Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Impressions Review: Skechers Performance GORun 5

Article by Derek Li

Editor's Note: I finally had the pleasure to meet Derek in person after several years of online correspondence after he ran the New York City Marathon in a stellar 2:57, and this despite a recent injury. 
Left: Sam Winebaum Right: Derek Li
Derek came all the way from Singapore to complete another leg in his quest to run all the World Marathon Majors having previously completed Boston in a PB 2:42 and  Tokyo and Berlin both in 2:44 . Derek has been a contributor to Road Trail Run and is one of the most knowledgeable running shoe, gear, and training experts out there, widely know in Singapore as "The Running Doctor."

First Impressions:  Skechers GoRun 5 NYC Edition
Out of all the NYC Marathon edition shoes slated for sale the at marathon expo, the Skechers GoRun 5 was the one I was most intrigued by. Based on feedback from early wear testers, it was slated to be a very different shoe from the existing GoRun 4, sporting their 5Gen midsole foam as a single density full length midsole. At the “expo price” of US$80, I now regret not getting more of them.
GORun 5
The first thing to note is that this shoe shares a lot of similarities to the GoMeb Speed Elite that came out earlier in the year, sporting the same 5Gen midsole with Speed Elite adding the M strike wedge in the midfoot and a carbon propulsion plate saddled above the midsole. The outsole patterns for both shoes are eerily similar.

My GoRun 5 in a US9.5 came in at a svelte 218g (7.69oz), which is pretty much identical to the weight of my 2015 GoRun 4 in the same size.
The official stats (without sock liner) are
  • Offset: 4mm 
  • Forefoot 14mm, heel 18mm midsole thickness
  • Weight: 7.5 oz. per shoe in a men's size 9
     General release: approximately January 2017

GORun 5
I’ve had about a week of running in these shoes, and managed to get in some medium distance runs, some slow runs, and a long runs for a total mileage of ~75km (47mi) and here are my initial thoughts:

GORun 5
The upper appears to be similar to that found on the 2016 GoRun 4 and 2016 GoMeb Speed, essentially an inelastic knitted upper with fairly few overlays. The shoe volume is fairly generous and almost on par with that of the GoRun Ride 5.

GORun 5
Those who like a roomier toe box will rejoice for I found toe box width and vertical volume to be better than that of the 2015 GoRun 4 (unfortunately I never tried the 2016 knit version). In my usual size of US9.5, I had about a thumb’s breadth of spacing at the front. I probably cought have sized down a half size, but then I prefer a looser front end for training socks. For reference, I wear, a US9.0 for the GoRun Ride 5.
GORun 5
The heel counter is fairly soft, and complements the widely spaced lacing eyelets to create a fairly unstructured overall feel to the upper.

GORun 5
Nevertheless, I never felt like the upper was sloppy in this shoe. The upper is very thin and breathable, and noticeably better than say a Kinvara 7.
GORun 5

You will notice the insole is quite flat and there is hardly any arch structure to the shoe.

This is one of those “WOW” shoes for me. These moments have been far and few between in the past couple of years. My first run in these shoes was right up there with the HOKA Clifton v1, NB Zante v1, and the Nike Zoom Streak 6. I estimate the durometer of 5Gen to be in the low 40s, but somehow it has enough bounce in it to not bottom out. It is probably the softest shoe to not bottom out for me yet; the GoRun Ride 4, and the Brooks Pureflow 3 came close. Make no mistake; this is a neutral shoe through and through. The last is fairly wide through the heel and midfoot but the soft midsole and bare EVA at the medial midfoot would likely make an overpronator feel very unstable in this shoe. 
The shoe transitions very smoothly and you get a nice consistent ride regardless of foot-strike pattern from heel to forefoot. I definitely did not miss the firm M-strike wedge that the GoRun 4 had. It has been incredibly versatible for me, working well at anything from 8:00mi pace down to the low 6:00mi pace, which I put down to a combination of the bouncy feel of the 5Gen, and the fairly high flexibility of the shoe. If I had to make a comparison to an existing shoe, I would say it has the heel of an Adidas Adios Boost (albeit significantly softer but equally bouncy) and the forefoot cushioning and spring of a Nike Zoom Streak 6 or maybe a New Balance Zante. It is what I hoped the Zante would evolve into, basically having a softer heel, but didn’t.
The flexibility of the shoe is likely a combination of the soft midsole and the fairly thin and widely spaces ridges of outsole rubber.
GORun 5 Outsoles-New
GORun 5 Outsoles at 47 miles
That brings me to the next point about grip. After seeing Meb Keflezighi slip on the concrete at Rio in a shoe with a near identical outsole, I was curious to see how it would hold up on wet roads. The result was that it holds up fairly well on wet bitumen surfaces and even rough concrete, but grip dipped significantly when I had to run through puddles. There were a few instances where I felt the shoe slide sideways at footstrike, akin to stepping on algae-covered wet rock, which was disconcerting to say the least.
GORun 5
We have seen quite a few uptempo shoes move towards softer blown rubber compounds in the forefoot outsole thread this year, e.g. Adidas Adios and Boston Boost, Nike Zoom Streak 6, Salming D3/4, and we have seen how “sticky” these compounds are and how much grip they provide on the roads, but don’t expect that same kind of grip from this shoe. The thickness of the outsole rubber is quite minimal in this shoe; it barely protrudes beyond the thickness of the midsole. Durability of the outsole appears to be excellent, which is surprising considering how thin the outsole coverage is.
Overall, I am pretty darned impressed with this shoe. It is amazing that they can get this much vibration dampening at this weight. I hope they do something about the outsole grip, but in dry weather it is a dream to run in.

