Thursday, January 12, 2023

Skora Fit Multi Tester Review: A Unique Riding, Versatile and Effective Form Training and Natural Running Option. 6 Comparisons

Article by Mike Postaski, Renee Krusemark, and Joost de Raeymaeker

Skora Fit ($145)


Mike P: Skora is a brand that I hadn’t heard of before. I’m always curious to try out new and different styles of “natural” running shoes so I was happy to receive a test pair. After a bit of cursory research it seems like both the Fit and Phase are re-releases of previous Skora models with little/no changes. They seemed to have a bit of a niche following in the past, but then lost their way a bit as a brand, and are now returning to their “roots”, so to speak. 

The Fit is advertised as a “do-it-all” running shoe, also versatile for the gym as well as casual use. Notable is the fact that it claims to have a “just right” amount of cushioning - rather than essentially “no” cushioning of some more minimalist-oriented footwear brands. The Phase model offers a thinner sole and is presented more along the lines of a traditional minimalist shoe. 

Joost: I had heard of Skora before they disappeared off the radar, but never actually tried on a pair. Like Mike, I like to try out different kinds of minimal and natural running shoes as they are usually the only real alternative to going barefoot, which is not an option on the streets of Luanda. You would definitely need to have your tetanus shots up to date for starters. I’m also not very convinced we were destined as a species to run on “you can fry an egg on it” hot asphalt barefoot. For my barefoot experiences, I usually go run on the soccer pitch at the track I train at and put on a pair of more minimalist oriented running shoes for all the rest. 

I must also say that I run 95% of my mileage in ordinary, high stack or even plated shoes, but there is definitely a place for a good minimalist shoe in my rotation. Stronger feet will help your running and after having a couple of nasty foot injuries myself, I try to keep my feet strong enough to handle all the pounding. Which shoes? Before testing the Skora, my old pair of original Merrell Vapor Glove completely disintegrated and I was down to the minimal, but not quite too minimal and excellent TOPO ST-4 (review here). Suffice it to say, I was glad to receive a pair of shoes to replace my Vapor Glove.


Slipper like fit and comfort (with a non-oversized toe box) Mike P/Renee/Joost

Lots of proprioceptive feel, without the harshness Mike P/Renee/Joost

Padded tongue and offset lacing = zero lace pressure Mike P/Renee/Joost

High visibility reflective details Mike P/Joost

Instantaneous form feedback Mike P/Renee/Joost

Some subtle arch support Joost

Fantastic do-it-all shoe Joost


Rounded heel may take some getting used to Mike P/Renee/Joost

Not for heel strikers (not a con - just for clarification) Mike P/Renee/Joost

Soft outsole: durability TBD?  Mike P 

Fit is very dependent on foot shape/sizing Renee

Hardcore barefoot runners probably want the Skora Phase Joost

Not light for a minimalist shoe Joost


Sample Weight: men’s US 10.0 7.5 oz  / 214g, women’s US 8.5 6.69 oz / 191g

Stack Height: men’s 16 mm heel / 16 mm forefoot 

Available Now (Fit - $145, Phase - $135, review soon)

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Mike P: Knowing that the Fit was a shoe in the natural/minimalist style - the first impression without a doubt was that the toe box was not overly wide. It’s actually a normal size, and perhaps even a touch on the narrow side for those with wider feet. Most shoes in this category that I’ve tried typically feature overly wide toe boxes - the idea being that the toes should not be confined and should be free to splay. It’s a good idea in theory, and I do like the extra toe space in that type of shoe. But I do have to admit that at times it can be a bit overdone - with too much space for the foot to feel secure for actual running. 

I always had the feeling that this really comes down to your actual foot size and shape. If you have a wider foot and need the space it’s great, but if you have an objectively narrow foot, you’re pretty much out of luck in terms of security and lockdown. For me personally - Altras tend to be too wide for serious running, Topo seems to mostly strike the right balance for me, while Vivobarefoots also tend to be overly wide (especially in combination with their very thin outsole). Depending on your own foot size and shape, your preferences may fall somewhere else within the spectrum of those examples I just laid out. 

[Very soft and comfortable around the ankle and heel]

So Skora takes a different approach here which for me helps in terms of actually running in the shoe, as opposed to just using them for walking and/or foot strengthening. The upper feels and fits like a slipper - yet there’s no excessive space in the toe box for the foot to slide around. Though not wide, there’s ample volume in the upper material so the foot does not feel restrictive at all. Overal,the upper material is very soft and extremely flexible. The interior is actually free of stitching so they can be run barefoot. They essentially wrap around and disappear on your feet. 

