Sunday, February 04, 2018

Skechers GOmeb Razor 2 Review: Occam's Razor. Take the Simple Road!

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li, Dave Ames, and Sam Winebaum

The idea of Occam's razor is basically that the simplest, most direct solution is the best. So is the Razor 2 from the folks at Skechers Performance the best, most effiicient shoe out there? We. shall. see.
Stats
Weight: 6.8oz/194 g  (US M9)
Stack Height: 20mm heel/16 mm forefoot, 4mm offset
Price: $115. Available now.


Introduction 

Peter: The Skechers Performance Razor 1 was one of my favorite shoes last year. It was a terrific fast shoe--though a bit stiff. I raced a marathon in them and did tons of workouts both fast and slow. The Razor 2 addresses most of the issues I had with the OG Razor really well. Overall it’s a more flexible shoe without losing the padding. They’ve also simplified the look. 

Sam: The Razor 2 dials up performance in the Skechers Performance line moving the Razor from a shoe between comfort and performance to a stable rocket, at a quite stunning low weight. This is a firm, stiffer, fast up tempo shoe with a seamless underfoot feel whose new FlightGen foam does a good job attenuating shock without losing road feel. The spectacular flat FITknit upper is relatively un structured, non constraining and roomy for a shoe in this class.

First Impressions and Fit

Peter: Whoa, nelly--Skechers are making good looking shoes!!! The original Razor led one of my running buddies to say “did your grandmother knit that?”. Now, he’s an ass, but he had a point. The Razor 2 is a much sleeker design. They are one color with accents at the ankle collar. They look as good as any shoe out there. I’d say they’re by far the best looking Skechers shoe yet. Fit is true-to size. They are light!  Soon as I received them I had to put them on and go for a run immediately. 

Derek: Last year’s Razor was also one of my favourite shoes. Great aesthetics and a solid smooth transition. I would have liked a little more heel to toe drop but otherwise the shoe worked great for a variety of workouts for me. I was curious to see how they could improve on it this year. Step in feel was good. The heel and midfoot felt more structured and padded, and the new tongue was a little longer than last year. This year’s aesthetics are a little less flashy. The fit is true to size for me, and it seems to run a little shorter than Razor 1; I could size down a half size in Razor1 with thin socks. 

Dave:  Razor 1 was the best trainer I’ve been in in a very long time.  I also did wear testing on it before it came out.  The Flat knit upper was amazing and it was a go to long run and marathon racing shoe for me.  Introduce Razor 2 and it took me a bit to fall back in love.  I really don’t know why, but for a dude who really loves a shoe that is firm, this thing is really firm.  Note:  A few more runs in and it softened up a tad.  To all the runners out there….the first run in Razor isn’t always the best (based on all my experiences with the shoe in versions 1 and 2).  They get better with age!  Fit is really smooth and sizing was on point for my size 9.  I did have to lace up firmly and lock lace to get a perfect fit.  I just don’t have a lot of volume on the top of my foot so these knit uppers need to be locked down for me.


Sam: Got to say this in one of the classiest uppers of 2018. I don't miss the garish Razor 1 uppers. As often the case with Skechers samples including the Run 6 and Ride 7, I was sized up half a size. Even with my usual heavier socks for a size 9,  the fit from the stiffer flat knit needed, as others have said, quite a bit of lace tension. As with the Razor 1 the base of the heel in the cup is loose. It looks to me that the heel cup base is unusually broad and bows out. Above the base the achilles and ankle collar fit was impeccable. The lack of any overlays as in the Ride 7, or underlays had the area near the lace lace up on the medial side had me slipping slightly on the medial side with a touch or irritation just behind my bit toe at faster tempos.  I don't attribute the half size up but could be wrong. The irritation could also be due in part to the shoe's stiffness
Mirroring Dave's comment, the first runs in this stiff shoe are not much fun, particularly slow ones. Not to worry the flex does improve somewhat. This said don't be mistaken Razor 2 with its firm ride is best taken out for fast running.

