Monday, April 23, 2018

Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 Review: Smooth. Smooth and Fast Racing Flat

Article by Peter Stuart and Dave Ames
Introduction
Peter: It’s the season of the racing flat around here. Holy moly--I’m weeding through so many awesome and light racing flats--it’s making my head spin. The GO Meb Speed 5 is the latest iteration of Skechers Performance's pure racing flat. I found the 3 and 4 to be super stiff and didn’t log a ton of miles in them. So how does the 5 stack up? Is it a better shoe than the Adidas Sub-2? Read on to find out…

Dave:  Skechers Performance is a run brand I have significant experience with as I used to handle most of the East Coast sales for the run specialty channel.  The GO Meb Speed series and I go way back and I have always raced and worked out quite well in these shoes, as well as the entire line. It’s a brand that just works really really well with my foot, my gait (M Strike and I get along nicely) and I love forefoot pop.  Skechers Performance consistently brings this to the table for me.

Stats
Weight: 5.9 oz/167 g (US M size 9) 4.9 oz/139 g (US W size 8)
Stack : 22mm (Heel), 18mm (Forefoot), 4 mm drop
$120. Available now


First Impressions and Fit
Peter: As with the Adidas Sub 2, these are almost impossibly light. The upper and design look to be a big improvement on the previous models and the weight has dropped by over half an oz.. The Speed 5 fit true to size for me. I’m an 11 in all Skechers and most other shoes and this is no exception. Fit is sublime. The shoe feels like a slipper going on. It’s clear from the get-go that the upper will be far more breathable than the knit upper of the Speed 4.


Dave:  I’ll agree with Peter that it fits like a glove upon initial step in and my size 9 is perfect for racing and workouts.  The weight is almost non existent and they feel like you have nothing on your feet! However, immediately out of the gate I ran into an issue with the lacing, as well as the hard plastic that was placed on the external heel counter (there’s no need for it!)  As with previous versions of the Meb Speed, I found my way around a rough lacing system. I have very narrow ankles and where the eyelets are positioned they dig into the top of my foot when I am locked and loaded for a race or workout. I am up in the air about the thinless of the laces.  I feel like they dig into me more than they should. Hard heel counters inflame my ankle bone on my right foot, developing almost a calcaneal spur.


Upper

Peter: This is a great upper. Straight up. I’m so happy that SP decided to go back to a mesh upper on this shoe. There are some great details to the upper that all work together to make it a really natural feeling, fold holding, speed demon.


The front of the shoe is what Skechers is calling “Sublimated air mesh”. It’s a very breathable and nearly see through mesh that’s nice and soft and holds the front of the foot well. There’s just enough stretch to allow toes to splay.
At the midfoot the mesh turns to what they’re calling “lightweight translucent vamp mesh paired with ripstop nylon mesh”. This section is actually see-through. Wear some bright socks and show yourself to the world! The look is almost a saddle shoe. The result of this shift at the midfoot is that the lacing system relies on pulling this vamp/ripstop area in for a terrific midfoot lock. I suspect it all looks a little simpler than it is, but the end result is a great and locked down feeling flat.
The rear of the shoe features an external plastic heel counter. The heel feels locked in and the padding around the ankle collar, while minimal, assists in holding the foot in place. For me this upper really hits the middle ground of feeling like a slipper while also holding my foot in place and feeling like a running shoe. I don’t get any of the instability that I sometimes get with a knit upper.


I think Skechers Performance has come a long way in the design department too. These aren’t quite as sexy as the Adidas Sub-2 but they look SO MUCH BETTER than the previous version of the Speed.


Dave:  The upper is interesting and new for me compared to previous versions of the Meb Speed.  It took some getting used to. I do feel the toe box is a bit too “pointy”, but the Sublimated Air Mesh gives my the nice splay I like to not feel cramped.  So basically, it works. The translucent vamp, like Peter mentions above, is a far better update than the Speed 4, as is wraps your arch a lot better. I struggled with the classic racer feel and fit in the 4, because the “flat knit” refused to mold to my foot.  


Midsole
Peter: The big story across the board for Skechers Performance this year is the move to Flight Gen foam. It’s a great compound that is significantly lighter and feels both bouncier and more responsive to me. Anybody paying attention has figured out that i LOVE the GoRide 7 (RTR review), and I was interested to see how this new foam, in a firmer formulation or durometer in shoe manufacturing speak than Ride 7 would affect the ride of the Speed 5.