[All the silver detailing/support print is reflective]

Sizing-wise - Skora recommends going ½ size up from your standard size, which should give you a full thumbs width in front of the toes. This may feel like a bit much if you’re used to having a bit less space, especially in road shoes. But it’s recommended and necessary to get the natural proprioceptive effect of the shoe. So go with your normal true-to-size and add a half size (I’m US 9.5 at true-to-size, and I received a 10.0 which is perfect).

Renee: The Skora Fit is a true minimalist/ near barefoot shoe. Runners don’t need to study exercise physiology to know the common sense difference between running with high cushion shoes as compared to minimalist shoes.

 If you need a cushioned shoe for whatever reason (to help absorb impact), then the Skora Fit is not for you.If you like minimalist, or want to rotate a minimalist shoe is your rotation, the Skora Fit might be a fun choice.

Skora recommends a half size up for the Fit. If you are already between half sizes, I suggest the half size larger and not a full size. I’m between a women’s size 7.5 and 8, and the 8.5 was a tad long. Like Mike wrote, the toebox is angled rather than square, but the upper material is flexible, so it’s roomier than it looks. I had a similar experience in that the upper truly does disappear on foot. The security is good and the heel fit is perfect.

Joost: You often read about a sock-like feel in shoes. Some uppers are really good, but very few qualify for the term. The Fit is one of them. It’s just wide enough for my rather wide feet, without getting the feeling that I’m not touching anything. 

The upper molds nicely around the foot, while leaving a bit of space up front if you go half a size up as Skora suggests (they sent me a US 10 instead of my usual 9.5). The upper material is breathable enough for most conditions and very flexible, while still holding down the center of the foot nicely. 

There is a little reinforcement starting in the midfoot going backwards. 

The tongue and heel area have a little bit more padding, so there are not lacing hot spots and areas of friction in the heel. You can easily go barefoot in these barefoot shoes (which I did). 

The 3D printed dotted pattern adds a little structure to the upper, but doesn’t seem to have any function in securing the foot.

In conclusion, the upper is extremely well done and comfortable.


Mike P: There’s not too much going on with the midsole - the stack height is listed at an even 16mm which includes insole and outsole. So the EVA midsole itself is likely in the 8-10mm range. The stack is less than you get from most traditional running shoes, yet noticeably more than true minimalist shoes such as Vivobarefoot for example. So the feel underfoot really depends on your reference point. I personally find minimalist shoes such as Vivos or Vibrams too harsh underfoot for actual running, so the Skora’s natural, yet cushioned approach is something different and welcomed for me. 

[Ortholite insoles add some impact dampening]

Another feature of note is the use of a thick Ortholite insole. Again, this is not what you’d expect in a “natural” running shoe. The total 16mm stack (including the thick, soft insole) does dampen road harshness more so than you’d expect from such a low stack shoe. Also it’s helpful in swallowing up any minor pebbles that you’d otherwise feel with some other natural style shoes.

Renee: Mike wrote the details. The midsole does not leave much to discuss. According to Skora, there’s a responsive EVA midsole, although as a true minimalist shoe, there feels like there is no midsole, just an insole helping to provide some protection underfoot. The outsole actually has some worth in providing protection underfoot from terrain (such as small gravel or rocks). 

Joost: Mike described the midsole pretty well. There isn’t much of it, taken into account the outsole and sock liner, but it does a great job of dampening the harshest of impact and makes stepping on a sharp little stone a little more bearable. 

True barefoot minimalist aficionados will probably feel that there’s too much midsole. For them, Skora makes an even more minimalist shoe called the Phase. Coming from a mix of the Topo ST-4 and the Merrell Vapor Glove, I find the Skora Fit to have just the right amount of stack and protection to actually be able to run worry free on the road and light trails. Another point of notice is that there is a bit of arch support in the Fit by way of a slightly contoured medial midfoot. It’s something I also really appreciate in Topo shoes and is very welcome for me in this one as well.