Score  9.5/10
-0.50 for poor wet weather grip

Adios Boost 3
The GoRun 5 is softer all round and gives much less ground feel on the forefoot in particular, without taking too much away from toe off responsiveness. If you like the heel cushioning of the Adios but find the forefoot cushioning a little lacking, this is a must try shoe for you. The Adios Boost 3 had one of the best upper updates of the year for me, but the GoRun 5 upper is pretty darn close. Oh, and the GoRun 5 is lighter too.
Nike Zoom Streak 6
I make this comparison because both the Streak 6 and the GoRun 5 have similar forefoot ground feel. The GoRun 5 has noticeably less ground feel overall, and a more stable landing platform by virtue of its wider last from heel to toe. If you like the Streak 6, but find the heel platform a little unstable, or feel that the Streak 6 is too little shoe for the longer stuff, then this shoe should be on your must-try list.
Nike LunarTempo
A US10 Lunartempo and a US9.5 GoRun 5 have more or less the same forefoot volume for me. The uppers are similar in volume too, though the GoRun 5 upper is noticeably thinner and more ventilated. The GoRun 5 feels softer overall; there is significantly less ground feel from heel to forefoot. The ride is also more uniform throughout, while you can feel the blocky Lunarlon core in the heel of the Lunar shoes at times. The GoRun 5 also feels more stable at the heel (likely because the phylon carrier-lunarlon core give the edges an uneven overall durometer), so if you feel unstable heel-striking in the LunarTempo or Racer, this is a shoe to consider.
Skechers GoRun 4
Both shoes have use similar lasts though the GoRun 5 has noticeably more shoe volume, and feels a bit longer in the same size. GR4 is firmer with less give than the GORun 5.They have completely different ride with the GR 4 riding similarly to the Saucony Kinvara 7 and the the GR 5 more like the softer earlier Kinvaras. I felt the podded outsole of the GR4 provided slightly better grip overall than the new GR5, but earlier GR4 also has that noticeably firmer ride.

Photo Credit: Derek Li
Derek Li's Run Bio
Derek Li is a family physician by profession, and has been running marathons for the past three years. He started running for triathlon training in 2003, and now focuses purely on running in a bid to run all the Marathon Majors. In his free time, he likes to review running shoes and related products at his blog Running Commentary.

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Ryan Schneider said...

Great review. Interesting you found the ride on the softer sider. At they said about the GoRun 5 "I must stress how firm a ride it gives." Perhaps one of you had a unique pair? At any rate, very helpful info.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ryan. I believe you are refering to the GoRun Ride 5 review on RunningShoeGuru. The review here is of the GoRun 5 - different shoe :)

Ryan Schneider said...

Got it! Thank you for that clarification. Looking forward to trying the GoRun 5.

Adam said...

They are up on Skechers web site. I love the GR 4 2016 but feel the mid sole is a little on the firm side. It looks like they extended the tongue, the shorter tongue on the 4 rubbed the front of my ankle when wearing no show socks. It also looks like they addressed the wear problem by adding more rubber in the high wear areas. Can't wait to try hope to have them before Christmas!

E. said...

Hello! I had a GR4 before. Just wondering is the fit for the GR5 the same as the GR4? Because you mentioned that the toe box are lil bit wider now so i'm still considering whether to stick to my same size or go a half size down. Hope you can help. Thank you!