And the result is: It’s great! Though I think it may be the same durometer as the previous version of the shoe, the midsole feels more forgiving and more flexible to me.


As with the previous versions of the Speed, the Speed 5 features a plate (Dupont Delrin material) that helps provide some snap to your stride. The plate doesn’t seem to overly stiffen the shoe and does a nice job of being passive until you step on the gas and feel just a little extra pop through the end of your stride.

The Speed 5 continues to feature M-Strike tech from SP and, as I’m not a heel striker, it feels great to me. I’ve never gotten the rundown on how the M-Strike technology is meant to work, I just know that my stride feels great in these shoes.


Dave:  FlightGen is the bomb.com.  There is no way around it. It’s one of the best midsole technologies in the run game right now.  Take that and put it in a racing flat and oh baby….you have yourself a rocket ship. My first run in this shoe (again not overly pleased with the total fit) was a 4 mile tempo that felt effortless. I was out of shape and beginning a cycle.  The FlightGen really provides you the power you need when working out or racing and each and every stride was perfectly positioned via the M Strike to land mid foot / forefoot. The pop is totally there in the forefoot and you get there quickly via this midsole with a very, very fast heel to toe transition. The Dupont plate doesn’t feel as harsh as it did in the Meb Speed 3 that had a plastic type sound when it hit the pavement - - of course Meb won Boston in the 3, so..


Outsole

Peter: The outsole features a parametric web. Essentially there are sections of blue rubber covering interspersed with sections of exposed FlightGen midsole. So far no durability issues and I’ve found them to be fine on all surfaces. The only thing i find is that if you step on a sharp rock you might feel it on your forefoot.
Dave:  The webbed outsole is still a bit slippery on rainy days.  I think it’s time to change this one up. It’s never gripped well for me. Personally, like what New Balance did with the new 1400v6, real min sharp edged lugs. They cover those rainy racing days..though I live in SoCal so they don’t happen..


Ride
Peter: Smooth. Smooth and fast. The Go Meb Speed 5 feels great to me. It’s a fast shoe that you can turn over quickly and doesn’t beat you up. I find the ride to be much, much more enjoyable than the Adidas Sub-2. The Speed 5 is fun for me in a way the Sub 2 isn’t. It rides fine at moderate paces and just floats when you step it up. 

The forefoot, at 18mm high, 3mm more than the Sub2, has just enough cushion to make it comfortable for longer distances. That said, the Speed 5 is a race flat for sure. It’s not a shoe I’d dare bring up to the marathon distance but I'd certainly race a 5k, 10k or a half marathon in these. The ride is plenty responsive and feels way less stiff than previous versions of this shoe.

Dave:  Fast, smooth, poppy and efficient.  All of these make the shoe work for me...when I can get the perfect fit I like.  Because the ride of the shoe is so damn good, I rarely notice the fit, or the different lacing patterns I have to use get it to feel locked and loaded.  M Strike gives a quick heel to toe transition, which has awesome to me since the day it emerged from the design rooms at Skechers Performance.


Conclusions and Recommendations
Peter: The Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 is a great racing flat. For my money it’s a better feeling shoe than the Sub 2 and it is about 60 bucks cheaper too. It’s really comfortable, has a super breathable upper and does well at any speed. For shorter distances it may be my favorite race flat of the year so far (though I still have to log miles in the Escalante Racer).  Skechers just killed it this year. I could certainly cover all of my needs with just their shoes this year; the Speed 5 for racing shorter distances, the increasingly comfortable rocketship the Razor 2 for longer races and tempo days. and the Ride 7 for long days and recovery.

Dave:  Outstanding shoe, especially if you are ballin on a budget.  I have not run in the Sub 2, so I won’t throw that comparison out there, but it’s almost as good as the Reebok Floatride Run Fast.  The fit is better in the Fast for me. But overall, a great shoe from a brand that continues to get better year after year.  Aesthetically, it looks like it was rushed, but aesthetics are not always Skechers strong suit. It’s more about function.  I would recommend this shoe for the runner looking for a workout shoe for Tempo, Fartlek, Hill Reps and Track Work. I would recommend racing in it up to the Half Marathon.  I have seen some runners struggle with calf issues when taking the GOmeb Speed up to the Full Mary distance. I just don’t think it’s enough shoe for 26.2. Well done again, by Kurt and team.


Peter's Score : 9/10  
For it’s purpose it’s a terrific shoe. I just don’t have any major problems with it. Is it the most versatile shoe, no, but it’s great.
Dave's Score:  9/10
-1 for struggling with the fit, thin laces, and hard plastic heel counter.


