At the time of this review, I have logged over 100 miles on the Phase. These are definitely my favorite shoe that I have worn thus far. I have worn these shoes for training runs on mixed surfaces. I have also raced in them and they responded great to a strenuous effort.
The Skora Phase has been out for a while now. An advertisement for the black Phase caught my eye earlier this year and led me to discovering the Skora brand. With assistance from a Skora representative, I selected the Skora Base as a transition to more minimal shoes.
Six hundred miles later, I have added the more minimal Phase to my rotation. I tried to wait for the Base to wear out – they are still going strong – but I need new shoes. The new colorways recently came out for the Skora lineup and these blue and orange ones made my “must have” list.
After my experience with the Base, I knew Skora was the brand for me, so I applied for, and was accepted, to be a Brand Ambassador. That does make me a tad biased to the brand, but the cool thing is, if there is something that I don’t like about the shoes, I can express that and they will improve on the next model. So I can provide honest feedback and help others find the right shoe for their needs.
When my new kicks showed up on my doorstep, I could not wait to take them for a test run. Unfortunately, it was wet and messy out, and I was not prepared to get my shiny new shoes dirty. That would have been a sin. So I fired up the treadmill for the first time in months. Nearly ten miles later, my feet and legs felt great. The soles of these shoes are very flexible. More flexible than the Base. My foot really had a free range of natural movement. I can see why a transition shoe like the Base is a good idea to build those foot muscles that a lot of shoes fail to utilize. I followed my ten miler up the next day with a nine mile run (treadmill again). No pain. No tired muscles. These shoes provide a smooth and responsive ride.
The overall fit of the Phase is spot on for my foot. It is just a tiny bit less roomy in the toe box compared to the Base, but that allows me to wear the thinner socks that I like better. The Base required me to wear a slightly more padded sock, otherwise I got hot spots on the balls of my feet. With the Phase, I can choose either type of sock and have no discomfort. I am not a fan of going sockless, so I can not provide any feedback there. There is still plenty of room for my toes to spread out in the toe box. The Brooks Pure Connects are more confining through the forefoot and kept my toes from spreading and getting a more connected feel with the ground.
The Phase have an asymmetrical lacing system. Instead of the laces being straight up the center of the shoe, they curve with your foot. This helps to evenly spread out the pressure on the top of your foot. I never thought I would say it (except for every time I have to re-tie my sons’ shoes), but I miss velcro. The Base were so nice to just throw on and go. I never had to even unstrap the velcro closures. But, since big boys have to tie their shoes, I can live with the Phase. The orange laces have silver reflective threads woven into them. A nice touch. The Skora logo is even printed on the end of the laces. It is probably the graphic designer in me, but I appreciate the attention to detail.
For a minimalist shoe, the Phase does not feel minimal in quality. The construction of this shoe is impressive. The upper feels strong and not paper-thin like some shoes I have tried on. The overlays help to lock your foot in place. Reflective details bring the shoe to life in those low-light situations I find myself in at 5AM most mornings (yawn), so visibility and safety is a key feature for me. As I mentioned, the sole is very flexible. It is softer than the Base and I do not think it will last as long as the Base has for me. One complaint I initially had about the Base was that it sounded like my feet were slapping the pavement. It was the denser material in the sole that created that sound – and a bit more durable sole. Now, if I can get four hundred or so miles on the Phase, I will be happy. If not, it will give me a reason to get a new pair when they wear down.