What is the Best Shoes for Running?

A friend asked me recently what is the best running shoe to buy. I told her she asked the wrong person. I used to believe that there is such a thing as a “good” running shoes and some brands are better than others but I no longer believe in that. Apart from not believing in so call “branded” shoes, I also do not follow the conventional advice like a shoe is good for only XXX mileage. Cannot buy warehouse shoes because the foam will have dried up blah blah blah….. 

Most people I know will go for the 4 big brand Nike, Asics, New Balance and Adidas. In recent years my choice of shoes have been getting a bit erratic. If I am lucky to get preview shoes, I will wear them. Like this pair of Puma Faas  which was given to me by Puma in November 2014. 

At this point in time, I don’t know any other runners who wear Puma shoes. Me? At of todate, 2 years 5 months later, I have clocked 903 km in it – more than the usual life span of a typical running shoes. Look at its condition now. And I reckon it still good enough for another 100 km or so!

And I wear Skechers running shoes as well. Oh, at least I know one other runner who wears a pair of Skechers. And the only reason I started wearing Skechers was because I read good review about it and I found one going for a discount. But since then, I grown to like it and am now into my second pair after killing my first with over wear.

And just by looking at the above 2 photos, one can tell I really make full use of my running shoes but this last one has broken the record. Tadah! 1008 km on my Saucony 4! Saucony shoes have a reputation of not being very lasting. But I think I certainly got my money worth considering I bought it a discount in 2015!

So long story short. I am not the right person to ask about running shoes. Go ask the people at Running Lab or read the very detailed review of one of our top local runners.

Skechers GoRun 5

In 2015, I bought my first pair of Skechers running shoe, the Skechers Go Run 2. And over the course of 2 years, I like it so much despite it being half a size too small so much so that I worn it to its death. Just look at the condition of the sole after 500 over km. I don’t think the people at Skechers designed their shoes to last that long. But all good things must come to an end and late last year I reluctantly retired the Go Run and replace it with the Skechers Go Run 5 which I got from a kiosk at a mall for slightly over a SG$100.But after slightly over 30 km of baptism I am very disappointed with what I am getting out of it..

But first the run down from Skechers:

Skechers GOrun 5™ is the 5th generation in the Skechers GOrun® series of running shoes. Designed for speed, it’s responsive, supportive and lightning fast.

Details

  • Skechers GOknit™ upper provides security while maintaining breathability and comfort
  • Secure gore construction for a seamless fit that hugs your foot
  • Lightweight, responsive 5GEN® cushioning
  • Integrated inner support strap in the midfoot ensures a stable and secure fit
  • Mid-foot strike zone promotes efficiency in each stride
  • Lightweight and durable parametric web outsole provides multi-surface traction
  • Air mesh tongue with elastic tongue-position keeper straps for stable and secure fit
  • Quick Fit feature for easy accessible on and off
  • Reflective detail
  • Offset: 4mm
  • Forefoot 14mm, heel 18mm midsole thickness
  • Weight: 7.5 oz. per shoe in a men’s size 9

Construction

  • Circular knit one piece upper provides a perfect fit
  • Knit-in design for distinctive look
  • Side S logo
  • Reinforced lacing area with top eyelet for custom lacing options

Look. Skechers must have some very young funky designers. All their shoes are multi-colored with all sort of patterns. Nice to some and yucky to others. The place I went to had only 2 color unfortunately and only this one in my size though. Anyway, since I like my shoes colorful I had no problems with the options available. Apart from the look, there is this Quick Fit feature which is basically a hole in the heel counter. Meant to make it easier to wear and take off the shoe. I don’t find it really necessary but it does separate the GoRun from the other shoes.

Fit. Although I have not tried it on without an insole, this fits like a glove. Unlike other brand with wide version, this one fits very snugly on my foot after adjusting the laces. No movement and no blisters so far.

Cushioning. The initial feel when I put it on was “wow”. It was so soft. Real cushioning. And I feel that I could run and walk on it the whole day. It was that comfortable. Or at least that was the initial feel.

Traction: First run was after a heavy downfall. And grip was good.. There was no slippage even on the smooth concrete surfaces. I suppose this is the result of what Skechers call “Lightweight and durable parametric web outsole provides multi-surface traction”

Water Proofing. I ran a few times after heavy downpour and maybe because I didn’t deliberately run into puddles of water, my foot didn’t get wet.

Flexibility. This is where the shoe fails me. I find the shoe too rigid and too firm. In fact, invariably after just a short run, I can feel the impact on my sole.and my foot hurts. But strangely it is only on the left foot. At first I thought it was the lacing. Next run I adjusted it tighter. Still the same. Then I changed insole. Still same. Change socks. Sighed. So now I am resigned to wearing this for short run. Or hopefully until the shoes is broken in, if it ever happens.

