Monday, September 21, 2020

Skechers Performance Go Run Razor + Hyper Multi Tester Review

Article by Mac Jeffries, Renee Krusemark, Peter Stuart, Ryan Eiler, Michael Ellenberger, and Joost De Raeymaeker

Skechers Performance Go RunRazor + Hyper ($140)


Introduction


Mac: First things first: there is a lot of sentiment behind this shoe line. RoadTrailRun is the reason I found the original Hyperburst shoe, the Razor 3 . That’s right: two years ago this fall, RTR actually convinced a name-brand snob like me to spend my hard-earned money on a hyperglow shoe with obnoxious graphics from a "skateboard" company, all because RTR reviewers said they were “powerful… smooth… silky… the real deal… (and) buttery smooth…” (RTR Review) Had I read these remarks from a single reviewer, I simply would have swiped right… but how in the world can so many varied reviewers have come to the same conclusion - that the shoes were awesome - unless they were, in fact, pretty dang awesome? 


Keep in mind, this was in a time when NOBODY had a shoe to rival the Vaporfly. Every major shoe brand had their hands stuck in their pockets, trying to convince us that standard EVA was better than Zoom X, while little ole Skechers (no T!) was unveiling an innovative new midsole foam and production process. 


So, I bought a pair. Two years later, I still have them, and I still wear them, even on runs that matter. This, from a guy who switches out shoes only slightly less often than he changes underwear. They are just that good. And shortly thereafter, through a happy combination of circumstance, effort, and a little luck, I am proud to have become one of those reviewers who gets to unveil the Razor 3’s successor, the Razor 3 Plus (R3+). 


So, forgive me if I get a little mushy going over these. Let’s run. 

Peter: I’ve liked some Skechers shoes over the years, and I’ve liked some of them a lot, but the Razor 3 was the first Skechers shoe that I LOVED! I’ve had several pairs, and I’ve put tons of miles on them during tempo workouts, races and even long runs. There was some magic in the Razor 3. One minor knock on the Razor was the “race-fit” of the upper. It was a great upper for my feet, but I understood that some folks felt a little claustrophobic in them. 

Renee: The Razor 3 is the reason I remember that Skechers is NOT spelled with a “T.” Skechers makes good running shoes, and its name deserves to be spelled correctly. The Razor+ is another “plus” reason that the brand deserves more respect.

Michael: This is my first foray into the Skechers Razor, despite them being continually recommended to me. With the Razor+, it seems Skechers has really taken what’s worked in other models I’ve loved - a big slab of Hyperburst, a tight knit upper, low weight - and tossed it on a sufficient enough outsole to let it handle whatever runs may occur. The result? It’s a shoe I should absolutely love on paper but - and yet while it’s undoubtedly a good shoe! - I think Skechers has better offerings in their lineup.


Joost: I am a huge fan of the original Razor: 3. Even the (let’s admit it) very ugly upper kind of grew on me after a while. The single reason for this is the incredible Hyperburst midsole. There’s nothing else really special about the shoe and even a couple of things I don’t like, but the sheer bounce and joy I feel when going out for a run with them reminds me of how bouncy my own feet and legs used to feel when I was about 30 years younger. So, I waited anxiously for my review pair of the Razor + to make it to Angola and see if the magic persisted and some of my niggles with them were resolved. The short answer: Yes and some but not all. Read on!


Stats

Official Weight:: men's 6.4 oz / 181g  (US9)  /  women's 4.9 oz / 139g (US7)   

  Samples: women’s  5.86 oz  /  166g (US8), (M9.5) 6.87 oz / 195g

Razor + gains 0.3 oz /  over Razor 3 due it appears to new upper and increased outsole coverage

Stack Height: 23mm / 19mm, 4mm drop

Available late September 2020.  $140


Pros: 

Mac: Incredible Cushion to Weight Ratio. Explosive Midsole. Form Fitting Upper. Improved outsole. No gaudy “SPEED” graphic :-)  

Peter/Renee/Michael/Ryan: HYPERBURST is a great foam. 

Peter/Renee/Michael/Ryan: Super light, breathable upper.

Renee: Midsole can handle long distances (i.e. 50k)

Michael: The bounce of the midsole is unmatched

Ryan: Slipper-like weight and comfort

Joost: HYPERBURST is the king of foams

Joost: (Probably) More durable outsole than Razor 3

Joost: A better, more breathable upper than Razor 3


Cons: 

Mac: Non-removable Insole. 

Lacing tends to loosen throughout the run. 

         No gaudy “SPEED” graphic :-(

Peter: not quite as dialed in for fast stuff as the Razor 3 (due to more relaxed upper)

Renee/Ryan: Lack of durability of the outsole

              Slightly narrow toe box on the lateral side

Michael: Too narrow in the toebox; 

Too low of a drop for such soft cushion.

Ryan: Midsole too supple for very hard efforts

Joost: Still way to narrow toe box

Joost: Slightly less secure upper


Tester Profiles

Mac is a former 275 lbs American football defensive lineman who took up running at age 30. Now, at 6’4” (193cm) 200 lbs (91kg) , he has PRs of 19:19, 1:33:xx, and 3:19:xx. He runs 50-70 miles per week.

