Monday, December 17, 2012

Skechers GOtrail - The Interview

 Choosing your pair of trail shoes depends on several factors:

1) low profile (keeping your feet closer to the ground) and firmer cushioning.
2) breathability for long term comfort.
3) good fit
4) grip
5) lightweight
6) waterproofing
7) protective toe box and upper

I was quite excited to find out that Skechers was launching a pair of trail shoes which I was very eager to test them out. To made things even sweeter, the Gotrail shoes had one in hot pink!

My pair of hot pink Skechers GOtrail.
Last week I managed to take the GOtrail for a short run and hike at Bintang Hill. For further testing, Jamie and I thought the trails in FRIM would be a great place and Nick joined us for the morning's long and tiring run.

What made it interesting was that we had an interview right after our run! :)

Well, it was an imaginary interview by Meb Keflezighi which we can only hope and dream will happen one day.

Jamie attempts the muddy Pacat Trail.

Possibly Meb: Hi guys, understand you took the GOtrail out today on the not-too-technical FRIM trail. What do you think of the shoe in terms of fit?

Yvonne Teo: Nice and comfy. Then I realised it was due to the upper which is stretched to fit your feet as snugly yet securely as possible. I know the GOtrail has a supportive brace for the heel but I think the heel collar should be a bit higher, maybe an additional 1cm or so, to properly lock the heel in place.

Nick Philips: Seeing as how most of the GO series range of shoes fit me pretty well, I have no complains with the GOtrail too though it did feel a little narrow and the heel counter could have been a little higher up and maybe slightly firmer but otherwise, it fit like a sock, at least it felt that way to me.

Jamie: As with all GO series, mostly good! The GO series has one of the best made uppers and the trail version is no different. While it fits snug, my toes never felt compressed and was able to spread for a more secure footing on the trails due to the stretchable upper. I think having good ground contact is essential in trail shoes and the GOtrail gives you that courtesy of a low ride. One thing which Skechers can improve is the heel section where the collar of the shoe should to be raised such that the soft PU heel stabilizer or brace is located further up the archilles. The present location of the stabilizer is too low negating the intention of what it's put there to do. The shoe has non-removable sockliner so there's nothing to remove when cleaning the shoe. The fabric used to line the footbed appears to be fragile but only time will tell if they're durable.

Jamie offers his hand to Nick for support. Such a sweet picture! :D

PM: What were your other trail shoes? How do they compare to the GOtrail in terms of weight, breathability, cushioning and support?

YT: I have three other pairs of trail shoes; the New Balance WT625GO and WT909GB, and the recently acquired Brooks' Pure Grit. The GOtrail is the lightest of them all. I honestly thought they would be heavy as its lugs seemed to be quite chunky. Despite being light, the GOtrail proved to be stable on uneven ground as the lug traction is quite secure. They are comfortable, too. For cushioning and support, I would say that I'd go with my NB WT909GB for long trail runs as it has proved to be very stable. The hydrophobic mesh upper on the GOtrail is not as breathable as the Brooks Pure Grit. My feet got pretty warm after a while but you'll forget about it once you're into your run. Nevertheless, the mesh upper proved to be an effective leech shield as I spotted a leech trying to penetrate through my shoe and thank goodness it didn't succeed!

NP: Since I've never run trails before I have no benchmark for comparison but as a trail layperson, I would say it offered just the right amount of cushioning and support though breathability was an issue a little. In terms of weight, I thought it was pretty light weight for a trail shoe seeing as how I hardly felt the shoe on my feet, well except when I was squelching around through the mud. The grip though was phenomenal with hardly any slippage even on the rocks.

