Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review

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The Skechers GO Bionic 2 is a lightweight, nearly zero-drop shoe with a nicely flexible sole. Its 15/18mm sole doesn't provide much cushioning, but it's enough for good Running Economy. Like many shoes in the Skechers' range, the GO Bionic is cheaper than many comparable shoes and is well worth considering. You can think of the GO Bionic as the shoe that Nike should have produced as part of their "Nike Free" range. I've rated it as "Highly Recommended." (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)

Sketchers Go Bionic top
Sketchers Go Bionic bottom
Sketchers Go Bionic inside
Sketchers Go Bionic outside

1 Characteristics

  • Why you’d buy it. The GO Bionic is great value for money, and is lighter than many of the similar shoes such as Altra One or Saucony Virrata.
  • Cushioning . The Bionic is only 15mm/18mm thick, so it's a little firmer than a typical non running shoe, though it provide enough that I would not classify it as minimalist. One concern with cushioning is that the gaps in the midsole can get packed with stones. If that happens, it is quite uncomfortable, as there is only the thin insole between your foot and stone.
  • Drop. This has 3mm of drop, and the midsole is actually fairly flat. There is no taper between the ball of the foot and the very front, nor is there much of rise under the arch. Like most shoes, the midsole cups of the heel for stability, and there is a small taper at the very rear (not enough to be considered a rocker.)
  • Structure. This shoe uses single density of foam, with cutouts to increase flexibility.
  • Flexibility. The bionic is remarkably flexible, as it has holes in the midsole, as well as grooves. One issue is that stones can get into the holes, causing pain.
  • Outsole. There is almost no outsole, with some small patches under the big toe and midfoot area. The bionic is one of the few shoes I've come across that has the additional abrasion resistance under the midfoot rather than the heel. Most of the bottom of the shoe is exposed foam, which reduces weight at the expense of longevity, but the bionic seemed to have much better where resistance than other shoes I've come across.
  • Shape. The Bionic has the classic running shoe shape that does not match the human foot, but the toe box is not as bad as many shoes. Nonetheless I still found that I had to cut the toe box open. (I recommend cutting open the toe box of virtually all running shoes, with the exception of a few shoes like some Altra shoes. When you have some worn out shoes, you should try cutting open the toe box. I've found that it's a big improvement, allowing my toes to move naturally and engage for toe off, as well as reducing the possibility of blisters.)
  • Upper. The upper is a little thicker than many shoes. The material from the midfoot to the back of the shoe is slightly cushioned and completely inflexible. However, the area from the forefoot forward is nicely flexible and breathable. The padding around the ankle opening is a little less than I would like, but adequate nonetheless.
  • Tongue. The Bionic has a classic tongue that is attached half way along its length to either side of the shoe, making it nicely stable. The tongue is made of soft almost neoprene material that works quite well.
  • Lacing. The round laces work well and remained tied.
  • Heel Counter. There does not appear to be extra material to form a true heel counter, just upper materials shape giving it structure. The shoe comes as far up the heel as is typical for running shoe.
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2 Cushioning and Shoes

It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.

3 Visualizing the Attributes of the Skechers GO Bionic

How Skechers GO Bionic compares showing rearfoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Skechers GO Bionic compares showing forefoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Skechers GO Bionic compares showing the price against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.
How Skechers GO Bionic compares showing the loaded drop against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.

4 Comparisons

Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.

4.1 GO Bionic and Saucony Virrata

Comparing the GO Bionic and the Saucony Virrata:

  • Similarities
    • Grip. Neither has much grip.
    • Shape. Neither has a reasonable toe box.
  • Advantage GO Bionic
    • Price. The Bionic is generally cheaper.
    • Weight. The Bionic is a little lighter.
    • Flexibility. The Bionic is quite a bit more flexible.
    • Longevity. The Bionic lasts longer than you'd expect.
  • Advantage Saucony Virrata
    • Drop. Virrata is zero drop.
    • Cushioning . The Virrata is more softly cushioned, though it's close.
    • Trails. The Virrata has a little more protection from rocks, but not much.
    • Availability. The Virrata is easier to find, as Saucony is widely stocked.
Sketchers Go Bionic top
Sketchers Go Bionic bottom
Sketchers Go Bionic inside
Sketchers Go Bionic outside
Saucony Virrata top
Saucony Virrata bottom
Saucony Virrata inside
Saucony Virrata outside

4.2 GO Bionic and Altra One

Comparing the GO Bionic and the Altra One:

