Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review

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Is the GOrun Ultra a Hoka for only $80? Sadly not, but it's closer than you might expect, though the cost per mile probably works out higher than the longer lasting Hokas. With the updated GOrun Ultra 2, Skechers has some good improvements, but there's still some way to go before it's competitive. I've rated the Ultra as "Worth Considering." (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.)

Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 top
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 bottom
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 inside
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 outside

1 Characteristics

  • Why you’d buy it. The GOrun Ultra offers a lot of cushioning for the purchase price, but its lack of longevity makes it hard to recommend.
  • Cushioning . The GOrun Ultra has plenty of soft cushioning, but it falls short of the Hoka Clifton. The cushioning lacks bounce, especially when compared with a Hoka. I think part of the problem is the egg crate effect of the midsole that make the GOrun Ultra softer on initial contact, but this softness does not last all the way through the landing. Overall, the GOrun Ultra can't compete with the Hoka Clifton for the soft, plush ride.
  • Drop. The drop of the GOrun Ultra is 6mm, but when the shoe is worn this goes up to 8mm, which I believe is far too much.
  • Structure. The construction of the sole is a little odd, becoming thicker just in front and to the inside of your heel. This creates a sort of medial post, in an attempt to resist the natural roll of your foot as it lands. The combination of the shape of the midsole and the drop caused me slight knee discomfort, something I rarely suffer from.
  • Flexibility. The GOrun Ultra is quite flexible when compared with a Hoka. This is partly due to the lack of outsole, and partly the egg crate effect that means the midsole is thinner than it would otherwise be.
  • Outsole. There is no outsole, and the egg crate effect of the exposed midsole means that the GOrun Ultra wears quickly. The exposed egg crate "lugs" wear down horribly quickly on asphalt, even faster than the Altra One.
  • Shape. The GORun Ultra has a better shape than most running shoes, and while it's not really designed to fit the human foot, I found I could run in them without cutting open the toe box. (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 mostly unpadded, with just a relatively small amount around the ankle opening. There are far more seams and overlays than I'd like, making blisters a possible issue. Most of the upper is inflexible, but the area at the top of the toe box and the lower part of the tongue is quite stretchy. The inflexible areas of the shoe don't have much breathability, and seem overly thick.
  • Tongue. The tongue is attached on either side, but this does not extend all the way up the tongue, so it doesn't feel like a "sock upper". This arrangement worked really well, keeping the tongue in place without any problems putting the shoe on or creating excessive pressure on the top of the foot. The tongue is moderately padded at the top end.
  • Lacing. The traditional flat laces stayed tied.
  • Heel Counter. The heel counter is fairly firm, but also quite small so it shouldn't cause any issues.
A close up of the sole, showing the wear that occurred after just 130 miles.
helping-hand.jpg

2 Comparisons

Here are some direct comparisons with its potential competition.

2.1 Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 and Sketchers GOrun Ultra

Skechers have made a number of good improvements over the original version. The thickness of the midsole had changed from 26/40 to 28/34, so the forefoot is thicker and better cushioned, while rearfoot cushioning has been reduced. While it's sad to see the loss of rear cushioning, this has made the drop rather less horrible. The drop is still 8mm when loaded, but at least that's an improvement. The other improvement is in the upper at the extreme rear where it wraps around the heel bone. In the original, the rear did not cup the heel at all, which was an odd sensation and I found it put undue pressure on the Achilles bursa (actually the Retrocalcaneal Bursa). Sadly Skechers did not improve the lifespan of the GOrun Ultra, and it still wears out like it's made of chocolate. For more bad news, the weight has gone up nearly an ounce.

Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 top
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 bottom
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 inside
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 outside
Sketchers GOrun Ultra top
Sketchers GOrun Ultra bottom
Sketchers GOrun Ultra inside
Sketchers GOrun Ultra outside

2.2 Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 and Hoka Clifton 2

The Hoka Clifton 2 is the best Maximalist shoe by far, combining massive cushioning with light weight. The GOrun Ultra is heavier, but offers less cushioning. The Clifton has far less drop, and lasts vastly longer, as well as being better cushioned. While the GOrun Ultra may be cheaper to buy, the cost per mile is much higher, and the Clifton is a better shoe in every way I can think of.

Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 top
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 bottom
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 inside
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 outside
Hoka Clifton 2 top
Hoka Clifton 2 bottom
Hoka Clifton 2 inside
Hoka Clifton 2 outside
helping-hand.jpg

2.3 Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 and Saucony Kinvara

The Saucony Kinvara is a great transitional shoe from a traditional shoe like the Asics GT 2000 to something more optimal. The Kinvara is quite a bit lighter (>2oz) and has less drop, but not as well cushioned. The Kinvara is a much better transitional shoe, and the Ultra is more of a compromised Maximalist.

Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 top
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 bottom
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 inside
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 outside
Saucony Kinvara 6 top
Saucony Kinvara 6 bottom
Saucony Kinvara 6 inside
Saucony Kinvara 6 outside
helping-hand.jpg

3 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.

4 Visualizing the Attributes of the Skechers GOrun Ultra

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

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.