Color Options Men: Royal Blue/White/Flo.Yellow, Natural/White/Grey, Black/White/Blue, Natural/Black/Red (pictured)
Color Options Women: Royal Blue/White/Lt.Blue, Natural/Blue/Pink
Sizes: Men’s 7 – 13 US, Women’s 6 – 11
Drop: 0 mm heel to toe with a 13mm stack height (9mm without insole)
Other: Made from high quality materials including a goat leather upper with a sheepskin lining.
Before I begin my review on the SKORA FORM, I want to mention the amount of anxiety, anticipation, and excitement I had prior to their arrival. Maybe it was the amount of marketing and advertising that SKORA pushed before I received them, or it could have been the fact that the first time I came across SKORA was when the running blog Average Guy Hits the Road released a feature calling “SKORA Running the Apple of running shoes”. For all I know, it could have been the fact that they were featured on Wired, Los Angeles Times, AOL News, Men’s Health, and were recognized as one of the top 25 independent sneaker brands on Complex.com.
Average Guy Hits The Road makes a great point with the Apple metaphor because the FORM is a work of art utilizing a load of different innovations, quality materials, fantastic marketing, multi-use packaging, and with a hefty price tag (they even throw a sticker in the package to help gain free advertisement). With the price in mind, I’ll try not to make it a main focus because I realize many people are willing to spend a good amount of money on quality running shoes. Instead, I will attempt to explain how SKORA has made that $185 price tag worth every penny.
My experience with the FORM started with an unboxing reminiscent of the unboxing we’ve all grown too familiar with on YouTube from people purchasing new computers, phones, cameras, etc. So much so that I documented every step along the way. The box is made from a high quality cardboard and is wrapped in a blue and chrome plastic/paper hybrid, which is adorned with SKORA’s logo, name, slogan, and website placed in multiple strategic locations. Once you finish examining the quality packaging and decide to go further, you are greeted by a magnet-sealed lid and a small cloth loop to assist you with your soon-to-be magical moment. On the inside cover of the box is a small picture explaining SKORA and how their shoes are designed to allow you to RUN REAL. Venture deeper and you will find your shoes, a SKORA sticker, and a second pair of shoe laces (which represents a different color on your pair other than the laces currently on the shoes). Normally I wouldn’t spend the time to explain a shoe box, but on this occasion, I thought it worth the mention due to the amount of detail SKORA put into this one. I will undoubtedly use this box for other purposes, and thus it will forever become advertising for SKORA in my home.
Once you have finally viewed the shoes wrapped behind tissue paper, you’ll be taken aback by, what could be, the most powerful new shoe smell I’ve ever received. The reason being is these shoes aren’t made from foam, plastic, and synthetic fibers. Instead the shoes are constructed with a goat leather upper and a sheepskin lining, and, I have to say, it has a very distinct smell relative to other leathers.
Similar to my earlier review of the Altra Samson, you can attribute SKORA’s success with the FORM to their stacked list of features. First, like most minimalist shoes, the FORM has a 0 mm drop, which, as we all know, helps us to keep our form natural or, in this case, RUN REAL. The FORM also touts:
- Asymmetrical lacing along with a no-tongue design to offer a better fit.
- A REALFIT last which is designed to offer a more anatomical fit (a last, by the way, is something shoe manufacturers use to make and repair shoes).
- No heel counter which is the cause of most Achilles’ blisters.
- An elastic heel strap for a more customized fit.
- An anti-slip microfiber heelpad in order to eliminate rubbing.
- A stitch down construction which helps to eliminate any major seams that could otherwise prove uncomfortable during a long run.
As I’m sure you can imagine, these bad boys are comfortable! The only performance issues I have come across with these is in regards to running sock-less, which, like normal, is a problem with sweating. A shoe wrapped in leather is bound to have some breathability issues. I find these issues only surface while running sock-less because the interior and exterior are both so stubborn to soak in any water. However, this problem only leads me to yet another praise. I thought the leather was going to make my feet hot but instead it has had the opposite effect. With socks, my feet stay surprisingly cool and extremely comfortable. This cooling feature, packed with the anti-absorbant quality of the goat leather upper and the sheepskin interior offers up shoes that stay relatively scent free and dry remarkably fast.