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She runs a half marathon around 1:40 and hopes to get a full marathon at 3:30(ish) some day. Not today. But some day!

A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.

Ryan decided to forego his Wall Street job to be a gear junkie, and is currently the fledgling entrepreneur behind his company, Bridger Helmets.  Most days, you'll find him loping along the Charles River in Boston.  Of all the places he's run, Central Park NYC and the New Hampshire coast top his list.

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, with an interest in patent and intellectual property law. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He recently secured a 2:31 marathon PR at the Austin Marathon. 

Joost is a Belgian in his 50s living in Luanda, Angola, Africa, where he faces the heat, humidity and general chaos to run anything between 60-100 miles per week. He’s on a mission to win in his age group in the 6 marathon majors and has completed half of his project, with a 2:26:10 PB in Berlin in 2019 at 51. He ran in primary school, but then thought it would be a lot cooler to be a guitar player in a hard rock band, only picking up running again in 2012, gradually improving his results.


First Impressions and Fit

Mac: Finally! The Rock, er, Razor has come BACK! I normally go through a painstaking process of removing the shoe from the box, carefully weighing and photographing it. Not gonna lie, I completely forgot all of that: I was just too excited to get these on my feet and out the door running, gimpy hammy and all. 


Somewhere in the whirlwind of packing tape and shoelaces flying, I made note of the still-impossibly-lightweight shoe, the more-muted but still-loud aesthetics (I did pause to make sure these were the right shoes, since there was no lovably obnoxious SPEED graphic to let your fellow runners know that these shoes, on certain runners, were apparently capable of moving quickly), and a slightly meatier outsole. My size 14 slid perfectly on to my 13.5E feet, whereas the original R3 felt constricting on my forefoot. So often, well intentioned updates to great shoes end up doing more harm than good, but everything was looking peaches so far. 

Peter: I’ve been patiently waiting for this shoe for months, so when it arrived I was thrilled--and to be fair I probably had overly high expectations for it. Fit is still a tiny bit shallow in the toebox. Not overly confining, but not a ton of room. You might want to size up a half size if you tend to need a little extra room. Overall I was very excited to get out on the road and see what they’re made of. 


Renee: My first run right from the box was a just-for-fun 50k. I put them on and they were light and comfortable with a midsole that I knew would work for the distance.  Skechers states the Razor+ plus is a more durable, trainer version of the Razor 3, but I do not completely have that impression. The Razor+ is more of an update for the Razor 3: the upper is slightly more flexible, the midsole is a bit softer, and the outsole has more rubber (but I do not agree the outsole is more durable than the Razor 3). I wore a women’s size 8, my usual size. I can occasionally wear a 7.5. For the Razor+, the size 8 is snug, not too short, just snug. If you are between half sizes, go with the longer of the two. I have the Razor 3 unisex/men’s in a size 6.5 and my women’s 8 Razor+ seems slightly longer (like one millimeter). 


Michael: Hyperburst is such a dynamic (and fun!) midsole composition, I knew immediately this was a shoe I’d want to test in a variety of different situations, and at different paces. And indeed, in about 45 miles of testing (at time of writing), I got to try the Razor+ in all sorts of use cases, as detailed below - some good, some tending towards middling. Rarely bad.

Ryan: The box I opened revealed an understated black mesh atop a glowing Hyperburst midsole. It’s a colorway going through an identity crisis, but I was certainly intrigued.  In hand, they felt as close to a slipper as a running shoe could be. 

Foolishly light and casually soft, I wasn’t sure if my first pair of Skechers would actually have the chops to serve as a daily trainer. I’ll stretch the definition of “silkiness” here, but that’s just how they feel on foot: soft, quiet, and buttery (yet still lively!).


Joost: I got these delivered at my door on the night before moving house, so I had to set them aside for a little bit, but I ran in my trusted NYC edition Razor: 3 a couple of times to be able to compare them. The Razor: 3 is one of my all time favorites, in spite of some of the issues I have with it (and the other Performance model I have from Skechers: the Speed Elite Hyper). I bought my first pair of the 3 in the original incredibly ugly colorway in my usual M9.5 US size and adored the ride, but the upper was so narrow in the toe box that I got blisters on the medial side of my big toe on anything longer than a 15k. Some of those blisters were not very nice to look at, but I kept on running in the shoe for the sheer joy of the bounciness of the HYPERBURST midsole. Heck, I felt young again. The foam would send my legs right back up at me with a spring I hadn’t felt in ages. So, at the Skechers stand at the 2019 NYC marathon expo, I got myself a pair of size 10 and offered the original pair to my brother when I went to Europe and signed up half the family for a relay marathon just before Christmas. No more blisters, but the ride wasn’t quite as dialed in with the bigger size. 


One of the things I was looking out for in the Razor + was exactly the fit in my usual size M9.5 US, and I can confirm after last night’s 90 minutes 22k easy run (just under 4 mins/km, 6:25mins/mile average) that there are no blisters on my big toes!