Upper
Peter: As I mentioned above, these are Skechers best looking shoe yet. The design is clean and looks great from any angle. There are various densities of FITknit throughout the shoe which really help hold the foot in place. 
The tongue is thin but does the job. The lacing is simple and effective. Kudos to Skechers for producing a knit upper that is breathable, light and really holds the foot well. The ankle collar is beefed up with a “seamless hot melt”. What that translates to is a slightly thicker band that, along with the molded heel collar, ensures that your foot stays in place. Finally, there’s a pull tab on the back of these to aid in speedy shoe putting on-ning. Put some elastic laces in these and they’ll be a great triathlon racer.  My only knocks on the Razor are with the upper near the front. The material bunches up a bit at the bottom of the laces. I’d love it if there was just a hair less material down there. I’m also feeling just a tiny bit of slip at the heel of my right foot. I’ve tightened the laces down, but I think that the ankle collar could do with being just a little bit more substantial.
Derek: I had some heel slippage in Razor 1, but managed to solve it with higher than usual lacing tension. This was only possible because Razor1 had a stiff and relatively high volume upper. I experienced the same slippage in Razor 2, which I suspect is a result of both Razors having a relatively shallow heel. However, I am not able to lace the shoe up as tightly because Razor 2 uses thicker and stiffer materials in the ankle and midfoot that put pressure on my navicular when I do. Therefore I have to live with a small amount of heel slippage in this shoe. Overall, the upper also does not breathe as well as last year. 
Dave:  Love the firmer upper with the flat knit, which is probably why the Razor 1 worked so well for me over the Run 5 and now Run 6 with their circular softer knit.  The upper works well for long runs in allowing the foot to breathe well and gives the correct amount of splay in the late miles of a long run.  And for the days you want to lay it down, you’re locked in and loaded for a fast tempo or a mile repeat sesh at the oval office.  The shoe really really shines in a Half Marathon to Full.  The upper is a big contributor to this.

Sam: As with my friends above I saw bunching at the not quite as well as it could be held area at the lace lace up, some heel slippage, I think due to  the wide heel cup, and the stiffness of the upper requiring a tight lace up. This said with a few tweaks to the above the upper would be perfect.

Midsole
Peter: As with all of the other 2018 Skechers Performance models the story is Flight Gen™ foam. It’s lighter and a more responsive than the 5Gen™ used in last year’s models. Skechers maintains the use of “M-Strike” technology here which encourages--and I’d say rewards--midfoot landings. Even though they all use Flight Gen foam, these are firmer than the GORUN and the Ride 7 and about as firm as the Forza 3. 

Sam: FlightGen is a wonderful midsole material stable, well cushioned, and decently responsive without transmitting to much shock. In the Razor 2 Skechers really dials up the durometer (firmness). The Razor 2 is 14% firmer than Razor 1, Ride 7, or Run 6. Not to worry as long as the runner realizes this is shoe designed for fast running and not ambling along as one might in the Ride 7 or Forza 3. 

Dave:  FlightGen mixed with the classic M Strike (Midfoot Strike Technology) keeps the runner’s gait smooth, mile after mile.  I prefer the Ride 7 for a recovery day, or even the Forza 3, but for general cruiser miles, the Razor 2 will keep your runs snappy, yet controlled.  Now if it’s a speed day, look out!  You’ll be crankin.  I’d be safe to say I am not sure there is a shoe out there right now (maybe 4%) that has a quicker heel to toe transition rate.  This baby screams fast, but yet smooth.  That is key when doing a workout.  

Outsole
Peter: The Outsole is seemingly unchanged from last year’s model. If it ain’t broke...That translates to a parametric web of blown rubber over the exposed Flight Gen™ midsole. The grip is fine and durability is pretty good. My original Razors made it to about 250 miles before I decided to get  another pair. 

Dave:  As Peter mentioned, same outsole as last year.  My only criticism of Razor 1 was it bowed out around 175 miles for me (I used it for everything)  I was consistently getting a new pair!  I am interested to see how the Razor 2 lasts.  No issues with slippage on wet surfaces or cruiser miles on soft dirt/single track or cinder.

Ride
Peter: The Razor a racer for sure. It feels fine at slower speeds, but really, really shines when you lay into it. The transition through the gait cycle is super smooth and cushioning is just right. These are a delight to run in. The upper just disappears and the Razor 2 strikes a near-perfect balance of firmness and cushion. I wouldn’t do long, slow runs in them, but hey, that’s what the Ride 7 is for, right? 
Derek: This shoe works great at uptempo paces for sure. The transition is smooth and fast. At slower paces, it beats me up a little. Razor2 does feel firmer than Razor1. I suppose it may have been presumptuous to assume that 5Gen and FlightGen would feel the same. There was always a little bit of “give” in Razor1 for me, which took the edge off the ground feel, but there seems to be less “give” in Razor2. I used to take the Razor1 for long runs, but I’m not so sure about taking Razor2 for one. 

