I am moving into the world of minimal and zero drop running shoes. The goal of minimalist and zero drop footwear is to get back to the basics – efficient, proper form running. The benefits are injury prevention from a more natural stride, a connection with the terrain you traverse, and improved speed and endurance. But all of those benefits require work and training. The shoe is there to help carry you to your goal.
My first zero drop shoe – meaning the heel and toe of the foot are the same distance from the ground – are the Skora Base. With the sock liner (insole) in, there is 13 millimeters of padding between you and the road. Remove the sock liner and you are just 9 mm from the pavement. My shoe prior to these was the Brooks Pure Connect 2 that has an 18mm heel and 13 mm forefoot.
Ordering from Skora was a breeze. I had seen a photo of the Skora Phase and instantly “needed to have it”. I looked at some more photos and descriptions on www.skora.com for the Phase and the Core which also caught my eye. I emailed customer service to find out about how the shoe fits and what my best option would be. Skora representative Tyler warned me that the Phase may be a little too minimal for me after I sent him a list of shoes I have run in the past. He recommended the Base. I hadn’t really looked much at this model and started reading reviews. These shoes do not have laces. They fasten via a Z shaped velcro strap across the top of the foot and a strap across the heel. I haven’t had velcro shoes since kindergarten. All the reviews were favorable and the price was less than the Phase, so I placed my order for the Base. Thanks to Tyler for helping me make an informed decision. The Phase may end up being my next shoe once I wear these out.
Skora does a nice job with their packaging. The box itself reminds me of one of those fancy boxes you get for a watch that is held closed by a magnetized top. The pattern that is on the base is repeated on the box as well. Nice touch. Out of the box, the shoes are very nice looking and have a high-quality feel. Getting the proper fit on the foot is accomplished by adjusting the straps to the tightness desired. I am still playing with these adjustments to get them just right.
The soles are a rubber material as opposed to foam, so the longevity should be extended beyond most shoes in its category. It is also a more dense sole material, so it is less forgiving. I believe this helps to retain some of the energy that is lost in the cushioning of some shoes. The upper part of the shoe is stretchy, so you have plenty of room for your toes to move and spread out.
As of this review (6/27/13) I have put 11 miles on these shoes, so I have not fully broken them in. I am still playing around with the tightness of the straps and what types of socks, if any to wear. I also may try to remove the insole and see what I think. But I have not felt any new aches or pains after going zero drop and minimal padding. I will continue to add to this review as I break them in.
In addition to a very cool website, great customer service, and sweet looking shoes; you can really tell the people at Skora are passionate about running and know they are talking about. I read through their blog and recommend that you check it out as well. www.skora.com.
I have had the shoes for a week now and really like the responsiveness of the soles and the fit of the upper. My long run so far has beena 10 miler and the total mileage is around 35 miles. No calf or Achilles pain that I might have expected from the change in padding.
My favorite feature so far is the velcro fasteners. I leave it fastened at the tightness I like and just slip them on and off. No fumbling with double knots.
More details to come as I rack up the miles.