Best Skechers running shoes

by Solereview editors


This article has been updated with current models for October 2020. The Razor+ is a new addition.

Usually, putting together a Skechers running shoe guide only takes a few hours.

But this time, it’s not business as usual for Skechers running. And this is a compliment, not sarcasm. Powered by what appears to be a healthy dose of design inspiration, Skechers has been busy infusing freshness into their line.

This isn’t just about the familiar models like the GoRun Ride 8 receiving their annual updates. Swapping the midsole foam with Hyperburst means that even the ‘older’ shoes benefit from a completely different character and deserve to be treated as brand-new shoes.

There are a couple of new intros like the GoRun Speed TRL and the GoRun Speed Elite Hyper. The Speed TRL is a trail shoe that differentiates itself in the crowded segment with its lightweight and low-profile build. In the past, Skechers trail-running products have been of the max-cushion kind, so it’s refreshing to see something new.

Skechers has also made on-the-fly changes to the GoRun 7. The updated 7+ ditches the sloppy knit exterior for a standard upper with a far better fit. That’s the reason why the 7+ features on this guide and the GoRun 7 was omitted from the last version of this write-up. We hope that the MaxRoad Hyper ditches its imperfect upper sooner than later.

The under-rated GoRun Forza gets its annual refresh too. It feels familiar in some way, yet benefits from a significant upgrade due to the new Hyperburst + Ultraflight midsole. You get the same balanced quality but without the bottom-heavy build of the previous Forzas.

The Speed Elite Hyper is very unoriginal, but hey – everyone has their spin on the Carbon-plate-in-a-shoe thing, so why single Skechers out? And besides, it’s a nice shoe, so the end justifies the means.

So there you have it. The 2020 Skechers assortment feels fresh with plenty of options for all classes of runners. We’ll kick things off with the GoRun Ride 8 – a please-all running shoe with nearly no flaw.

1) Cushioned daily trainer: Skechers GoRun Ride 8 Hyper

Over the years, the GoRun Ride has become the ‘anchor’ running shoe for Skechers.

This is a product that not only targets a broader consumer base, but has also been a constant within the assortment. No matter the year, the GRR is always available for purchase. All brands have a versatile, Swiss Army knife kind of a running shoe that resonates with runners of all experience classes.

For Skechers, the Go Run Ride 8 is that shoe, and it receives a suite of updates for 2020.

Hyperburst, a carbonated EVA foam, made its debut on the GoRun Razor. It has since become standard on most Skechers’ running shoes, and now it’s the GoRun Ride’s turn to be fitted with one.

Along with a Hyperburst midsole, the GRR 8 gets shod with Goodyear-branded rubber. Shoes using automobile tire-branded outsole aren’t a recent phenomenon; we reviewed an adidas sneaker in 2008 that had a Goodyear outsole.

Anyway, we digress. The GRR uses the Goodyear compound in a geometry that leaves a lot of the forefoot exposed. This layout doesn’t do a good job of maximizing the contact area. So while the rubber inherently grips well, there’s scope for improvement in how the pieces are laid out.

There are no free lunches, and some upgrades do not come free.

You’re left $20 poorer when upgrading from the Ride 7 to the 8, and you have the Hyperburst midsole and Goodyear outsole to thank for.

By now, most runners are no strangers to the Hyperburst foam. This is a lightweight foam with a firm yet responsive ride. Some internet literature describes the Hyperburst as soft, but that’s not the case. It’s noticeably firmer than the likes of Saucony Pwrrun or the Nike React.

The GRR 8 is also the median between the other Hyperburst-equipped models like the more minimal Razor 3 and the full-stack version that is the Maxroad Hyper.

This balance of midsole volume makes the Ride 8 an excellent daily trainer that is capable of most things thrown its way. Long-distance runs aren’t a problem due to the deep cushioning of the 33 mm heel and 27 mm forefoot.

At the same time, the firm Hyperburst has an energy-return feel when pushed harder. That means ride comfort and faster paces are mutually inclusive.

Most Skechers running shoes have had a historically spacious upper fit; the GRR 8 is no different.