Dave:  I’d like “Fast” for 2,000, Alex.  Answer:  Razor 2.  God damn.  Just fast.  It’s got the snap I want, it has the flex I want, all mixed together with an amazing upper, keeping you locked and loaded to rip.  Peter is right, I reach for my Ride 7 for slower miles, but it’s not to say the runner can’t pick the Razor 2 up for everyday miles….especially at the righteous price point.

Sam: The firmer FlightGen midsole combined with the thin parametric web outsole translates into incredibly smooth and consistent road feel and transitions, eerily so in fact.  The consistency of feel from heel to toe is quite amazing in this shoe. The firmer FlightGen is especially notable in the heel, and not in a bad way, understanding this is clearly an uptempo or race shoe and that firm provides decisive if not bouncy pop off the road. The forefoot has more than adequate cushion but could use a touch more flex. Unlike the Ride 7, where I took out the stock thick soft sock liner to liven things up,  there is no sinking or lingering to get past the slight M-Strike. Here M-Strike works brilliantly and better and better as the pace increases. The firmer FlightGen also makes the oh so light 6.8 oz Razor, think about that for a second we are in race flat weight territory, very stable at speed and this despite the somewhat loose upper. 

Conclusions and Recommendations
Peter: The Razor 2 is a great race day and tempo run shoe. It’s comfortable, rides really smoothly and goes FAST without being too punishing. Energy return seems to be a bit improved from the original Razor due to the new foam. Oh, and they are for sure the best looking shoe Skechers has put out. 

Derek: I may be in the minority here, but I preferred Razor 1, wild aesthetics and all. Razor 2’s upper is a little thicker and stiffer, and it’s harder to get a good wrap on the foot. It’s still a very good uptempo shoe, at a very good weight. Razor 2 feels a little firmer than Razor 1 for me as well, which may well make it a better uptempo or race shoe, but also makes it a little less versatile for me.

Dave:  I do like the upper on Razor 1, just a tad better, but Razor 2 is still an outstanding shoe and one of the best, along with Ride 7 of 2018 of any running brand out there right now.   I would pull it off the wall in a run shop for the runner looking for a workout shoe as well as a Half Marathon and Full Mary racer.  Looking for more meat and potatoes miles?  Ride 7 or Forza 3.  Classic Mile repeats or K’s?  The Razor 2 will keep that gait in check and the splits negative!

Sam: Fix the minor upper issues and... tune down the firmness of that 14% firmer midsole, a touch but only a touch, and the very light, classy Razor 2 would be a perfect do it all fast shoe for me that could also handle the occasional easier run 

Scores 
Peter 9.5/10
-.25 for bunched material by bottom of laces
-.25 for slippage at heel (minor)
Derek 9/10
-0.75 for stiff upper around the midfoot and slight heel slippage
-0.25 for less bounce than Razor v1
Dave 9.5/10
-.25 for having to crank on the laces and lace lock and a longer break in period than Razor 1
Sam 9.3/10
-0.5 for base of heel slip, stiff upper and its roominess and lacing issues, lack of upper support at last lace up.
-0.1 for stiffness of flex
-0.1 and this is subjective the midsole could be slightly softer. 

Comparisons

Skechers Performance GOmeb Razor 2 vs. New Balance 1400 V5  (RTR review)
Peter: I ran the brand new Razor 2 side by side with a well worn (200 miles) and totally broken in pair of 1400’s so it’s not the fairest comparison. The 1400 feels ever so slightly softer and more fluid but they are really, really similar. I’ll have to see how they compare when the Razor 2 has 100 miles on it. 

Dave:  Darn tough call as I love both!!  Can we call it a tie, Sam?  Not sure I’ve ever done that!!
Sam: Sure Dave! 

Skechers Performance GOmeb Razor 2 vs. Nike Zoom Elite 9  (RTR review)
Peter: The Zoom Elite 9 was one of my favorite shoes last year. It’s got a killer combination of cushion and pop. The Razor 2 rides pretty darn similar to the Zoom Elite 9. I think the ZE9 might come off the ground just a hair faster due to the waffle grip on the bottom. The Razor fits my foot better, but I really love both of these shoes and would go fast or long in either.