Upper

Mac: If I had one real issue with the original R3, it was with the mono mesh upper. Although the midsole hold was great, the rip-stop like material in the forefoot was too unforgiving for my wide-ish paws. I actually ended up cutting little slits around the pressure points of my forefoot to make them wearable on longer runs (a testament to how awesome the shoe was, that I liked the ride so much that I was willing to mutilate the upper to be able to wear them). 

The new mono mesh and polyster upper is MUCH more forgiving, closer to “sock like” than “rigid”. It is one of those uppers that unilaterally cinches up as you tighten the laces. It is not as loose as that poor disaster of an upper on the Ride 7, thankfully, but it is definitely a departure from the R3. I happen to love it. Even on runs approaching two hours, my feet were comfortable, with one caveat: they tended to loosen on my foot as the run went on, and I had to stop and re-lace them at one point on all of my first runs. I haven’t noticed that on more recent runs, through some combination of the upper getting broken in and me simply lacing them a little tighter to begin with. Regardless, the upper is a win for me, especially compared to its predecessor. 


Peter: The upper is thin, breathable, looks good and holds the foot pretty well. There’s a sacrifice in going from the very locked down Razor 3 to the Razor 3+ Hyper though. 


In the Razor 3 I felt my foot was completely one with the shoe. The Razor 3+ feels a little more like I’m wearing a shoe than having a shoe as the extension of my foot. Initially it was just not as harmonious a ride as the Razor 3 because there’s just a little more play in the upper. Sort of the difference between driving a little VW Golf TDI (The Razor 3) or driving a Jetta (Razor 3+). They might both have the same engine, but the Golf feels like a racer while the Jetta feels more sedate in comparison. That said, now that I’m up over 30 miles, I feel like I’ve got the upper dialed in and the fit and function are more in sync. Short version. The upper is better than the Razor 3, but it may take a minute to get it to feel right. 

Renee: The upper is breathable, much like the Razor 3, although I think the toe box of the Razor 3 allows more air as compared to the Razor+. Either way, both are very breathable. The material has more flex and “give” than the Razor 3 upper, but by no means is the Razor+ upper sloppy. I thought the upper and the lace eyelets looked as if the fit would loosen during my 50k run, so I tied the laces very tight thinking they would loosen at some point. Not the case. At 24 miles, I stopped to loosen the laces. I used the top eyelet, and I think the placement caused some discomfort and circulation issues for my feet. No issue after I loosened the laces, but the tongue did bunch after that. I would like to see a semi-gusseted tongue in the future. 

I found the toe box of the Razor 3 and the Razor + to be a bit narrow on the lateral side, but the slightly more flexible upper of the Razor+ helps with that; not much, but it helps. 


Michael: The upper on the Razor+ is reminiscent of that on the 7+ Hyper (albeit a little thinner), and that’s a great start - the knit here is thin but strong, breathable, and - to my foot - pretty supportive. As others have mentioned - and as was immediately noticeable to me, unfortunately - the last seems to narrow drastically around the end of the midfoot and opening of the toebox, and that narrowness is slightly exacerbated by the snug upper. 

All of that leads to a general feeling of a constrictive upper, even though I don’t think the material itself is too taut (like one might complain about on some of Nike’s Flyknit offerings, for example). It’s not such an inconvenience that I stopped wearing them, but I do wish there was an extra millimeter of width through the middle of the shoe.

Ryan: Mac’s note about these being “sock like” is the best way of putting it. Did someone already break these in for me, because it sure feels like it? The material is strong, yet it’s extremely compliant to the shape of your foot. There aren’t any fancy overlays or graphics -- it’s a nicely engineered minimalist piece of mesh that left me impressed. It’s beginning to take on that slightly wrinkled, broken-in look after just 40 miles. As others noted, the toebox is relatively narrow, but I appreciated it for its solid midfoot hold.


Joost: Let’s get one thing straight and out of the way: The upper in this version is better than the original in almost every aspect. 


It is more breathable, thinner and has that little bit of stretch needed to save my toes from an otherwise way too narrow last. Upon first stepping into them, they felt about as constricted as the original ones, but as soon as I started my run, I could feel that there would be no issues with friction, even in my original size. They continue to have a race-type fit, so there isn’t a lot of space left up front, but just a couple of millimeters of extra width around my metatarsals and toes would be great.


The fact that the upper material is a little more forgiving than the original also makes for a slightly less secure midfoot fit for me. On tight curves, I could feel my foot sliding just a little. Probably nothing that can’t be fixed with tighter lacing, but I don’t really like to lace up too tightly.


Midsole

Mac: I don’t know what it is about Hyperburst that makes it feel better the less of it there is, but the Razor 3/3+ just seems to be the exact optimal stack height to squeeze every bit of juice out of the phenomenal compound. Thicker shoes, like the Run & Ride series, tend to feel mushy to me, but the Razor and Speed series just pop. These have all of the Razor pop with zero mushiness, even if they do seem to feel slightly more cushioned than the original R3s. I cannot tell you if that is a midsole difference or just the difference between a new shoe vs a 2 year old shoe; all I can tell you is that these are fantastic. Light, snappy, and protective, with a cushion to weight ratio that is typically found in shoes double the price of these.


