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Skora Fit Review: The Shoe I Wanted To Love

Skora Fitby Bryan Wyatt

This is my first post on Runblogger, so before I get to my review, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.

Introduction

I’ve been running more or less since 1995, when I decided to run Cross Country in High School.  I picked up Track almost as an afterthought.  By the time I’d graduated, I was a 4:41 miler and ran 17:26 in the 5K (back when those numbers actually meant something). After taking a year off from competitive running, I had a failed attempt to make the XC team at the University of Cincinnati.  I ran semi-consistently during my college years, partially because I was working at one of Cincinnati’s premier running stores (a nice discount on both shoes and race entry fees helps!).  My post-college years were a lot less consistent and by year two of married life, I was 50lbs over my highest competitive weight and very out of shape.  I started getting back to it, dropped 30lbs and change, and, despite some injuries, am back in the 20-25mi/wk range.  I’ve gotten to where I can run every day on my lunch break and take my weekends off, which is very important because it gives me family/chore time back.

It’s worth mentioning that I run exclusively sockless. Racing, training, Winter, Summer, it doesn’t matter.  I have not run with socks on in well over a decade and never plan on doing it again.  More on that later.

I’ve dealt with several injuries over the years, with everything from a tibial stress fracture on my left leg in high school to cuboid/peroneal issues on the same foot at the beginning of this year.  In fact, that last part makes a nice segue to where our review begins.

The Skora Phase

Skora, as you may know, is a Seattle (formerly Portland)-based company specializing in well-made minimal shoes primarily for running, though they are marketed for all kinds of training as well due to their lower stack heights, increased ground feel, and durable outsoles.  They offer both leather and synthetic uppers on either of two lasts, the R01 and R02.

My first introduction to Skora was the Phase (red shoe in the photo below), built on the R02 last, which relies on its Injection-Blown Rubber (IBR) outsole for the shoe’s only cushioning.  They were comfortable, but the upper was too high-volume, the lacing could never be tight enough, and the outsole was just too thin.  After an hour-long run, I found that I could barely walk the next day.  That was enough for me—I ended up missing nearly two months’ worth of running with Cuboid Syndrome in my left foot.  I still walk around in them from time to time, but they were retired from running at 200mi.

Enter the Fit

Given my troubles with the Phase (lacing and cushioning, mostly), I was excited when I saw that Skora was releasing an affordable new shoe (called the Skora Fit) on its R01 last that would have a breathable upper, better lacing than the Phase, and more dense outsole rubber for good durability.  It would be light, zero-drop, flexible, with more than enough cushioning (16mm stack height in both the heel and forefoot).  Sounds great!

Here is the Fit at 60mi with my old Phases and my then new Mizuno Wave Hitogamis:

Three Shoe Compare

Sole:

Skora pride themselves on having durable outsoles.  I’ve seen several pictures on their Facebook page of shoes with hundreds, and some with over a thousand miles of wear.  I have never gotten that kind of mileage out of a shoe, pretty much considering myself lucky to reach 300mi no matter what I’m wearing, be it minimal flats or beefy motion-control shoes.  Here is a shot of the outsole at about 60mi:

Skora Fit Sole

And here are some shots at 120 miles:

Skora Fit Sole Tip Skora Fit Sole Heel Skora Fit Sole Forefoot

All of the shots above are of my left shoe, which traditionally wears harder.  I think something in my stride is just not working with these shoes if you note all of the toe/forefoot wear.  If you look at the heel (see photo below), you will see what really didn’t work for me: the shoe’s rounded heel.  This feature, referred to by Skora as the Real Heel, is touted as allowing natural foot motion.  In my case, that is a bad thing.  The ease of rolling in from the heel often caused me some semi-painful ankle eversion.  This condition was exacerbated by the strip of outsole rubber on the lateral midfoot, which allows the medial midfoot of the shoe to collapse easily.  I must stress that this is not necessarily a design fault in the shoe, but rather something that does not work for me.

Skora Fit Heel

Beyond that, cushioning in the shoes was adequate for 50min+ of running on several occasions.  Considering that I’ve run longer in less, I would consider the cushioning to be just fine.  Due to the high-volume fit in the upper, I did not run in the shoes without the insoles, something that you could do should you so choose, as the footbed is seamless.

