Skechers GoRun Speed (aka GoMeb) Review: A Traditional Racing Flat from Skechers

CIMG5258I’ve been flooded by questions over the past week or so about the new racing flat that Skechers is about to release. The shoe is officially called the Skechers GoRun Speed, but has also been variously referred to as the GoRace or GoMeb. Given my wear testing relationship with the Skechers design team, I was given a pair of the GoRun Speed last summer, not too long before Meb Keflezghi ran in the shoes in the Olympic Marathon. I was asked not to formally comment on the shoe until given a green light by Skechers – that green light just flashed, so it’s time for my review of the shoe!

The GR Speed is a shoe that was designed specifically as a marathon racing shoe for Meb Keflezghi. Meb worked directly with the design team to make a shoe that matched his exact preferences for the 26.2 mile distance, and the production shoes are as far as I can tell the exact shoe that Meb wore in the London Olympics (if there are differences, I was not informed of them).

The most common question I’ve gotten about the GoRun Speed is “How does it differ from the standard GoRun?” The answer is that the GoRun Speed is very much a typical racing flat. In fact, it’s probably the most conventional running shoe that Skechers has made thus far – for one thing, it lacks the distinct sensation of a midfoot bump found in the GoRun (though it does have arch support).

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I ran in the GoRun Speed a bunch last summer in order to give feedback to the design team, and my response at the time was that it seemed like a finished product. Aside from personal preferences (which I’ll get to below), I really had nothing to complain about or any major improvements to suggest. I guess when a shoe is made for an Olympian, it pretty much has to be ready to go!

In preparation to write this review, I pulled the shoes back out and have since completed my last three runs in them – these included a 6 mile progressive run down to 5K pace, and an 11 miler over hills. The goal was to get a refresher on how the shoes performed in various running circumstances.

Upper, Interior, and Fit

With regard to fit, the GR Speed is definitely a snugger shoe than the GoRun and GoRun 2. This is typical of racing flats in general – I like a snugger fit for speed and racing, and a narrower sole also cuts down weight due to the need for less sole material underfoot. The fit on my average width foot is fine, but if you have wide feet you may want to pass on these. I’d compare the forefoot width to the Brooks T7, or maybe a tad wider than the New Balance RC1600. I have not had any hot spot or blister issues with this shoe, but have not used it sockless very much.

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The upper of the GR Speed is a synthetic mesh with lots of welded overlays. It’s a bit rougher internally in the region of the mid-to forefoot compared to the GoRun. The interior of the heel is lined by a felt-like material (I’m terrible at identifying fabrics) and is soft against the skin. The sockliner is glued down – I have not made an attempt to remove it.

Sole

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The sole of the GoRun Speed is where it really differentiates itself from the regular GoRun. The Speed does have a slight rocker and a slightly greater thickness in the region of the midfoot, but it’s far less pronounced than in the GoRun. GR Speed sole dimensions are 14mm forefoot, 19.5mm midfoot, 18mm heel. The biggest difference has to do with feel – the midsole of the speed is very firm and far stiffer than that of the GoRun. The sole feel is similar to the adidas Adios 2 or New Balance RC1600 (the latter is probably the closest equivalent shoe overall among those I’ve run in). My preference would be for a bit less stack height in a shoe this firm, and I told the Skechers team this when I first ran in the shoe, but they told me that the structure of this sole was exactly what Meb had requested for a marathon shoe (who am I to argue with Meb!).

CIMG5254Sole stiffness of the GoRun Speed is enhanced by the presence of a TPU plastic plate embedded in the sole (composed of Hytrel from Dupont if you like specifics on the materials). This plate can be seen via a cutout on the bottom of the sole (see photo at left). The outsole consists of isolated round rubber pods – durability so far for me has been good (the photos here are taken after about 40-50 miles of running in the shoe).

Performance

Those of you familiar with the ride of the standard GoRun will find this to be quite a different shoe. As mentioned above, the sole is both stiff and firm, much like many other road flats (particularly those made by adidas and New Balance). I like these qualities in a speed shoe, but I’m not sure if I could tolerate the level of firmness in the GoRun Speed for a full marathon – I probably have about 40 pounds on Meb, and my feet were feeling it after 11 miles on roads in the GoRun Speed. However, for speed workouts or races up to half-marathon distance these would work out nicely. They are quite responsive, and clearly build for the sole purpose of running fast. I would not recommend the GR Speeds for long, easy runs, though that may be an individual response given that I am not a wispy runner!

CIMG5250Conclusions

The Skechers GoRun speed is a genuine, traditionally styled racing flat that is probably the most conventional performance running shoe produced by Skechers thus far. This is one that would not at all be out of place in the racing flat section on the walls of a specialty running shop, and competes very well with other offerings in the category. If you like a shoe that is snug fitting, firm, and stiff for speed-work and racing, this is definitely one to consider.

The GoRun Speed is now available at Skechers.com. View the men’s and women’s selections.

Caleb Masland provides another take on the Skechers GoRun Speed here (he’ll be racing Boston in the shoe this year).

**Featured Running Gear Sale: Shoebuy - 20% Off Skechers Performance shoes and 20% OFF all technical running shoes with code 20APRIL (through 5/1)

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Andy Jaksevicius says:

    How does it compare to GoBionic?

  2. Strange the design has not been altered considering Meb’s feet were absolutely ruined after the Olympic marathon. Or maybe just don’t wear them on cobblestones. ;-)

  3. amadeus303 says:

    Pete… how does the firmness of the sole compare to the Mizuno Wave Universe 4? Also, any weight specs on the shoe?

  4. David Tollefson says:

    I remember back from the New York marathon, when Meb was giving an interview and talking about his Skechers shoes, that his were custom because he has a narrow foot. It may be that Skechers has redone the last for the GoSpeed line accordingly.

    Also, is sounds like the plate in the GoSpeed may be very similar to that in the GoBionic Trail… If so, that’s a good thing in my book.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yes, got an email from Kurt at Skechers – the Speed is identical to Meb’s except his was made custom on a slightly narrower last because he has a narrow foot. They widened it a bit in the production version.

  5. Zach Earl says:

    Peter, when I talked to Josh Beisel, a territory manager for Skechers Performance, at the Surf City Expo this past weekend about the “Go Meb” he mentioned that the embedded plate actually flexes and gives energy back to the runner as they push forward in their running. Skechers had to get this new technology approved by the IOC before Meb could even run in them. He also mentioned that the exact shoe Meb ran in had more flex and response than there will be in the shoe they sell to the general public.

    We also talked about the upcoming Go Bionic Trail, and how, based on the response he’s heard from various retailers and testers regarding that shoe, Josh feels it could be quite a hit and really do a lot to bring Skechers into the the mainstream of serious running. What do you think?

  6. Patrick says:

    Hi,
    I do run the GoRun2 in size 12 (perfect width but about 0,5″ too long) and Brooks PureFlow in size 11,5 (fine all over).
    Kinvara 3 are too narrow in standard with.
    I am tempted to try the GoRun speed, but I am uncertain about sizing and particularly width.

    Any word of wisdom?

    Thanks!

  7. Hi Peter,
    I just ran in my first pair of the GoRun Speed’s this afternoon. I liked them a lot, but my normally size 10 feet seemed to have a little extra room than normal in them, still a good fit though. Any idea on how the Speed 2s compare with these in terms of fit? Not sure if I should go down a half size for those, or stick with the 10. The Meb NYCM version of the Speed 2s look awesome.
    Matt

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