  • Similarities
    • Grip. Neither has much grip.
    • Trails. Neither has much protection from rocks.
  • Advantage GO Bionic
    • Price. The Bionic is a lot cheaper.
    • Weight. The Bionic is a little lighter.
    • Flexibility. The Bionic is a bit more flexible.
    • Longevity. The Bionic lasts longer than you'd expect.
    • Availability. The Bionic is a little easier to find, but Skechers running shoes are not widely stocked.
  • Advantage Altra One
    • Drop. The Altra are zero drop.
    • Shape. The Altra has a much better toe box.
    • Cushioning . The Altra is a lot more softly cushioned.
Sketchers Go Bionic top
Sketchers Go Bionic bottom
Sketchers Go Bionic inside
Sketchers Go Bionic outside
Altra The One 2.5 top
Altra The One 2.5 bottom
Altra The One 2.5 inside
Altra The One 2.5 outside

5 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes

For a more detailed comparison of these shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.

Full Review Name Rating Recommended
price
Benefit Weight
(oz)
Penalty
(sec/mile)
Forefoot
Thickness
Heel
Thickness
Loaded Drop
mm
Cushioning Flexibility
Asics 33-DFA Review 33-DFA Worth considering $90 5.7 10.6 16.5 27 27 0 6.1 6
Saucony Type A6 Review A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 8
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 7
Hoka Bondi Review Bondi Highly Recommended $150 8.0 10.9 17.0 41 45 5 8.8 0
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Bondi Review Pending $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 4
Hoka Clayton Review Clayton Best of the Best $150 8.8 8.3 12.9 26 30 3 7.3 5
Hoka Clifton 3 Review Clifton3 Best of the Best $130 9.1 9.8 15.3 34 38 3 8.9 6
On Cloudracer Review Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 8
Hoka Conquest Review Conquest Worth considering $170 5.0 11.9 18.5 28 34 5 6.0 3
Saucony Cortana 4 Review Cortana Worth considering $150 4.4 9.9 18.7 22 28 5 4.3 5
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 7
Newton Distance IV Review Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 6
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 6
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin Review Endorphin Highly Recommended $125 11.1 4.1 6.4 14 13 -1 4.5 9
Adidas Energy Boost Review Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 6
Altra Escalante Review Escalante Highly Recommended $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 7
Puma Faas 100 R Review Faas 100 Highly Recommended $90 8.4 6.1 9.4 15 20 1 5.1 9
Saucony Fastwitch Review Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 8
Topo Fli-Lyte Review Fli-Lyte Highly Recommended $100 6.0 9.4 14.6 23 24 4 5.6 6
Nike Free 4.0 Review Free Recommended $120 5.3 8.2 13.6 24 30 6 4.4 6
Saucony Freedom Review Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 7
Asics Gel Lyte 33 3 Review Gel Lyte Not recommended $90 8.0 7.3 11.4 17 24 4 5.8 9
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review GOmeb 3 Worth considering $120 6.9 8.1 12.6 20 24 4 5.5 8
Skechers GORun 4 Review GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 5
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review GRU-R Worth considering $105 6.5 11.3 17.6 30 40 6 7.4 7
Asics GT 2000 Review GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 4
Hoka Hupana Review Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 5
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 7
Altra Instinct 3.5 3.5 Review Instinct 3.5 Recommended $115 4.9 9.3 15.2 24 23 0 4.5 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Instinct 4.0 Review Pending $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 6
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 7
Saucony Kinvara 7 Review Kinvara Best of the Best $110 7.4 8.2 12.8 23 27 3 6.1 6
Nike LunaRacer 4 Review LunaRacer Recommended $90 9.9 7.0 10.9 22 30 7 6.9 6
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 7
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Mafate Best of the Best $170 7.6 11.9 18.5 39 40 4 9.0 3
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Nomad Review Pending $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 5
Hoka Odyssey Review Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 4
Altra Olympus Review Olympus Highly Recommended $130 5.4 11.8 18.4 27 27 3 6.4 4
Altra One 2.5 Review One Highly Recommended $100 8.5 7.1 11.1 22 25 2 6.0 8
Altra Paradigm Review Paradigm Highly Recommended $130 6.4 9.9 15.4 25 25 1 6.4 4
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 7
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000 Review RC5000 Best of the Best $125 12.2 3.4 5.3 13 17 3 4.2 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 8
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 9
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 9
Topo ST-2 Review ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 8
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 2
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 6
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 6
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 5
Hoka Tracer Review Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 6
Merrell Trail Glove 3 Review Trail Glove Best of the Best $100 2.9 6.9 24.7 11 11 0 2.0 9
Topo Tribute Review Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 7
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Review Vapor Glove Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
New Balance Vazee Pace Review Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 6
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Zeal Worth considering $140 10.9 6.3 9.8 17 27 9 6.8 7

It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot.
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review.
Reviews of shoes that are not worth including on the table: Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review.