Skechers. As a former 90s kid, I have a lot of thoughts when I hear this brand name: Chunky Dad shoes (which have since seen a resurgence). Step-Ups. Affordability. And, most significantly, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of Skechers.”
Well, all of that changed when I trained for Vacation Race’s Joshua Tree Half-Marathon this fall. Along with a few other journalists, I participated in a 12-week training plan to lead up to race day. After joining the program, they announced our shoe sponsor—Skechers; I would be running in a pair of the Go Run Ride 11 (originally $125, now $88) sneakers. Now, I can’t exactly say that I was excited. I actually felt quite the opposite.
Skechers, Go Run Ride 11 — $88.00
Originally $125, now $88
Save 30 percent off during the brand’s Holiday Checklist sale.
Available sizes: 6.5-9.5
- Thick, shock-absorbing cushioning
- Carbon fiber plated insoles for more efficiency
- Versatile for both road and trail running
- Limited sizes available
- Take a few wears to break in
But I couldn’t back out now. We would be testing the Go Run line, which has flown under the radar with its performance-oriented features like dual-density foam and carbon fiber plated insoles. So, I browsed the Skechers website for my options and chose the pearly pink ombre colorway (which, I’ll admit, is even a little cute.) A few days later, the shoes showed up on my doorstep. When I took them out of the box, I could see the appeal. The cushioning was thick and squishy, and the upper felt very soft and pliable. They didn’t have the sleek, modern design of other road shoes on the market, but they weren’t all that bad. Still, memories of trying to impress my middle-school peers with “cool shoes” kept creeping in. But when you’re running, the way the shoe performs is way more important than how it looks. And this shoe checks all the boxes for anyone new to road running or who just wants an affordable daily trainer.
I trained in the Go Run Ride 11s for over two months, mostly on roads but also on some trails through Prospect Park. (Our race would take place entirely on dirt roads, some of which were covered in a few inches of sand.) On trails, I found the outsole to be surprisingly sticky—it’s a rubber blend from Goodyear—but still had a smooth surface that didn’t slow me down on the pavement. The shape of the shoe perfectly wrapped around my foot for a barely-there feel once I broke them in; the toe box is roomy enough to accommodate my wide feet, yet slim enough to feel agile.
But the biggest stand-out for me was the way they made my entire body feel. Usually, when I start running after a long break, I get shin splints and sciatic nerve pain. My hips complain to the point where road running just isn’t fun at all. This time? No pain. The thick cushioning and carbon fiber plate provided enough rebound that my body didn’t take much of the impact. Striking the ground felt comfortable in a way I had never experienced before.
If you’re in the market for new road running shoes, these come with a couple of caveats. First, they got very warm if I ran on days over 65 degrees, so they wouldn’t be my go-to for hot climates. They also take a few days to break in and for the first few outings, the insole felt stiff and created a burning sensation underfoot. (Basically, take them for a few warm-up walks before you jump into the mileage.) But these drawbacks are mild in comparison to how they make me feel: A shoe that allows me to run pain-free—on roads no less—is one that I’ll definitely reach for regularly. Guess I was wrong about Skechers after all. Shop more from the Skechers Holiday Checklist sale here.
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