Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review

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I ordered the Skechers GOrun Ultra Road in a triumph of optimism over experience. While the first Skechers shoes I tried (the bionic) were quite outstanding, that occurrence has not been repeated with their subsequent shoes. I hoped yet again that this time they'd create a great shoe that a reasonable price, but sadly my disappointment continues. I'll attempt to be as objective as I can in this review, but I dislike running in the Skechers Ultra Road far more than I expected. This review has taken rather a long time to write to you to my reluctance to put many miles on them. I found the Ultra Road to be rather gimmicky and way too heavy. I'm continually surprised by how heavy the Ultra Road feels when I pick it up; maybe they added a little kryptonite just for me. The main gimmick for the Ultra Road is its drain holes and upper that does not absorb so much water. This could make it a good option for races where you expect your feet to get briefly soaked, such as periodic stream crossings. A good option that is, if it works. I compared the Ultra Road on one foot with the Asics Gel Hyper Speed on the other, both with identical socks. I weighed the shoes and socks dry, then thoroughly soaked them both and went for a 30 minute walk. I was surprised to find that the Ultra Road stayed squishy for far longer than the Hyper Speed. I was further surprised to find that by the end, the Ultra Road had held onto twice as much water as of the Hyper Speed. So sadly, I had to conclude that yet again the Ultra Road had managed to disappoint me. As a result of all of this, I've been tempted to rate of the Ultra Road as "Not Recommended", but even with all these shortcomings I think he could work for some runners. If you don't mind its excessive weight then the Ultra Road might be "Worth Considering." It's possible you might actually want some extra weight for training, as it could build a little extra strength and make a better shoe feel even faster. (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 Road top
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road outside
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road bottom
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road inside

1 Characteristics

  • Cushioning . The GOrun Ultra Road has lots of cushioning, almost as much as the Hoka Clifton. However, I didn't find the cushioning had quite the bounce of the Hoka, or most other shoes for that matter. The cushioning lacks bounce, especially when compared with a Hoka. Like some other Sketchers's shoes, The GOrun Ultra Road has a pronounced egg crate midsole that make for a softer initial contact, but this softness does not last all the way through the landing. The cushioning is a reasonably even, though I found the shape of the heel a little odd. Like virtually all running shoes the midsole of GOrun Ultra Road tapers at the extreme Rea to create a slight rocker effect. On most shoes this is fairly innocuous, but here I found it a little intrusive as the tapering can feel a bit like a Ridge under the heel of the foot. This effect is far worse when walking, but I wasn't entirely happy with it on the run. It's worth noting that the level of cushioning you get comes with a relatively high weight penalty. You can get similar levels of cushioning for far less weight with issues like the Hoka Clayton or the Asics Gel Hyper Speed.
  • Drop. The GOrun Ultra Road has a 10mm which is vastly too much in my opinion. This is enough to mess with my biomechanics and is one of the reasons I dislike running in the shoe. When it's more one and has your weight in it the midsole compresses so that you get 6 mm of drop, which is better, but still too much.
  • Structure. As I mentioned above, the rear of the midsole is a little disconcerting. It has more of the taper at the extreme rear than most shoes, and I find the shape is a little intrusive, changing my footstrike. The midsole consists of two different densities of foam; the lower foam that is green in my pictures is quite a lot firmer than the gray upper foam. This creates a stabilizing cradle for the heel and midfoot, but again I find this a little too intrusive for my tastes. When I run in the GOrun Ultra Road my stride feels a little unnatural, though runners used to shoes that have a medial post might accept this more easily. One unusual feature of the midsole is the drain holes that allow water to flow out over the shoe more quickly.
  • Flexibility. The GOrun Ultra Road is reasonably flexible when compared with a Hoka. This is mostly due to the egg crate effect that means the midsole has sections that are thinner and therefore bend more easily.
  • Outsole. Unlike the Skechers GOrun Ultra, the road version has a firmer rubber outsole in several small areas. In my photos these are the orange inserts, and as you can see they cover most of the contact points. My limited testing suggests that they improve the longevity of the shoe, at least compared with the non-road version where the shoe walked away like it was made out of milk chocolate.
  • Shape. The GORun Ultra Road has a fairly traditional running shoe shape, so it's not really designed to fit the human foot. (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 has been designed so that it does not hold much water for quicker draining and drying. This is reasonably effective, especially when combined with the drain holes in the midsole, but it's not without its compromises. I found the upper to be a little stiffer and rougher than I would like and while the comfort was not hugely impaired, it was noticeably different. There is a little padding around the ankle opening, but less than you would expect in a shoe this this heavy. The area at the top of the heel where the shoe meets the Achilles tendon has a nice soft patting inset, which is a nice touch.
  • Tongue. The Road Ultra has a traditional tongue with a small tab to attach it to the laces at the top. I had no problem with that the tongue staying correctly placed, and unlike the rest of the upper it's nicely padded.
  • Lacing. The traditional flat laces stayed tied, and are very slightly elastic, something I rather like in a running shoes lace. I can honestly say that the laces are my favorite part of the shoe.
  • Heel Counter. The heel counter is fairly firm, and it's located on the inside of the upper where it's rather more likely to dig in or rub. It didn't cause me any problems, but I'd recommend paying attention to that area if you try a pair on.
helping-hand.jpg