[Outsole wear at 53 miles - had some quick initial wear at my landing areas, then it leveled off]

Mike P: The outsole is a mix of different segments, designed to be totally flexible and allow your foot to flex naturally. There’s no sense of your foot landings being directed in any way by the shape of the outsole or the orientation of the outsole segments. Most shoe’s tend to telegraph an intended groundstrike pattern for the runner, and you can sometimes tell by the way the outsole is set up in combination with the shoe’s geometry. The Skora Fit really allows that groundstrike pattern to be dependent on the individual runner. Clearly a midfoot strike is intended as with most natural style running shoes. Perhaps you could heel strike, but you’d have to be totally efficient with the foot landing under your center of mass. If not, the shoe would let you know, and you’d feel greater impact.

[Skora rounded heel in comparison to more standard heel platform (Topo ST-4)]

The most interesting and striking feature for me of the entire shoe is the rounded heel design. This is something I don’t recall ever seeing in a shoe. There’s a bit of a round outsole segment directly under the heel, and the edges of the outer heel come up in a rounded fashion as opposed to being more squared off at the edge like most running shoes.

 I find this to be an amazing design as it allows your heel to touch down without any interference from an overhanging outside edge of the shoe. It’s another piece of the design that allows the foot to work naturally. 

I also like that rounded segment itself directly under the heel. It protrudes just a bit, and I find it’s a perfect “cue” when the heel touches down - that it’s time to pick up the foot. It makes you aware of your ground contact time in a way that’s truly immediate. You feel a touch of pressure under the heel urging you to keep up a quick cadence. When you slow down, or maybe tire towards the end of a run, the heel contact pressure becomes more noticeable. So for me it’s really a good “form feedback” feature!

Renee: I’ll defer to Mike, who wrote all the details. The heel has a small lifted/protruding area, which I can’t feel when landing on the mid or forefoot. I’ll agree with Mike, that when form gets sloppy, the heel lift is a reminder to pick up your feet even when running slow. The heel does make the Skora less of a strength training/gym shoe, at least for me. As a “shoe that transitions from home, to the gym and everything in between” I’d prefer the heel to be flat, but I think it’s necessary to help with running form. The “dot and dimple” design is nice for some traction and unlike most running outsoles, it allows natural flex that keeps the shoe minimal and unobtrusive. 

Joost: As Mike said, the outsole doesn’t seem to be set up in any way that would guide your gait in a predetermined way or direction. It’s made up of several pieces that are all very flexible and move independently of each other. There is a large cutout in the medial arch, where you can see the sculpted arc that gives you some arch support. Like Mike, I had some initial wear on the dots in the lateral forefoot, but it hasn’t progressed beyond that.

The rounded heel is one of the more interesting features of the Skora Fit. I don’t really notice it while running. When using the shoe to walk around, things are quite different. The rounded heel becomes fairly obvious, because walking basically implies heel striking. I could definitely feel that I had to adjust a little and my foot muscles and proprioception probably got a little training in the beginning. After a while, things felt very natural. The outsole also had no problems with traction.


Mike P: The ride is all about efficiency of form. By that I mean - they feel great when you’re running at a quick and efficient cadence, and they even encourage you to be more balanced and run in that style. I find that other natural style running shoes can be a bit too harsh and I tend to get bogged down trying to worry about or minimize the harshness of the impact. The Fit gives you a bit more cushion, but at the same time a great (and I’d say even better) proprioceptive feel than other thinner, natural shoes. For this reason I find that I can focus more on my running form without the issues of road harshness being as much of a factor.

The fit is incredibly slipper-like, and on the run it feels like the shoe is just molded to your foot. You feel totally attached to the shoe almost as if it was part of your foot. I’ve done all types of runs in them from easy runs, tempo runs, steady state, treadmill run/hikes.

They’re really a great training shoe across all speeds. At slower paces you can work on your form and efficiency, and at faster paces they feel so light and quick on foot. They’re also a great treadmill shoe - in my opinion you don’t need as much cushion on a treadmill, so they’re a great option there too.

Renee: The ride is the reason some people love or hate true minimalist shoes. I’m much slower than Mike, and I pretty much agree with what he wrote about the ride. While reviewing the Skora Fit, I was also running in the Hoka Challenger 7, which is almost a polar opposite in terms of cushion and ride. I enjoyed having the control and use of my own natural stride and landing with the Skora Fit, but admittedly I need cushion underfoot as a mediocre, middle aged woman just trying to log some miles. 

Runners who run with low stack or zero drop shoes might be able to transition to running 6-10 miles in the Skora Fit with no issues. I had no issues switching from the Hoka to the Skora. 

For speed workouts, the Skora was fun. I found it refreshing to control pace through my natural form rather than from a plate or rocker. 

As advertised, the Skora Fit is meant for speedwork and form training. I didn’t mind it for easy miles either as long as I maintained high cadence, which is a major appeal of barefoot shoes. I’m probably not strong enough to wear the Skora more than 10 miles. At about an hour, my forefoot got sore. 

Joost: I took the Skora for a 10k run around my normal training area right out of the box (after the photos). The first 200 meters or so, I felt that familiar feeling of having to adjust a bit to going barefoot after running in big cushion shoes for a while, but soon enough, I was plodding along as usual for my lap. I have a chronic right achilles issue, but there was no flare-up or discomfort after warming up a little, something I can’t say about some very high stack shoes. Being in my mid-fifties, warming up the legs and feet takes a little longer than a couple of years ago, but that’s not different in any other shoe.

I don’t really get the feeling that I have to run at a higher cadence or change my foot strike to run in this type of shoe. They just feel natural. That probably doesn’t have as much to do with the very low stack or 0 drop, but more with the flexibility of the mid and outsole. Any shoe that very easily bends in almost any direction gives me that same feeling of being able to run like I’m supposed to. Coupling a very comfortable upper with this type of flexibility underfoot is exactly what the Fit brings to the table, all together while still providing a little bit of protection underfoot (I wouldn’t go as far as to call it cushioning).

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mike P: The Skora Fit may be my highest scoring road shoe. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that I believe it’s the best “running” shoe in its specific “natural” class as I score shoes based on category and context. 

Skora is really on to something by providing the same feedback but trying to reduce the harshness that comes with most natural or minimal shoes. It’s a unique feel and it also fills a unique spot in the market. I find that it slots in between more minimal options such as Vivobarefoot/Vibram and more “traditional” leaning brands such as Altra/Topo. It will definitely keep a spot in my shoe rotation.

Mike P’s Score:  9.8/10

Ride: 10 - Love it - great proprioceptive feel while limiting harshness

Fit: 10 - Like a glove, slipper, etc.. 

Value: 9 - Somewhat highish, but a very versatile shoe, even for casual use

Style: 9 - Somewhat futuristic looking, but there’s a few color options

Smiles: 😊😊😊😊😊

Renee: ​​As a minimalist shoe, the Skora Fit checks the boxes. The shoe is meant for minimalist runners who know they want a minimal/barefoot shoe. I’d prefer a slightly more rounded toe box, and I’m not sold on the heel lift on a shoe for daily wear or strength training. 

The shoe works for its main purpose, which is speed days and form training. I wish I was awesome enough to run daily miles or long runs in a barefoot-type shoe, but I’ll need some cushion underfoot. The Fit is difficult to compare to traditional daily trainers in terms of use and price, but it shines as a barefoot/minimalist shoe to help with form. 

Renee’s Score: 8.7/10 (-.10 toe box shape, -.30 sizing, -.60 outsole heel lift, -.30 price for use) 


Joost: ​​The Skora Fit has come to take up the minimalist shoe spot in my rotation. Shortly after receiving it for testing, we went on a family holiday one country south of Angola, to Namibia, where I used them for basically anything from shopping to running to desert walks and they were fantastic. The look of the blue colorway might not be for everyone, but I like it. The Fit has the right amount of underfoot protection while still being minimalist in essence. It fits extremely well, trains your muscles and proprioception and as Skora says: they might help you strike up a nerdy running conversation.

Joost’s Score: 9.63/10 (Ride 9.6/10 - 50%, Fit 10/10 - 30%, Value 9/10 - 15%, Style 9.5/10 - 5%) 



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

Mike P (EU 42): I love my Vivos for casual use. They’re great for foot strengthening and I figure if you’re going to be walking around somewhere - why not slip some training stimulus in? Strong feet are always a plus. But for actual running - I’m not a true minimalist, so I find them too harsh. There’s literally no midsole, just a 3mm slab of outsole underfoot. You feel every pebble. I’d say you have to be truly committed to true minimalist running to run in them regularly. 

Standing in both shoes, the Fit is noticeably more cushioned and you can also get the feel of the outsole sections, especially the heel. In Vivos, it just feels like you’re standing flat on the ground. I regularly use both shoes for different occasions. Side note- the all black Vivos are a much sleeker look for casual use.

