Thursday, May 03, 2012
Gear Closet: Skora Base Running Shoes
As someone who runs nearly every day, I have to admit that I've been intrigued with the minimalist approach and I've tested some of the more well known and distinct styles of lightweight shoes. While I haven't quite become a convert, I have seen the benefits of "barefoot" running and how it can be a more enjoyable experience than I had thought possible. Still, I missed the protection that traditional shoes brought to my feet and when I sprained both ankles last fall, the minimalist shoes had to be put to the side. Still, as time passed, I started thinking about adopting the barefoot style more fully, although I had hoped to find running shoes that weren't quite so minimal to help with the transition.
Enter the new Base shoe from a company called Skora. Weighing in at just 225 grams (7.9 ounces) the shoes are plenty "minimal" and yet still have plenty of substance as well. Soft, flexible and streamlined, the Base offers much more support and cushioning than other "barefoot" shoes that I've tried without sacrificing too much weight. This approach to the design of the shoes puts them squarely in-between the other popular minimalist and traditional shoes.
Skora created the Base to offer a little something for all runners, although in doing so they run the risk of creating a shoe that doesn't appeal to the ether minimalist or traditional crowds. If you leaning towards the former, these may not be light enough for you, while if you're in the latter camp, they may not offer the support you're looking.
From my personal use of the shoes I can say that I'm quite impressed. I've been using them regularly over the past month or so, and I happen to like Skora's approach of making a shoe that bridges the gap between the two competing running ideologies. I found the Base shoes to be very comfortable to wear and provided a surprising amount of support for a package that feels feather-light on your feet. I also enjoyed the X-strap system that replaces the laces found on most other shoes, eschewing those old shoestrings in favor of a nylon and velcro option that holds the shoes in place exceedingly well.
The unique design doesn't end there either. Skora added reflective highlights that help make a runner more visible in low-light conditions and the interior of the shoe allows them to be worn with or without socks. In the warm Texas spring I've been running sans socks and have found the Base holds up well and are very comfortable, even on extended runs.
These shoes look a bit like something that was designed for a science fiction film, particularly the silver edition. But most runners are use to wearing brightly colored, obnoxious footwear, so I doubt you'll be phased by the looks of the Base in any way.
If you're interested in joining the "minimalist revolution" but have been reluctant to try some of the other ultra-lightweight shoes, then you may want to give the Skora Base shoes a go. They provide a good fit, excellent comfort and a surprising amount of support for both the arches and ankles. With a price of just $125 they are competitive with other running shoes as well.
For more information and to order a pair for yourself, visit SkoraRunning.com.