Overall, I like that it is so light. And cushy. And comfortable to walk around. But until I figured out the problem with the sole and how to overcome it, I will have to stick to my Sauconey Kinvara for longer runs.

 

Skechers GoRun 2

This comes about 3 years late. But hey, better late than never. I first read about the Skechers Gorun back in 2012. Back then, Skechers had just embarked on the development of a running shoes and the review wasn’t that great. Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued and I was determined to get hold of one to try out. But being the kiam kanah, I wanted to get one at a more down to earth price since it was just for the purpose of trying. I waited and waited and Gorun 2 came and went and 3 came along. And finally I decided to buy. But not the Gorun 3 but the by now on offer Gorun 2. Beggars can’t be chooser so I ended up with a blue shoe. My 2nd pair of all blue shoe after so many years. But the store didn’t have any other color available. Worst of all, it was half size too small. I knew it the minute I put it on but so strong was my desire to try it, that I just went ahead. To be frank though, I quite like the color. That was back in the middle of last year and after that, it was left in the box for another 6 months before I finally took it out this year!

The Gorun 2 comes with a 4mm heel to toe drop and is considered a minimalist shoe. The upper is very breathable. And  it is light coming in at about 200 gm.

The heel counter is on the low side just like the tongue is pretty short too for my long feet at least.

The sole is what set the Gorun 2 apart from other running shoes. It comes with round studs which they called Pods. Not too sure what the various colors and design does but whatever it does though it must be doing something great for I am going to say it now, this is probably why I now consider this the best pair of running shoes I ever have!

So far I worn it for over more than 30 km and I am loving every km of it. Notwithstanding the fact that it is still half size too small. In my first run, I knew it was too small and because I have Morton’s toe, it was a tight fit at the front although the width was just right. Not willing to give up on the shoe, in my next run, I decided to go sockless and bingo! Without the sock, the fit was just right and there was no blisters on my foot. Not at the heel where I expected or the side of the toe. Nothing. I was really delighted!
Cushioning. This is supposed to be a minimalist shoes and rightfully I do not expect much cushioning but it was there all right. Not a lot but enough to make the landing soft. And best of all, extremely comfortable. 
Traction: I ran mostly on road and in one instance, after a heavy downfall. There was no slippage even on the smooth concrete surfaces. Ground feel was good too. Obviously because this is not a trail shoe, I have not attempted to run in the trails with it. I think the upper appears to be a bit thin to take the toils of the trail. 
Flexibility. The shoe is rather flexible despite the presence of the many pods. The design of the pods forces the wearer to land on the midfoot and toe off properly. No way to land on the heel which is as it should be. I took it for a few hard runs with the longest distance at 10km and it works well especially the pushing off part.
Water Proofing. I ran once after a heavy downpour and maybe because I didn’t deliberately run into puddles of water, my foot didn’t get wet.
Overall, I would say this is by far the most comfortable running shoes I ever have. However, to date the longest distance I did in them was 10km and I am a bit apprehensive about going longer distance although I am aware many runners have already worn it for marathons. Maybe now that Gorun 4 is already out, I will go and see whether I can get a pair of Gorun 3 at a price below $100.00 with the correct sizing  and perhaps try to run a marathon in them. 

My Unconventional Shoes

I constantly tell people to wear proper and suitable shoes when they run but when it comes to myself, I never ever follow my own advice. Take this 2 pair of shoes for instance.

I bought the Puma Mobium on impulse at the Puma Factory outlet in December 2013. Back then I knew nothing about the shoes and the only reason I bought it was it cost less than $100.00 and it was orange in color. True be told, it wasn’t a really great shoe. It was a tad too rigid for me and I was always afraid the Mobium band will break. But slowly I got used to it  In fact, I worn it so often that I managed to clock more than 700km in it and all from runs of not more than 10 km. I still couldn’t bring myself to run longer distance in it. And the Mobium band didn’t break. In fact, it was the upper that finally tear and force me to retire it. So it has been a pretty good shoe after all and certainly good value for money. But not a shoe that I will recommend to anybody.
The Skecher shoe on the right of the photo is the Skecher Go Run 2. I got this in the 3rd quarter of 2014. It was on sale as the Go Run 3 was already out. Since then it has been in its box till this week when I finally took it out to replace the Puma Mobium. And these 2 shoes wouldn’t have been more different than night and day. But more about the Skecher when I run substantially enough to form a proper opinion.
So these 2 pair adds on to my collection of unconventional and non main stream running shoes which so far have included the Altra Lone Peak (still in use); Terra Plana Evo (one of my favourite and now retired); Tyr booties, Pearl Izumi SyncroPace; Zoot UltraTempo (another favourite) and my current daily ride, the Puma Faas 300. How many of these names do you recognize?