Skora Fit Lateral

Upper:

The upper of the Fit is unique in that it is 3D-printed, a single piece that will allow for great breathability while providing decent support and fewer hotspots.  In my experience, the upper was breathable *enough*, and no more.  It always felt like I was wearing something thicker.  While it was fine against the bare skin of my feet, it always felt warmer than I expected it to be.  I was pleased to find that the Fit used conventional eyelets as opposed to the Phase’s loop lacing system which, when combined with an eyelet on only one side, just never left me satisfied with the lacing—especially because I prefer lace locks for heel security.  At the very least, the upper caused me no hotspots in exclusively sockless running.

Skora Fit Top

Fit:

Much like the Phase, I found that the Fit is just too high-volume for my feet.  No matter how tight I tied the laces, I just never felt really secure in the shoes.  I couldn’t have sized down because I would have hit the end of the toebox (this happened with the Phase, too), and the 11.5 that I normally wore was perfectly fine in length.  I’ve found that even when I wore socks that I often was having to heavily tighten shoes because of volume issues, so this is really nothing new and, again, more a case of the shoe not working for me than a problem with the shoe itself.  I will say, however, that I am not a fan of the nubs on the insole of the Fit as opposed to the less raised nubs on the Phase.  It took one good run in the rain for one nub near the edge of the insole to rub a hole the size of a pencil eraser in the instep of my left foot (which, because of the eversion issues, moves a lot more in the shoe than my right foot).

Looks:

I was a little disappointed that my pair wasn’t the original Orange/White combo I saw in some of the early promotional shots, but the Blue/Grey combo grew on me.  The shoe’s design is definitely wild[er]-looking, but not nearly so much as the Phase.  Now that I’ve had them, I’m really happy with the looks.  They never look clunky on my feet and are not so unconventional as to scare more conservative runners.

Skora Fit Side

Conclusion:

I really don’t want to give you all the wrong idea here. The Skora Fit is a well-made shoe that, for the right foot and stride, will be very comfortable and last a long time, all the while providing a zero-drop platform capable of long runs or speed work with equal gusto. Unlike the rest of Skora’s line-up, it is affordably priced at $100 MSRP.  In those respects, it’s everything I should have wanted.  However for my feet, they just didn’t work.

Despite my experience, I can still say that these are good shoes, and I recommend at least giving them a shot.

The Skora FIT is available for purchase at Skora.com.

Comments

  1. Josh Burnham says:

    I’ve been waiting for Runblogger to review the Fit and am happy to see it finally happened. I must say, though, that my experience with the shoes has been quite different.

    I switched to the Fits after running in the Altra Instinct 1.5 for a couple of years, and after being disappointed with the raised stack height in the 2.0 version. The Fits were also the first shoes I ran in after a really bad injury (broken tibia and ankle) which prevented me from running for six months.

    As far as I am concerned, the Fits saved my running as they provided the kind of low-to-ground stability I needed and great surface feedback. This is a shoe that makes sure you keep a good running form, which is crucial for my still recovering body.

    Apart from their dashing, unusual looks, the Fits are the first shoes I’ve ever worn which lock my heel securely while providing a spacious toe box. Unlike Bryan’s feet, my feet are really high volume and I actually had to take out the insole to feel comfortable. Once I’ve done that, I literally couldn’t feel I was wearing any shoes.

    One thing I do agree about with Bryan is the durability issue. Many reviewers keep praising the outsole’s exceptional durability, but after running about 100m in my pair, it doesn’t strike as much different than previous shoes I’ve worn in the past.

    I will certainly buy another pair of Fits once my current one wears out . My only hope is that Skora doesn’t follow the Altra path and chooses model variety over quality. Sticking to three or four models and remaining loyal to their original vision would guarantee I keep buying their products.

    • I’m excited to see the Tempo that’s coming out next year. It looks like it might be a nice combo of the things I liked about the Phase and the Fit put together.

    • Thanks for the kind words Josh, I’m pleased to hear you’ve had such good success with the shoes :)

      The durability does vary a lot from person to person. I’ve gotten over 1K miles out of the outsole shared by Fit and Form on all of my pairs, but others wear through them much faster.

