Elite as one of the few versatile lower/normal stack height plated racing shoes. It had the versatility to hammer a 5k while some of us took it up to the marathon (Matt). The only challenge was that those wanting the same ride with more midsole were out of luck. The debut of the Speed Freek fixes this, carrying over the carbon infused winglet plate, the incredibly lightweight upper and tons more HYPERBURST. What does adding more stack height do? Let's talk about it. 


Specifications (per Skechers Performance)
Weight: 7.2 oz / 238 g (men's size 9)  5.8 oz / 164 g (women's size 8)
Sample Weight Men's Size 10: 7.4 oz
Stack Height: 34 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Classification: Distance Racing Flat


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Speed Freek is Skechers Performance long distance racing shoe. 34 mm of stack height raises the bar (and the midsole) for cushioning while a carbon infused winglet plate provides an efficient toe off. The rockered sole combined with full length HYPERBURST makes for a bouncy ride meant for races from 10k up to the marathon. An incredibly light upper provides a bit more wiggle room and comfort in this model. All this while staying in the low 7 oz range (per our scales). For those wanting a bit more out of the Speed Elite, the Speed Freek will provide some extra protection to take you farther. 

Nathan: The Skechers GOrun Speed Freek boasts a whole lot of HYPERBURST, very smooth rolling geometry, and a carbon-infused plate that has a unique design compared to all the other carbon plated options out there. A build off of the previously released Speed Elite, this shoe leans more towards longer races and workouts.



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Speed Freek fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10, if a hair short at first. There is more room in this upper compared to the Speed Elite throughout the length of the shoe. The toebox has a less aggressive toe guard, providing slightly more room. It is still tapered up front and requires a few miles to break in. Initially the upper feels short, but once it breaks in and opens up it feels true to size. The fit is fairly normal for a racing shoe with a little extra wiggle room. I did have to lace down the shoe tighter and had to lace lock both shoes as I was getting some heel slippage.

The upper is incredibly lightweight with little structure. There is some reinforcements around the anterior heel, but like many Skechers racing shoes, there is no heel counter. Those sensitive to the hard heel counters in most racing shoes will love this one. While there isn't a ton of structure, the upper did just fine with mild to moderate turning. There are some light reinforcements in the inner aspect of the midfoot both medially and laterally that wrap up and around the foot. Extreme turns are still not advised, although the slightly flared midsole and midfoot wraps do seem to help somewhat. I have not gone sockless in this shoe as the mesh is a little harsh against bare skin. However with socks it is totally fine. The thin tongue seems to stay in place well, although needs to be adjusted slightly when putting on the shoe. This super light mono-mesh upper is fairly familiar to Skechers racing shoes, so nothing incredible new here outside of a less aggressive toe guard, which with time opens the toe box a little more. 

Nathan: The Speed Freek continues Skechers' use of their mono mesh upper, which is ultra-thin and breathable and has one of the best heel locks of any shoe on the market for me (unlike Matt). That said, it does have a little break in period as it is a little stiff initially. Where this deviates a bit from previous models like the Speed Elite is in width. The Speed Elite was a more narrow, race ready fit. The Speed Freek has been opened up a bit in the toe box it seems, which makes it feel more suited for those longer distances as there is some room for splay and swelling. There is no formal heel counter, but there is some padding within the collar to pad the achilles and help with securing the heel. Ultimately this upper keeps weight way down and is effective in keeping the foot square on the platform. 


PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Matt: The ride of the Skechers GOrun Speed Freek is slightly soft and extremely rockered. The rocker is significant enough that it took me 1-2 workouts to figure out. The increased HYPERBURST makes this shoe feel like a lightweight trainer, making it very comfortable for warming up and cooling down. The carbon infused plate  provides a nice stable and smooth toe off. There is a significant amount of toe spring and heel bevel in this shoe, which when you figure them out provide an extremely smooth ride at all paces. The heel is softer, making heel initial contacts smooth and protective. This transitions into a slightly firmer forefoot that rolls you forward. There is a 4mm heel drop that I honestly did not notice give the significant rockers. 

Durability wise I have run into significant issues. While the mono-mesh upper is durable, I have chewed through the outsole and ripped off the bit of Goodyear rubber in the heel on my left shoe. I normally am very hard on my left side, but I only have 30 miles and chewed a significant amount of the midsole away. While the ride has not changed, the amount of damage is concerning. So for those like me who are hard on their shoes, if you are interested in this shoe you may want to use it sparingly. Those who are light on their feet will be fine. 