An internal bumper creates a spacious toe-box, and it’s possible to free more space if the removable insole is removed.

The ‘lasting’ is another insole is disguise, so it’s possible to remove the stock insole and still have a perfectly functioning insole. We don’t recommend doing that because the upper fit gets all wonky. The heel cup is wide as it has been for the past GoRun Rides. Thus displacing the insole will result in a slippery heel fit.

The rest of the upper is comfortable. The true-to-size interiors use soft-touch materials and a gusseted tongue design that combine to make the overall comfort levels excellent. Just be careful with the lacing pressure, because the materials can bunch up when cinched tight. Again, this is another Skechers quirk that was observed in some of the earlier GoRun ride versions.

With a well-rounded fit and ride character, the GoRun Ride 8 is the shoe most likely to appeal to everyone rather than a certain set of runners.

The well-balanced mix of attributes results in little to no flaws, so if you’re considering a versatile daily trainer, give the Ride 8 a try.

2) Cushioned, lightweight speed trainer: Skechers GoRun 7+

Wait. Doesn’t a GoRun 7 already exist in Skechers’ line? Yes, there is – or was.

The GoRun 7+ is a brand new shoe that is based on the same midsole but has an updated upper. Only the “+” suffix differentiates the two models, so it’s easy to confuse them.

So what’s special about the 7+? And more importantly, what is the GoRun 7+? The GoRun has always complemented the GoRun Ride as its more minimal and lower-profile version.

In plain words, that means there’s less midsole under the foot as compared to Ride 8. Looking at the specs is a good way to understand the difference in their personalities. The Ride 8 has a rear and stack height of 33 mm and 27 mm. In contrast, the GoRun 7+ has a 19:15 mm ratio. That’s nearly half of the thicker GoRun Ride 8.

As one might expect, the GoRun 7+ is a better tool for more serious runs. At the same time, you do not want your foot beat down during those high-cadence workouts. Here, the HyperBurst midsole acts as a cushioned barrier against the hard surface. And since Hyperburst is inherently firm and responsive to begin with, there’s zero mushiness.

The upper is what separates the GoRun 7 from the 7+. The last model had an upper that was plain bad – not sure what Skechers was thinking when they rolled that one into the market. To save screen space, we’ll discuss what’s good about the 7+ upper instead of the sub-par 7 – that’s now water under the bridge.

Here, the upper is basic as it gets, but without the glaring flaws. This is a speed trainer, so you get a narrow fit. The fit is true-to-size and smooth on the inside with a comfortable heel and tongue. That said, the closed mesh upper isn’t very breathable.

So if your runs are going to take place in a warm environment, then you might want to rethink the 7+. Or get the Razor 3 or Razor+ instead.

3) Max cushioned trainer: Skechers GoRun MaxRoad 4 Hyper

On paper, the MaxRoad 4 Hyper is the successor to the MaxRoad 3 Ultra. In reality, it’s an entirely different shoe – in good and not-so-good ways.

What’s great about the new Hyper midsole is its performance-oriented cushioning and responsiveness in a very lightweight package. However, you don’t get the deep, cushiony softness of the Ultra 3. Instead, a better rebound character and rocker midsole geometry make the MR4 a ‘faster’ long-distance shoe.

The upper is the weak link in the design. The fit doesn’t feel sorted as the excellent MR3 and can potentially irritate in some areas. It also runs warm – this can be a negative or positive depending on the weather.

We’re hoping that Skechers will do to the MaxRoad Hyper what it did to the GoRun 7 – replace the loopy upper with a better one.

4) Lightweight trainer/racer: GoRun Razor 3 Hyper

The GoRun Razor 3 Hyper isn’t a road-racer in the traditional sense. It’s got plenty of midsole underneath the snug-fitting upper; Skechers uses a carbonated EVA foam called the HyperBurst. So the Razor 3 is a quasi-racer with plenty of underfoot comfort that doesn’t punish your feet like a regular racing flat.

The Hyper Burst midsole is a definite step-up for the Razor series. It makes the shoe super responsive and lightweight – the Razor 3 weighs a mere 6.4 ounces. And if you’re searching for something lighter and minimal, the GoMeb Speed 6 Hyper is your shoe.

