I don’t even know how it happened but SKORA was looking for some reviews and J and I both got a pair to try and review. Shoes were free but our opinions are our own!
Originally I wanted J and I to review the same shoe and do a little “He said, she said” but, due to available sizes and the differences between our feet, I went with the Form and J wanted to try the Phase. So we’ll each give our thoughts on our respective shoes.
Sometimes I forget that not everyone is like me > spending gobs of time reading reviews on new running and fitness products and trends. So, I am surprised when someone is like, “Hey, those are cool shoes. Who makes them?”
SKORA is a newer running shoe company started by lovers of the run. They are completely dedicated to running footwear, aren’t afraid to put out crazy styles if the design makes sense, and are changing the way people think about running footwear. I can’t say that I love the way all their styles look, but I do love their passion and relentless innovation!
Both the Phase and Form have reflective details, a no-tongue design and… asymmetrical lacing, which is the first thing people notice and question. Let’s be honest, does conventional lacing do anything special? No. J actually finds that his other running shoes cause his feet to lose feeling after about 45 minutes due to the thick tongue and the fact that the lacing goes right over the top of his foot. We found that the angled lacing feels natural and doesn’t intersect the place your shoe normally buckles when you toe off. The offset laces seem much more ergonomic for the foot.
He said: Appearance of SKORA [Phase] is eye-catching. I usually gravitate toward more understated shoes but took a chance on these, like buying a piece of clothing a little outside of your comfort zone that later becomes your favorite because it is unique and has personality. I have gotten a lot of compliments when wearing the SKORAs – everyone wants to know what they are. They make me think of fire engines because of the vibrant red and reflective yellow and grey color scheme.
She said: I like the color way on my Forms. The top, or upper, is understated and sophisticated but the bottoms have a flash of color. It seems kind of odd that the outsoles of the shoes appear to wrap up the side of the shoes (see more details under “Performance”) so much, but I know that’s a design element that is more about feel and performance.
SKORA shoes definitely feel different from what we’re used too. However, if we ignore “what we’re used too” and just feel the shoes, we realize they are really comfortable and can feel the ground better. If you like going sockless, both styles are good for that but we’re sock-folk. Dimpling on the insoles of both shoes help keep your foot from shifting too much.
He said: Almost feels barefoot. Phase is wider and flatter through the arch than my Merrell Barefoot shoes and have a less constricted, more sock-like feel. Phase also has a slightly thicker toe box which is appreciated for protection. The heal of the shoe comes above some of my low-cut socks. These are my favorite shoes to wear around the house because of how light and comfortable they are.
She said: The Forms fit comfortably snug around mid-foot, a little wiggle room in the toes, and the adjustable heel strap keeps them from sliding. The dimpling on the insoles doesn’t bother me if I have socks on, but without socks my toes constantly want to move around to feel them and it’s weird. I get plenty of flexibility with the leather and the shoe feels really light on my feet.
I did a lot less run-testing than J did due to my ongoing tibial tendon issues, but we both wore our shoes for a variety of activities, not just running. Even though J has nearly PERFECT feet (nary a blister and he can run in almost anything with no problems), the Phase is a lot more minimal than he is used too so we both spent time walking in and “feeling out” our shoes before going crazy in them.
He Said: After about 30 minutes I started to notice the bottoms of my feet heating up. This improved a little by speeding up and landing lighter, but may be due to less padding to dampen the vibration of each foot strike. Definitely feels like running barefoot, but you don’t need to shift weight or roll your foot around to compensate for the pricks and pokes of uneven ground. On gravel road you can feel the rocks press through a bit but it isn’t painful. Shoes don’t pick up pebbles, seeds, or stickers like other shoes I have tend too.
She Said: The “Form” is so well-named because running in these forces me to think about my form. I like the feedback I get from my own feet on the ground. The uppers are definitely flexible enough to move with me, but less so than other shoes with super-light mesh uppers. While I may have mixed-feelings about the way the sole “wraps up” from the bottom of the shoe, I can’t deny that this allows my feet to move more naturally, especially on uneven surfaces.
So I just mentioned how the outsoles of the shoes wrap up and thankfully, Kyle in the comments, directed me to this explanation as to why this is.
The design of the soles are called a “negative flare” and if you want more details on that, you can read this excellent post at RunningReform.com (from where this image was taken).
He Said: I wouldn’t wear the Phase shoes for any athletic activity other than straight ahead running as there is no ankle support and shifting quickly to the side can cause the foot to roll out over the sole and onto the mesh upper. I definitely wouldn’t go more than 4 to 5 miles when starting out with this or any minimal shoe. These are great for training to run more naturally.
She Said: The Forms were a really natural fit and easy to move in. I like that my feet feel well protected in the shoes but it can give me a false sense of security. They are still very minimal and, until running in them becomes second-nature, I have to pay attention to where I put my feet and my form. They do get warmer than some of my other running shoes as there is less airflow through the uppers but, until I’m able to run long in them, I won’t know if that will become bothersome or not.
What do you think?
Would you try asymmetrical laces or think that’s whack?
How important is the look/style of the shoe to you compared to performance?
How do you #RunReal?