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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gear review: Skora Forms

I have been following ultrarunner Kyle Kranz on his blog Running the White Line for quite a while. I love his minimalist attitude towards food and footwear and life in general. It's was his via his blog I learned about Skora, a brand new kind of shoe company that will change the way that you think about running shoes.

From the Skora Running website:
At SKORA we view Real Running as running how nature intended - efficient, effective and with ease. As the foot strikes the ground, contact is made in the middle of the foot, not at the heel. Running with a whole-foot gait results in less impact energy and force shock transmitted through the body than compared to the heel strike gait favored by conventional running shoes (built with large amounts of cushioning, support and a thicker heel).

When I heard that Skora was working on a women's model I immediately sent Skora an email begging to be added to the wear testers list. My Skora Forms (in pink!) arrived in last month. Here is my review.

My first few outings with the Forms were in fact, not running at all, but hiking and climbing trees with my kids. I went sockless and the Forms were downright decadent - the shoe really does wrap around your foot as promised and the Pittards® WR100X® Sheepskin lining is oh so soft. My only complaint was a seam that runs along the top my my foot and if not smoothed down when putting on the Skora Forms, it does hurt. A quick tweet to @SkoraRunning confirmed that the seam does soften over time.

My next outing was a sockless 20K mix of trail and road. After 7K I developed a blister on the arch of both feet (I had kept the liner in - I know several wear testers took theirs out). I think the blister is more due to me continuing to improve my form than a shoe issue. After a quick stop at the house to drain and patch the blister and put on socks, the remainder of the run was pain free. The extra protection with the Skora Form's rugged high abrasion rubber outsole really made a difference on pavement but when I was on the trail, I really missed feeling the ground under me (generally I run sockless in Trail Gloves or without shoes at all). That said, the Skora Forms performed well on very slippery leaves and rocks and when I stood in a puddle for this shot, they drained extremely well, unlike conventional running shoes.

The biggest test of the Skora Forms were at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon where they took on 42.2K of unforgiving pavement. The Forms helped me finished blister and black toenail free and from now on, the Skora Forms will be my first choice for road running. I'm especially looking forward to how warm the Forms will keep my feet this winter. I'll post an update once I've added YakTrax to them.

Finally, it wouldn't be a completely honest review if I didn't include this:

With well under 100KM on my Forms, the leather upper started to pull away from the outsole. After checking with Skora, they confirmed the same problem has occurred with other shoes and they are sending a replacement pair. Skora has a 1 year warranty on all of their shoes - this defect would be covered and Skora has awesome customer service.

Who can benefit from Skora Forms
- Runners with deep pockets. At USD$185 it is one of the higher priced shoes on the market. That said, you will not find a better constructed shoe out there. Follow Skora on Facebook or Twitter to take advantage of the fan discounts they offer from time to time.
- Runners who care about improving their form or have developed a natural running gait. This is not a shoe for heel strikers!
- Runners looking for a running shoe that can also be part of their casual clothing wardrobe. These are seriously sexy shoes

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About Jen Pinarski

Jen is a mother, freelance writer, runner and cyclist based in Ontario. She is a popular blogger with Today's Parent, where she shares the challenges and triumphs of being a stay-at-home mom. Find her on Twitter.


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