Lastly, I should mention that SKORA promotes a mid-foot, or in their terms, “whole-foot” form in order to relieve some of the stress and impact on your body as you run. I didn’t notice this at first but during one of my more intense runs I noticed my heel touching the ground a bit more often (but still after the rest of my foot) than I’m used to in most of my other shoes. It hasn’t become a problem, but it is a slightly different form for me, and should be noted because these shoes aren’t as flexible as some minimalist shoes, which can make it a bit more difficult to feel comfortable in a forefoot form.
As I sit here with a SKORA FORM on one foot and an Altra Samson on the other, I would consider the Samson as having excellent ground feel while the FORM has, what I would consider, a relatively poor amount of ground feel. With that said, the Skora is still much better in terms of ground feel than any traditional shoe. I think the problem really persists when going on a run. What I immediately noticed with these shoes, compared to my Altras, Sockwas, and FiveFingers, is the FORM has a solid smack sound every time my shoe hits the pavement. It isn’t loud, or anything I am particularly concerned about, but what I fear is that some beginners in the minimalist running community may rely too much on the extra cushioning provided in a SKORA and lose the light on your feet stride we’ve all learned since transitioning. SKORA managed to do one thing in regards to barefoot feel that I found interesting. The sole and the removable insole are textured in a way that essentially emulates the ground through the bottom of the shoe. For example, if I step on rocks the pressure on the sole of the shoe pushes up through the tread and is emulated by some of the texture on the insole of the shoe. It is hard to explain without actually wearing the shoes, but it manages to get you closer to nature without taking away all of your protection.
This isn’t a section we normally cover but I think it may be worth mentioning in this case due to some of the mileages that are being logged on SKORAs. SKORA has been quoted for stating their shoes can last upwards of 600 miles and more! This is unheard of with most running shoes (except for some of the huarache brands available like Invisible Shoes which tout a 5000 mile warranty). The average shoe lasts between 300 – 500 miles, and from what I understand, SKORA believes their shoes may last even longer than the aforementioned 600!
I go back and forth on my feelings regarding aesthetics. From my point of view (top down) I think they look awesome but then I show up in a picture with my FORMs, I find them looking like clown shoes. This could, however, be the colorway I have giving it a clown-like attribute. The color selection for the FORM is top notch and the sole design is fantastic, but there is something about the asymmetrical lacing and wide toe-box that takes some getting used to. Honestly, I love the way they look and I’ll continue to wear them for both running and walking, but for whatever reason, they are not the most photogenic shoe I have ever seen.
In the detail department, SKORA never limits itself; from the pebble pattern on the interior of the shoe doubling as reflection, to the plastic tip on the laces showing off the logo of SKORA in all its glory. The stitching is a work of art and the sole of the shoe exhibits more character than 90% of the traditional shoes on the market.
- Attention to detail. From aesthetics to packaging, everything on this shoe is a jaw dropper.
- Quality materials – Goat leather upper, sheepskin liner, high density/high abrasion rubber outsole, and a stitch down construction.
- Comfort and performance; you won’t want your feet to leaves these shoes.
- Durability – With quality material and quality construction comes a running shoe built to last. 600+ miles is nothing to turn your head at.
- Barefoot feel – For being a minimalist shoe, these are more padded than what most minimalist runners run in. I wouldn’t categorize it as a transitional shoe but its extra cushion is worth mentioning.
- Flexibility – These shoes are flexible, but, they aren’t as flexible as most of the competitors. This can make running in a forefoot form slightly more difficult.
- Heel strap – Although it is designed to offer some customization to the fit, I feel as if it has little to no purpose other than adding some structure to the back of the shoe.
At the end of the day this is a quality shoe with a ton of attributes combining to make it one of the best shoes I’ve ever worn. With that said, the cost will always be hard to stomach and I believe there are other shoes that are worthy of your hard earned cash that may not set you back even half as much as the SKORA FORM. If you are looking for a long lasting, comfortable, quality made, aesthetically pleasing, minimalist running shoe (and who isn’t, really?), the SKORA FORM is a shoe worth the extra coinage.
Steve is an Executive Recruiter at Robert Half Executive Search in Madison, WI with a business degree in Information Systems and E-Commerce from the University of Toledo. Steve loves spending his time away from work; running, gaming, watching movies, checking out new social networking tools/sites/start-ups and blogging.