Technically speaking this is only really a review of the Skora Running Base shoe – I do own the Form, and love that shoe, but I only wore them for one run before I decided that as my Vivobarefoot Evo II shoes I had been wearing as a casual shoe now had a hole in them, these would be my new casual shoe.
The Skora Form is fairly narrow when compared to other minimalist/barefoot style shoes so I think I have made the best use of them. They are also expensive but seem like they could last a while (I found a pair on a deal site – not sure I could bring myself to spend the full asking price on them). These are extremely comfortable shoes (I wear them without socks), probably the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. I’ve had them since March so if they look a little worn that’s because I wear them all the time.
On to the Skora Base. I had no intention of buying these but I had read a review that indicated these had a wider toe box and were better for running than the Form. These come up on a deal site too, and because of my shoe shopping problem, I bought them.
Initially I went out on a couple of runs with the insoles still in place which puts you 13mm from the ground, and the shoes were noticeably heavier than my other shoes (I guess almost an ounce difference in weight can be noticeable when you’re down as low as these shoes go). Something just wasn’t right, mainly on my left foot. Someone actually commented that they look like they are quite narrow and maybe that was it. I don’t know why my left foot was particularly affected, but it really felt like my little toe was being pushed against the side of the shoe. The day after my second run – I ran about 7 miles that day – I noticed a small blister between my toes on my right foot (on my little toe). I didn’t notice any issues on that foot while running, and I can’t say for sure that’s what caused it, but it seems too much of a coincidence to ignore.
After that experience I took out the insole to give them another try (I really wanted to like them). This drops them down to 9mm which makes them more in line with the Merrell Trail Glove 2. Removing the insole certainly made them feel more comfortable to me and I didn’t seem to notice the push of my little toe against the side anywhere near as much (but more of this to follow, because although it didn’t seem as much, it still seems to be an issue). I decided to keep the first run in them short in case problems arose so at about 3 miles I took them off and ran the rest of the way home barefoot.
At this point I was quite excited – the comfort and feel over that distance was similar to the Trail Glove 2. The next day I wore them a bit longer – covering 5 miles in total including hill repeats. Still good.
I wanted to see how well they would do on a long run, so the next day I put them on with a plan to cover around 10 miles. Things went well and I was fairly happy with them – I did notice a very slight push of my little toe on my left foot against the side but it didn’t seem to be causing any problems at all and I ended up running just over 11 miles at about 8:15/mile pace. At this point I was starting to think this was great – I’d found another shoe I liked as much as the Trail Glove and it could end up being the shoe I use for the Philadelphia Marathon. I feel like there is a bit more protection on the bottom of these shoes than on the Trail Glove so thought it actually may be the better option for longer distances (although not necessarily a better option for that barefoot feel – despite the manufacturer’s specifications indicating they have very similar stack heights the Merrell’s certainly feel more like a barefoot shoe somehow).
After the 11 miles on Wednesday I took a day off and got up early to go for a 6 mile run. However, something didn’t feel right at all. A mile into the run I stopped to see if the shoe just needed adjusting – something was making my left foot really hurt. I decided to turn around but at that time bumped into a friend and decided to try to run a little more while chatting. It didn’t work, the pain was getting worse and I had to head home. Out of desperation I decided to take off the shoes and run home barefoot. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew I was having problems in the shoes so thought it was worth a try. Within a short while the pain was gone and I easily ran the remaining 1.5 miles home completely barefoot with no issues at all.
Now I’m not sure what to do – I really wanted to like these shoes, but I can’t help but think they were causing damage to my feet. Perhaps there’s something unique about my running form that just doesn’t fit with this design. Maybe after the Philadelphia Marathon I can try them again. Right now I can’t take the chance of injuring myself.