Use-wise the GOrun Speed Freek is meant for longer distance races. While HYPERBURST may not be as explosive as other foams, it is plenty responsive to handle races from 10k and up. I have done everything from 400m repeats to longer tempo runs in this shoe and it seems to shine more the longer you go. There is enough foam there to even be used as a lightweight trainer, which solidifies its place as a true long distance racer. The HYPERBURST provides plenty of protection for longer miles, so will be a half marathon to marathon racer for those who want a very rockered, protective, but light ride. 


Nathan: The Speed Freek is incredibly light (and feels like it), operates off of a significantly rockered sole (HYPERARC), and has a rigid forefoot thanks to the carbon infused plate. From an overall performance standpoint, this shoe is able to fulfill many roles. There are only a few marathon racing shoes that I feel comfortable warming up in as well as doing workouts, and this is one of them (the other being the Saucony Endorphin Pro). What that does is allows this shoe to work really well for tempo and workout days because it will feel smooth on your warm-ups, the workouts themselves, and the cool downs.

The heel is the softest part of the shoe, partly due to the fact that it is the highest stack and also there is no plate that extends to the heel. This means that there is more compression, also due in part to the concave geometry of the foam on the medial and lateral sides (more on that in the stability section). What this shoe does really well is the transitions. Despite going from no plate to plate as you get to the midfoot, there are no hitches at any pace. The rocker through the forefoot, although large, is gradual and feels like a smooth roll. The Speed Elite was much more extreme in the forefoot, giving a "falling" and propulsive feeling. The Speed Freek is much more tempered and rolling. The one thing with having the H plate is that the heel compresses a bit more easily than the forefoot. I found that over more miles the shoe went from feeling like a 4-6mm drop shoe to an even lower drop due to the compression in the heel (unlike Matt's experience above). I also wanted to touch on the outsole and grip. You'll see there is minimal coverage to keep weight down, and I did find that if there was any sort of sand or dirt on the road I had some major slipping. In clear and wet conditions I did fine.

Ultimately this shoe is best for longer and harder efforts, but keeps its character at slower paces as well. It is soft, but not the softest out there and does not have some of the "pop" or propulsive feeling some give. This can be a good thing for many of us, because this shoe feels more controlled overall instead of feeling like you need to go full blast on every run.



STABILITY 

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Speed Freek is technically a neutral shoe, but has several elements that make it naturally stable. Starting in the rearfoot, the HYPERBURST midsole comes up a significant amount on both sides of the foot. Combined with a significant heel bevel that is slightly biased laterally, landings are gently stable. The midfoot last does not narrow very much and the rear portion of the plate reaches in on both sides. The plate really stabilizes the forefoot and anterior midfoot extremely well. The plate extends to the edges of both flared aspects of the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) forefoot. The wider last, plate and outsole flare make the front half of the shoe extremely stable. Combined with early toe spring, this greats a super smooth and great ride up front. The heel does has some mild sole flare to both the medial and lateral sides, but this is offset by the significant bevel. Overall this shoe has some excellent elements that make it extremely stable from the midfoot forward. The heel is above average, but the rockered sole transitions so quickly forward that you be in that stable forefoot before you know it. 

Nathan: Overall this is quite stable for the amount of stack you have. Part of this is because there is a wider full contact outsole even through the midfoot and the overall sole flaring provides some stability. Also, there are some side walls for guidance in the heel and the upper locks down the foot well. The forefoot is also extremely stable for a racer of such high stack. This is thanks to the H plate, which has been partially redesigned. It spans the full width, which provides rigidity throughout. The H plate has not been separated into L and  R sides, which does allow for slight motions when turning, making it feel more natural and allows it sole to bend independently when different forces are placed through it. There is something that does decrease the stability. I think the first is the concave nature of the midsole on the medial and lateral sides. This allows the shoe to more easily compress on those edges and makes the heel more unstable medially and laterally. So overall, a truly neutral shoe that has elements that make it naturally stable, particularly in the forefoot.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Matt: I have always enjoyed the plate design of the Skechers Speed Elite and now Speed Freek. Most current shoes do not extend the full width of the midsole, remaining within the midsole with varying designs. Saucony uses an "S" plate, Adidas has rods, Xtep uses an X shaped plate, while others use traditional designs that also change heights from heel to forefoot (ie the curve). All of these serve to increase midsole bending stiffness longitudinally, but the width will determine central stability, specifically side to side torsional rigidity.

The plate design of the Speed Elite and Speed Freek extends to the edge of the midsole on both sides of the foot. The length, particularly in the Speed Freek extends from the tip of the forefoot all the way into the midfoot. The length and width of the winglet design create more stability. The wider the base or foundation, the more inherently stable the design. Add this to the fact that the plate extends with the outsole flare and it actually extends beyond the foot. The combination with the excellent toe spring (early) makes this one of the most stable forefoot designs I have seen. So great job to Skechers on this design element. There doesn't seem to get enough attention and it is also cool to see the plate from both sides aesthetically.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: My first suggestion focuses on the outsole. I think this shoe is light enough that some additional Goodyear panels could be added to the outsole. This will help protect the midsole and extend the longevity of this great shoe.