Comparisons
Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 vs adidas adizero Sub 2 (RTR review)
Peter: While I think the upper of the Adidas is slightly more elegant, the ride of the Speed 5 is much smoother and more enjoyable for me. When it all comes down to it, a shoe either makes me smile while I run or it doesn’t. The Speed 5 does and it is more reasonably priced to boot.
Dave: Do not own a Sub 2 or care to!


Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 vs Reebok Floatride Run Fast (RTR review)
Peter: Wow, this is a tough one. The upcoming Reebok Floatride Run Fast is a magical shoe. For a marathon I’d pick the Reebok hands down. For shorter stuff I’d probably go with the Speed 5, but it’s a tough choice. The grip on the Reebok is ridiculous and the midsole returns a lot of energy. Toss up.

Dave:  The Fast wins by a hair.  I just have a better overall fit in it.  FlightGen vs. PEBA is really tough. I would have to say that FlightGen is a better midsole right now.  You should really just own both of these shoes. They are workhorses for workout and race days.


Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 vs New Balance 1400 (RTR review v5, v6 soon)
Peter: These feel like they’re in different categories to me. I’d race shorter in the Speed 5 but do fartleks or longer races in the 1400. The 1400 V6 (review soon) pops off the pavement, but there’s a little more shoe than there is on the Speed 5.

Dave:  I just recieved the 1400v6 from New Balance and tempoed in it yesterday.  Damn, it is fine. I’ll agree with Peter that the Speed 5 may be for like 400s on the track whereas if I am doing a longer Fartlek session (ex 12 miles with 5 x 3 hard/2 easy + 6 x 1 hard/1 easy) in the middle I’ll go with the 1400v6 because it’s just more under my foot.  1400v6 has better grip on rainy days. I had it in the rain yesterday and it was gravy on slippery roads.


Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 vs NB 1600
Peter: I find the 1600 un-runnably stiff. Speed 5 for the win.


Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 vs GOmeb Razor 2 (RTR review)
Peter: Get both. Shorter for Speed longer for Razor. You’ve still spend less than a pair of Vaporfly 4%.
Dave:  Razor 2.  I just get more use out of it.  Razor 2 also feels outstanding on dry single track trail (West Coast cruisers in the LA area).


GOmeb Speed 3 and 4 vs. Go Meb Speed 5
Dave:  The 5 is definitely the best yet, meaning they are going in the right direction (which they always have, which makes them special) The FlightGen in the 5 makes all the difference in making a slappy shoe in the 3 and 4, smooth and stable in the 5.  


Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5vs On Cloud (RTR review)
Dave:  Fashion shoe vs. True Racing Flat.  Sorry, but ON just doesn’t do it for me.  I tried, I really did with those guys, but they need to go back to the design lab. The Cloud pods are unrunnable for me.

Skechers Performance GO Meb Speed 5 vs Salming Race
Dave:  Speed 5.  Salming doesn’t agree with my foot and lacks a fast and efficient heel to toe transition. The Race is sloppy, Speed 5 is not.

Reviewer Bios
Peter Stuart is a late 40's avid LA based runner with recent sub 3 hour marathons and sub 1:25 halves.
Dave Ames is the Founder and Head Coach of Ame For It Run Coaching, a nationwide run coaching business, training athletes of all ability levels from 5K to Marathon.

Photo Credits: Peter Stuart and Dave Ames
The GOmeb Speed 5 were provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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2 comments:

demian sims said...

Hey Guys, great review as always.

I'm wondering if a shoe like this would serve the purpose of working on stride and technique? I'm not a fast runner so I wouldn't be 'racing.' In fact, my fast shoe is the Forza 3 and my slow shoe is the Bondi 5. Would a shoe like this have a use for me in training being 6' 1" 215lbs or would I be better of with the Razor 2 or Adidas Boston 6 for a more 'minimal' type shoe?

I tried the NB 1500v4 but it's just to harsh for me even though I enjoy a 'low real estate shoe'.

Thanks,
D

sam winebaum said...

Hi demian,
I might but for more versatility overall the Razor 2 or NB 1400v6 might be better choices. 1400 not having the firm media post and having 2mm more Revlite in the heel and 2mm less in the forefoot for a 25/15 stack vs 23/17 for 1500 so more heel cushion and more drop. Razor has a similar heel stack at 24 mm but more forefoot at 20 mm with a slightly softer touch bouncier foam than either GoMeb or 1400/1500.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links to all shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated