Friday, May 18, 2018

Skechers GOrun Ultra Road 2 Review

I have been pleased with the Skechers Performance shoes that I have tested in the past.  The GOrun Ultra 2 is a max cushioned trail shoe and its sister shoe is the GOrun Ultra Road, which is made for running on pavement, hence the name.  I really liked both the Ultra 2 and Ultra Road.  They both have plenty of cushion and fit really well (both have been updated).  I have also tested the GOmeb Speed 3, which is an awesome, extremely fast shoe that is great for races, tempo runs, and speed workouts.  The GOrun 4 is a solid everyday trainer that can handle the fast and slow days.  Here are links to my past reviews.

I got the GOrun Ultra Road 2 to test out a while back.  It has more cushion than the GOrun and GOmeb shoes.   Just taking them out of the box, I was impressed with the look, materials, and weight.  Many people know about Skechers shoes, but most people don’t know how good their Performance shoe line is. 

The original GOrun Ultra Road was one of my favorite shoes back in the day.  It is extremely comfortable, had a wide enough toe box to not cause compression issues with my toes, and had enough cushion to handle whatever mileage I threw its way.  

The upper material is made of Skechers Performance flat knit material that is almost seamless.  It is not only light weight, but conforms to your feet and is extremely breathable.  There are some synthetic overlays that help add stability and durability to the upper.

Harder blown rubber in the forefoot and heel for added durability

There is a new Quick-Fit feature, which is a tab on the back of the shoe that makes putting the shoe on easier.  I know… it sounds like a gimmick, which was my thought when I pulled them out of the box, but it really does work and I used it more than I thought I would.  

Quick-Fit Tab makes putting on the shoe a snap.

There are drainage holes built into the midsole as well as a trough under a mesh material. The insole also has holes in them so the water can drain easily. I really liked this feature when running in the extremely wet spring that we had.  It also had a secondary benefit though.  In warmer temperatures, I found that the holes forced air into the shoe and provided a little extra ventilation.  A nice feature indeed.

Drainage trough under a mesh (sits under the insole)

The GOrun Ultra Road 2 has a nice roomy toe box like its predecessor, which is way better than most shoes that compress your toes.  I have slightly wider than normal feet and can’t run in most shoes without some compression issues.  Skechers has some of the only non-toe box shaped shoes that I can wear without pain (for longer distances).

Skechers Performance is using a new lighter weight insole.  They call it their 5Gen cushioning and I must say that I like it.  It might be slightly firmer than past models, but it is still cushy and provides a stable ride with a huge weight savings.  After almost 80 miles, the midsole feels as great as my first mile.  Some other shoes can tend to flatten out or the cushioning doesn’t protect your feet as well, but not these.

Drainage holes in the midsole
Now to the specs.  The GOrun Ultra Road 2 weighs in at a 8 ounces for a men’s size 9 which is incredibly light for a shoe with this level of cushion.  The first version of the shoe weighed in at 10.4 ounces.  That is a huge difference (new version is 2.4 ounces lighter).  It has a 24mm forefoot height and 28mm heel height (4mm heel drop).  

Great price ($120)
Low heel drop at 4mm
Super-Lightweight at 8 ounces (men’s size 9)
Upper mesh conforms to your foot and is extremely comfortable
Great drainage

Skechers Performance Social Media Links
The reality is that Skechers Performance is really putting out some great shoes that you should take a look at. The GOrun Ultra Road 2 is no exception.  It is fast and stable, but still provides enough cushion to make the miles fly by.  When I put them on, I don’t even think about the shoes, which is about the best complement that I can give for any shoe.  You can buy them for $120 at the Skechers Performance website.  Give them a try and I am sure you won’t be disappointed.  

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Why I love Injinji Toe Socks!

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that I am a huge fan of Injinji toe socks.  I have been running in them for a few years now.  It all started a when I was curious why runners would want to use toe socks.    I quickly discovered that they offer the benefit of letting your toes splay (spread) while you run.  These are great for people who wear wide toe box shoes made by companies like Altra and Topo Athletic, but are great with any shoes. These socks are funny looking and the first time you use them, they feel a little weird.  With that being said, the weird feeling went away after about 5 minutes and they are some of the most comfortable socks that I own.

There are several benefits of using the
Injinji toe socks.  The socks are anatomically designed for your foot, covering each toe and allowing your toes to spread out as they naturally want to.  Normal socks restrict your feet and tend to push your toes together, which can lead to various foot injuries.  While you might not feel that this is a big deal, give the toe socks a try and you will realize what I am talking about.  You will gain stability and feel more comfortable as your feet learn to spread out.

They are great for people who get blisters.  By having no skin on skin contact between your toes, you eliminate that point of friction which can cause blistering.  Each sock is made of moisture wicking material and has seamless toes.  They have a mesh top for more breathability, an arch support band, and an enhanced cuff so your socks don’t slip down.  You can get them in light weight, original weight and midweight styles depending on the amount of cushion you prefer.

They have different materials, including the spectrum version, which has special and bold graphics that are made by using a printing process that will not distort or face over time.  Here are links to the reviews that I have done in the past. 

So let me tell you a little story.  I ran the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run on April 7th.  It had been raining for a few days and even the morning of the race.  The trails were muddy and I was drenched before the race even started.  I was wearing another brand of socks, which I normally love.  They are designed to pull the moisture away from your feet, but are not toe-socks.  I figured with the extremely wet conditions, that they would be a good choice.  I never had any blistering issues with them, but I also hadn’t run that far in conditions like what we were experiencing. 

I started to have issues at mile 20 with debris in my socks and shoes.  It was creating a blister in between my 4th and 5th toes.  I had a fresh pair of shoes and socks at the 25 mile aid station, where my drop bag was waiting for me.  I put on a fresh pair of shoes and socks when I got there, but didn’t have anything to put over the blister.  I ran another 4.5 miles to where I was picking up my pacer.  I had texted him and asked him to find some mole skin or something similar to put over the blister.  It could have ended my day if I didn’t take care of it.  I was able to finish the race, but it was an issue that could have been avoided and would have saved me a lot of discomfort.

The reason why I like Injinji socks so much is, like I stated earlier, the toe splay helps with stability and allow your feet to work as they were meant to.  You don’t have to worry about your socks causing compression issues (which can lead to metatarsal and other pain).  The more important thing is that it does a great job of keeping debris out of the socks.  It even protects in between your toes if some debris does get inside your shoes.  If I chose to wear Injinji socks during the race, I may have been able to avoid the blister, which in turn slowed me down quite a bit. 

I got to test out four pairs of trail socks.  The first one were the crew length Spectrum Performance 2.0 Trail Socks.  I tested the No-Show version in the past, which is below the ankle and has a tab in the back to protect the back of your heel.  While I really like Injinji’s wool socks, they don’t even compare to how comfortable the Spectrum material is.    I tested the Gritty version of the sock which sells for $18.00.

Performance 2.0 Trail Midweight Crew Length (Spectrum)
I also tested the Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Sock, which has been one of my favorite trail socks over the years.  It has a decent amount of cushion that protects your feet and does a great job of keeping debris out.  I have always been into thicker socks because they provided more cushion and these mid weight socks were great for longer runs.  I tested the Pine version and it sells for $15.00.

Performance 2.0 Trail Midweight Mini-Crew
 I also tested two new socks that they just came out with.  Their Ultra Run series is made to provide comfort mile-after-mile.  It has a terry material throughout the entire foot and toes.  This helps reduce the impact of your foot strikes.  The terry material really does a great job of keeping your feet feel fresh.  They come in two sizes, the no-show and the crew length.  They have men’s and women’s specific designs.  I tested the Ultra Run Crew Socks (Color: Lime) which sells for $18.00 and the Ultra Run No-Show Socks (Color: Lime), which sells for $16.00

Ultra Run No-Show
Ultra Run No-Show (inside out) showing terry inside
Ultra Run Crew Length
Let’s your toes spread out
Keeps your feet dry and blister free
Very durable
Look awesome
Feel great even after months of washing
Decent Prices

Injinji’s’s Social Media Links:

I love my Injinji socks.  After my race, I realize the importance of having each toe protected and my Injinji socks do just that.  Please learn from my misery and give them a try.  You can purchase yours at the Injinji website or at a store near you (click here for locations).  If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should.  Let me know what you think and please feel free to share a picture of your favorite Injinji socks with me.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.