5) Lightweight trainer/racer: GoRun Razor+ Hyper

The Razor+ is based on the same midsole and upper fit as the Razor 3, except for two minor differences. One, the outsole is made of Goodyear-branded rubber, and there’s an extra piece covering the midfoot. Two, the upper has fewer overlays.

In functional terms, that doesn’t amount to much. The midsole feels the same as the Razor 3, and you get an identical ride character with a firm cushioning. The Razor+ is a speed trainer with a cushioned ride, just like the Razor 3.

The snug upper feels wee more comfortable around the forefoot than the Razor, but only just. Since both models are priced the same, you can go with either shoe.

6) Lightweight trainer/racer: Skechers GoMeb Speed 6 Hyper

One questions the need for the Speed 6 Hyper to exist when you already have the GoRun 7+ and the Razor 3. Like the latter, the Speed 6 Hyper is a lightweight trainer that works for faster runs.

So what’s the difference between, say, the Razor 3 and the Speed 6?

There are a few similarities. The outsole layout is nearly identical, and both shoes have a heel-to-toe offset of 4 mm.

Except that the Speed 6 is an ounce lighter with a lower midsole stack. Compared to the Razor 3’s rear and front stack of 27:23 mm, the Speed 6 is closer to the ground at 18 and 22 mm.

The Speed 6 is 5.2-ounces against the Razor’s 6.4-ounce weight. With that, the Speed 6 ends up being firmer with a superior ground feel.

And it’s not just the midsole. The Speed 6’s upper lacks creature comforts such as a fully-padded collar and uses a thinner mesh. It also fits a mite shorter than the Razor.

The outsole looks similar, but this shoe uses Goodyear rubber along with extra lug coverage under the midfoot.

By now, you should know how this movie ends. A lighter and lower midsole gives the GoMeb Speed an advantage over the Razor during faster runs. There is a good reason why Skechers has named this shoe after Meb Keflezighi.

The upper fits like a thoroughbred racer too. The forefoot is narrow and the length runs between half to one size smaller. Do note that the Speed 6 has a shorter and narrower sizing than the 5. The upper material lacks any stretch so the fit isn’t very accommodating.

Though the cushioning supports distances of up to a half marathon, the tight upper means that 10k races and speed runs are its sweet spot.

For shorter races, the GoMeb Speed 6 shines through. The Hyperburst midsole is responsive, and the transitions feel quick and effortless. The Goodyear rubber outsole is pretty grippy too.

7) Lightweight trainer/racer: Skechers GoRun Speed Elite Hyper

Ok, the plate-in-a-shoe template is over-cooked by the brands. However, the Speed Elite Hyper adds value by doing things differently.

The Speed Elite is nothing like the Nike Vaporfly 4% – the original Carbon plate shoe. Or the Next %, for that matter. The specs make that abundantly clear; the midsole has only a rear and front stack thickness of the 22 mm and 18 mm. And that’s entirely made of the firm Hyperburst.

There’s a plate under the forefoot, but that’s more of a transition or turnover tool. You don’t get any trampoline or bounce effect due to the firm and low-profile midsole. The firm forefoot delivers super-quick turnovers by enhancing the ground feel.

If the specs sound familiar, you might be thinking of the GoMeb Speed 6. And that’s exactly what the Speed Elite Hyper is – a GoMeb S6 with a forefoot plate and a slightly different upper design.

Also, this is no shoe for going slow or going far. The ultra-rigid and firm forefoot feel at home during higher paces; and there’s not enough cushioning to make long-distance runs comfortable. The responsiveness of the Hyperburst material also demands high-cadence runs, so that’s another thing.

Just like the Go Meb Speed 6, the ideal distance for the Speed Hyper is 10 km. Half-marathons are doable provided one is accustomed to the ride firmness.

The narrow upper befits a racing silhouette – because that’s what the Speed Elite 6 is. It pins the foot down to the plated forefoot for a quick touch-and-go while making the shoe very stable. The Goodyear outsole also helps with its excellent grip on the roads and tracks alike.

