Disclaimer: SKORA provided these shoes to me for review
Initial aesthetic impressions of the shoe are that they don’t look like typical running shoes. Some may think that’s a bad thing, some may think its a good thing. I think it’s a good thing. Frankly I’m getting a bit tired of the neon orange, green and yellow. These plain, but classy appearing shoes are a welcome change.
Shoe construction seems excellent. They seem to have thought out how the shoe is built from a global perspective, but also down to the nitty gritty details. From the materials used, the lacing, the goatskin leather upper and the shape of the shoe. From a durability perspective, I haven’t had them for very long, so I’m not sure how they’ll hold up, but my understanding is that they tend to hold up extremely well. Perhaps I’ll do an update in a few months.
Initial feel of the shoe was that similar to the New Balance MT110 shoes in that it felt like the shoe was actually forcing my foot into a bit of pronation – like the lateral aspect of the sole of the shoe was higher than the medial aspect. I was hesitant about this, because the NB MT110 caused a strain my tibialis posterior on the left. (I have a slight forefoot varus and external tibial torsion on the left, so that foot tends to need a bit of support).
However, I went out for a 6.5 mile easy trail run and felt no problems and then two days later, a hard 9 mile road run. Other than for tightness in the calves (I normally run a low drop, but not in zero drops) I felt fine. I really am surprised that I had no problems the next day because while running, it felt like I couldn’t get my 1st MTP joint on the ground properly on the left. This is likely due to my slight forefoot varus and the lateral aspect of the SKORA sole feeling like it’s built up more than the medial part of the sole.
I have run a few more times (shorter 3-4 mile runs) in the shoes and they feel great for that distance. For me though, there would have to be slightly more cushioning to allow me to regularly run longer in the SKORA Forms. There are some people who can run long distances without much cushion. I’m not one of them. For anything longer than 4-5 miles on the road I’d like to have a bit more cushioning.
For now though, SKORA Form shoes are great for shorter runs for me and it’s one of those shoes where you become a little more aware of your mechanics. I think that’s a good thing.
One aspect of the shoe which I love is the lack of medial, lateral and posterior flaring on midsole. In fact, SKORA Form has a negative flare for the midsole. I’m not sure who had the bright idea many years ago, but the thought on conventional running shoes was that if you flared the midsole outward on the medial, lateral and posterior aspects, it would create stability for the runner. Many “minimal” shoes still have these big flares outward in the midsoles.
Unfortunately, this outward flare has its consequences. If we look at proper running mechanics, initial foot strike (whether you’re a heel, midfoot or forefoot striker) should occur in a slightly supinated position, meaning that the lateral aspect of the shoe/foot contacts the ground first.
As shown in the picture below, this lateral flaring increases the lever arm to the center of frontal plane rotation for the foot/ankle. It also causes the lateral aspect of the shoe to strike the ground prematurely. Effectively , this produces excessive initial subtalar pronation as shown in this study.
SKORA also made a negative flare on the posterior aspect of the shoe. Conventional running shoes tend to have a large outward posterior flare. This would cause a longer lever arm between the initial ground contact point and the ankle joint axis in the saggital plane. This posterior flare would cause increased velocity of plantarflexion, and this increase the load on the anterior lower leg musculature. SKORA wisely has done away with this nonsense and instead, used a negative flare.
In summary, I applaud SKORA for creating a well made, good looking shoe. It is apparent that SKORA has done their research, and put a lot of thought on how to make a running shoe.
The FORM and other SKORA shoes can be purchased at SKORArunning.com