Derek: ZE9 affords better vibration dampening and cushioning for me, as well as the more comfortable upper. Razor2 scores points for the faster feeling ride, lighter package, and nicer aesthetics. 
Dave:  Another seriously tough call!  The Zoom Elite 9 feels better on the track for me.  Something about the ZE9 screams track workout to me.  But when taking the Elite 9 up to the Half Mary distance or longer, the Razor 2 shines.  I just feel more underfoot, which I like.

Sam: To many contrasts in the Zoom Elite. An overly soft energy sapping heel for the uptempo purpose and a great forefoot would make the Elite best for a mid foot striker. Razor 2 is just so much more balanced in feel and ride for this heel striker if slightly firmer than I would like and at almost 1.5 oz lighter just a more agile, faster shoe.

Skechers Performance GOmeb Razor 2 vs Nike Zoom Streak 6
Derek: Streak is softer and bouncier, is lower to the ground, and is more flexible overall, with a more comfortable upper for me. The Razor has the wider and more stable platform, especially in heel and midfoot. It really comes down to preference, on whether you like a firmer snappier ride (Razor), or a softer ride but with more ground feel. I prefer the more dynamic ride of the Streak 6, especially for racing. 

Skechers Performance Razor 2 vs. Adidas Adios Boost 3  (RTR review)
Peter: Skechers is more cushioned and more comfortable, but if you can handle the firmness of the Adios it feels like a slightly more propulsive shoe. If you want to be more comfortable in mile 14 and up you may want to stick with the Razor 2.

Derek: Adios has a more jarring ride for me, but has the more comfortable upper. Razor 2 overall feels lighter and has a more lively ride. 

Sam: Yes the Razor is lighter, has a more modern if somewhat flawed upper but the Adios is just a more versatile and flexible fast shoe for me. The Boost midsole with all its EVA and plastic pieces for some stablity is easier on my legs. Bouncier and softer in the heel the Adios in thinner/softer in its forefoot cushion than Razor.  I can easily daily train or race in them, the Razor being more limited for me.  Now if they brought back the adios Boost 1 with its more supportive upper, firmer outsole and strike plate it would be no contest at all 

GOmeb Razor 2 vs. 361 Degrees Meraki  (RTR review)
Dave:  Oddly enough, similar style shoes.  Lightweight and snappy.  FlightGen in the Razor 2 for the win.  Meraki is a nice nice shoe, but going up against the Razor, it cannot compete. 

Sam: Agree with Dave here on the feel.  The firm part of the Meraki is tuned down by the excellent QuikFoam layer. This said the considerably heavier Meraki is a fast supportive daily trainer and not a race ready shoe as the Razor is.

Skechers Performance Razor 2 vs. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v4   (review coming soon)
Dave:  It’s not even close for me.  FlightGen is outstanding and Fresh Foam right now, just isn’t.  Similar category of shoe, but Razor 2 is just plain faster.  Stride feels far smoother.

Skechers Performance Razor 2 vs Salming Distance (RTR review) 
Derek: The Distance has better outsole grip and has more ground feel, albeit marginally softer especially in the forefoot. The Distance also feels more flexible. Overall I would consider the Razor2 for longer races and the Distance for shorter ones. 

Skechers Performance Razor 2 vs. Skechers Performance Run 6  (RTR review)
Sam: Take the Razor 2 and give it a soft quite unstructured circular knit upper instead of flat knit. Then take the same FlightGen midsole material as in the Razor 2 and make it 14% softer and you get the Run 6.  Only 0.4 oz heavier the Run 6 is, apart from these differences very close to the Razor by spec. Fun to run and wear around, the Run leans towards lifestyle use while still remaining a serious run shoe with a livelier, softer (maybe to soft and bottoms out), bouncier ride than the Razor. This said it is a bit lost between the firm fast Razor and the yet more cushy underfoot Ride 7 with its superb upper.  If a runner wants to go 100% Skechers the choice is Ride or Forza for daily training, Razor for speed. and Run for kick around comfort.

Derek:Both shoes have gotten firmer than last year. The Run6 feels a little bit softer and is a bit more flexible than Razor1, while Razor2 actually feels closer to the GoMeb Speed 4 from last year. If you need a good structured upper and a stiff snappy midsole, then the Razor2 would be better. If you prefer something a bit softer and more flexible but does not sink in too much, then the Run6 would be better. 

Skechers Performance Razor 2 vsReebok Floatride Run Fast (RTR review)
Sam: No real contest for me here. At a minuscule 6 oz, close to an ounce lighter than the Razor the Fast has a Pebax (same material as in Nike VaporFly) midsole which has a combination of superb cushion and superior rebound without being as firm as the Razor's FlightGen  I can easily also daily train in the racer Fast, something I can't do in the Razor.  