And that’s another area of difference between the Nike Vaporfly and the Speed Elite Hyper. The low stack of the firm midsole translates into confidence-inspiring levels of stability.

Given the context, it’s somewhat unfair to view the Speed Elite Hyper as another ‘plated’ running shoe – this is just a road racer with a rigid and snappy forefoot. It’s also incredibly lightweight.

Not many shoes – racers included – tip the scale at 5.2-ounces.

8) Mild-support trainer: Skechers GoRun Forza 4

The Skechers GoRun Forza series is under-rated. There, we said it. It’s never been in the headlines, and yet we see it as a product with a unique spin on the stability running shoe concept.

This is the only Skechers performance shoe to feature a dual-density midsole that is intended to make the inner side more supportive. The layout is fairly similar to the past Forzas except for one major update – the outer midsole is made of the now-popular Hyperburst foam. Even the inner side gets updated with the new Ultraflight foam.

And what does the Forza 4 do differently than say, an Asics GT-2000 8 or the New Balance 860?

Though the midsole has a dual-density midsole, there’s not a quite lot of softness difference between either side. Both the Hyperburst and Ultraflight foams have a firm density so the ride is very balanced. And unlike the previous bottom-heavy versions, the 9-ounce Forza V4 is pretty lightweight.

Interestingly, the Forza also happens to have the best outsole design within Skechers’s performance line-up. The Goodyear rubber outsole has a layout that is traction-optimized, transition-friendly, and durable.

It covers most of the contact-area with smaller lugs under the forefoot area for grip. There are no half measures.

Skechers doesn’t experiment with the Forza’s upper design, and the results are pleasing. The single-piece mesh upper design is dependable; it does a good job with the overall fit and lock-down quality.

To sum up, the Forza 4 is an excellent running shoe for daily runs and long-distance runs alike. The midsole isn’t very soft but makes up with its peppy ride. The more you push it, the more responsive it gets. The Forza is also a novel take on the stability running shoe, so try this if you’re bored of the Nike Structure and or the Asics GT-2000.

9) Lightweight and fast trail shoe: Skechers GoRun Speed TRL

All past Skechers trail running shoes have been of a max-cushion kind; you know, Hoka-ish silhouettes with tons of cushioning for long-distance trail runs.

For 2020, Skechers takes a different route and combines three tools in its arsenal to create an entirely new (and different) trail running shoe.

First, the Hyperburst foam does the honors of being the cushioning material. Two, there’s a large Nylon forefoot plate that is protective as well as transition-friendly. Three, a Goodyear outsole delivers trail-worthy traction. The upper has its quirks but is mostly secure-fitting and functional.

There are a couple of other things worth noting. This is an 8-ounce shoe with a 4 mm heel to toe offset – there’re not many of those around.

Speaking of the shoe’s character, this isn’t your easy-run trail shoe. The GoRun Speed TRL has a sense of purpose; its firm and lightweight ride has an excellent balance of impact protection and ride comfort. Its low-profile, low-offset firmness is speed-friendly while allowing for forefoot (or full-contact) landings.

Given the midsole design, the rearfoot is more cushioned than the front. The foam sockliner (no dual insole here, thankfully) also adds a convenient layer of top-level softness.

The firm forefoot is optimal for proprioception and ground feel, and there’s no wasted energy or mushiness here. The Goodyear lugs aren’t deep but its material compensates with the quality of grip.

The upper fit complements the ride quality – the forefoot has a secure feel with just the right amount of room. The reinforced toe-bumper does a great job protecting the foot, and the closed mesh structure prevents snagging. This being a Skechers shoe, expect some gathering/folding of the upper material when laced tight.

The heel-lock system is a bit gimmicky though. The loop around the heel is connected to the lacing system, and while it works to an extent, the foam padding below the collar deserves most of the credit.

But these are small flaws on a trail running shoe that delivers a lot of functional value for its $115 retail price. The cushioning and ground-feel is great for easy and faster trail runs alike, and the overall lightness of the shoe minimizes distraction on challenging terrain.

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