The whole minimalist running shoe craze is still on the rise, and doesn't show signs of slowing any time soon. There are a lot of great minimalist shoes at entry level prices, but what if you want something high-end?
The Skora Forms are supposed to be minimal Cadillacs for your feet—do the the premium materials equal premium performance.?
NOTE: The usual disclaimer about minimalist running shoes applies here. They're not for everybody. You have to adjust your running style and build very slowly or you will break your feet and ruin your entire life. Do your homework regarding what you need to do to slowly transition to shoes like these. Okay?
What Is It?
High-end minimalist running shoes. Not an oxymoron, evidently.
Who's It For?
Minimalist runners who want the best materials available.
The uppers are made of Pittards goatskin leather with a water-resistant coating and a soft feel. The soles are tough rubber, and are zero-drop with a nine-millimeter stack height.
Lacing up the shoes, you'll notice that the laces go off to the side, following the contour of your foot. The heel has an adjustable velcro strap to help lock your foot in place. The tread is hard enough that small rocks are no problem, but it's thin enough so that you can feel cracks in the pavement.
The Best Part
Build quality. Got to hand it to Skora, if you're going to charge this much for shoes, you at least ought to build them this solidly. After a month of three to six mile runs (two to three per week), there isn't a stitch out of place and the bottom tread is holding up admirably. That's more than we can say for a lot of its competition.
Fit. There is something very weird going on with the sizing. I'm usually a size 12, though sometimes that can go down to a size 11, depending on the brand. I was told that the Forms ran large, so I should try 10.5s. They were so tight that I got blisters on the tops, bottoms and sides of my feet. So I swapped them out for a pair of 11s. They were huge and floppy. I mean, like, a size and a half bigger. It meant that I could never test a pair that truly fit me, because such a pair didn't exist.
This Is Weird...
One big seamless piece of leather wraps around the top of your foot. It's supposed to be smooth, but if you lace up tightly, the leather bunches up at the bottom, creating this point of friction that is not smooth at all. So, close, but no cigar.
- Warm. Your feet will get warm in these. Sweaty, too. Not so great on hot days, though, with the coming winter, these may end up being preferable to the thin mesh on most other minimal shoes.
- One of the big selling-points here is that the leather is supposed to be so soft that you can run without socks. Maybe I'm just tender-footed, but I had some of the worst blisters ever after just a couple of miles. Did fine with thin socks, though.
- When trying to fix the sizing issues, the elastic heel-strap didn't do anything. Every time I took a corner, it felt like the shoe was going to slip out from under me and I was going to roll my ankle. It never happened, but I was also being extra careful.
- The forefoot is simply not wide enough to allow for a proper, natural toe-splay. This is something I consider to be mandatory in minimal shoes.
- The tread held up on slippery cement and some very light off-roading, but I wouldn't use them for serious trail runs.
- The soles are just a bit too stiff for my liking, at least for minimal shoes. I couldn't feel the ground quite as much as I'd like, and it inhibited some natural foot flexion.
- I don't much care for the look of the red on whites, but the blue on blacks are damned good looking.
Should You Buy It?
For $185? That's a no. There is no denying that the materials are top-notch, and the build quality is excellent, but there are some serious problems with ergonomics. I literally could not find a pair that would fit me, which resulted in sloppy, precarious running. Maybe they fit your feet perfectly. If so, then great. But $185 is still a mighty bitter pill to swallow.