Reviewer Bios
Peter Stuart is a late 40's avid LA based runner with recent sub 3 hour marathons and sub 1:25 halves.
Sam Winebaum is the Editor and Founder of RoadTrailRun. He has been running and shoe geeking for 45 years. As he turned 60 in 2017 he was thrilled to clock a 1:35.24 half.
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.
Derek Li is a family physician who lives in Singapore. He has been running marathons for the past four years with a 2017 marathon PR of 2:41 and a 2018 1:17 half marathon PR. Derek is focusing on  a bid to run all the World Marathon Majors. In his free time, he likes to review running shoes and related products at his blog Running Commentary.

Photo Credit: Peter Stuart
The Razor was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just ran in the Razor 2s, and my thoughts compared to the NB1400 V5 was they are slightly softer, deeper feeling in the cushion, and more of a looser feel compared to the 1400, and think I might of been able to go down from the 10.5 I wear in the NB, to the 10 in the Razor? I too had a little slippage in the heel and think the Razor would benefit from more toe spring-like the NB, to make the transition better.

I'd put the new Saucony BreakThru 4 as a similar feel to the Razor only maybe slightly firmer with better transition IMO, with a nice upper too. Both run pretty nice and are a great value, and might be a shoe you might want to review in the future? Thanks for the reviews!

Dave Ames said...

Hi Anonymous,

How many runs do you have in Razor 2. I noticed after about 5 runs, it really came to life. Just like the original version did as well.

As far as the slippage, I have to lace lock to get a secure fit, but it works well and I haven't had any issues since.

I'll check out the Breakthru for sure....

Always stay runnin,

Dave

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,
I just saw this commit to me and sorry I haven't answered before. :( Yes, they do feel better after about 30-40 miles! I believe they are going to be my replacement for the Nike Lunar Racer. They feel like a slightly firmer and stiffer Lunar Racer now- IMO, on a slightly larger more stable platform. Weight is about the same too. The Lunar racer would get too soft after a few races and lose their pop. I think these will keep going! Thanks for the reviews! :)

Wes Arnold said...

Looks like 2018 is Skechers year. Just got the Ride 7. Thinking about the Razor for my 10k shoe and speed training if it isn't too narrow. Have you heard anything about a new version of the Road Ultra coming? Was thinking of getting the Ultra2 but would hold off if a newer one was planned for this year.

Michael B. said...

I have exclusively run in 4mm shoes like the Razor 2 and GoRun 6. Any thoughts on whether the 6mm vs. 4mm would be noticeable?

sam winebaum said...

Shouldn’t be noticeable. It’s not just drop you feel but firmness of midsole in the mix. Razor midsole if I recall is a bit firmer so will compress less
Sam,Editor

Michael B. said...

Thanks Sam, perhaps I will give the Ride 7 a try them. I am really liking the Razor 2. The Razor 1 didn't work for me as I couldn't get the sizing right. The GoRun 6 is OK. Nothing special. Haven't tried the new Meb Speeds yet. Anyway, thanks for the reply.

MechaDriver said...

Hi, I was wondering how this shoe compares to the Saucony Freedom in firmness. I find that shoe to be too firm (I can't get more than 5 miles without my forefoot hurting). I also have the adios boost 3 and it doesn't have enough cushion. I have the GoRun Ride 7 and like it, but it is a "built-up" shoe. I was hoping this shoe would give me just enough cushion to go marathon distances.

sam winebaum said...

Hi MechaDriver,
I think you would find the Razor somewhat more cushioned in the forefoot and much more stable there than the Freedom. It's foam is denser feeling. I find the Freedom has a combination of a stiff flex and Everun deflects and compresses laterally to much for me also leading to forefoot fatigue. Agree the adios boost 3 is a bit thin for me too for a marathon. What is your goal time? Other options I might suggest include the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 or Kinvara 9, Salomon Sonic RA Pro and of course the top choice if you race below 9- 9:20/mile the VaporFly.
Sam, Editor

MechaDriver said...

Hi Sam,

My goal time is 9/mile for a marathon. I run down to 7:30 for a 5K. I have tried on the Kinvara and it doesn't seem to have the "bounce" I am looking for. The VaporFly is expensive, and I can't seem to find them available anywhere.

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