      Interesting comments about sticking to the tried and true models, I think you’ll find that will continue to be the case for us into the future, but because we choose to make this decision but also because we are a smaller brand with smaller production numbers, it costs a lot to change a shoe too much! I don’t see us coming out with more than 1 new model per year for the next few years.

    • For what it’s worth, I’m glad you had a good experience in the Fits. Like I said, I think they’re good shoes, and I don’t want my review to scare anyone away. I hope that I’ve explained adequately exactly what didn’t work for me so that people can evaluate accordingly.

  2. Nice to meet you Bryan! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Unfortunately, mine was even worse. Yesterday was my first double-digit run since May 20, when I ran 14 miles in the Skora Fit. It was only my second run in the shoe, and the previous 7-mile run was uneventful.

    I blame the rounded heel for triggering a stubborn bout of peroneal tendinosis. Like you said, there’s nothing to stop the foot from everting – except the peroneal muscles and tendon. In fact, there’s still a noticeable bump on my tendon. Scar tissue, I guess.

    I actually love the look (I’ve got the orange), the feel, and the ride. That said, I should probably eBay them now for my own safety!

    If I do try them again, I’ll at least wait until I’m 100%. I’m curious to see if the crazy eversion shows up in RunScribe data, when it finally ships.

    • Thank you for the comment, Brian. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one experiencing that issue due to the heel. I think if the rounding weren’t as severe, it might not be such an issue.

  3. Hey Bryan, just to be clear (I think we discussed this a while back), your issues with the shoes are not problems with the shoes themselves but simply that, as you said,

    “for my feet, they just didn’t work.”

    as they obviously work well for many people, including myself and my two pairs of Fits with over 1000 miles on them. Different shoes for different people, I’d give a similar review to a pair of shoes that simply did not work for my feet.

    Oh and PS, they’re priced at $95 :)

    • Sorry for mis-stating the price. $100 or less is “affordable” to me, so I just rounded up without thinking about it.

      And yes, to be clear, I think these are really nice shoes. They just didn’t work for me. I’ve recommended them to several people despite my experience.

      I think one thing you pointed out about the heel somewhere else was that the Phase’s heel isn’t as firm, allowing the heel to flatten a little more than the Fit does. Did I understand that right? I never noticed the heel as much in the Phase as I did in the Fit.

      • Right. The entire outsole on Phase and Core is much much more flexible and less “ridged” that that on Fit, so the heel and entire sole of Phase will definitely flatten out more when you’re on the ground.

      • I have a set of the old Phase shoes, and they never fit me well enough that I could go sockless in them. When I bought my pairs of Fit and Core, I stayed the same size in the Fit and went down half a size in the Core, based on the fit guide on SKORA’s website. The sizes were spot on, and I hope that both shoes are still around when it comes time to replace them.

  4. “Back when those numbers actually meant something.” What? So when did numbers stop meaning something? Are they all inaccurate now? What a strange comment in an otherwise good review.

    • I’m not sure how much you follow high school XC/Track, but a 4:41 mile and 17:26 5K are practically nothing these days. Back in 1999, those times were fast enough to make me my team’s 2nd or 3rd fastest miler and our 3rd fastest XC runner. Nowadays, having a freshman that can break 4:40 in the mile isn’t all that unrealistic.

  5. Could anyone compare the fit of Skora Fit to Vivobarefoot? I know that this shoe is cushioned and overall very different from Vivobarefoot, but I would like to hear some comparison of fit. Are VB also high-volume for your feet?

    • I cannot compare the two, but hopefully someone else will chime in.

    • In terms of volume, I would say that they are fairly similar, though if I had to choose I would say that Vivobarefoot has less volume height wise though more volume width wise, if that makes sense. I’ve found the Skora Fit to be one of the better, well, fitting shoes that I’ve tried, however. If a regular fitting shoe is your standard hug your grandma, than the Skora Fit is a firm, two armed bear hug by a friend you’re seeing for the first time in forever.

  6. I have both the Fit and the Core, and I’ve had a bit of a different experience. I use the Core as my race and quick run shoe, and the Fit for my longer runs. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never had a major running injury, and I’ve always run with a fairly neutral landing.

    • That’s similar to how I wear mine. Phase for my short/easy runs and Fit as my longer/harder workout shoe.

