If you have followed this blog or my social media feeds, I am sure you have heard me sing the praises of the shoe company SKORA. SKORA is a small company that started in Portland, Oregon and recently moved to Seattle, Washington. I happened across an advertisement that depicted the SKORA Phase and was instantly attracted to their design. Once I read their philosophy about running form and how shoes should help keep it as natural as possible, I was all-in. I was ready to “Run Real”.
I ordered my first pair of SKORAs in June of 2013 and have run in nothing but SKORAs since. I am proud to be a part of the SKORA team as well! They have made me a brand Ambassador! (http://skorarunning.com/about/ambassadors/) This was quite an achievement because I came to the table as an often-injured, overly eager, and novice runner. SKORA was hesitant to accept me into the fold, but after seeing that I was committed to improving and sharing my learning experiences through this blog, they have added me to the team.
I have now run extensively in all the models that SKORA currently carries. Each model holds a different role for me in my weekly rotation of shoes. Below is each model and where I think their strengths and weaknesses are. These are my personal preferences and may differ from runner to runner. I’ll start with the top-of-the-line and work my way down.
* All of SKORA’s shoes are zero drop, meaning there is no difference in height between your heel and your forefoot. It can take some getting used to if you have worn heavily padded running shoes in the past. You will be using and building muscles you hadn’t used as much. I recommend a gradual transition to avoid injury.
Ideal for: Training and racing on road or trail. Casual wear.
The Form is the top-of-the line offering from SKORA. It is constructed of goat skin leather which is water resistant and conforms to the shape of your foot. I find this model to be the most comfortable. That is why I list it as ideal for casual wear as well as running. I wear my Forms almost everywhere when I am not running. The Stealth Black Forms are so nice that I even slip them on with my dress clothes for work. When I do run in them, the shoes perform great on and off the road. They are so nice, though, that I tend to keep to the road and not beat them up on the rocky, root covered trails. The leather upper is ideal for protecting the top of the foot from sticks, rocks or whatever else you encounter on the trail. I have run in rain, snow and slush and they kept my feet dry and warm. More info about the FORM.
Ideal for: Training and racing on road or trail.
I haven’t found a real niche for these shoes in my rotation. I don’t do a ton of trail running, but when I do, it is in the Core. I beat the living daylights out of these shoes at the Ragnar Trail Relay and they shined up just like new with a hand washing and some saddle soap. Like the Form, they have a leather upper. The overall feel of the shoe is more similar to the Phase (below). They have very little cushioning, but do offer enough sole to protect your foot from rocks. More info about the CORE.
Ideal for: Training and racing on road
This is my speed shoe. When it is race day, I am grabbing the Phase. The lightweight mesh upper and low profile sole are perfect for setting new 5k PR’s. I feel like every race I run in these shoes will be faster than the last, and it usually is. They are not just for short races, either. I ran a Boston Qualifying time at the Shamrock Marathon in a pair of Phase. I use these for races and my tempo workouts. I also picked up a pair of the Phase X, which is ideal for my morning or evening runs in the dark. Their reflective technology helps me to be seen on the roads by motorists. More info about the PHASE.
Ideal for: Training and racing on road or non-technical trail
The Swiss Army Knife of shoes. I put serious miles on the Fits. They are my go-to training shoe. They have a bit more cushioning than the Phase and a more plush feel to them. They are still a fast shoe. I have raced a lot of distances in these and set my 10k PR in them (as of this writing). These are so comfortable that I throw them on for casual wear. I have run on roads and trails with these shoes. I would prefer to run in the Core or Form for more technical trails, since the upper is very flexible and not as stable if footing is treacherous. I recently surpassed the 700 mile mark on a pair of the Fit. These shoes are built to last. I highly recommend these as a transition into zero drop shoes. More info about the FIT.
SKORA BASE (Discontinued)
Ideal for: Training and racing on road or trail
The Base was the first model of SKORA that I wore and still one of my favorites. They had a velcro strap instead of laces and a real slipper-like feel when wearing them. I liked everything about this shoe. I ran the Baltimore Marathon in them. But they have been discontinued. I see them pop up on ebay periodically. I snagged two pair for my son – age 8 – when they were on closeout and he loves them. I still have a pair with low mileage that I wear in my rotation. I will be sad when they are retired.
I couldn’t be more happy with a line of shoes than I am with SKORA. I am proud that they have embraced me as part of their team and I hope more runners learn what it is like to “Run Real” with SKORA. Learn more about SKORA.