Tag Archives: unique running shoes

Run To You

Skora CORE soleSKORA_SS13_CORE-mens-single_961

Running Shoe Review: Skora Core

Is the Skora Core simply a visual work of art, or a beauty on the feet and on the road?

Years ago at the Portland Marathon Expo, I found a pair of Puma Complete Aello II running shoes. This extremely lightweight radiant yellow running flat, with Goodyear tire rubber on the back, is a work of art. So much so that I’ve never had the heart to put them on my feet and run in them. They should be in a glass case in some type of industrial/manufacturing art and design museum.

I felt a sense of deja vu when I opened the box of new Core running shoes, provided by Skora of Portland, Oregon. These shoes are singularly beautiful in their design and manufacture. And, yes, they do look a bit like the classic flats from Puma. This time, however, I resolved to place the charcoal, black and green tinted shoes on my feet and run in them in order to produce this report.

Skora does not call the Core a minimalist running shoe, but it is a shoe that’s designed to facilitate a mid-foot/whole foot running style. When you first stand in the shoe, it feels quite flat, especially when compared to a standard American running shoe with a raised heel. On taking the initial steps in the Core, it literally feels like you’re walking in a pair of moccasin-style house slippers. This made me wonder, as an instinctive heel striker, whether the shoe would be able to provide enough support and cushioning on the streets and trails of suburbia.

Initiallly I jogged in the Core on a crushed gravel road and felt the shoe to be firm — something I usually like — and supportive. After a few miles, running in this non-traditional runner felt almost innate. I think my running form, in response to the shoe, very quickly changed. In my mind’s eye, a video would have shown me adopting Deena Kastor’s flat, mid-foot, relaxed landing pattern. (The brain seems to readily determine that there’s no pay-off in this model for heel strikers, thus directing the feet to stay lower to the ground.)

On hard concrete, the Core’s ride is surprisingly cushioned. On asphalt, the Core feels like a pair of racing flats, meaning that you definitely feel the ground but on a short to moderate distance run it’s not going to punish the feet. I did not expect to feel any energy return while jogging in the Core, but found it to be a nice unexpected dividend; however, I ran with the floating sockliner in place and I think that helped. Some will choose to remove the sockliner.

The Core was truly impressive when I found a hard-packed natural dirt trail. It felt as if the shoes were anticipating my every move and turn — I can only compare it to driving a Mini Cooper, knowing that you can easily drive that automobile at close to its full capacity. “If you’ve got it, use it!” The Core’s an excellent trail runner that provides the confidence a runner needs to go virtually all out on a twisty trail. (What could be more fun than that?)

I would not run in the Core on a trail consisting of medium-sized and large rocks, but that’s the only surface I would avoid in this shoe. Fit wise, the Core is nice and narrow in the rear and in the mid-foot, while providing plenty of room up front. Some might find the length a bit too long — which matches up with the laces — but that’s better for retaining one’s toe nails than being too short.

I found the Core to fit a half-size larger than standard walking shoes, which is a true fit for most running shoes. The flexible and comfortable upper of the Core uses leather with sheepskin lining, so animal lovers and vegans will want to look instead at the Phase model which uses man-made materials. The men’s version of the Core weighs 8.1 ounces; the women’s version comes in at just 6.7 ounces.

The folks at Skora will urge you to transition gradually into their shoes, which is good advice. I felt a slight twinge in my dominant left heel and a bit of ankle soreness on that side after runs in the Core. But I had no signs of hip soreness, something that can crop up when using seemingly protective shoes that displace impact forces away from the feet and knees.

In the Core my feet felt released to work naturally. These running shoes allow one to run in style while enhancing an organic running style. (The company’s motto is Run Real.)

The Skora Core advances the notion of running real. As attractive and distinctive as they are, they should be used on roads and trails and not displayed in a museum case.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

The Skora Core retails for $155.00.

This article earlier appeared on the Blogcritics Sports site:

http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/running-shoe-review-skora-core/

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Just A Momentum

Newton Terra Momentum 3

Running Shoe Review: Newton Momentum All-Terrain Trainers

A few weeks ago, I was at a local running store looking for a pair of shoes while battling plantar fasciitis. A young salesman suggested I try on a pair of Newton running shoes, to which I less than graciously responded, “I’ve never heard of Newton running shoes!” Fortunately, the Newtonians from Boulder, Colorado provided me with a pair of Newton Momentum All-Terrain Trainers to try out under real-world conditions.

The Momentum shoes come in a distinct orange, yellow and grey color scheme that seems to present a message of optimism at first glance. And they come with a nice, medium-width fit that’s snug but not too snug. The laces, however, seem a bit short and the all-too-supportive insole wound up pushing my toes uncomfortably upward; this was easily resolved by swapping for a cheaper, thinner insole. The toe box itself is flexible.

The Momentum is first and foremost a trail runner and one feels the obvious energy return from the four cushioned lugs in the forefoot of the shoe. But walking on a dirt trail felt odd, as if I were wearing snowshoes with crampons attached. Interestingly, this is not a problem when walking on concrete – the smooth surface allows for a comfortable “rocker” motion that makes walking quite pleasurable.

I tried this all-terrain shoe on multiple surfaces, and found that I enjoyed the run most on hard concrete. This is a surprise, but perhaps not so surprising knowing that the Momentum is loaded with cushioning spread from front to rear. It’s not as comfortable when running on uneven asphalt, but this is likely true with any running shoe.

Like all Newtons, the Momentum is structured to encourage a mid-foot or front-foot strike and it’s easy to get used to it. One does, though, feel the new muscles that are being used (especially if you’re a natural heel striker, like I am) – I quickly felt the twinges from my inner thigh muscles. Newtons should be broken in slowly and gradually, although all the padding underfoot leads one to feel quite confident about avoiding injury.

As advertised, the Momentum is a neutral running shoe with just a touch of stability for minimal pronators. While perhaps changing your normal foot strike pattern, they do not push your feet inward or outward. These runners move you forward with little wasted motion and without a needless bounce. (A number of today’s most cushioned running shoes are overly bouncy, which adds sideways motion – or drifting, and this actually requires extra effort to compensate for the distraction.)

I found that running in a pair of Newtons is like experiencing running from a new perspective. The Momentum is a lightweight, well but not overly-cushioned shoe that supports an organic running motion. While this is not a minimal shoe, it does sit more level to the ground than traditional running shoes. Although this is the first pair of Newtons that I’ve jogged in, the shoe’s construction seems to support the theory that less is more. There’s something almost instinctively retro about the appearance and build of the Momentum.

The Terra Momentum all-terrain runners are a natural choice to throw in one’s travel bag, knowing that no matter what type of running surface waits in another town, these shoes will provide the protection needed to get you through a set quota of training miles. The fact that other runners may ask you what type of shoes you’re wearing is just a plus.

Well recommended.

Joseph Arellano

This article first appeared on the Blogcritics Sports site:

http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/running-shoe-review-newton-momentum-all/

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