    • I’m glad that they worked for you! I honestly know that I have some mechanical issues that these shoes highlighted, and I think if you don’t have any, these should work well.

      • I wouldn’t go that far Bryan! The rounded heel is a unique feature that caused me a lot of trouble – trouble that I never had in any other shoe. And I’ve got a lot of shoes! So I would at least encourage people to start slow in these.

        • I should have said “These should be worth a try” instead of “these should work well”. Unfortunately, everyone’s a little different.

      • Bryan,

        So far, they’re working pretty well. I’m alternating between the Core and the Fit, and with about 125 miles on both pairs, I’m not seeing any particular wear yet. Certainly better than the Saucony Virrata that I had been running in.

        • Glad to hear they’re both working out to so well for you Luke.

          I rotate my Fits for longer/harder workouts and Phase for my shortest runs, similar to what you do.

          • I definitely want to give the Tempo a try when it comes out. Are there any more pictures of it out there?

          • Can’t reply directly to you for some reason, Bryan. We’re keeping most of the close up photos of Tempo on the DL for a while until after Christmas, but we’ll be at The Running Event in December, showing it off :)

  7. Glad to see that you were honest that the specs of the shoe are what you want but just not right for your foot.

    It just goes to show that even though you have a wonderfully designed and made shoe, it just doesn’t work for everyone.

    Thank God for the free market!

    • And that is really the point I wanted to come across: just because a shoe doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s a bad shoe (or even that you’re a bad runner).

      • It is a great point to make for sure. One thing I have been realizing is there are very few things about shoes that you need to look for in specs, the biggest just being does it feel and fit good on your foot! everything else kinda comes second.

  8. Looking forward to seeing some close-ups of the Tempo. I’m liking where you guys are headed, Kyle!

  9. Thanks for review. I want to buy this shoes in new year. I like the color of Skora Fit

    • They are comfortable and definitely worth a look. The price is good if nothing else.

      Hopefully they work for you!

  10. Has anyone tried the newer Skora Tempo yet? I’m very curious about these shoes as they have a nice anatomical shape and have added some cushioning.

  11. Just like to add that I’ve been rotating the FIT with other shoes, and after every run in them I always have to mention to my wife ‘I love these shoes’. Super comfy and great ground feel.

    To say I’m impressed with them would be an understatement. I also used them on forest and stoney trail runs and after at least 350 miles of mixed terrain running they only show a little wear.

  12. Trying to find the ‘right’ shoe.

    Loved the Wave Musha versions 3-5 (version 3 was my favorite)

    Switched to Wave Hitogami after the Musha was discontinued

    First marathon Wave Hitogami 3:27
    -legs started hurting around 20 started cramping at 22
    -ended up injuring knee a week post marathon on a too hard 8 mile run out 1 month

    Second marathon Wave Ride 18 DNF
    -knee started hurting mile 16 dropped at 20
    -out 1.5 months

    Tried Wave Hitogami again:
    -didn’t feel there was enough cushion, so much ground feeling compared to wave rider 18

    Tried Nike Free 5.0, caused foot problems, added arch support caused blisters

    Currently debating switching to zero drop:
    Just ordered the Skora Tempo and Altra One 2.5 to try out

    Any recommendations, I’ve really been struggling to find a daily trainer/racing shoe. i prefer them to be one in the same if possible.

    I normally race 1 marathon, half, and 10k each year trying to PR. Then I race a bunch of 5ks and less. The big goal is qualifying for Boston 3:05 (3:02), but my knee has caused me problems post marathon in the 1st one and during the marathon in the 2nd one.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, just looking for some help on shoe selection.

    • Have you tried the Mizuno Sayonara? A bit more cushion than the Hitogami. I’d hesitate to jump straight to zero drop without making a gradual transition. Maybe try a 4mm first and see how that goes? Saucony Kinvara would be a good option.

    • Ryan McLain says:

      I would have to agree with Peter, jumping into minimalist or zero drop can hurt your progress rather than help. I took the advice of a non-running doctor and switched from vibrams to a stability shoe with arch support and ended up with more issues than I went to the doctor with. IT band issues became my worst nightmare. Became tight and caused knee pain. I transitioned to the Altra Instincts which I am somewhat happy with but am here at Skora looking at the Fit in search of “the shoe” for me.


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