J: My rarely used Cascadia is a block of brick compared to the GOtrail. Although well built and provide good protection, the Brooks' stack height is rather high resulting in not-so-nimble kind of ride. The GOtrail is way lighter, lower to the ground retaining the 4mm drop while still having enough comfort for FRIM and I believe Kiara type of trails. Built this light and low, I managed to stay agile, hopping over the roots in the local trails. The shoe retains the flexibility of the series and on the breathability it wasn't too bad even though I was a little apprehensive of the GOdri upper which kept out the mud and water. It's still too early to tell how the outsole holds up. From a once over, the shoe should be more than enough for dirt and leafy paths with the ruggedized outsole feeling more durable that the pure foam of the other GO series. The traction is pretty impressive on pebbles and smooth rocks. I think it should be fine short of taking them to the sharp and vicious rocks like those we see in Mandai, Singapore.

Nick and Jamie's GOtrail shoes survived the muddy Pacat Trail.
Nick and I walking up Steroid Hill aka Tongkat Ali Trail. I was craving for Ribena!
Photo credit: Jamie

PM: Do you think the GOtrail will be suitable for a race like TMBT (The Most Beautiful Thing)?

YT: Er, it really depends on the distance, 25km, 50km or 100km? I'm confident that the GOtrail has really good traction with deep lugs to grip the trail and avoid slipping. In fact, I was surprised to find myself running downhill quite fast just now. But I might have to test them further during a longer run and in wet conditions to see just how water resistant they are.

NP: Don't look at me, this is my first ever trail session.

J: For that you'll have to ask The Woman *points at Yvonne* as I've not run TMBT.

I knew hot pink shoes would be easily spotted amidst the greens!
Photo credit: Jamie

PM: The GOtrail has a protection plate built into the midsole. Could you feel that? As you can imagine, my customized GOruns are kept as simple as possible allowing me to run as fast as possible *winks*.

YT: Nope, I didn't feel a thing! Maybe because the shoe is comfortably flexible and light.

NP: I poked, I prodded, I pulled, I twisted, short of dissecting the shoe, for the life me I couldn't feel it which is an advantage for a trail shoe, not making it stiff.

J: Lucky you for having customized shoes, Possibly Meb! In the case of the GOtrail, I didn't particularly feel the plate. If I hadn't read the sticker on the box lid, I wouldn't have realize the presence of anything else in the midsole. But since it's there, power to the runner!

Running down Salem High Country.

PM: Is the shoe suitable for road running?

YT: During a short run on the road before entering and exiting the trails, the GOtrail felt pretty OK. Usually with a stiffer outer sole, you'd find your feet pretty sore running on the road in your trail shoes. Be that as it may, I don't think you should be road running in your trail shoes. Got to keep the tread patterns intact as much as possible.
NP: I would have to say yes (within limits) since I took it for a short 5k run prior to this. The lightness and flexibility of the shoe makes it feels somewhat like a more toughened GOrun. Though you can run roads with it, I wouldn't really recommend it. Oh and it gets really hot when road running with it.

J: On the short stretch of road before entering the trail, the shoe felt OK. But since I've plenty of road shoes, I won't be wearing the GOtrail on the road. However, you shouldn't have any problems in taking it to a mixed i.e. trail-road course. With the low volume of trail running I typically do, and having found a less bulky ride in the GOtrail, I can now donate my little used Cascadia!

After a 3 hour run, we were stoked to find a Fanta stall along the main road in FRIM. Someone gestured  us to come over and have a drink, but the Fanta reps told us to try all their flavours. Orange, Grape and Strawberry - all were refreshingly good!

PM: Did Skechers Malaysia tell you when the GOtrail will be on the store shelves there?

YT: The GOtrail is now available at all Skechers' outlets. The men's shoes are retailing at RM399 and the women's at RM369.

Group pic after the run!
Photo credit: Jamie.
Many thanks to 'Possibly Meb' for the kind interview. 
If it were real, I think I would have fumbled and tripped over my words and it would have been very embarrassing!

Check out Jamie and Nick's blogs for all things related to running and other stuff. Thank you for the company, guys!


  1. Sweet picture? It was more like me hanging on to dear life with Jamie looking cool! LOL!

    Thanks for the adventure.

    1. I think both you and I were secretly expecting him to slip and fall LOL!

  2. Replies
    1. the best part was definitely the Fanta stall!
      Mmmm i'm thinking of Fanta Orange right now ...