Altra Escalante (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The Escalante features a noticeably wider toe box, which may or may not work for you. It’s too wide for me, and I prefer the more standard yet relaxed toebox fit of the Skora. The Escalante has more foam underfoot at 25mm, so it’s definitely more runnable for most, although it has a bit of a “flat '' feel to it, and I can feel like it bottoms out a bit when running. I found that it bothered my ankles and achilles a bit. With the Skora, I feel like I get more ground ground feedback, so even with less stack at 16mm, I have no foot or ankle issues with them. I’ve taken them over 10 miles (1:30) on the road and up to 1:45 on the treadmill with no issues.

Nike Streak LT3

Mike P (9.5): Just throwing this one in there since prior to receiving the Skora Fit, it was my default treadmill shoe. Very minimal in terms of cushioning, it has a 4mm drop and a plastic midfoot shank so it’s a bit like an old school racing flat. The heel cushioning is more forgiving in the LT3. Fit is similar, but the LT3 is much tighter overall as a “flat” should be, while the Fit is much more relaxed. For easy stuff on the treadmill, and run/hike workouts, I’ve switched over to the Skoras, but I’d use the LT3 for speedwork. The LT3 seems like it would be a good track shoe.

Topo ST-4 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The ST-4 features a wider toe box, although not quite Altra or Vivo wide. I find it just right to provide toe space without feeling sloppy. Topo’s very well done midfoot security also helps. Both shoes are zero drop on a 16mm stack, and their numbers must be accurate because they feel the same with one on each foot. The Topo for sure feels more stable with its more standard on-ground platform. It’s likely a better transitional shoe for those looking to try out zero drop and minimal stack since it has a more standard ride. The Skora has a more dynamic proprioceptive feel underfoot, but you have to be a bit more open to trying something new. Both shoes feel equally quick to me and I like doing short, quick runs in both of them. The Skora is truly unique and fun though, and I find myself grabbing them whenever I need to do a quick run-errand around town.

Joost (9.5 in the Topo, 10 in the Skora): The ST-4 is more of a crossover between a traditional and a true minimalist shoe, whereas the Skora is a minimalist shoe with a little traditional touch. As Mike said, the Topo is probably the better option if you want to transition gradually into more minimalist shoes (if that’s something you really want). The Skora is a great option if you want a minimalist shoe in your otherwise traditional and max stack shoe rotation. Both are also great for casual and gym wear.

Newton Motion + (RTR Review)

Renee: The Motion + is a stability shoe, although it runs very neutral. Both shoes have minimalist qualities, although the Motion + offers more cushion. Both shoes have great forefoot flex, but the Skora has a much more natural/barefoot ride as compared to the Motion +. For runners looking for a true minimalist ride, the Skora is the better choice, and it doubles better as a workout/gym shoe. For a natural shoe that offers more cushion underfoot, the Motion + is a better choice. While I wore a 8.5 in the Skora as compared to a size 8 in the Motion +, I think the sizing is similar. The upper of the Skora is more flexible. 

Merrell Vapor Glove

Joost (M9.5 in the Merrell, 10 in the Skora): The Merrell Vapor Glove is basically a piece of outsole with a thin upper. A 100% real minimalist option. You’ll feel every little pebble or crack. I prefer the Skora option of having a little more protection, while still maintaining flexibility.

The Skora Fit is available from Skora Running HERE

Tester Profiles

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 has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Mike currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. In 2022 Mike won both the Standhope 100M and IMTUF 100M trail ultras within a 7 week period - both extremely rugged Idaho mountain races. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

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 recently won his M50 AG at the 2022 Chicago Marathon in 2:29. 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. Please check out Joost's coaching service here

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Bry said...

I found when I reviewed the Fit during Skora's first run that that rounded heel is a big problem if your leg/foot is anything other than structurally perfect.

Here was the review:

Mike P said...

Bry - I could potentially see that happening with extended ground contact time. With most natural running techniques they really stress minimizing the ground contact, especially the heel. With that type of style it should really just touch or tap the ground then that's a cue to immediately pick up the foot. In theory there wouldn't be as much ground contact time for excessive inward roll (eversion).

But obviously in the real world everyone has different ground strike patterns. Here's a cool video I have bookmarked-

Unknown said...

Bry - Brian from SKORA here. I completely understand your comment. What we intend to happen is that short term issue with folks that rely on stable/wide heeled platforms use SKORA in moderation initially, rotating it in as a tool to build up the muscle and movement pattern that make reliance on a structured shoe less necessary. We are are tool to improve for those that feel they would like improvement, and a long term solution for the well initiated who just find it to be the best for them. Cheers!