One minor complaint that I am not sure where to put is that the insole is not removable. As in, it will actually tear out in pieces and you will make a mess trying to get it out. So, you may have a little work to do if you are like me and enjoy trying out different insole combinations just because, or if you actually happen to need orthotics. Honestly, this is the change I would make to the R3+ if I could only make one.  


Peter: If you haven’t run Hyperburst, the Razor is the shoe to run it in.  I agree with Mac that the Razor and the Speed 6 and Speed Elite are where Hyperburst really shines. The Razor 3+ is probably the best gateway into Hyperburst. It’s light and incredibly cushioned for what’s there. There is also a notable return of energy when you speed up. It’s a great foam. 


Renee: Mac and Peter said it all: Hyberburst is awesome. I found the midsole ride to be softer and less firm/responsive than the Razor 3, which for me means the Razor+ is a better shoe choice for longer runs when I might not be running at a race pace.  The stack height was enough for me to run a 50k in the shoes with no issues (for my feet anyway). The Hyperburst worked well for me while running marathon pace miles (8min/mile give or take), moderate miles (8:30min/mile), and then eventually slow miles. The midsole is a good balance of firm and soft. For speed days or tempo days, I would still choose the Razor 3 versus the Razor +.  

Michael: I think anyone - shoe geek or not - would notice something special about Skechers Hyperburst material. It’s extremely springy - both to the touch and underfoot - but doesn’t come off poorly at slower paces. My concern here (as will be followed-up in the Ride section) is that, while the slab of Hyperburst is generous, I found that the softness of the midsole coupled with they already low feel-to-toe offset (“drop”) had this 4mm shoe feeling more like 0 or 2. Your foot just sinks in significantly - especially at more relaxed paces - and it tends towards giving the shoe a less, instead of more aggressive feel. Still, it’s not enough of a setback to fully discount the midsole here - I’m glad Skechers has added a sufficient amount of it here, such that this shoe could function on both track days and long runs.


I’d also echo Mac in wanting a removable insole - as a general rule, I much prefer it (though I know some manufacturers have had issues with sliding in hot weather).  

Ryan: At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I’m aboard the Hyperburst bandwagon, which cushions amazingly well given its low mass. I love this midsole for longer, casual runs. It has Southern hospitality levels of comfort underfoot, but enough poppy rebound to make them feel like they’re working, even after 90 minutes. The one drawback in my eyes is that it’s too supple to properly transition at faster speeds. I ran a fartlek workout in testing, and my arches and stabilizer muscles felt like they were working a little harder than usual to propel me along. That said, they’re so darn light that maybe their low inertia compensates for the lack of rigidity. Michael notes how flat they feel, and I completely agree with his thoughts. The soft nature of the Hyperburst probably knocks ~2mm off of the effective drop here.


Joost: The foam feels unchanged from the 3 and feels just as springy and dialed in as I can remember. I went and checked the “formula” on the side and it is exactly the same, not that that is proof of anything. HYPERBURST is the best all round foam available today as far as I’m concerned. It’s very light, springy, even when thin, and feels stable at this volume and thickness. Michael has a point that it might feel like you’re running on a lower drop, probably more so if you’re a heel striker, but I never felt like the shoe was holding me back at slower paces, like he suggested.


As I said in the intro, the amazing thing about HYPERBURST in the Razor is that it makes me feel like a younger version of myself. You can definitely sense the terrain, and things like small pebbles will feel like they’re right there, poking at your foot. The foam compresses quite a bit on impact, but rebounds almost immediately, creating that incredibly bouncy, springy feeling. It’s also flexible enough so it doesn’t really change your natural stride, as in some of the plated shoes. 


I’ve been dealing with some persisting medial ankle issues and my suspicion is that some of them are due to running plated and long too many times. It might sound a little counter-intuitive at first, but I think a more flexible shoe that lets your foot supinate and pronate naturally actually helps resolve movement related or induced issues by promoting natural movement and working the muscles you need to do so. So, hats of and a big bow to the great HYPERBURST, the foam to rule them all.



Outsole


Mac: A major area of improvement. Skechers (no T!) has recently scrapped their own meh midsole compound in favor of Goodyear rubber on their recent entries, to thunderous applause. There is even additional outsole material that provides a small amount of additional stability upon footstrike. That Skechers (no T!) was able to upgrade this - and actually add material - while keeping the weight down, if somewhat higher than the original Razor 3,, is no small engineering feat. Great traction, even on wet asphalt and concrete, and a MUCH better expected durability.  

Below the Razor 3 outsole. Not the addition of rubber at the medial midfoot in the Razor+  shown above.

Peter: Yup, these are not as slippery as past iterations. Goodyear is GOOD! I’ve had no wear or traction issues so far. I easily got 300 miles out of the Razor 3s and I imagine these will last longer. 


Renee: Outsole for a road shoe is always important for me because I run a lot of country dirt gravel roads. I have 65 miles on the Razor+ as I write this review, and the outsole has lost a good amount of traction/grip. I do NOT think this would be the case if I ran more pavement miles. For the record, I weigh (probably) 115 pounds and I am not typically very rough on outsoles. 


Skechers states the outsole has more durability, which tangibly means there is rubber on the medial side where the Razor 3 lacked coverage. I ran a 50k wearing the Razor+ right from the box on a crushed rock looped path. I did not need traction or grip, but after about 22 miles, I did notice how the thin outsole was causing a drag in my ability to spring forward. After that 50k, the texture on the outsole rubber was flattened, which was to be expected on a crushed rock path. If runners were looking for a significantly more durable outsole as compared to the Razor 3, this may not be it. The Goodyear rubber has not seemed more durable than the outsole of the Razor 3. That’s fine, but I don’t see the shelf life of the Razor+ being long if used on anything other than pavement or soft dirt. 

This said as  I review photos of the outsole, they probably do not look as worn as I described. 


Michael: I’m glad we have such a diverse array of testers to put these shoes through their paces on all sorts of materials because where I’m running (primarily asphalt and concrete), the outsole was more than adequate. I had no issues garnering traction on wet days (even on some tricky painted elements of the path), and would expect these even to be able to handle snow and slush, which we should see (somewhat) soon. My only inconvenience with the outsole - which is quite thin - was when running on larger pieces of crushed rock. There, I found myself “feeling” the rocks more than I would have liked - though unfamiliarity with that sort of terrain probably doesn’t help.

Ryan: The Goodyear grip is (unsurprisingly) phenomenal for any reasonable surface on which you’d want to run. Heck, I scrambled wet rocks to take a nature break, and they were superb. However, my experience with the durability is in line with Renee’s. After about 40 miles, at least half of the rubber’s thickness near the toe is gone, and there are three other spots at which the traction pattern is nearly gone. The six patches of soft rubber do make for a plush, underfoot feel. While it makes you feel connected to the road, it also doesn’t provide much protection from rocks, rough surfaces, etc.


Joost: Nothing much to mention here. There seems to be a little extra outsole and an extra patch of it too. It looks almost exactly the same, but is now Goodyear rubber. Grip has been excellent so far, even on some loose sand on the pavement. I could feel a little slippage when I passed through a bit of water on the road (courtesy of defective piping bursting randomly all over Luanda), but that probably has more to do with the fact that there’s a lot of oil from traffic. It’s only the beginning of rainy season, and it basically hasn’t rained since late April. No wear so far after my initial runs, so durability should be better than the Razor 3.



Ride

Mac: What else can I say? Soft, yet explosive. Feather-light, yet supportive. The M-Strike, rolling your foot forward after impact, is in just the right spot. The ride is simply the best you will find among any non-plated shoe in the known universe. Seriously, if you are one of the few folks that refuse to try this shoe because it comes from Skechers (no T!), then I no longer feel sorry for you. Go pay $250 for your carbon plated catapults, while the rest of us enjoy an amazing shoe at a competitive price point.


Peter: The Razor 3+ Hyper rides really smoothly. One caveat is that there’s just not a ton of shoe there, so if you land really heavily or are a heavier runner you might find them a little unforgiving or find that they bottom out a bit. I haven’t found that they are problematic, but they are just enough shoe for me--and I”m guessing they will be not quite enough shoe for some. That said, the ride is terrific. It’s smooth, it’s easy and I don’t feel beat up after longer runs. 


Renee: The ride is great. If you had the Razor 3, I think the Razor+ has that same awesomeness: lightweight, comfortable, and responsive. The ride worked best for me when midfoot striking. During my 50k, as my stride became sloppy, I started to heel strike, and the thin outsole felt like it was “bottoming out.”  


I have read reviews that state the Razor+ works well for country dirt roads. I disagree. I did run a 50k on a crushed rock looped path (hardly any elevation), but it was a buffed out state park path. If you have buffed out, even country roads, then sure the Razor+ will work. My country roads are uneven, rough, and clumpy, and the outsole has no grip or traction for running hills with any significant amount of gravel or clumped dirt. The moral of story: these are not trail shoes. As a road shoe, the Razor+ is one the best lightweight shoes that can handle any distance. 


Michael: “Soft” and “springy” are the keywords here, I think - but, as mentioned in my Midsole writeup, I do think the shoe tips a little towards too soft, in basically the exact way that Renee describes. At the end of a harder effort - or on the cooldown of a workout, say, when my footstrike is a little lazy - I found that the combination of pliable midsole and heel striking to really exaggerate the low drop of this shoe, such that I found it a bit irritation on my achilles (or, more properly, just generally fatiguing). At faster paces, when I’m running primarily on my forefoot or midfoot, this became less of an issue - but that sort of detracts from wanting the Razor+ to be a true “do-it-all” shoe. A slightly firmer blend of Hyperburst or, perhaps more realistically, a slightly higher drop, would go a long, long way here. 


I also want to clarify, slightly - all my criticisms here are in view of the fact that Hyperburst is an exceptionally fun midsole. I’ve found things I don’t like with this particular implementation, but even a somewhat flawed Hyperburst geometry and makeup here is markedly better than a whole host of materials currently on the market, and the mild criticism here is only because I’d love to see Skechers continue to crank out genuinely great offerings. The Razor+ is a terrific shoe - it’s just not perfect! 

Ryan: How long until we see a commercial with: “4 out of 5 orthopedic doctors recommend Hyperburst”? I’m only half-joking, but this is a really pleasant, knee-saver of a ride for higher mileage outings. The weight minimalism creeps through just a touch, as they don’t have the stability of a burlier 10 oz shoe, but all in all this is a unique and effective pairing of low inertia and deep cushioning. It’s springy from heel to toe and provides a ton of road feel, if that’s something you appreciate.


I think of this as a shoe for turning the mileage up and the pace down, and I plan on using these on many long, easy-moderate weekend runs. As wonderfully as the Hyperburst material performs, it flexes too much to maximize energy under intense efforts. There’s a reason that the higher end shoes integrate a plate into the midsole: to facilitate an energetic toe-off at faster speeds. I can’t knock the Razor for this, as it isn’t intended to be a racer, but it’s worth pointing out the difference that a plate makes when paired with any of these bouncy new-age midsoles. It’s also $100+ cheaper, and I don’t want to be easy jogging in plated shoes on most days, anyway.


Joost: Just as I remember from the Razor: 3, soft, incredibly springy and natural feeling. Very comfortable at all paces between 4:30 to 3:10 mins/km (7:15 to 5:05 mins/mile). Slightly less secure on tight bends because of the upper. The difference between the Razor + and the 3 is negligible in the ride department and I would simply go for the + because of the more relaxed upper. 


Conclusions and Recommendations


Mac: My complete RTR Rankings HERE

It’s a do-everything shoe that tops out every shoe I have tried, with the exception of the Wonder Twins of SEP and NVN%. Hyperburst is durable enough to wear on everyday runs, light enough to race a 5k or shorter, and cushioned enough to race a Half (and lighter runners will surely be able to race a Full in these). The only real deductions for RIDE and FIT were for it being just a tiny bit softer and looser than the R3, which you might notice on your fastest reps. As a meaningless side note, by changing the outsole and upper (and possibly tweaking the midsole), I think that this shoe is different enough from its predecessor to warrant a “4” designation rather than a “3+”. 


Peter: This is a great shoe that I think will make the light and fun Hyperburst foam accessible to more folks. My one caveat would be that it’s less a “training version” of the Razor 3 than a Razor 3 with a slightly more relaxed upper. They ride very, very, very similarly. When I think of a “training version” of a shoe I think of a heavier, cushier version to use on easier days while saving the “race version” for race days. The Razor 3+ is too similar to the Razor 3 for it to fit that paradigm. It’s more, “well I love the Razor 3, but I wish the upper was a little more relaxed”. Perfect. 


I came close to writing this shoe off because it’s not “new and exciting” compared  to the Razor 3. But today on my run I realized it’s a stellar shoe and if you need a new pair of Razors you should get these and if you have never run the Razor 3--you will be amazed at how great this shoe is. 

Peter’s Score 9.5/10

Toebox is a little constricting, not a “brand new” shoe. Totally worth buying and running. 


Renee: I agree with Mac and Peter. The Razor+ is a great shoe. For lightweight runners, a 50k option (Even on crushed rock. I did it, and I’m not that awesome). As Peter wrote, I do not consider the Razor+ a “training version.” The Razor+ is a great do-it-all shoe for me. If you like the Razor 3, you won’t “hate” the Razor+ that's for sure.  From 3 miles to 50k, I am able to use the Razor+ for all distances. I would like to see more daily trainers become as lightweight and comfortable as the Razor +. I hope to see other companies continue to deliver very lightweight shoes that still provide a fantastic midsole for long distances.  The price seems a bit steep for a shoe that might not have the most durable outsole. If you can find the Razor 3 on sale, you also won’t be wrong for buying that instead of the Razor+.

Renee’s Score: 9.5/10 

-0.20 slightly narrow toe box, -0.20 durability/thinness of the outsole, -0.10 non-gusseted tongue


Michael: For a daily trainer, I’d reach for Skecher’s Go Run 7+ Hyper before I’d reach for the Razor+... but that’s really just a signal of how damn good Skechers Performance’s lineup is right now. Seriously, the Razor+ is indeed a great “all-arounder,” and one I’ll keep coming back to for long workouts, medium tempo runs, and general long runs, due to the dynamism and genuine joy of Hyperburst. But! As I wrote in my full write-up above, this isn’t a perfect implementation of Hyperburst (nor is it a perfect shoe) - I found the forefoot to run a little narrow, and the midsole to be overly soft, which magnified the discomfort of an already low-drop trainer. 

Michael’s Score: 8.9/10 


Ryan: For their weight and price, these definitely punch above their class. The Razor shows how forgiving and lively an affordable distance trainer can be, and for me it covers all but the fastest 10% of my running. I keep coming back around to thinking of these as a fun, run-worthy version of slippers -- that’s how welcoming they feel. If you typically have a problem with toe box width, take note, but my slightly narrow feet found the fit to be spot on. The only two issues I see are their ability to handle aggressive paces, and the outsole durability, which seems weak for a shoe claiming brand-name rubber.

Ryan’s Score: 8.8/10 

Deductions for outsole durability and transition efficiency


Joost: A fun, light, lively, springy, well priced shoe that can do it all (well almost), only let down by a too narrow last in the toe box. As Peter mentioned, I don’t really get the “trainer” version of the Razor: 3. It’s too similar to be differentiated in that way. I see it as a slightly more relaxed fitting version of the 3 with a better outsole as well. When in doubt, get the Razor + instead of the 3.

Joost’s Score: 9.2/10


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Skechers Performance Razor 3 (RTR Review)

Mac: (Size 14 in both shoes) I think that the perfect blend of these shoes for me would be the entire R3+ and sub in the R3 lockdown upper in the MIDFOOT only. Your personal tastes here will matter: the R3+ is marginally softer with a more accommodating upper. The main inarguable improvement is to the outsole. R3+ for me, even if I might prefer the R3 for an all out mile. 

Renee: I wore a unisex/men’s size 6.5 in the Razor 3 and a women’s size 8 for the Razor+. The Razor 3 is about 8 grams lighter (unnoticeable). Also, the women’s size 8 Razor+ has more length, barely, but I notice it. The Razor+ upper also makes the toe box more roomy as compared to the Razor 3 (not much though). I would choose the Razor 3 for speed or interval days. For longer distances at a tempo pace, I like the Razor+ better. If I had to choose one or the other, I would choose the Razor+. 

Joost: As I said, I had to size up half a size to solve blister issues because of the narrow toe box in the Razor: 3. The upper in the + is superior to the 3, as is the outsole. Get the +.



Skechers Go Run 7 Hyper and 7+   (RTR Review)

Mac: (Size 14 in all 3) An example of Hyperburst not always feeling quite as dynamic at different thicknesses, the SGR7 is an above average shoe that pales in comparison the R3/+. I will note that the upper fit of the R3+ is very similar to the upper fit of the improved SGR7+. Razor at every pace for me.


Skechers Go Run Ride 8 (RTR Review)

Mac: (SIze 14 in both) See Go Run 7/7+. Another example of too much of a good thing - Hyperburst in this case - the Razor 3+ is simply a superior shoe (even at the longer distances that the Ride 8 is designed for). 


Skechers Go Meb Speed 6 (RTR Review)

Mac: (Size 14 in both) Now we get to compare apples to apples, if by “apples” you mean “rocket ships for your feet”. I will note that the upper problems in the original Razor 3 were significantly worse for me in the Speed 6; mine look like Frankenstein’s Monster’s Racing Shoes with all the slits and cuts I put in the upper to make them work. Too bad, too, because the Speed 6 visuals are just awesome. Speed 6 for 5k and faster, Razor 3+ for anything longer..


Hoka Rincon 2
(RTR Review)

Peter: These are two of the more fun shoes out there. They're both light and well cushioned and they both do well at multiple paces. The Rincon 2 was my go to shoe this summer. I pulled it out for more runs than any other shoe. It's a little firmer than the Razor +. The Hoka runs a bit narrower and it took a minute for the upper to wear in and get comfortable. Overall  fit I prefer the Razor +. If you like a shoe that's a touch firmer and does really well for longer miles, I'd go Rincon 2. If you want a shoe that is softer, but turns over a little faster I'd say the Razor +. 

New Balance FuelCell TC  (RTR Review)

Michael: The TC is New Balance’s carbon-plated trainer, and a fan (and reviewer!) favorite. I prefer it’s slightly stiffer midsole and propulsion mechanics to the comparatively mushier Razor+, though both are successful in their own right. For most runs, I think the TC is my choice, but the ultralight platform of the Razor+ does make it an ideal candidate for progessive long runs when you may want to start with something soft, but want to be cruising by the end!


New Balance FuelCell Rebel (RTR Review)

Mac: (Size 14EE in Rebel, 14 in R3+) The Rebel is listed here because of its own proprietary midsole compound “FuelCell”. The Rebel is softer and less dynamic than the Razor 3+, but its upper is probably the single best upper I have ever tested. Razor 3+ for me at every pace if I can only have one pair of shoes, but I will personally wear the Rebels more for easy runs to save my Razors for the fast stuff.


Nike Vaporfly Next % and Saucony Endorphin Pro (RTR Review)

Mac: I am including the Wonder Twins here as they are the only shoes I have tried that approach the Razor series in terms of cushion-to-weight ratio and spring. Granted, it ultimately isn’t a fair fight, as the R3+ is non-plated, but the R3+ is also a fraction of the cost. Wonder Twins for my most important races; R3+ for everything else.


