Shoe Review: Skechers GOtrail

After recently completing a 45km trail marathon in my regular road shoes, and taking a tumble on a steep downhill section, I thought it was time to invest in a pair of trail shoes. I had actually been looking for trail shoes for a good couple of months, but had not been able to find anything I liked. The shoes that I tried on in stores (Such as the Adidas Kanadia) felt very heavy.

I decided to order a pair of the Skechers GOtrail online, without even trying them on. The GOtrail is the trail version of the Skechers GOrun shoe. I first became aware of the GOrun when I was backpacking in LA in October 2011. The sales guy in the store was very knowledgable and I was totally sold on the shoe, except that I was backpacking and had absolutely no room for a second pair of running shoes in my bag. I was also slightly skeptical about the ability of skechers (what I percieved as a fashion shoe brand) to produce a good, technical running shoe. But, then American runner Meb Kef lezighi was the first
American in the New York Marathon in the GOrun that November, which gave the shoe more credibility in my mind.

The GOtrail is basically the GOrun with a trail sole on the bottom, more durable and slightly heavier, but the shoe is still a very light 190g (approximately) which I think for a trail shoe is great. My initial impression of the shoe was positive, I ordered them in the neon pink, which looks great. I also ordered them in the size 8. I think they fit true to size, although they do feel a little more snug than my Asics Nimbus size 8′s, but the upper was very soft and forgiving.

The shoe also has a 4mm heel to toe drop, so it is lower-profile compared to a regular running shoe. This can take a little getting used to, but as I will be using these shoes on trails and not on the road, I do not see it as being a big problem.

The upper is made of a hydrophobic, ‘GOdri’ stretch mesh with an antimicrobial lining, So think they would be good in the wet/mud. One complaint I read about the shoe in other reviews is that the shoe gets ‘hot’, I think that problem (if it arises) could be addressed by wearing an appropriate technical run sock. (For trail runs I prefer thin, nylon-like socks, my current favourite is one made by new balance in nylon/polyester/elastane)

I took these shoes out for their first run on a 14km trail run on Mount Sugarloaf. It had been raining the night before so the trail certainly was not dry. The shoes felt light and comfortable on the uphill sections of the trail, but where I really noticed the biggest difference (compared to my road shoes) was on the downhill sections of trail. I felt much more comfortable on the steep downhill sections, partly due to the grip on the bottom of the shoe, and partly because the shoe has quite a wide toe box, allowing my toes to spread, combined with a flexible sole, and the snug fit of the shoe also meant my foot was not sliding around in the shoe.

The shoe did pick up a few small rocks in the heel, which did not bother be while I was running.

I have taken these shoes out on a number of other runs, including Parkrun, and they felt great on the grass and gravel path, although I am not sure I would like to wear them too much on the road/footpath… I think I’ll save them for the trails.

I look forward to wearing this shoe in the Wild Endurance 50km trail run I’m doing in the Blue Mountains in May.

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