An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sold on Skechers, thanks to my wife

You know it's love when your spouse helps out with your obsessions...

Last night, we went out for dinner and drinks at Duke’s Chowder House. It was a benefit night for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which is supported by BuDu Racing. A fun time, good food (lobster chowder,mahi mahi tacos), and 3 rounds of trivia (we got 2nd in the first round, then basically sucked from that point on).

After dinner, we looked at jewelry, then decided to make our way back to the car inside the mall (it had started raining -- a lot -- while we were in the restaurant). And what would be right there at the intersection of the walkways? A Skechers store. I'd used the store locator on the Skechers site (which needs a LOT of help), and Googled store locations, and got two Kohl's stores and one JC Penney, which I figured wouldn't have the GoRun model. And I got some info from some one on the "inside" that the model wasn't available until the 6th... Yeah, only 4 days away.

Here's the thing -- I'd never thought of Skechers as a serious athletic shoe company. Come on, Shape-Ups? But then a couple months ago they announced that Meb Keflezighi was their new shill for this GoRun model. Then I heard Deana Kastor was getting pulled in. I heard that they'd lured in some designers from Nike. Wow...

Anyway, my wife encouraged me to go in and look. I didn't mention to her that I wanted to check them out, she just knew... Okay, she reads my blog. She must really love me.

So we walk in, and there are multiple color variations of the GoRun model sitting on the display. I'm amazed. I pick one up... and it's LIGHT. Racing flat light. I ask to try some on.

Now the toe box on these shoes has a bit of the shape of the New Balance Minimus, where the big toe sweeps inward past the ball of the foot. I was a bit worried. I slipped on a size 10.5, and it felt good. The upper is very flexible, so it doesn't push on my toes. Plenty of room at the little toes, and just enough at the big toe with the material flexing. As I'd read in other reviews, standing in them felt strange -- they're built with a rocker midsole, so there was the feeling of falling back on my heels. This strangeness went away immediately when I started running in place in the shoes, and felt completely natural once I got moving, even at a slow pace and the limited distance I could put on them in the store.

Just to be sure, I tried on an 11, thinking that it would just give me more forefoot room. What I found was that it didn't feel more roomy in the toes, but felt kind of sloppy in other areas. I went back to the 10.5, and it still felt great.

The sole looks much like a combination of a next-generation Nike Free coupled with the New Balance Minimus Trail. Any judgements on longevity will have to wait until I've got some miles on them.

The tongue is sewn up both sides, so that's one less entry point for dirt/debris when running off road. And there's no heel counter at all, which is good.

I was sold. At $80 before tax, they slip in nicely at the bottom of the price range for the "more minimal" running shoes. My wife's first choice of color was out in my size, so I went with the charcoal grey with orange midsole color combination. There was also cobalt/white, red/white, black/white, blue/black (my wife's first choice), and light grey/white. The only color combination I didn't see was the yellow/black that I posted earlier.

Oh, and each pair comes with two sets of laces so you can match either color on the shoe.

I mentioned to the salesperson that I really wasn't expecting them to have the shoes because of the availability date I'd been given. He was surprised, and said they'd had them for some three weeks already. Apparently they're part of a select few store in the nation that are in the test market.

My maiden voyage in them will likely be tomorrow, as today is slated for a bike ride.

As we made our way to the car, I remarked at how my wife understood my running shoe obsession. Her reply? "It's not so much that I understand it, just that I accept and encourage it."

Yup, that's love.

No comments: