Skechers is an American footwear company based in California. The company also calls them the “The Comfort Technology Company” which certainly fits the products they produced. Established in 1992, Skechers now has over 4,000 stores worldwide in more than 170 countries. Skechers produces running shoes (Performance Segment), lifestyle shoes (Lifestyle Segment), such as the Go-Walk or the Skechers’ Arch Fit series, as well as apparel. The company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since the 1999 and more recently mull options for its Asia unit to go for IPO (Initial Public Offering) in Hong Kong.

In this article, we will focus on Skechers running shoes in the Performance Segment and examine the different shoes for different workout. Skechers was never truly considered to be a performance running shoes company. However, over the years, the company has improved its running shoes vastly and etch an impression for the running community.

Skechers’ Running Shoes

Skechers’ running shoes are classified with the GOrun within its naming, for example GOrun Ride or the GOrun Excess. Within this classification, a minority of the running shoes use Skechers’ Ultra-Flight EVA midsole (e.g., GOrun Horizon – Vanish 2) while the majority use the Hyper Burst midsole, an EVA based midsole made with a “Super Critical” process. Through this process, the Hyper Burst midsole will be formed after it is infused with carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Based on my analysis, these running shoes can be further categorised into (i) Race Day or Speed Workout, (ii) Daily Trainer, and (iii) Max Cushion to better understand which shoes better fits one type of category.

Race Day/Speed Shoes

Budget: $$$

Starting with the Race Day or Speed Workout category, the Speed Freek is Skechers’ latest product equipped with a carbon plate. Coming in with a 4 mm drop (34 mm in the heel), the Speed Freek is Skechers’ answer to the competition in the market for carbon plated shoes. In addition, the Speed Freek also has an aggressive rocker design, what the company term as HYPER ARC.

Image 1: Speed Freek

Comparing with the Speed Elite Hyper, there prominent differences, one is in the stack height and the other is the inclusion of HYPER ARC for Speed Freek. Both pairs have Skechers’ winglet plate and Hyper Burst midsole foam. Even the outsole pattern is pretty much the same. As they said it, don’t fix something that aren’t broken. Moving away from plated running shoes, we have the Razor 3 and the Razor Excess which could be considered as the training partners for the Speed Elite Hyper and the Speed Freek.

Image 2: Razor Excess

Finally, we have the Horizon – Vanish 2 which uses the Ultra Flight midsole. The Ultra Flight midsole is the predecessor of the Hyper Burst midsole, and both are EVA based midsole. The Horizon – Vanish 2 has a mono mesh upper which keeps the weight down and strategically located Goodyear outsole for traction and durability. One of the main selling points of the Horizon – Vanish 2 is its weight which comes in at 5.2 oz or about 147 grams.

Daily Trainer

Budget: $$

In the daily trainer, which is versatile for different types of running activities, we have the most prominent Ride but also the GOrun-Bionic for the neutral runners. Aside from the differences in the upper and outsole between Ride and Bionic, I could hardly tell the two apart. Both features the full length hyper burst midsole. For neutral running shoes, there is also the GOrun Hyper Burst which is slightly cheaper than the Ride series. The key differences are the lower stack height with the former having a 23.5mm to 14.5mm from heel to toe and the upper constructions which the Ride seems to have a more airy upper. In addition, the GOrun Hyper Burst is missing the Goodyear outsole which is a key advantage for durability.

Image 3: Ride 9 (left) and GOrun Hyper Burst (right)

The Forza 5 is Skechers’ offering for those looking for some form of stability in their shoes. The Forza series utilize a duo-midsole (Hyper Burst & Ultra-Flight) to achieve the stability. The Ultra-Flight, which is harder on the durometer, is implement on the medial side of the shoes to provide the support through a gait cycle. All three pairs are equipped with GoodYear outsole rubber which can provide guarantee of the outsole durability.

Image 4: Forza 5 Outsole with Ultra Flight at the medial side

Max Cushion

In the max cushion category, the primary pair of running shoes is the Maxroad series. The current iteration, 5th, has a carbon infused H-plate from the midfoot forward which helps with efficient transition. In addition, the carbon infused H-plate aids in the stability of the shoes compared to previous iterations. The Maxroad series incorporate Skechers’ M-strike (mid-foot strike) zone which is said to promote a smoother and efficient stride during runs.

Image 5: Maxroad 5

Summary & Conclusion

Skechers, in the past, has not been a running shoes or sports dedicated brand. However, that does not limit or hinders the company from innovating and producing running shoes worth the competition. Skechers now has a full line up of running shoes for different workouts from the race day to the long slow distance runs. Majority of the running shoes from Skechers utilize the Hyper Burst midsole which provides the midsole with its differentiating pop and cushioning effects.

Skechers has been expanding its global footprint with 4,170 stores globally with huge growth in China and expansion sets in more markets. For its performance segment, Skechers has been playing catch up with the rest of the brands. Innovations such as the Speed Freek and the Speed Elite have put the company in a more evident position and image as a running shoes company. While it is now in a more stable position, there is potentially still the consumer perception, pricing strategy, and design for its running shoes which needs to resolve for Skechers to stand next to the other major brands.

Till the next post, just keep running!

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