Renee: I have not run in the Endorphin Pro, but I agree with Mac that the Razor+ is an option for those who do not like the carbon plated shoes. For me, the Razor+ can handle the marathon and 50k distance. This said I would choose the Next% hands down. The Razor+ provides cushion while still giving responsiveness, but it in no way matches the spring I feel from the Next%. I ran a marathon with the Next% on a crushed flat path similar to the path I ran for my 50k in the Razor+. The Next% outsole has less wear than the Razor+, and I think that is because I can run much quicker and lighter with the Next%, even off pavement. 


Joost: Plated shoes with Pebax foam are quite a different breed. I have both the Endorphin Pro and the Next%. The Endorphin Pro gets my preference for fast and long training, because it’s got such a fun ride to it. The Next% is very effective, but less fun. My personal opinion is that there will come time in the not so distant future when running in plated shoes too much will cause injury in many runners. I think there’s a place and time for everything, and for that matter, a flexible shoe like the Razor is great to throw in the mix and work those foot muscles you neglect with the plated ones.


Nike Pegasus Turbo 2  (RTR Review)

Renee: Both the Turbo 2 and Razor+ are light shoes capable of fast speeds and long distances. The Turbo 2 works best for me during interval/speed runs (800s or 1 mile intervals). I can use it for mid-distance pace runs too (10 to 13 miles). The Turbo 2 has an awkwardly fitting upper for me, and the midsole under the heel has a softer feel than I would like for long distances (more than 13 miles). For runs more than 13 miles, I prefer the Razor+ because of its even midsole and more comfortable upper. For speed workouts, I prefer the Turbo 2. The Razor+ length is a bit shorter compared to the Turbo 2. 


New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon 3 (RTR Review)

Ryan (Size M9.5): New Balance’s Fresh Foam Beacon 3 targets nearly the same use cases, at a price point $20 less. Another versatile, lightweight trainer with an engineered mesh upper, the NB directly competes with its low inertia, super comfortable ride. But the midsoles have very different personalities -- and the NB doesn’t even bother with an outsole to speak of beyond 5 small patches, choosing to stick with Fresh Foam all the way to the road. 


While the Razor’s midsole is deeply cushioned and springy, the NB midsole feels slightly more stoic, firm, and under control. Comparing the uppers is a tossup for me, as both breathe well and are highly accommodating to all kinds of foot shapes, but maintain enough strength to provide a proper lockdown. 


I felt that the rubber outsole of the Razor made a big difference by offering superior traction, as well as by adding an extra level of softness on impact, but as I mentioned above, the Razor outsole’s durability is questionable for me. I prefer the NB, but not by much; the Skechers shoe definitely has a bigger fun factor. I’ll probably end up wearing these two pairs for the same amount of mileage when training.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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9 comments:

Will Bates said...

How does it compare to the Brooks Hyperion Tempo? Definitely should add that to the comparisons as their foams have similar composition properties and they fit into a similar category of lightweight tempo shoes that can work for some as a daily trainer.

Matt said...

How do you feel that it stacks up against the Hoka Rincon(s)?

Peter S. said...

Skechers Razor 3+ Hyper vs. Hoka Rincon 2
These are two of the more fun shoes out there. They're both light and well cushioned and they both do well at multiple paces. The Rincon 2 was my go to shoe this summer. I pulled it out for more runs than any other shoe. It's a little firmer than the Razor 3+. The Hoka runs a bit narrower and it took a minute for the upper to wear in and get comfortable. On overall fit I prefer the Razor 3 +. If you like a shoe that's a touch firmer and does really well for longer miles, I'd go Rincon 2. If you want a shoe that is softer, but turns over a little faster I'd say the Razor 3+.

Michael said...

@ Will Bates - It's a very, very similar platform to the Hyperion Tempo, in both midsole feel (Nitrogen-infused) and in last (narrow!). I'm not over the moon with either (in the lightweight trainer category, I'd take Skechers GoRun 7+ Hyper or Nike Zoom Fly) but I think the Hyperion Tempo is the superior choice here. The upper on the Tempo is a little cleaner (even though both are good) and after ~50 miles in my new pair of Tempos, there's basically no wear... can't say the same about the Skechers. I'd pick the Brooks.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
How does it compare with the Saucony Speed for cushion/comfort, responsiveness, versatility and long runs. Thanks.

NP said...

So the general consensus is that razor+ is softer than the R3? I have a few pairs of the R3 with low mileage and for whatever reason they feel really mushy all of a sudden. Really torn whether I should get these.

Will said...

I love the Rincon even though I generally prefer a wider/more voluminous toe box. Many said this one was tight so I’m wondering if I’d be ok with it if I’m ok with the Rincon. Feedback on this specific from anyone is much appreciated.

Unknown said...

Comparison to the Saucony Endorphin Speed please?

Xavier said...

Excellent review! And I'm so pleased to see a 4mm drop in a road shoe. Between the drop, price, midsole, and upper this shoe sounds like a must have. The only concern would be the outsole since I do run dirt paths (canal) and light trails.