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 GOrun Ultra Road

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

4 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

Brand Name Rating Recommended
price
Benefit Weight
(oz)
Penalty
(sec/mile)
Forefoot
Thickness
Heel
Thickness
Loaded Drop
mm
Cushioning Flexibility
Asics 33-DFA Review Asics 33-DFA Worth considering $90 5.7 10.6 16.5 27 27 0 6.1 6
Saucony Type A6 Review Saucony A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 8
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adidas Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 7
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Hoka Bondi Recommended $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 4
Hoka Clayton 2 Review Hoka Clayton2 Highly Recommended $150 9.1 8.3 12.9 23 28 1 7.5 6
Hoka Clifton 4 Review Hoka Clifton4 Worth considering $130 7.7 9.3 14.5 30 35 10 7.2 5
On Cloudracer Review On Cloud Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 8
Hoka Conquest Review Hoka Conquest Worth considering $170 5.0 11.9 18.5 28 34 5 6.0 3
Saucony Cortana 4 Review Saucony Cortana Worth considering $150 4.4 9.9 18.7 22 28 5 4.3 5
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Mizuno Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 7
Newton Distance IV Review Newton Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 6
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review Asics DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 6
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Mizuno Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin 2 Review Saucony Endorphin 2 Worth considering $115 8.0 5.1 9.6 15 13 -1 4.1 8
Adidas Energy Boost Review Adidas Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 6
Altra Escalante Review Altra Escalante Best of the Best $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 7
Puma Faas 100 R Review Puma Faas 100 Highly Recommended $90 8.4 6.1 9.4 15 20 1 5.1 9
Saucony Fastwitch Review Saucony Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 8
Topo Fli-Lyte Review Topo Fli-Lyte Highly Recommended $100 6.0 9.4 14.6 23 24 4 5.6 6
Nike Free 4.0 Review Nike Free Recommended $120 5.3 8.2 13.6 24 30 6 4.4 6
Saucony Freedom Review Saucony Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 7
Asics Gel Lyte 33 3 Review Asics Gel Lyte Not recommended $90 8.0 7.3 11.4 17 24 4 5.8 9
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review Skechers GOmeb 3 Worth considering $120 6.9 8.1 12.6 20 24 4 5.5 8
Skechers GORun 4 Review Skechers GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review Skechers GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 5
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review Skechers GRU-R Worth considering $105 6.5 11.3 17.6 30 40 6 7.4 7
Asics GT 2000 Review Asics GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 4
New Balance Hanzo S Review New Balance Hanzo Worth considering $110 7.6 6.9 10.7 21 19 2 5.2 6
Hoka Hupana Review Hoka Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 5
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Asics Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 7
Altra Instinct 3.5 3.5 Review Altra Instinct 3.5 Recommended $115 4.9 9.3 15.2 24 23 0 4.5 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Altra Instinct 4.0 Worth considering $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 6
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Asics Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 7
Saucony Kinvara 8 Review Saucony Kinvara 8 Best of the Best $110 9.3 8.6 13.4 26 31 3 8.0 6
Nike LunaRacer 4 Review Nike LunaRacer Recommended $90 9.9 7.0 10.9 22 30 7 6.9 6
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review Nike LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 7
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Hoka 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 Pearl N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Saucony Nomad Worth considering $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 5
Hoka Odyssey Review Hoka Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 4
Altra One 3.0 Review Altra One Worth considering $100 6.1 8.8 13.7 23 23 0 5.4 7
Altra Paradigm Review Altra Paradigm Highly Recommended $130 6.4 9.9 15.4 25 25 1 6.4 4
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Asics Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review Brooks PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Salming Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 7
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review New Balance RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review New Balance RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 8
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Skechers Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 9
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review Inov-8 RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 9
Topo ST-2 Review Topo ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 8
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Hoka Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 2
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Nike Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 6
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 6
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Altra Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 5
Hoka Tracer Review Hoka Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 6
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review Merrell Trail Glove 4 Best of the Best $100 3.4 8.4 23.8 13 13 0 2.8 10
Topo Tribute Review Topo Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 7
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Mizuno Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
New Balance Vazee Pace Review New Balance Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 6
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Asics 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, the Hoka Tor Speed 2, and the Inov-8 Roclite 325 hiking boots
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.