My second suggestion focuses on the midsole. I like HYPERBURST, but feel it is beginning to be a bit outdated. I challenge Skechers Performance to consider experimenting with using their same Nitrogen or CO2 injection technology with other foam compounds. Currently HYPERBURST is injected EVA, but other companies are beginning to experiment with this same concept in other foams. Thus, I challenge Skechers to continue to innovate to see where things go.

Nathan: This is a solid shoe. And I know price isn't everything, but coming in at $190 is solid for the technology in this shoe and compared to other models. That said, I'd love to see some minor changes to the midsole geometry and remove the concave nature in the heel, which should stabilize the shoe. I'd also like to see them make this a 6mm drop shoe if they keep the partial plate due to the uneven compression throughout. I think 6mm would make it more accessible for more runners.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Skechers GOrun Speed Freek is Skechers long distance racing shoe for those who want a Speed Elite with a refined upper, a more significant rocker and more cushioning. Coming in at low 7 ounces for mens size 9, this shoe is very light for the amount of midsole present. The protection allows this shoe to be used for lightweight training and long distance racing. The HYPERBURST and forefoot plate keep this shoe responsive, so those looking for a lighter 10k to marathon racing shoe will enjoy this rockered and efficient shoe. There are some durability concerns, so those who are lighter on their feet will likely do best in this shoe. 

Nathan: The GOrun Speed Freek is for those who are wanting a somewhat soft, rolling, long workout and racing shoe. It is one of the lighter options on the market and is one of the few that can handle slower paces without getting clunky. If you aren't hard on your outsoles like Matt (the Destroyer), this can double as a workout, long run, ad racing flat for longer races. 



GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: A- (Great racing fit with a little extra room. No heel counter and only mild reinforcements, so stable only going forward or mild turns. Less stable with quick turns)
Performance: B+
 (Excellent rockered ride. Protective as a lightweight trainer and light/responsive enough for a variety of workouts. Works better with longer races and longer workouts. Outsole durability however is not the best)
Stability: A (Excellent stable ride despite higher stack height. Very stable forefoot and anterior midfoot. Rearfoot decently stable with sidewalls.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Excellent use of sidewalls, outsole flare and plate design for stability. Mild lateral bias on heel creates optimal landing spot. Rocker is done extremely well at both ends of the shoe)
Personal: B+ (I really like the Speed Freek. The ride is super smooth, I trust it and it can handle all workouts and even warm up/cool downs. However, the outsole durability issue takes some points off.)
Overall: A- (Excellent distance racer for those who want a super light upper, a rockered/protective ride with a snappy toe off for 10k races and up)

Nathan
Fit: A (Locks down fantastic, breathable, lightweight, and roomy for longer runs...checks all the boxes)
Performance: B
 (Rolls really nice at all paces, doesn't have a lot of responsiveness compared to its competitors, compresses more in the heel than the forefoot over time)
Stability: B+/A- (one of the more stable marathon racerrs, just a little unstable in the heel)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Rocker is integrated well, new H plate gives some flexibility laterally while maintaining longitudinal stiffness, sole flaring stabilizes shoe)
Personal: B (Great for me on so many levels for warm-ups/workouts, but the compressing heel and 4mm drop together make this shoe not really a marathon option for me)
Overall: B+ 

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Find the Skechers Speed Freek at Running Warehouse here. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Shop Gear We Love
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: Fast, fun, and surprisingly versatile
Hoka Arahi 5: One of the best stability shoes of the year, and the best walking shoe as well. Versatile.

Rabbit Running Clothes: Incredibly soft, high quality clothing for your next run
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
UltraAspire Fitted Race Belt: Fantastic fitting belt that's durable, quick-drying, and comfortable
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Coros Pace 2 Watch: Excellent watch for various running goals and a massive battery life
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs

FURTHER READING

Visit our updated Carbon Fiber Plated Shoe Round Up, featuring plated racing shoes we've reviewed over the past two years.

Recently at Doctors of Running
Asics Kayano Lite 2 Review -
Updated with more sustainability in mind, the KL2 brings high stability through geometry
Hoka One One Zinal - A fast and nimble trail racer that's grippy and fun
Saucony Endorphin Trail - Speedroll meets trail running
Super Shoe Discussion, Podcast Episode 52
AfterShokz Aeropex Headphone Review -
Bone conduction headphones with great fit

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WRITER PROFILES:


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

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.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

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

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.

***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 systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

NEXT: ASICS GEL KAYANO LITE 2 REVIEW

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